Here comes everybody: divorced, gays, sinners, a couple saints
Ashes for the unabashedly Catholic
Poverty rates reflect ‘serious moral failure’
Msgr. Weiss: He was there
Sister Mary Ann Walsh: The Nuns Who Form Us
The May 2013 issue is available to download!
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(l-r) Fr. Juan Acosta, Fr. John Connaughton, Fr. Joseph Gill, Fr. Matthew Krankall, Fr. Krzysztof Kuczynski, Fr. Damian Pielesz and Fr. Ralph Segura.
BRIDGEPORT—Seven men will be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Bridgeport on May 25 at 10 am at St. Theresa Church in Trumbull. Retired Hartford Archbishop Daniel Cronin will be the ordaining bishop. The new priests are: Fr. Juan Acosta, Fr. John Connaughton, Fr. Joseph Gill, Fr. Matthew Krankall, Fr. Krzysztof Kuczynski, Fr. Damian Pielesz and Fr. Ralph Segura.
“It takes a long time to prepare and form a priest,” says Msgr. Kevin Royal, diocesan director of clergy personnel. “But from their earliest days in seminary, we knew these men came to us with a strong sense that the Lord was calling them. They will be a great blessing in the parishes for the people they’ll serve.”
The following month, the diocese will see five men ordained to the transitional diaconate, the last step before priestly ordination.
Fr. Juan Acosta
Fr. Juan Gabriel Acosta, 29, was born in Cáqueza, Cundinamarca, Colombia. He is the only son of Juan de Jesus Acosta and Maria Quevedo Acosta. His parents and a sister, Miryam, currently live in Bogotá, Colombia, where they are members of San Antonio de Padua Parish. He went to elementary and high school in Bogotá, and attended the Seminario Mayor de San José (where he was the champion of the double tennis tournament in 2004) and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, graduating in 2006 with a concentration in philosophy and theology. Following graduation, he taught at the Colegio Nuestra Señora de Chiquinquirá in Bogotá.
He worked as an assistant of pathology in the laboratory and studied medicine at the Universidad Manuela Beltran. A friend who is a seminarian for the Diocese of Bridgeport suggested that he consider serving as a priest in this diocese, and he came to Connecticut in 2009. The Church of the Assumption in Westport is now his home parish. Deacon Acosta has completed his seminary studies at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.
Fr. Acosta will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving on May 26 at 12 noon at the Church of the Assumption in Westport. The homilist will be Assumption’s pastor, Fr. Thomas Thorne.
“I am grateful to God for calling me to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, and further, to the Diocese of Bridgeport for their support and generosity. God sends us to preach the Good News to the whole world, and I have personally accepted this task by becoming a priest. Therefore, I ask God to help me with his Holy Spirit and his grace to fulfill faithfully this task.”
Fr. John Connaughton
Fr. John Connaughton, 37, was born in Manhassett, NY. He grew up in Trumbull, where his parents John and Anne Connaughton are still members of St. Theresa Parish. The only boy in a family of four children, he attended St. Theresa Elementary School. He is one of three men being ordained this year who graduated from St. Joseph High School in Trumbull.
After earning a bachelor’s from the University of Dallas in Irving, TX, he worked for several years as an internal sales representative for Alliance-Forest Products in Stamford and later worked for the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch in Bridgeport and Hartford while studying at the University of Connecticut School of Law at night. A year after finishing law school he entered St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford in the fall of 2008. He completed his seminary studies while residing at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Fr. Connaughton worked as an intern for the diocesan Communications Office in 2011 and was a media relations assistant for the North American College in Rome. His experience of the night Pope Francis was elected appeared in the April issue of Fairfield County Catholic.
Fr. Connaughton will celebrate his first Mass at St. Theresa’s on May 26 at 2 pm. His uncle, Msgr. Lawrence Connaughton of the Archdiocese of New York, will give the homily.
“God is always surprising us. There were many years when I thought life as a priest could never make me happy. But I was so wrong” says Fr. Connaughton. “The thing I thought I could never want has become my heart’s desire. I am deeply grateful to Our Lord for the gift of my vocation and for the grace he gave me to finally respond to his tuggings on my heart. I ask the people of the Diocese of Bridgeport to pray for me and the men with whom I will be ordained, that we might serve you worthily as holy, humble, and happy servants of Christ.”
