At the age of 21 Bernard entered St. Francis High School Seminary in Milwaukee to study for the diocesan priesthood. Five years later he contemplated a religious order. Invested in the Capuchin Order at Detroit in 1897, he received the religious name of Solanus. After his ordination in 1904, Fr. Solanus spent 20 years in New York, Harlem, and Yonkers. In 1924 he was assigned to St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit where he worked for 20 years.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Venerable Solanus "Barney" Casey 1870-1957
At the age of 21 Bernard entered St. Francis High School Seminary in Milwaukee to study for the diocesan priesthood. Five years later he contemplated a religious order. Invested in the Capuchin Order at Detroit in 1897, he received the religious name of Solanus. After his ordination in 1904, Fr. Solanus spent 20 years in New York, Harlem, and Yonkers. In 1924 he was assigned to St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit where he worked for 20 years.
If you love stained glass windows, you'll love these, by Tiffany
Ask one to describe the glass work of the Tiffany Studios. and one is most likely to think of domestic items such as lamps with colourful shades, or secular glass designs in public buildings (such as the Education window at Yale University), but one may not think of church glass and design. However, Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Charles Lewis Tiffany who originally founded the storied Tiffany and Co., produced some extremely interesting ecclesiastical designs.
In addition to his glasswork, Louis Comfort Tiffany also produced some interesting church work generally, including that represented by the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which found its way to the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, was moved to his personal estate, and now makes its present home at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Florida. Click here New Liturgical Movement
Swine Flu Notice Found in an Unidentified Minneapolis Parish
The Sign of Peace will be replaced by the Post-It-Note of Peace. Every parish to provide sufficient recycled post-it-notes, and Fair Trade pencils at the back of church, on which to write a message of love/peace/ kisses/ cuddles (delete whichever does not apply), to a named recipient. SMO’s [Special Minister Operatives] will be strategically placed at the end of each pew, and at the appointed time, will collect the notes and deliver said notes to the named recipient in whatever part of the church said recipient is sitting/ standing/kneeling/ lounging (delete whichever does not apply).
If you don't read Damian Thompson's blog in the UK Telegraph, there is something lacking in you. This was from a comment by "Terry." Our Terry?
Charismatic Conference at Hill-Murray August 14-15
The Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office is hosting a summer conference titled, ‘Wheat Among The Weeds,” which will focus on strengthening one’s spiritual foundation in order to live a holy life and be a light to others in a difficult world. The event is being held at
Speakers include Father Robert Hogan from the Center for Catholic Charismatic Renewal of San Antonio, Texas and Mother Nadine Brown from the Intercessors of the Lamb, who has appeared on her own EWTN television series. Eucharistic Adoration w/Reflection will be held on Friday night, a parallel Spanish track on Saturday and bilingual Charismatic closing
Interview with Father Robert Hogan, pdf file
Thursday, July 30, 2009
St. Bonaventure seeking runners for its Sept. 19 pro-life 5K race
St. Bonaventure in Bloomington is calling runners of all ages and faiths who want to put a positive face on the pro-life movement.
The parish is sponsoring a pro-life 5K race on Saturday, Sept. 19, beginning at 8 a.m. in the parish parking lot, 901 E. 90th St. . . .
The race will start from the church parking lot, proceed through city streets, continue through a nearby city park and back through city streets to the church.
Get a chance to play at Town & Country, one of the oldest and most exclusive country clubs in the area.
The Fifth Annual Vianney Cup is set for Monday, Sept. 14, at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul. You can help support the seminarians at St. John Vianney College Seminary who are considering the priesthood by sponsoring a foursome in the golf tournament for $800.
Sponsorship includes two golf carts, mention in the dinner program and lunch, and dinner for four that evening. Father William Baer, St. John Vianney rector, will speak at the dinner about the seminary’s successes and challenges. All 160 Vianney seminarians will make an appearance at the event, Father Baer said.
Lunch is at 11 a.m. Shotgun start is at 12:30 and dinner with live auction begins after a 5 p.m. social hour.
Additional golf sponsorships and dinner tickets are also available. For more information, contact Sara Oakland Curl at (651) 962-6841.
Closing a parish involves much more than just logistics
Charles Zech and Robert Miller have some advice for parishes going through what some have characterized as the greatest period of change in the history of the American Catholic Church brought on by the recent closing and merging of hundreds of parishes across the country.
First, they said, it’s important to recognize that people who lose their parishes are experiencing a trauma that can be as great as the loss of kin.
Second, Zech and Miller advised that when people come together in a new parish, the dynamics that emerge are similar to those that surface when a man and a woman with children from previous marriages get married and face blending two family units into one.
Merging parishes involves not just making sure individuals get along and minimizing the appearance of favoritism, but especially requires integrating the experiences, culture and history of both communities into a new Catholic community, said Zech, director of the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University School of Business in Pennsylvania.
Such tasks rarely have been done well, said Miller, director of the Office of Research and Planning for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He said mergers often are done under deadlines that do not allow people to fully plan for how two or more communities might become one.
New Parish Models
Zech and Miller address many of the issues that have surfaced in the 15 years since parish closings and mergers became more commonplace in their 2008 book, “Listening to the People of God: Closing, Rebuilding and Revitalizing Parishes.” (To order this book, click HERE)
They said the model of parish life to which Americans have grown accustomed is changing rapidly. For example, in 2006 fully one-quarter of Catholic parishes were organized in a nontraditional manner, meaning they had no resident pastor.
Further, between 1995 and 2000, Zech and Miller report, 72 percent of dioceses restructured by either clustering or linking parishes, merging two or more parishes, closing parishes or, in areas of massive growth, opening new parishes with large membership rolls.
At some point, every Catholic parish will face changes that can prove to be troublesome, Miller told Catholic News Service.
“The idea is that we need to live our lives in such a way that we expect change,” he said. “We are called to change.
We are called to transform our hearts. We are called to transform our communities.”
Mergers and closings are not new, but have become more commonplace as dioceses seek to “right size” to meet changing demographics, financial realities and the declining number of clergy. In the 1970s, it was a shift of rural populations as people left farms and small communities for better opportunities near urban centers.
The realities of closings and mergers have shifted, today, primarily to urban centers in the Northeast and Midwest where Catholic populations are dwindling as people with the financial resources abandon central-city life to seek the American dream in the suburbs.
More demographic shifts
Zech and Miller expect demographic shifts in the future that will lead to more of the same across the country.
No matter the situation, most people are attached to their parishes. For many, losing a parish can be a traumatic experience. The closing or merger of a parish can leave people bitter, even alienated.
“Our parish is a family and when our parish is closed we feel like we’ve lost an important part of our family,” Zech said.
“We have to treat it that way. Diocesan officials need to treat it as if there’s a death in the family.”
Miller said he has seen few examples of where the merging of individual Catholic communities has been done well. In most cases, neither community has been prepared for what merging involves, he said.
“It seems to me that in the parish mergers going on across the country we’re spending an awful lot of time on Good Friday but we’re not getting to Easter Sunday,” he said.
Echoing Zech and Miller, Marti Jewell, the outgoing director of Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership, a six-year-old collaborative effort among six national organizations studying the changing structure of parishes, said the massive changes the church is undergoing today can be traumatic and lead to anger, confusion and grief.
It’s all about grief
“[It’s] the grief that comes from change, whether you embrace it or not,” she said. “We can’t be afraid of the grief and we need to recognize that the anger we are feeling is a product of grief.
“Until we address the grief, we can’t move on. We have to become ministers of grief, agents of change in that way, and care for that.”
To help overcome the feeling of loss, Jewell suggests that parishioners be engaged so they feel they have a voice in whatever new parish structure evolves.
