Archbishop Nienstedt: For reasons I will make clear at the end of this article, I thought it might be helpful to review the schedule I kept this past weekend.
I began Saturday morning by celebrating a liturgy in honor of “Our Lady of the Cenacle” with members of the Catholic charismatic movement who were having a national gathering in St. Paul.
While their spirituality is not my own, nevertheless, I found myself enjoying the highly expressive song and the “speaking in tongues” that so impressively characterizes these assemblies.
At 1:30 p.m. that same afternoon, I hosted a two-hour reception at the Archbishop’s residence for the parents of our 62 archdiocesan seminarians. This event was begun some years ago by my predecessor, Archbishop Harry Flynn, who thought it a good idea to bring these parents together to support one another.
Some 70 individuals arrived and were offered a splendid buffet, if I may say so myself. It was great fun talking to them about their sons and thanking them for their support of priestly vocations.
Time of solidarity
Saturday evening, I accepted an invitation from Father Kevin Finnegan and Father Erik Lundgren to participate in an all-night prayer vigil at the Church of Divine Mercy in Faribault, beseeching God for a just “immigration solution.”
I drove one hour south and an hour back again to spend an hour in prayer with about 200 English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners. It was a special time of solidarity.
Coincidently, I had previously sent a letter to both our Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women and our local chapters of the Knights of Columbus asking for their help in calling for a reform of our federal laws regarding immigration.
In doing so, I quoted Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami who wrote:
“The so-called ‘illegals’ are not so because they wish to defy the law, but because the law does not provide them with any channels to regularize their status in our country — which needs their labor: they are not breaking the law; the law is breaking them.”
I also had addressed this topic in my Catholic Spirit column last March, asking the archdiocesan faithful to become more involved in efforts to assist our immigrant brothers and sisters. I repeat this call today.
On Sunday morning, I made my 155th pastoral visit to one of our archdiocesan parishes. This time, it was the Church of St. Gerard Majella in Brooklyn Park, founded in 1970 and entrusted to the care of the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular in 1990.
We had a very festive liturgy with the 1,100-seat church building nearly filled to capacity with parishioners of all ages. It is at celebrations like this that I am enthusiastically reminded of why I became a priest. I look forward to visiting all of our churches in this great archdiocese.
Later that day, I attended a prayer service to mark the end of a 40-day vigil of prayer and fasting to end abortion at Regions Hospital.
Praying for life
As you may or may not be aware, Regions Hospital is a teaching hospital that has its own abortion unit.
Naturally, they do not advertise the number of abortions they perform per year, but it is known that more than 60 percent of these gruesome procedures are performed on minority women and on their unborn children.
Pro-life Action Ministries organized the 40 days and the concluding vigil, which was attended by hundreds of concerned believers.
Part of Sunday evening was spent with the parents of a 3-year-old as she went door-to-door “trick or treating.” The evening concluded with me handing out candy at the archbishop’s residence.
No picking and choosing
I regale you with these activities with one point in mind: no bishop, and in particular this archbishop, is a “single-issue” teacher.
I was ordained to preach and to teach the full spectrum of the Catholic faith as it is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The media pick and choose what they want to cover in terms of controversial issues. I do not have that luxury.
Like St. Paul, I must preach the full, Catholic message “whether convenient or inconvenient — correcting, reproving, appealing — constantly teaching and never losing patience” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Please pray that I live up to that high standard. Catholic Spirit