Fr. Joseph Gill
Fr. Joseph Gill, 29, grew up in Frederick, MD, the oldest of five children. His parents, Charles and Anita, are parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish in Libertytown, MD. He put the rural countryside to good use, hiking, camping and earning the Eagle Scout award, the highest honor awarded in Boy Scouts. As a youth he played guitar and piano, and has self-produced two CDs of original music.
Following graduation from high school he entered the pre-theologate program at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He completed his seminary studies at Mount St. Mary’s, graduating with an MA in moral theology. He was ordained a transitional deacon and was assigned to St. Mary Parish in Bethel in 2011.
Fr. Gill will celebrate his first Mass at St. Mary’s on May 26 at 8:30 am. Msgr. James Farmer, pastor of St. John Parish in Westminster, MD, will be the homilist.
“When people ask me why I want to become a priest, I suppose that the short answer is that I fell madly in love with God,” he says. “As a teen, I had a profound and personal encounter with Jesus Christ, who changed my life and gave me a joy and a peace that surpasses all understanding. I want to give my life to him and to make him known and loved, so that he may set souls ablaze with a passion for holiness.”
Fr. Matthew Krankall
The Town of Monroe is honored to claim two men among this year’s ordinandi. Both of them join Fr. Connaughton in being graduates of St. Joseph High School in Trumbull. As of this ordination, more than half a dozen man have followed the path from St. Joe’s to priesthood in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Two more of St. Joseph’s alumni are seminarians on the path to ordination.
The first of the two priests from Monroe, Fr. Matthew Krankall, 28, was born in Stamford and grew up in Monroe. His parents, Rudy and Martha Krakall, and his brother Aaron are members of St. Stephen Parish in Trumbull, which includes the lower part of Monroe. He attended Stepney Elementary School in Monroe and St. Joseph’s, graduating in 2004. He entered St. John Fisher Seminary and graduated from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield in 2008.
He served his deacon internship at St. Andrew Parish in Bridgeport and completed his seminary studies this year. He holds his masters in theology, with a focus in moral theology, from Mount St. Mary’s.
Fr. Krankall will celebrate his first Mass at St. Mary Parish, Bethel, on May 26 at 11:30. Fr. Corey Piccinino, St. Mary’s Pastor, will be the homilist.
“Sometimes the journey towards priesthood is not easy,” he notes. “Along with all the stresses of seminary formation and intellectual pursuits is the constant self-evaluation that goes with the vocation. The closer I’ve gotten to the altar, the more unworthy I have felt. Yet, the consecration the Lord demands brings a more profound joy than I could have ever considered possible—a joy I believe he will continue to deepen as I finish preparation for priestly orders and enter into his service.”
Fr. Krzystof Kuczynski
Fr. Krzystof Kuczynski, 25, also from Monroe, is the third St. Joseph’s graduate among this year’s ordinandi. He attended St. Jude Elementary School in Monroe; his parents, Krzysztof and Irena Kuczynski, and his three sisters are still members of St. Jude Parish. After graduating from St. Joseph High School in 2006, he entered St. John Fisher. An energetic and gifted scholar, he graduated from Sacred Heart University three years later, in 2009, with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies. He completed his degree in sacred theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and has begun a licentiate program in spiritual theology at St. Thomas Aquinas.
He will celebrate his first Mass at St. Jude’s on May 25 at 5:30 pm. Fr. Joseph (Skip) Karcsinski will be the homilist. Fr. Michael Novajosky, parochial vicar at St. Jude’s and another St. Joe’s alum, will be among the concelebrants.
“The most important lesson I have learned over my seven years of formation in the seminary is that God, out of true love, remains present in my life always, and it is he whom I love above all and who forms my life at every moment. Without him I can do nothing, but with him anything is possible. I trust in him and desire that all I do and all that I am may continue to be in accord with his will. The greatest joy of my life is to do the work of our Lord, alongside him as my intimate friend.”
Fr. Damian Pielesz
Fr. Damian Pielesz, 26, was born and grew up in Jastrzebie Zdroj, Poland, where his parents Krystian and Urszula Pielesz, are still members of SS. Barbara and Joseph Parish. His sister, Agnieszka, also lives in Poland. He graduated from local schools, including four years of music school (his mother is a parish organist). From 2003-05 he was a television newscaster for TVP Katowice, and had his own program on a local television station, TV KANON.
He entered the seminary of the Archdiocese of Katowice, where he received the Ministry of Lector and Ministry of Acolyte. Realizing that the Church in America had a great need of vocations, he continued his seminary studies at SS. Cyril and Methodius seminary in Krakow, a branch of a seminary by the same name in Orchard Lake, MI, that prepares candidates for the priesthood in the U.S. In 2010 he arrived at the seminary in Orchard Lake to continue his courses in English.