Throughout his studies of parish restructuring, Miller said he has seen time and again that even a parish that absorbs a smaller community eventually will undergo significant changes of its own, just not as quickly. Roles are going to change, relationships with the newcomers will be awkward and certain routines will be disrupted, he said.
“If people are not prepared for that, then they’re wondering why they’re so uncomfortable,” he explained. “We try to get them to recognize [parish life] is going to change for them too.”
Miller said that mergers need time to develop. He proposed that there be at least a year for communities to prepare for the transition and then as many as five years afterward before communities are fully integrated.
“We need to put a lot of energy into the building up and not building down [of parish life],” he said. “It’s the creation of a new parish.” Catholic Spirit
See the other articles from the Spirit and other sites relating to parish and school realignments in the United States.
Archbishop Nienstedt: First Confession Comes Before First Communion!
If you have young children either in your immediate family or in your extended family, chances are good that you attended a celebration of first Holy Communion this past spring. And even if you did not attend a family member’s first Holy Communion, I would bet that you attended a parish celebration of this sacrament, as many parishes appropriately choose to celebrate the sacrament during a Sunday Mass.
Celebrating first Holy Communion in this highly public way is quite fitting, as young children are not only receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus for the first time, but also solidifying their ties to the church, which is a public and communal reality.
For this very reason, the church has made it clear that the celebration of first Holy Communion on a Sunday, “the day of the Eucharist,” is the most appropriate way to celebrate the first reception of this Sacrament of Sacraments.
The church is even more clear that prior to making their first Holy Communion, children are to celebrate their first confession. This teaching was recently reiterated in “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” (paragraph 87).
In our own diocese, as early as 1973, my predecessor, Archbishop Leo Byrne, reminded every priest in this local church of the universal church’s mind on this matter in response to the experimental practice of delaying first confession until after first Holy Communion. As the archbishop pointed out at the time, such a delay is clearly not the mind of the church, and he rightly asked that it cease to be practiced in this archdiocese.
One objection to the church’s clear teaching on this matter is that children are not capable of grave sin, and therefore are not obligated to make a confession before their first Holy Communion.
Leaving aside the debatable claim that children are incapable of grave sin, while it is true that sacramental confession and absolution are the ordinary means by which mortal sin is forgiven, we don’t celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation only to have such grave sins forgiven. There is also the constant need to ask forgiveness for the small failures and little betrayals that mark our daily lives.
It is said that Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II received the sacrament of reconciliation frequently, as many as several times a month, in fact. It is difficult to believe that either the Holy Father or Mother Teresa often fell into mortal sin. And, yet, they saw fit to come to confession regularly because they knew that they were called to be perfect, as their heavenly Father is perfect.
And quite apart from the forgiveness of actual sin, there is also the powerful grace of the sacrament — grace that is needed if we are to persevere in our daily struggles with sin and temptation, struggles that can slowly weaken us in our capacity to avoid serious sin.
Children need this grace as much as anyone else. Anyone who honestly believes that children do not do things that are wrong has not spent much time with kids.
Instilling good habits
Giving children the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation before first Holy Communion also helps to establish a habit in our young people, a habit that hopefully will last a whole lifetime.
If we have guests coming over to dinner, it is an act of love to prepare for their visit by tidying up the house and making special preparations. Even more so in the spiritual life, we must strive to prepare well for the visit of the Lord into our hearts. How well we all need to remember this fact, young and old alike.
This, of course, is not to say that every time we attend Holy Mass we are obligated to make a sacramental confession. But as St. Paul reminds us in his first letter to the Corinthians, it is, in fact, extremely important to examine our hearts before we receive our Lord in Holy Communion (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
If we are aware of serious sin, we are obliged to make every effort to approach the fountain of mercy that is confession, so that we may partake worthily in the Banquet of the Lamb. Celebrating first confession prior to first Holy Communion helps to communicate this scriptural lesson to our young people.
I urge all of us, young and old alike, to examine ourselves before we approach the table of the Lord. May we have the courage to ask the Lord for his forgiveness before we receive him in so intimate a way as Holy Communion.
And then, with the faith of a little child, we will with clear conscience say “Amen” to that heavenly gift which is the body and blood of Jesus.
God bless you! The Catholic Spirit
EWTN 24 hour Catholic television now available on basic cable in Minnesota
Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis or in the Dioceses of St. Cloud, Winona, New Ulm, Duluth or Crookston (Fergus Falls town only) will now be able to access EWTN on channel 180.
Charter Communications will waive the $5 per month fee for the digital box and allow customers to access the service free for six months. For more information, contact Charter at (877) 958-7128.
“Elderly and homebound parishioners who depend upon EWTN may need assistance in making this adjustment,” said EWTN marketing manager Terry Kopp. “We ask family members and fellow parishioners for their help.” Questions for EWTN may be directed to Kopp at (763) 449-6970. Catholic Spirit
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Liturgical Abuses Guide
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
AUGUST TO OCTOBER FESTIVAL CALENDAR
For those of Y'all looking for bargains, good food and a lot of enjoyment, the Catholic Spirit has their calendar of Parish Festivals online.
Sacred Music Seminar to be held in Miesville by Red Wing, Oct 17
Monday, July 27, 2009
Abp. Carlson appoints a lay woman to key St. Louis archdiocesan post
St. Louis’ new Catholic Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has named its first laywoman as the archdiocesan chancellor.
Nancy J. Werner is the first lay person, as well as first woman, to hold the post in the diocese’s history, which goes back to 1826. Only since 1983 has church law allowed lay people to hold that diocesan post. Now lay chancellors have become almost common place in the United States, freeing more priests for full time ministry.
Werner who worked for Carlson in Saginaw, Mich., is expected to move to St. Louis and begin work in mid-August, he said.
“Nancy brings to the Archdiocese over 26 years of parish, diocesan and national leadership experience,” Carlson said in a statement released Wednesday. He was installed as archbishop last month. “The occasion of this appointment gives me the opportunity to name a highly qualified woman to a senior position within the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.”
Werner has worked in Catholic parish and diocesan ministry since high school.
Now 48, she's said she would not have been surprised if she'd been told in high school that she'd spend her career in the church.
"I always expected that I'd be involved in the church," she said in a phone interview Thursday. She grew up in Holy Redeemer Parish in Marshall, in southern Minnesota. The large parish had "great pastors" and wonderful programs that involved youth. In high school, she was in leadership programs in her parish, in its New Ulm, Minn., diocese, where she became a friend of its bishop. She also was student body president of her Marshal public high school.
"The love of my live is the church, especially the young church," she said. "It's made me the woman I am."
Bridge between people
She enjoys being a bridge between people, working directly with people. "I've had success in bringing together people and creating an environment that is positive," she said.
She enjoys desk work, too, especially complex effective church projects. "I love organizing the details that come with a big project," she said. "My favorite is the combination of managing people and projects, I love my work," she said.
In the 1990s she served for three years on an advisory committee of Catholic women to the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Warner went to college at the Benedictine Sisters' Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D. In 1997, she got a master's degree in pastoral administration at the Jesuit Regis College in Denver.
Just out of college, she worked in a St. Cloud parish for a year then moved to the St. Paul-Minneapolis area where for the next 17 years she was a youth minister at St. Peter Parish in Forest Lake, Minn., a suburb of St. Paul.
While there in 1984 she first met Carlson, who was then a young Minneapolis-St. Paul auxiliary bishop with great devotion to youth ministry. He lived in a college house with a group of Catholic students.
Her success in developing an effective youth ministry caught the attention of Sioux Falls Bishop Paul Dudley who hired her as the diocese's director of youth ministry in 1989.
"He was a very dear man," she said.
Over the years, she led groups of teen Catholics to three World Youth Days in three different countries. She saw youth gravitate to Pope John Paul II as if he were a rock star-like prayer leader at all three events. She led 900 youth to Denver, 100 to Manila and 100 to Paris.