In 2011 he entered St. John Fisher. He now considers St. Marguerite Bourgeoys in Brookfield to be his home parish. Fr. Pielesz completed his final seminary year at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg this spring.
He will celebrate his first Mass on May 26 at 12 noon at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Stamford, a Polish-American parish. Fr. Miroslaw Stachurski, parochial vicar of Saint Lawrence Parish in Shelton, will be the homilist.
“My heart is grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of God in this very special way as a priest,” he says. “The priest is sacramentally empowered to represent Christ in a specific way as Bridegroom of the Church. He becomes a sacramental sign of Christ in relation to the Church. Today, people expect the priest to be faithful to God and attentive to those in need. I want to be a priest who knows how to listen, to communicate God’s message effectively and to help those in need. I would like to bring the people of God to Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. I am looking forward to that day when I will be able to offer the Eucharist for God’s people. I wish that I could be an instrument to assist people to feel relief and to restore their good human nature as children of God.”
Fr. Ralph Segura
Fr. Ralph Segura, 51, a member of St. Mary Parish in Norwalk, is one of four children, two boys and two girls. He was born and raised in Norwalk, where his mother, Palma Sweet, is a parishioner at St. Mary Parish. His father, Rafael, lives in Costa Rica. He attended Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin elementary schools and earned his GED from Staples High School. He entered St. John Fisher and graduated from Sacred Heart University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and from 1996-98 studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
A late vocation, he was a driver and crew chief for Geotjen Moving and Storage, a driver for Ridgefield Supply Co., and an assistant manager in the service department at Mercedes Benz of Greenwich before completing his M.Div degree at Mount St. Mary’s. During this past year he served as a transitional deacon at St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan.
Fr. Segura will celebrate his first Mass at St. Aloysius on June 6 at 5 pm. Msgr. Stephen DiGiovanni, pastor of the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, will give the homily.
“Through the Word of God, Jesus Christ, his Church, the Scriptures, preaching, teaching, and through the grace of the sacraments, God has called me to do for others what he has done for me through his Church, his priests and his people. I look forward to living a life of sacrifice and service for the Glory of God, in the name of Jesus Christ. Empowered by the gift of the Holy Spirit, my single hope is that I serve worthily and well, leading others to the love of God.”
The Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., center, president
of Loyola University Chicago and a national figure in Jesuit
higher education, presents a top academic award to Caitlin Stote
of Stamford at the recent Fairfield University commencement
STAMFORD—Caitlin Hill Stote of Stamford was presented the Lieutenant William Koscher Award in Arts and the Bellermine Medal at the 63rd commencement exercises on May 19, as 5,000 family members and friends watched with pride on Bellarmine Lawn.
In keeping with tradition, the Jesuit institution celebrated students and honorary degree recipients who have led inspired lives. Caitlin was honored for maintaining a 4.0 GPA for her 4 years at Fairfield. She graduated Summa Cum Laude.
The Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., president of Loyola University Chicago and a national figure in Jesuit higher education, gave the commencement address, asking graduates, “Who will help heal the world, if not for you? Some people can’t help themselves … Who will help create a just and right society, if not for you?”
Caitlin Stote, is an English major who minored in educational studies and religious studies. She plans on pursuing a master’s of arts in elementary education at Fairfield.
She was also given the John and Veronica Gleason Award for the graduating senior with the highest academic average.
A product of Catholic education in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Caitlin is a graduate of Our Lady Start of the Sea School, St. Gabriel School, and Trinity Catholic School, all in Stamford.
Caitlin is a Religious Education teacher at Our Lady Star of Sea Parish. She is beginning her masters in elementary education at Fairfield immediately
Fairfield University awarded a total of 1,279 degrees including 858 bachelor's degrees, 396 master's degrees, 19 certificates of advanced study from the Graduate School of Education & Allied Professions, three Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees, and three associate's degrees.
NORWALK—Mayor Richard Moccia stopped by All Saints Catholic School in May to share pizza and conversation with the students in Amanda Labadia’s seventh grade homeroom.
The Mayor is a familiar figure to All Saints’ students; every year, he donates a “Pizza Lunch” to the school’s Gala Auction. Parents bid on his donation, and he joins students in the high-bidder’s homeroom. The visits give students time to ask the Mayor questions in an informal setting and hear his views on current topics.
TRUMBULL—On May 13, students from St. Theresa School were greeted with a surprise. Behind museum ropes, historical figures were arranged around the gymnasium, frozen in position. When dimes and nickles were dropped in each coin bank, the figures came to life, sharing their own stories from ancient times.
Characters ranged from Queen Nefertiti (Georgia Mezzanotti), to explorer Leif Erikson (Daniel Lynch). Younger students enjoyed conversations with Moses (Kevin Heinrich), Gandhi (Jack Kelly), Cleopatra (Angie Barahona) and Veronica (Irene DeFelice). Bringing history to life helped the students connect with these characters, so different from the pages of a textbook or an internet search.
This interdisciplinary project, coordinated by the 6th grade Social Studies and English teachers, Dawn Drew and Kerry Stratton, had students combining historical research with speech writing and acting, and artistic endeavors in set, prop, and costume design.
Since one good turn deserves another, all of the coins dropped in the cans will go to the needy children of Grace Community Education Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. St. Theresa School is connected to this school through Stratton who spent time with the Kenyan children and teachers in February and brought school supplies and bandages from the students at St. Theresa School.
ON THE ROAD—On Sunday, April 28 and Monday, April 29, fifty-three people from the Diocese of Bridgeport set out on a pilgrimage to some important sites in the American Catholic Church, and they ended their trip with personal greetings from Archbishop William E. Lori, former Bishop of Bridgeport.
The group traveled to Emmitsburg, Maryland to visit the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton; then on to Baltimore, for a stop at the historic Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a visit with Archbishop Lori; and then one final stop at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at the Saint Katharine Drexel National Shrine and Mission Center.
This pilgrimage was the conclusion of the SHARE course “American Church History” with Dr. Joan Kelly. Dr. Kelly came on the pilgrimage to provide three teachings on the bus: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and the beginning of Catholic education system; the Catholic history of the city of Baltimore; and Saint Katharine Drexel and her evangelization and apostolic efforts to African Americans and Native Americans in the United States.
"On the bus we prayed various prayers for our nation, the “Patriotic Rosary” including signing patriotic songs, and watched the movie about Mother Seton," said Gina Donnarummo, Director of Adult Formation for the Diocese.
Fr. David Leopold, Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, Georgetown, also travelled with us and celebrated Mass at the Mother Seton Shrine and Katharine Drexel Shrine. He also was available to hear confessions.
BROOKFIELD—Students from St. Joseph School in Brookfield made Teacher Appreciation Day a special one by going out of their way to honor teachers. The students and staff all wore something purple, the favorite color of their principal, Mary Jo Bokuneiwicz.
OKLAHOMA CITY (CNS)—Even after the initial death toll was cut by more than half, the human and material devastation of a string of tornadoes that buffeted areas of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City May 19-20 was incalculable.
"Our first concern is for the victims who have lost their lives or loved ones and suffered injury or loss of property," said a May 21 statement by Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City.
"We are moved by the efforts of the first responders who have put their own lives on hold to help in this time of need. We owe them a debt of gratitude and assure them of our prayers," Archbishop Coakley said.
St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb that bore the brunt of the EF-4 tornado that hit mid-afternoon May 20, was reported to have been spared, although it had lost its telephone service in the wake of the twister.
The revised number of those confirmed dead stood at 24, including at least seven children, as of midday May 21, down from the original estimate of 51. A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City medical examiner at one point had put the death toll at 91 with more than 140 injured, nearly half of them children.
Officials with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul were expected to arrive in Norman by midday May 21 to meet with members of the society's local conferences in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to assess needs of tornado victims throughout the state.
"We're trying to make a determination of unmet needs and what our appeal will be," Elizabeth Disco-Shearer, executive director of the society's south-central region, told Catholic News Service as her three-member team traveled from West, Texas, where she was assisting families who lost homes in a mammoth fertilizer factory explosion April 17.
"We go in and work with the local authorities and integrate into the process. Within the first 72 hours, it's a fact-gathering mission to determine where we can be most effective," she said.
Plans call for the agency to bring in specialists in a rapid response team, she added.
Disco-Shearer has been scrambling of late. Her office also was assisting families in the north Texas communities of Granbury and Cleburne struck by violent tornados in mid-May.
"In the south-central region, we certainly need a lot of prayers right now," she said.
"Catholic Charities OKC and we as an archdiocese will work with many others to ensure a smooth and comprehensive response not only to the immediate needs of those affected by the violent storms, but also to their long-term needs as they rebuild their lives," Archbishop Coakley said in his statement. "We're there for the long term and we're usually the last ones to leave."