She was at first surprised at the idea of leaving youth ministry for diocesan administration but in 1996 about a year after Carlson had replaced Dudley as the Sioux Falls Catholic bishop, he passed her in the office hallway one day, invited her into his office and asked if she'd be interested in "winding down" her work in youth ministry to work in diocesan administration. She loved it right off and became vice-chancellor of the Sioux Falls diocese.
About six months after Pope John Paul II sent Carlson to Saginaw the bishop invited her to become the chancellor of that Michigan diocese. After she had prepared the bishop's house for a new resident, helped moved a beloved monsignor into long-term care housing and other "loose ends," she moved to Michigan in 2005.
Nancy Werner attended Carlson's installation at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica in June and "liked everything about St. Louis but the humidity" she said. "I think I'll need new hair care products," she said.
After he had a few weeks in St. Louis, he invited her to become his chancellor here. She's looking forward to being in a large metropolitan city like Minneapolis-St. Paul again and is pleased that the winters here have mild stretches.
This week in Michigan, she's busy with the installation on Tuesday of Bishop Joseph Cistone of Philadelphia. Until this summer, he was an auxiliary bishop under Cardinal Justin F. Rigali. Cistone was named in rapid fire, less than a month after the pope named Carlson to St. Louis, which only enhanced Rigali's reputation as an influential member of the Vatican's Congregation of Bishops.
Aug. 12 is her last day of work in Saginaw then she'll move her to a house she leased with a good size yard to satisfy her love of gardening. Her other avocation is spending vacations with her parents and sister in northern Minnesota or Florida.
"This is my vocation," she said of her work in the church.
Office of chancellor
The very old church office of chancellor can have an array of duties depending on each bishop's choices but all chancellors must be secretary and record keeper of corporate reports of the diocesan administrative body, known as the curia. The heads of various archdiocesan church offices form the curia. The chancellor also is the notary of that body and overseas and distributes all of its decisions to the appropriate departments and in many cases to the Vatican and to the archdiocesan archives. In many dioceses, chancellors serve as the bishop’s chief of staff, overseeing daily operations and working as liaison to groups within the diocese including parish councils and parish finance committees.
Carlson has a reputation for giving key responsibilities to women from his days as a university chaplain, said his sister Cathy Carlson Percival of Minneapolis. Trudy McCafferty, also a lay woman, is one of his two spiritual directors. McCafferty has worked with several bishops for 25 years, Carlson said. Carlson’s two sisters also give him solid advice, he said.
In January Percival told the Beacon that her brother has a high opinion of women’s professionalism in the church and in the wider world.
In a June interview the archbishop spoke with admiration of how Werner had worked with him in his two previous dioceses. Werner is completing her stint as chancellor of the Saginaw, Mich., Catholic Diocese where Carlson most recently was bishop. Before that she worked as an assistant chancellor in Sioux Falls, S.D., when Carlson was its Catholic bishop. He knew her Catholic pastoral work in Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocese, he said. The archbishop explained in a June interview, that Werner had moved to South Dakota some time before Pope John Paul II assigned him to that Great Plains state. He was pleased that eventually the South Dakota diocese was able to use her well-honed pastoral gifts.
Wednesday the archbishop described her as being “a highly qualified individual (who) possesses an outstanding record as a collaborator in ministry and administration.”
Women in the post
In Pope John Paul II’s 1983 revision of church law – canon law – lay persons were allowed to serve as diocesan chancellors. The next year, the San Francisco archdiocese was the first U.S. diocese to engage a woman chancellor, Sister Mary Bridget Flaherty, a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart, who had years of administrative experience. San Francisco Archbishop John Quinn had noted the change in canon law and appointed her. She’s generally believed to be the first women at least since ancient times to be a diocesan chancellor.
“There was great positive reaction to her appointment,” Quinn told this reporter in an interview two years ago. Flaherty remained in the post for several months when his successor Cardinal William J. Levada become its archbishop. Levada now heads the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He succeeded Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, when Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI.
A woman chancellor is far from unusual today. The Jefferson City diocese now has its fourth consecutive woman chancellor, Sister Kathleen Wegman, a School Sister of Notre Dame. In 1989 Sister Mary Margaret Johaning, also a School Sister of Notre Dame, became Jeff City’s first lay Catholic chancellor. Some months later, Bishop Michael McAuliffe of Jefferson City told its diocesan paper “The Catholic Missourian” that some priests initially were uneasy with the appointment but after she began work those feelings “dissolved.”
Wednesday Carlson also appointed a priest, the Rev. Monsignor Jerome Billing, as chancellor for canonical affairs of the St. Louis Archdiocese - canonical duties that a lay person cannot do including marriage dispensations as well as the oversight of the well-respected large Archdiocesan Archives. They are a historical treasures since the diocese once covered Illinois and all the Louisiana Purchase states north of Arkansas. His work in the chancellor’s office will be a part time assignment since he also will work in the archdiocesan courts as Promoter of Justice and Defender of the Bond for the Metropolitan Tribunal.
Wednesday's St. Louis archdiocesan appointments are just the first of several. Carlson is revising the archdiocese’s governing structure with a new organizational chart, for the administrative and ministerial operations. St. Louis Beacon
Carlson, other archbishops given symbol of office
Archbishop Carlson celebrates his 'dynamic' new home
On eve of installation, new archbishop Robert Carlson emphasizes peace, reason and reaching out
Archbishop-elect Carlson shows down-to-earth style in St. Louis debut
Robert James Carlson will be installed as St. Louis archbishop June 10
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Rabid anti-Catholic evangelist Tony Alamo convicted for 40 years of sex crimes
Of all the horrid accusations against evangelist Tony Alamo — and the list is long — it was the testimony of formerly loyal subjects, recounting "marriages" between their cult leader and girls as young as 8, that may end his 40-year rule and send him to prison for life.
Born Bernie Lazar Hoffman, the 74-year-old faces up to 175 years behind bars following his conviction Friday on 10 counts of transporting young girls across state lines for sexual purposes. Some jurors wept while women described being molested by and forced into sex with their decades-older pastor.
Among many who've watched Alamo's handiwork since the 1970s — which produced allegations including kidnapping, brainwashing, child abuse, tax evasion and threatening a federal judge — there was never any doubt the street-hustler-turned-pastor should be locked away for good. Their question is, what took so long?
"This man has been running around the country for decades getting away with doing awful things and hurtful things to people," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which lists Tony Alamo Christian Ministries as a hate group for its virulent anti-Catholicism and homophobic leaflets. . . . StarTribune
Catholic League Report Catholic Answers' This Rock 1990 article
What is the Fourth Commandment?
Friday, July 24, 2009
St. Joseph parishioners in Sioux City reflect on fire, hope for future
Mary Pierce and her husband, Don, 46-year members of St. Joseph Church in Sioux City, were reading about the close of St. John the Baptist Church of Quimby in The Catholic Globe when the telephone rang.
“We were talking about how sad it would be for those people, knowing it was going to be their last Mass, and then we get the call that our church is on fire,” she said. “We could not believe it.”
A friend had heard on a radio scanner that the Sioux City Fire Department was called to the church. Fire ignited in the roof mid-afternoon July 10 from work done by a gutter company.
At about 5 p.m., Pierce and her daughter drove over to the church. She was “horrified” to see the water flowing from the church and down the steps.
JoAnn Breyfogle, a parishioner of St. Joseph’s, pointed out that she heard of the fire at the church from her daughter-in-law who was working at Mary Elizabeth Daycare Center located about a block from the church. Someone had come into the daycare and told them the church was on fire.
“The news traveled fairly rapidly,” she said. “She (the daughter-in-law) took a picture and sent it around with her cell phone.” Breyfogle’s son from Kansas City called her within minutes.
When Breyfogle made it over to the church, smoke and flames were coming from the roof and the fire department was spraying it with water. She found the sight to be shocking – so unexpected.
“Water was running down the steps like a river,” she recalled.
She noted that all three of her sons were not only baptized there and received the other traditional sacraments, but also were married there. Even six of her grandchildren have been baptized there.
Breyfogle mentioned that all of the parishioners would really like for the church to be repaired because the parish community has such a family atmosphere.
“In our society today, I think it’s important to have that sense of unity,” she said.
Jerry Reinert said he received a call from a neighbor that the church was on fire. The neighbor could see it from her window.
“I got in the truck and came over,” he said. “If the police would have been out, I would have gotten a ticket.”
Since that time, he has been on hand at the church to help restoration workers and inspectors gain access to various portions of the attic.
A member of the parish since 1960, Reinert said he was hopeful that the church would be repaired.
“I don’t know what I’ll do if it doesn’t get rebuilt,” he said. “I’ve spent too many hours at the church to see it go to waste.”
Terry Loutsch, a lifelong parishioner of St. Joseph’s, said it was a former employee of his that called to say the church was on fire.
As he watched the fire, Loutsch said he was devastated. His mother was married in the church and his own daughters were baptized there and received their first Communions there.
“It was hard to see,” he said.
When he arrived at the church at about 4:30 p.m., he said he saw the flames coming from the roof.
“I really hope and we pray every day that they will be able to fix it up – that the diocese will be able to keep the church,” Loutsch said. “My biggest fear is that they have talked about merging St. Boniface and St. Joseph
While he has found the people of St. Boniface Church “to be very nice people,” he has high hopes that they will keep his church open.
For Father Michael Erpelding, pastor, the reaction of parishioners to the fire has “reinforced how these people see St. Joseph Church as their extended family.”
Parishioners have shared stories with him about being baptized there, receiving first Communion there, being married there.
“The place where they gather to worship is very, very important to them,” Father Erpelding said. “The symbols and signs of faith in that building are very important to them.”
Like many of the parishioners, ties to the church have been long-standing for the Pierces. Less than a week before the fire, the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary there.
“Our three kids went to St. Joseph School. We’ve worked all of the dinners and my husband has been a janitor there for three years,” noted Mary Pierce, who has been a housekeeper at the rectory and parish office for the last seven years. “It’s like a second home.”
Seeing that the interior of the church is mainly intact, she noted, instills great hope that the church will be rebuilt.
Kristie Arlt, diocesan director of communications, said the diocese is presently assessing all aspects of the situation regarding the future of the building. Catholic Globe
Epiphany Studio Productions is seeking a couple of part time employees
Jeremy Stanbary's Epiphany Studio Productions theater company is seeking a couple of part time positions.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Detraction and rash judgment are two more of the modern Twelve Deadly Sins
When I give talks on Catholic teaching about journalism, one of my favorite moments is when I discuss the sin of detraction. Detraction is the sin by which one, "without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them," in the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Saying that is almost as scandalously countercultural as proclaiming the church's teachings on sexual morality is, and not just for journalists. Many people think that truth is sufficient defense for any statement we might make. Look at the Internet or talk radio or politics and it becomes clear many find truth itself too rigid a standard -- for them, mere sincerity justifies. The idea that speaking a sincerely held opinion -- let alone a known truth -- could be sinful strikes many as bizarre.
But the Eighth Commandment, rightly understood, is about respect for truth in relationships between persons. Truthfulness entails both honesty and discretion. One many never lie. But not every person is entitled to every truth.
The identity thief prowling the Internet has no right to your credit card number. Your nosy neighbor has no right to your medical records or your employment records. The Gestapo isn't entitled to know Jews are hiding in the attic. No one but you, your confessor and God is entitled to know the contents of your confession.
More generally, readers of a newspaper, or your fellow parishioners, aren't entitled to know every stupid or wicked or ridiculous thing you have ever done in this life, even if you happen to be a public figure. "Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect," the catechism says.
Unless there is a real reason, we don't have a right to damage another person's reputation -- even with the truth, even if he's a jerk.
Think that's tough? Get a load of the teaching on "rash judgment." That's when one, "even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor."
That means if I hear a bad rumor about someone, it is a sin for me to assume it is true unless there is real evidence for it, even if I don't say anything. How much greater must be the sin of the person spreading rumors, who not only sins against truth but tempts others to do the same.
We avoid rash judgment simply and beautifully: Each of us should "interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words and deeds in a favorable way." Giving people the legitimate benefit of the doubt is not just a nice thing to do; it's an obligation.
On this point, the catechism quotes St. Ignatius of Loyola, who said: "Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it."
I'm convinced this is one of the places the devil works on us. My greatest temptation comes when I am most right, when I'm standing up for something really good, or against something really bad. The temptation is not so much to directly lie as to take shortcuts, to not bother checking the context of that damning quote or trying to understand how the person meant it, to not answer an opponent's strongest argument but his weakest one, to insinuate when there is not enough evidence to accuse.
Such temptations grow when we speak among like-minded people, be it readers of a niche publication or friends over a beer.
We are rarely tempted to sin for its own sake. It is in the service of some perceived good that we are most easily tempted to do wrong, especially in a culture that falsely tells us every day that good ends justify evil means.
In a broken world, particularly when we have seen so tragically that illegitimate secrecy can be a cloak for great evil even inside the church, we must be clear what this teaching does not mean. Revealing a moral failing that presents a danger to others is generally a moral obligation, not detraction. Such danger is one objectively valid reason to reveal it.
Likewise, the prohibition against rash judgment is not a call to a naivete, to some warm, fuzzy self-delusion that says no one is really out to do wrong. If you give your bank account number to the next "Nigerian heiress" who turns up in your e-mail inbox, you have not avoided rash judgment; you have been imprudent.
These teachings are simply the application of charity and justice to our speech, and as always, all those "noes" are at the service of a great big "yes." St. Thomas Aquinas sums that "yes" up well: "Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another."
If we are to live with each other -- and especially if we hope to live with each other forever as we pilgrimage to our destiny in God -- we must be truthful with each other, by what we say and do, and by what we don't say and do.
Kyle Eller is the managing editor of The Northern Cross, the newspaper of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota. Catholic Spirit
OK, that's two of the five that I kinda understand. I'm going to have to find somebody who has written on "Calumny" and "Slander/Libel."
Oh, you've never heard of the Seven Deadly Sins? For Shame! They consists of "Lust", "Gluttony", "Greed", "Sloth", "Wrath", "Envy", and "Pride". Most analysts say of that bunch, "the last shall be first."
Pierluigi Molla, son of St. Gianna Beretta Molla to visit the Cathedral/Shrine of St. Paul on Aug. 3.
The public is invited to a presentation next month at the Cathedral of St. Paul by Pierluigi Molla, son of St. Gianna
Beretta Molla, who was canonized in 2004.
Afterward, attendees will have an opportunity to venerate a third-class relic of the saint. Pierluigi Molla’s presentation is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3. The St. Paul and Minneapolis Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, the cathedral and the archdiocesan Office for Marriage, Family and Life are sponsoring the event.
St. Gianna was born in 1922 near Milan, Italy, and married Pietro Molla in 1955. A wife and mother who also worked as a pediatrician and general practitioner, St. Gianna was pregnant with the couple’s fourth child when doctors discovered an ovarian tumor that required surgery. She instructed surgeons to remove only what was necessary so her baby could live. She died in 1962 seven days after giving birth.
Anne Marie Hansen, a member of the cathedral who attended the canonization ceremony in Rome, said she admires St. Gianna’s “truly feminine spirit.”