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City planned to send teams into the ravaged areas as soon as possible, said Sonny Wilkinson, associate director for mission advancement. The May 20 twister left a 20-mile path of death and destruction.
In addition to Moore, Wilkinson said teams were planning to head to Edmond and Shawnee.
"None of our parishes suffered any damage," he said. "We'll do the assessment and help with immediate needs."
Meanwhile, Catholic Charities USA's disaster response program has contact the local agency asking about the assistance it can offer, but Wilkinson said he will not know what is needed until the initial assessments are made.
"They've been great in offering assistance," he said. "We haven't asked them to come but I imagine that is on the horizon.
"We've heard from Catholic Charities in Joplin (Mo.), Tulsa, (Okla.) Las Vegas, Baton Rouge (La.). The Catholic Charities network is really responding to this and wanting to help."
Nationally, the Knights of Columbus has sent $10,000 to the Oklahoma state council to assist with the relief effort.
The organization said in a May 21 statement it is waiting for recovery efforts to "calm down" before sending in a team to assess how else it might respond.
"Our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today. And we will back up those prayers with deeds for as long as it takes," President Barack Obama said in remarks at the White House May 21, a day after he signed a major disaster declaration covering the state of Oklahoma and committing federal aid and resources to five Oklahoma counties.
"As a nation, our full focus right now is on the urgent work of rescue, and the hard work of recovery and rebuilding that lies ahead," Obama said.
"There are homes and schools to rebuild, businesses and hospitals to reopen, there are parents to console, first responders to comfort, and, of course, frightened children who will need our continued love and attention," he added.
- - -
Contributing to this story were Mark Pattison, Dennis Sadowski and Patricia Zapor in Washington.
TRUMBULL—St. Theresa School fifth grader Katherine Pikulik, shown here with Principal Salvatore Vittoria, won the state level of the Knights of Columbus Spelling Bee.
The Bee was held at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven. Katherine competed on three levels to become champion: classroom, town and finally state. Katherine's parents were so proud, as was Mr. Vittoria and her teacher, Elaine Malone.
NEWTOWN—St. Rose of Lima School’s Advanced Math Club achieved Gold Level status in a year-long challenge administered by the MATHCOUNTS Association for the second year in a row.
Eighty-two elementary public and non-public schools in Connecticut competed. Only eleven reached Silver Level status and of those eleven, only three attained Gold Level status, including St. Rose of Lima School. Nationwide, only 240 schools achieved Gold Level Status in the 2013 MATHCOUNTS Club Program in 2013.
The St. Rose Advanced Math Club is designed to inspire math excellence, confidence, creativity and curiosity, and is comprised of 6th-8th grade students who demonstrate advanced proficiency in math. The club meets weekly to work in teams solving challenging, creative math problems covering a range of topics aligned to the CT State Math Core Standards for middle school students. St. Rose students successfully completed a total of six rigorous math challenges throughout the school year. To attain Gold Level, the students had to achieve a minimum of 80% mastery on their monthly entries, including a final “Ultimate Challenge” comprising ten math problems. St. Rose received a Gold Level trophy and banner, as well as a listing on the website www.mathcounts.org.
The 2012-2013 St. Rose Advanced Math Club is led by Elaine Smith, and members include eighth graders Caroline Beal, Cyril Brown, Lauren Cirone, Calista Conners, Evan Doering, Bobby Haskins, Grace Herrick, Diana Kirkman, Isabella Luciano, Joseph Maloney, Christopher Mok, Gino Pagliaro, Laura Russell, Gillian Russo and William Whitlock. Seventh grade members are Emma Boushie, Katy Cassetta, Victoria Gugliotti, Isabella Jiminez, Marina Kolitsas, Audrey Sedensky, Caitlin White and Isabella Wolson, and sixth grade members are Wyatt Cicarelli, Mark Leonardi, Thomas Luciano, Jack McDermott and Elizabeth Maker.
The MATHCOUNTS Association oversees Math Clubs around the country and also Internationally, and is recognized and sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of Math, the National Society of Professional Engineers, as well as the Raytheon Company, Texas Instruments and the U.S. Dept. of Justice. More information can be found at www.mathcounts.org
For years I've been immersed in Catholic media and the ongoing conversation within the Church of how to carry on as the Church. And, of course, in the West, at the heart of this conversation is the fact that within the next generation half of the pews will empty.
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, warned of an “alarming trend nationwide” after Vermont legalized physician-assisted suicide, May 20.