“Her joy, love and witness to the Gospel in her daily life are what gave her the courage to say ‘yes’ when God called her to give her life for her child,” she said. “She understood that love truly means an outpouring of oneself for another.”
Hansen is president and founder of Gianna Homes, a senior memory care community in Minnetonka named after the saint.
“Women are called more today than ever to protect life,” Hansen said. “Where St. Gianna worked at the inception of life and with children, I care for those on the journey of dementia. Dr. Gianna Emmanuela, the daughter she died for, is now a physician and has devoted her career to working with Alzheimer’s patients.”
Hansen said women, couples who are struggling with fertility or have a high-risk pregnancy, doctors and health care workers might want to give special consideration to attending Molla’s presentation.
Hansen met Molla at the canonization ceremony and said he struck her as a “very gentle and loving man.” She said she is not sure what third-class relics will be at the cathedral for veneration, but “typically, it is a pair of her gloves or a piece of her wedding dress.” Catholic Spirit
Archbishop Burke talks on his Vatican job, the Guadalupe Shrine in La Cross and other matters
Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, recently invited Andrew Rabel, Australian ITV correspondent, to a friendly lunch nearby his offices at the Palazzo della Cancelleria (photo). Never to be outdone, Andrew always carries his dictaphone with him. So the former archbishop of St Louis, with his typical graciousness, consented to an interview, despite the noise in the crowded restaurant. It is the second interview ITV has conducted with His Excellency in less than a year.
Pope Benedict is continuing the tradition of his predecessors, John Paul II and Paul VI, in being a pilgrim Pope, as shown by his recent trip to the Holy Land. Do you feel he is reaching the people just like John Paul did?
Archbishop Raymond Burke: Very much so. Surely Pope Benedict is of a different personality. He is a more reserved person than John Paul II, who seemed to thrive on contact with many people. But Pope Benedict reaches people in a similar way. I would like to cite two examples.
On his visit to the United States in April of 2008, which the media had predicted would be a disaster, he won the hearts of the American people, even the critical media personnel. Some were overcome with emotion because they could not fail to perceive his holiness, the beautiful paternity of the Pope for the whole world.
My second example is the Wednesday audiences. Many people thought that, with the death of Pope John Paul II, the numbers attending them would drop. But the fact of the matter is that they have only increased. People are uplifted attending them, not because he is teaching anything that is innovative, but he is so good at being a teacher of the faith.
Since taking over the helm of the Apostolic Signatura last year, can you explain what your work in this dicastery has been like?
Burke: The Apostolic Signatura has several areas of responsibility which I will describe.
(1) It treats certain matters regarding the Roman Rota, for example, a complaint of nullity against a definitive decision of the Roman Rota, or a recourse against the denied new examination of a case, or an exception of suspicion against a Rotal judge. In this area, the Apostolic Signatura also handles conflicts of competence between tribunals which are not subject to the same tribunal of appeal. The amount of activity in this area of responsibility is somewhat limited.
(2) As the Church’s only administrative tribunal, the Apostolic Signatura handles recourses against individual administrative acts taken by the offices of the Roman Curia or approved by them. Normally, the recourses are against an administrative act of a Bishop or other administrative authority in the Church, which an office of the Roman Curia has approved. The administrative recourse before the Apostolic Signatura must contend that the Church’s law was violated either in the deciding of the act or in the procedure by which the act was made. For example, the Apostolic Signatura has handled recourses involving the suppression of a parish or the dismissal of a religious from his or her institute, or the alienation of temporal goods of a diocese or institute of consecrated life. There is a large volume of activity in this area of responsibility.
(3) The Apostolic Signatura also serves as a kind of department of justice for the Church, in the sense that it has the responsibility of overseeing the correct administration of justice in the Church. The supervision of the tribunals of the universal Church clearly constitutes a great deal of work. There is always more that could be done. Apart from responding to questions regarding officials or advocates of the tribunals, it also responds to petitions of a dispensation from the academic title required for various tribunal offices or of the extension of the competence of a tribunal.
(4) Finally, the Apostolic Signatura fulfills certain responsibilities given to it through concordats between the Holy See and certain nations, for example, the examination of declarations of nullity of marriage for which effects in civil law are sought. There is a steady amount of activity in this area.
In August 2008, you dedicated the church of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe at La Crosse, Wisconsin, where you were bishop for several years, before being transferred to St. Louis, and then Rome. Did your decision as bishop of La Crosse to erect a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe have any connection to the unapproved Marian cult at Necedah, also in Wisconsin?
Burke: Interestingly, the town of Necedah is in the same diocese, that of La Crosse, and when I was made the bishop there, I saw that as late as 1995, pilgrims were still going there, long after the death of the alleged seer, Mrs. Mary Ann Van Hoof.
I judged that one of the reasons why unapproved seers like Mrs. Van Hoof gained so much power was the failure to promote fully authentic Marian devotion. I was inspired to found the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, first of all, as a means of fostering genuine Marian devotion in the Church. In that way, I wanted also provide a place of true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Diocese of La Crosse. The devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe has a long history and belongs especially to the continent of America, but it is not as well known in North America as it is in Central and South America. The devotion speaks especially to the apostolate of the respect for human life. Our Lady of Guadalupe is, therefore, more recently and rightly known as the Mother of the Unborn. Her intercession on behalf of all human life was a particular inspiration to me in founding her shrine at La Crosse.
One of the things which struck me as a newly ordained priest and has continued to strike me throughout my entire life as a priest and a bishop is simply the radical decline of the devotional life in general. We know that our faith in the Sacraments needs to have ways to express itself in our everyday living, and at times when we are not, for instance, participating in the Holy Mass or praying before the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Devotions provide precisely very concrete ways to express our love of Christ, of the Blessed Mother and of the saints in our homes and places of work, throughout the day. When I was named a Bishop, I understood that I needed to do something to renew the devotional life. Being Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, in which there was a false shrine to the Blessed Mother, it seemed particularly fitting to establish a Marian shrine.
I thought that Our Lord wanted very much an authentic devotional life, and seemingly He has blessed the work of the Shrine.
It has not been easy to establish and develop the Shrine, and there is still more to do. There has been, for example, a fair amount of negative reaction from people who erroneously think that the Second Vatican Council wanted to do away with all devotions and who were of a mind that devotional life was not important.Then there have been others who objected to it because they said that the money which has been used for the Shrine should instead haven been given to the poor.
These have been the objections which have been raised, but through it all Our Lord has sustained the work.
Now that President Obama has completed the visit to Notre Dame, and delivered his address, what lessons can be learnt from the event?
Burke: We all have witnessed the compromise and, indeed, betrayal of the Catholic identity of Notre Dame University. Thoughtful Catholics cannot help but reflect upon the great danger for a Catholic institution in pursuing a kind of prestige in the secular world, which leads to a betrayal of the sacred aspect of its work, namely the fidelity to Christ and His teaching.
So I think everybody now realizes the gravity of the situation. Also I believe that the whole situation has sensitized more people with regard to the gravity of the practice of procured abortion in our nation, that is, they realize even more how far we have gone away from God’s will for human life. That the premiere Catholic university in the United States would give an honorary doctorate of law to one of the most aggressive pro-abortion politicians in our history is profoundly shocking.
Now, we cannot forget what has happened at Notre Dame. We need to take the measures that are necessary so that this is not repeated in other places. If it could happen at Notre Dame, where else could it happen?
We have to give witness to the Gospel of Life in a way that people can receive it. Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, the diocese in which Notre Dame University is located, has given a very powerful witness. He knows the good things that are happening at Notre Dame, for example, a very strong participation in sacramental life among the students, daily Mass, regular confession and so forth. As a Bishop, he wants to save these good things, while at the same time correcting what is gravely wrong.
I have friends who are professors or students at the university who tell me that there are a great number of the students are very devout in their practice of the Catholic faith, and strive in every way to live their faith and grow in it. We certainly want to save that and promote it.
Why did you take umbrage at the conduct of Mr. Randall Terry of Operation Rescue in playing at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, an interview he videotaped of you on a visit to Rome?
Burke: The only thing I would say is what I said it in a public statement which I made after I became aware of how Mr. Terry used the video. I think it bears repeating that I consented to the video as a means of encouragement of people who are involved in prolife work.
I thought that Mr. Terry was making the little home video to show it to his prolife workers at one of their meetings. But in no way did I understand that it was it to be used to criticize my brother bishops. That is the part I consider reprehensible. I stand by everything I said in the video, but when you put the two things together, that is, his public criticism of two bishops at a press conference during which he also played the video, one could not help but think I was joining him in criticizing these bishops. That was gravely wrong.
Recently you participated in an ordination to the priesthood of some Franciscans of the Immaculate at Tarquinia, north of Rome, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite (the old rite). It is not very often that one sees a senior Churchman celebrating so solemn a ceremony according to the extraordinary form. What was your reason for doing this?
Burke: First of all, I have celebrated a number of priesthood ordinations according to the extraordinary form. One very beautiful one took place in Saint Louis in June of 2007, on the feast of the Sacred Heart. When the Friars of the Immaculate requested that I celebrate the ordinations according to the extraordinary form, I was happy to accept because I have known them for a long time, and they staff the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe at La Crosse.
To put it another way, I have never tried to downplay or hide in any way my strong support of what Pope Benedict XVI has asked the Church to do in Summorum Pontificum, and what his predecessor, the servant of God John Paul II asked us to do in Ecclesia Dei adflicta, but rather to accept their liturgical direction fully and wholeheartedly.
In responding to a request like this from the Franciscans of the Immaculate, do you have any sympathy with the Kolbean Marian theology which is their charism, and its current manifestation, in pushing for a final Marian dogma of Our Lady as Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix?
Burke: I certainly am very sympathetic to the Kolbean theology by which I have been enriched for many years. The first papal ceremony that I ever attended, as a first-year seminarian at the Pontifical North American College, was the beatification of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and I have had the blessing over the years to get to know his writings and to visit the sacred places of his heroic life and death in Poland. I am certainly very steeped in the whole spirituality of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is through our union of heart with Mary, and our striving to imitate her, that is, our making our hearts like hers, that she brings us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
With regard to the fifth Marian dogma as it is often called, for my part, I believe it to be part of the ordinary teaching of the Church. Although I have no special competence in the area, I certainly am supportive of such a declaration. The teaching is part of my faith.
Some devotees of Our Lady of America, are rather critical of the letter you wrote when you were Archbishop of St. Louis, claiming that the devotion had now been approved. They say that because Sister Mary Ephrem Neuzil (the seer who initiated and encouraged this devotion until her death in the year 2000) came from Ohio, it was not within your authority to write the letter?
Burke: I was simply asked to give a canonical opinion as to whether the devotion had ever been properly recognized. It was perfectly proper to ask me to write the letter because I have a certain knowledge of canon law and was provided all of the necessary documentation to reach a conclusion about the question of the approval of the devotion. After studying the documentation, I was able to write the letter. The letter was sent to my brother Bishops in the United States; it was not written to a wide audience. Before sending the letter, I sent a draft of it to the Archbishop of Cincinnati and the Bishop of Toledo, in whose jurisdiction Sister Mary Ephrem lived a good part of her religious life.
So what the letter simply says is that, yes, Archbishop Paul Leibold [a previous archbishop of Cincinnati] knew of this devotion from its beginning, when he was a priest, and eventually approved it.
I am sad there are these divisions in regard to the devotion, because I think it is a very beautiful devotion and especially fitting for our time. Our Lady’s message on the living of the Holy Trinity within us, and its manifestation in the purity of the young is so much needed in our culture, today.
I was not in a position to approve anything. You can criticize me for many things, but what I did in writing the letter was correct.
Well because of the position you have now in Rome, can you expedite Mary’s request to have the statue of Our Lady of America enshrined at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC?
Andrew Rabel writes for Inside the Vatican.com SperoForum.com
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
For Father Tom Foster of Duluth, the Head of the Lakes Fair is a chance to introduce one flock to another
For Tom Foster of Duluth, the Head of the Lakes Fair is a chance to introduce one flock to another. The Catholic priest serves as full-time chaplain at St. Mary’s Medical Center and for the 148th Air Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard, both in Duluth. He also cares for about 100 sheep on his Maple farm.
“A priest with a flock,” joked Randy Markon of Maple.
“Thousands call me father,” Foster admitted after wrangling a particularly feisty ewe lamb into the livestock pavilion Tuesday.
After helping his nieces and nephews show sheep at fairs in Minnesota recently, the priest takes his hobby to Superior this week for the fair. . . . Superior Telegram
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Catholic medical clinic in Madison, Wisc. offers solution to health crisis
As President Obama urges Congress to pass health care reform legislation by August, a medical clinic in Madison, Wisconsin is offering a novel way to address medical needs by offering free care for the uninsured. Patients with insurance only pay a single yearly fee for their care at Our Lady of Hope Clinic.
When Drs. Michael Kloess and Anne Volk Johnson became unhappy with the medical system in which they worked, they decided to found Our Lady of Hope Clinic. Their goal was to start a clinic where they could minister to the poor while being free to practice their Catholic faith fully.
Our Lady of Hope Clinic is “totally pro-life and totally Catholic,” developmental director Steven Karlen told CNA. “So they don’t have to dispense birth control, they don’t have to refer for sterilizations or in-vitro or abortion or anything of that nature. They can practice in complete accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
The ability for doctors to freely practice their Catholic faith is currently being challenged throughout the country as lawmakers debate whether or not to exempt workers from performing abortions, prescribing contraceptives, or participating in other activities that violate their consciences.
At Our Lady of Hope, Kloess and Johnson are able to live out their faith by practicing the corporal works of mercy and providing free care for the uninsured, particularly the “working poor,” those who are employed but do not have insurance through their jobs and cannot afford it on their own.
According to their by-laws, at least 50% of the care given at Our Lady of Hope will go to the uninsured, who can come in on a day-by-day walk-in basis and will receive no billing or other charges.
Treatment of the uninsured is funded by the clinic’s benefactors, clients who pay a once-a-year fee to receive unlimited concierge-style primary care. For a single person, the annual fee is about $1,200. In the case of married couples and children discounts are given, with no additional charges after three children.
For this fee, benefactors receive unlimited access to the clinic. Whether they are coming in for a simple physical or for a condition that requires a weekly visit, there are no additional charges beyond the set annual rate.
The number of benefactors will be limited to 300 per provider in order to ensure less waiting and more access to personalized quality time with a doctor.
Karlen explained to CNA that this system benefits not only the uninsured, but also the paying clients, “particularly those who have control in purchasing their insurance.” These people, such as the self-employed or small-business owners, “can very often save money by dropping a more comprehensive plan and switching to a high deductable or catastrophic major medical sort of plan, and then using the clinic for their primary care.”
Others who just like the idea of the Catholic clinic make the contribution and become benefactors in addition to their normal insurance plans, he added.
While every benefactor must have insurance for cases outside of primary care, such as hospitalization or referrals to a specialist, Our Lady of Hope does not bill any insurance at all, Karlen continued, noting that the money that would be spent on insurance claims and billing is instead used to treat the clinic’s uninsured patients.
As they started the clinic, Drs. Kloess and Johnson found a model in St. Luke’s Family Practice, a similar organization in Modesto, California, and currently the only other full-time clinic of this type in the country.
Our Lady of Hope Clinic opened in Wisconsin on April 1 to benefactors, and on June 1, it began treating the uninsured free of charge.
Now, the clinic is working to raise awareness of what they offer and increase their number of benefactors. Both doctors currently work part-time as volunteers, spending half the week at the clinic and the other half at their previous practices so they can make money to support their families.
Once they have a larger base of benefactors, they will be able to work for pay full-time at Our Lady of Hope. Catholic News Agency
At Start of Year for Priests, a Chaplain Dies
Father Timothy Vakoc Never Stopped Being a Priest
Tim Drake, Nat'l Catholic Register: A roadside bomb in Iraq took Father Timothy Vakoc’s mobility, one eye and some of his brain functions, but it didn’t end his priestly ministry.
“You are still a priest — this bed is now your altar,” Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore, then archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, told Father Vakoc during his hospitalization at Washington’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2004.
Prior to his death on June 20 — the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and only the second day of the papally called-for Year for Priests — the 49-year-old priest continued a ministry that began in a Minneapolis parish and continued on battlefields in both Bosnia and Iraq. He was the first Army chaplain injured during the war in Iraq. His funeral was held at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn., on June 26, and he was laid to rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Mary Ann Kuharski, president of ProLife Across America, recalled when he first came to her parish, St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony, Minn., as a young associate pastor in 1992.
“He was at our parish for less than a year,” said Kuharski, “but he was quite a character. He loved our large family and would stop over unannounced. He was known for his practical jokes.”
She also recalled the last Mass he celebrated at the church as a visiting priest, just prior to his deployment to Iraq.
“He came down off the altar and scooped up a baby in the front row from its mother’s arms,” said Kuharski. “He gave a homily on the importance of family life, love and children, cradling that baby the entire time. It was beautiful to see this priest in white robes holding the baby as he walked up and down the aisle.”
On the battlefield, soldiers were drawn to Father Vakoc like a magnet. According to Father Stan Mader, a fellow Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis priest who was ordained the same year, Father Vakoc served as a chaplain in Heidelberg, Germany, in Bosnia for eight months, at Forts Carson and Lewis, and then Iraq, where he was injured on the eve of the 12th anniversary of his ordination.
Both Father Mader and others talked about Father Vakoc’s “intentional presence.”
“He went to Iraq to provide an opportunity for peace,” said Father Mader, who delivered the homily at Father Vakoc’s funeral. “He’s not a war hero. He was a priest, and he answered the call to minister to people in danger of death.”
“Soldiers spoke of his intentional presence in the heart of the Iraq war,” said Kuharski. “He would tell Catholic and non-Catholic soldiers, ‘I’m here if anyone wants to talk, for confession, or if anyone needs a priest.’ Then he would go sit on top of his jeep, read and wait. The guys would come like flies.”
Fellow military chaplain Father John Echert recalled seeing Father Vakoc after he was injured, when he passed through Landstuhl Medical Hospital in Germany.
“Army chaplains are close to the troops that they minister to,” said Father Echert, pastor of St. Augustine Church in South St. Paul, Minn. “They are embedded with them and live the life of a soldier. They face all the same dangers and hardships. The only difference is that they are noncombatants.”
The Altar of the Bed
Vakoc spent nearly two years in rehabilitation and long-term care units at the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Minneapolis before being moved to the St. Therese Care Center in New Hope, Minn.
Kuharski frequently visited him there, where he was receiving 24-hour care.
“I had non-Catholic nurses tell me that when they went in the room there was a presence,” said Kuharski.
“He loved to give blessings,” she recounted. “You’d pour the holy water over his hands and bend down. He would make a sign of blessing on your forehead. I always felt like I was receiving more than I was giving him.”
Father Echert was also a frequent visitor, often celebrating Mass at the facility on Fridays.
“I would stop in to visit him and pray a decade of the Rosary with him,” he said. “He communicated electronically. By pressing a button, he could communicate certain frequent sentences. More often than not, the sentence was ‘God bless you.’”
“He continued to serve as a priest of Christ and was able to be wheeled into the chapel where he could quietly concelebrate Mass,” said Father Echert. “He was a very powerful witness to his fellow residents at the Catholic retirement home.”
At the end of the funeral Mass, Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis thanked his caregivers, specifically members of the Franciscan Brothers of Peace for their care and support.
Members of the St. Paul-based order spent time weekly with Father Vakoc, praying and visiting with him, helping him with his physical exercises, and bringing him to a Bible study.
Brother Paul O’Donnell witnessed Father Vakoc’s ministry.
“There was a whole network of people that he brought together — his caregivers, parishioners, friends from the military, fellow priests, others who wanted to spend time with him or ask for his blessing,” said Brother O’Donnell. “Because they saw what he was enduring, people were able to accept their own crosses and burdens in life.
“He taught others how to be more loving, compassionate, giving. He was a witness for life in this day and age when it’s so easy to terminate life or say that life isn’t worth living if it’s like that. God used him as an instrument of healing and peace.”
Just weeks prior to his death, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Auxiliary Bishop-elect Lee Piché went to the nursing home to celebrate Mass with Father Vakoc. He found Father Vakoc in a wheelchair wearing his ceremonial stole.
“For me, that was a very powerful sign of him still wanting to be a priest,” said Bishop Piché. “Even though he was incapacitated physically, he was still at heart a priest.”
At the funeral, Archbishop Nienstedt noted that when Father Vakoc enlisted in the Army Reserves while a seminarian at St. Paul Seminary, he signed the enlistment papers on the altar in St. Mary’s Chapel.
Said Archbishop Nienstedt, “He knew that his life would require sacrifice.”
Shrine of St. Odilia Offers Healing for the Blind and the Afflicted
While visiting Voyageurs National Park in the northern part of Minnesota, I made it a point on the way to visit the Shrine of St. Odilia in Onamia, Minn.
The shrine is run by the Crosier Fathers. Several members of the order settled in the Onamia area after traveling from Holland in 1910 with a group of Dutch immigrants. By 1922, the Crosiers had succeeded in building both a church and a monastery.
The Crosiers — the word means “cross bearers” — were founded in the year 1210 in Liege, Belgium, by Blessed Theodore De Celles. Thus, in 2010, the Crosiers will celebrate their 800th Jubilee as the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross of St. Augustine, the order’s full canonical title.
In the spring of 1189, as a young student, Theodore accompanied his bishop on a crusade to the Holy Land, and then returned to Liege to become a canon of the Cathedral of Lambert there.
On the road between his ancestral home of Celles and the city of Liege is the city of Huy. There one evening in August 1066, a mysterious and miraculous light had appeared in the wooded area outside the walls of Huy.
The local people gave the place the name of Clairlieu (place of light). The bishop ordered a field chapel, named the Chapel of St. Theobald, to be built in memory of the apparition.
At a later date, Blessed Theodore was given use of the chapel. With four companions, he developed a monastic community. He subsequently founded the Crosiers, following the Rule of St. Augustine.
When the Crosiers came to the United States, they brought the veneration of St. Odilia, who is their patron saint. In the rear of the chapel, where a baptistery would normally have been placed, the Shrine of St. Odilia was established.
At the center of the shrine, behind a metal grille, is a statue of Odilia, the daughter of a powerful ruler in Britain who was martyred in the year 304. Beneath her statue in a green marble reliquary is believed to be one of her arm bones. Periodically, the bone is dipped into blessed water. That water is then placed into small containers and made available to the faithful.
On each side of the statue are other relics, which are used to bless those who come for healing.
In front of the altar, which holds the statue and relics, is a copy of the original reliquary of St. Odilia that was made in the year 1292. Of interest are the pictures of the soldiers martyring her and her companions — the soldiers are painted with the faces of pigs. The present chapel in Onamia was built in 1950, replacing the original. Until 1989, when the Crosiers closed their seminary because of a drop in enrollment, the chapel served as a seminary chapel. The chapel has continued to serve as the parish church for the community of Onamia.
The history of the Crosier Order and the story of St. Odilia, whose motto was “I Have Chosen the Cross,” have been captured visually in a number of richly colored stained-glass windows that are the work of Robert Pinart and the Rambusch Company of New York.
Her story begins in the year 300, when she and 10 other virgins set out from England on a pilgrimage to the East. By accident, their ship sailed up the Rhine River. Captured by soldiers, the 11 virgins were taken to Cologne, Germany, where they were martyred.
In 1287, St. Odilia appeared to Crosier Brother John of Eppa at the Crosier monastery in Paris. She explained that God had commanded her to be the protectress of the order.
She also explained that her relics could be found under a pear tree in the garden of Arnulph in Cologne. When Brother John and a confrere dug as directed, they found her relics. The archbishop of Cologne also was present to witness the findings.
Odilia also directed Brother John to take her bones to the motherhouse of the Crosiers at Huy in Belgium. She is known as one of the companions of St. Ursula. The feast of St. Ursula and companions is celebrated on Oct. 21, but the Crosiers celebrate the feast of St. Odilia on July 18 because this is the date when her relics arrived at the central priory in Huy in 1287.
One of the relics’ stops was at a Cistercian convent. A sister who suffered from a disease of the eyes touched the relics and was cured. Since then, St. Odilia has been the patron saint of those with bodily afflictions and, more specifically, with eye problems.
Though her relics were thought lost during the French Revolution, a Crosier priest had managed to escape with them, and, at a later date, the relics were discovered in a church in Kerniel, Belgium. The relics were returned to the Crosiers in the year 1949 and were taken in solemn procession to the Crosier monastery at Diest, Belgium.
How her devotion — and part of the relics — spread to the New World is a story of the enduring strength of the faith.
Planning Your Visit:
Masses for Sundays are on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and on Sundays at 10 a.m. during the winter months and at 8 and 10 a.m. during the summer months. Weekday Mass is at 8 a.m. Confessions are Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
There are novenas in honor of St. Odilia, beginning on the 5th and 17th of each month, and the national novena is held from July 10-July 18. In July, the Crosiers offer a healing retreat focusing on the saint.
From the Twin Cities Airport, take I-494 West. Exit on to I-94 West. At Rogers, take Highway 101 North. At Elk River, 101 becomes state Highway 169. Continue north on 169 until you reach the Onamia exit. Take a left on to state Highway 27. The shrine is on the right near Lake Onamia at 104 Crosier Drive North. National Catholic Register
Just what is meant by heresy?
"Heretics" are people who hold controversial opinions, especially, those who publicly oppose the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. Lots of people think that everything in the Church is open to debate. They feel that the "Spirit of Vatican II" said so. That is so wrong.
One of the major documents of Vatican II, The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964, stated among other things, the following with respect to the duties and responsibilities of bishops:
25. Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. (39*) For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old, (Mt 13:52) making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock. (2 Tm 4:1-4) Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.
Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held. (40*) This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith. (41*)
And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, (Lk 22:32) by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. (42*) And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith. (43*) The infallibility promised to the Church resides also in the body of Bishops, when that body exercises the supreme magisterium with the successor of Peter. To these definitions the assent of the Church can never be wanting, on account of the activity of that same Holy Spirit, by which the whole flock of Christ is preserved and progresses in unity of faith. (44*)
But when either the Roman Pontiff or the Body of Bishops together with him defines a judgment, they pronounce it in accordance with Revelation itself, which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with, that is, the Revelation which as written or orally handed down is transmitted in its entirety through the legitimate succession of bishops and especially in care of the Roman Pontiff himself, and which under the guiding light of the Spirit of truth is religiously preserved and faithfully expounded in the Church. (45*) The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, in view of their office and the importance of the matter, by fitting means diligently strive to inquire properly into that revelation and to give apt expression to its contents; (46*) but a new public revelation they do not accept as pertaining to the divine deposit of faith. (47*)
39-- Cf. Council of Trent, Decr. de Reform., Session 5, c, 2, n. 9; and Session 24, can. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr., 645 and 739
40-- Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Session III, Constitution Dei Filius, Denz. 1712 (3011), Cf. the noted added to Schema I De Ecclesia (taken from St. Robert Bellarmine); Mansi 51, I 579; cf. also the revised Schema of Const. II De Ecclesia Christi, with the commentary by Kleutgen: Mansi 53, 313 AB, Pius IX, Letter Twas Libenter: Denz. 1683 (2879).
41-- Cf. Code of Canon Law, c. 1322-1323.
42-- Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Pastor Aeternus: Denz 1839 (3074)
43-- Cf. the explanation by Gaser of First Vatican Ecumenical Council: Mansi 52, 1213 AC.
44-- Gasser, ibid.: Mansi 1214 A.
45-- Gasser, ibid.: Mansi 1215 CD, 1216-1217 A.
46-- Gasser, ibid.: Mansi 1213.
47-- Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Pastor Aeternus: Denz 1836 (3070) no. 26.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Just what is happening to the female religious orders?
If I were in an organization that appeared to be threatened on all sides by modern trends in society and one that was growing smaller by the years, I also would feel really threatened if a major world leader decided to send a team over to my group to gather information.
It would sound to me like a purge was in the process of happening.
Let's look at it from the Pope's point of view.
Female religious orders that have existed for at least 1500 years are in the process of self destructing. Between 1978 and 2005 the number of members of women in religious orders has decreased from 985,000 to 783,000.
I don't have the figures but all would agree that few enter into religious life of any kind these days.
So in another 27 years, as existing members age and die, the size of membership will be even more markedly smaller.
Is this something the women have done? Or is it the result of changes in society? If the trends are to be reversed, someone has to determine just what has happened.
I'm not gloating. I'm very sad about this. I was taught by Benedictine Nuns in Duluth for 12 years and they gave me a wonderful education. My Mom's eldest sister was a Nun in that order and became president of their college, St. Scholastica. Some of my teachers are still alive and I treasure our occasional meetings.
If I were Pope (fat chance), nominally directly in charge of all Catholics in the world, I would be far more sad about this state of affairs.
I too, might send a team of women, nobody seems to mention this factor, to the various female religious orders in the United States to gather information about the state of affairs and have them bring it back to Rome to have it analyzed and form conclusions that might have those female religious orders reverse this horrifying trend.
I would suggest that the female religious orders welcome with open arms the visitation teams sent from Rome. They might be their last chance for survival.
To do this, they will have to suppress their feminist agenda.
Dubuque church closing puzzles parishioners
Now that officials with St. Mary's Catholic Church have recommended the church be closed after 142 years of service, parishioners are puzzled about what will happen next.
No timeline exists for the closing, and members of a church council expected to vote on the matter left without doing so after a meeting last week.
"We know the fate. They made that much clear," church member Teresa Ruzicka said. "What they didn't make clear was what's next."
Church committee member Travis King said the council expects to make its decision official within 30 days. A subcommittee will be formed to begin the closing process once the council votes and submits the official recommendation to the archdiocese, according to Monsignor Thomas Toale, vicar general with the Dubuque Archdiocese.
Church officials said declining membership and increasing debt contributed to the recommendation to close the church. But parishioners have suggested other factors played a role.
Several speakers at a meeting Wednesday criticized the Archdiocese of Dubuque, saying it plotted to close the church and kept St. Mary's from holding fundraisers that would have helped.
The fate of the church itself is not yet clear. A committee of church, community and historic preservation leaders will determine what to do with the property, which includes the Maria House and the Old St. Mary's Catholic School.
The church's closing will leave some 600 families looking elsewhere to worship.
"Without this church, I just don't know what I'll do," Ruzicka said. "I just don't know where I'll go. This was like home to me."