He called for “all people of good will to fight the future passage of such laws.”
“I echo Bishop Matano of Burlington in calling this a tragic moment for Vermont <http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/assisted-suicide/to-live-each-day/upload/Bishop-Matano-on-Legalization-of-Physician-Assisted-Suicide-2013-05-20-2.pdf> . It is also a sign of an alarming trend nationwide. In the three states where physician-assisted suicide is now legal, doctors are called upon to destroy life, rather than to save life and provide much-needed comfort in times of pain and distress,” Cardinal O’Malley said.
“The new Vermont law omits some of the alleged minimal ‘safeguards’ against abuse found in the Oregon law, and in three years drops those which remain,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “Oregon’s law was already more designed to cover up abuses than prevent them. Now, in the name of autonomy and empowerment, patients in Vermont who cannot speak for themselves may become the victims of this deadly law.”
“The ‘slippery slope’ that critics of the euthanasia agenda have long warned against is in full view here,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “I invite Catholics and all people of good will to fight the future passage of such laws, which offend human dignity and undermine true respect and care for people with serious illness.”
In 2011, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on assisted suicide, “To Live Each Day with Dignity.” The full text, as well as information on the Catholic Church’s advocacy on end-of life issues, is available online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/assisted-suicide/to-live-each-day <http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/assisted-suicide/to-live-each-day>
NEWTOWN—Being drawn intimately into the joy and suffering of others is one of the greatest gifts of the priesthood, said Msgr. Robert Weiss, at his 40th Anniversary Mass on Pentecost Sunday.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis called for global financial reform that respects human dignity, helps the poor, promotes the common good and allows states to regulate markets.
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—With humor and passion, Pope Francis shared highlights of his personal faith journey and explained some key points of his teaching to an enthusiastic crowd of representatives from Catholic lay movements.
Pictured with Geno: Terry O’Connor-Executive Director of Cardinal Shehan Center and his son Paul O’Connor who emceed the event.
BRIDGEPORT—On Tuesday, May 14, the Cardinal Shehan Center hosted, “An Evening with Geno Auriemma” at Sacred Heart University’s Edgerton Center.
The event raised over $25,000 to benefit the center’s After School & Saturday Program”.
Memorial Day is always the time when we respectfully thank the brave men and women who have risked their lives in war battles from the dawn of our nation to keep us free. Many of these people in uniform have been our African- American countrymen.
Pictured from left: Rev. John Hanwell, S.J., President; Dr. Robert Perrotta, Principal, Mark Giannini; John Hanrahan, Dean of Guidance & College Advising; and Jon DeRosa, Director of Student Activities & Christian Service
FAIRFIELD—For his leadership, community service and academic achievement, Mark H. Giannini, Fairfield Prep Class of 2013, has been chosen as a Gates Millennium Scholar.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is the nation’s largest minority scholarship program and is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
From the largest and most competitive group of candidates in the program’s history, Mark was one of 1,000 chosen from a nationwide pool of 54,000 applicants. GMS scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students of diversity across the country who demonstrate academic excellence and strong leadership skills. Scholarships assist students in meeting the cost of attendance at the college or university of their choice. GMS scholars who choose to pursue graduate studies in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health and science are eligible to receive continued funding. The program also provides leadership development opportunities to ensure that scholars graduate prepared to become strong leaders in their professions and in their communities. Mark plans to attend the University of Notre Dame and pursue studies in applied mathematics and chemistry.
Mark has explored his talents and interests through academics, service, campus ministry and involvement in a number of clubs and organizations. He has participated in Fairfield Prep's Kairos retreat program, Campus Ministry Student Board, Debate Society and Political Awareness Club. Mark has embraced diversity at Prep by his involvement in the SEED program (Students for Educational Excellence through Diversity). Academically he achieves with the best in his class, maintaining a 3.8 grade point average while taking the strongest available course of studies offered. He has also shared his academic success through involvement in the Peer Tutor program, and has helped support the school community by his commitment to the Cardinal Key Society. His involvement in service goes beyond the Fairfield Prep campus as Mark has both experienced "Urban Plunge" and served as a leader of the urban immersion service program. Stepping outside the region, Mark traveled to Tierra Blanca, El Salvador, to participate in Prep’s service mission there. Mark understands the life changing potential of being selected as a Gates Millennium Scholar, and looks forward to exercising his leadership and continuing his journey of growth at the University of Notre Dame. Mark is the son of Mark and Valerie Giannini of Monroe.
STAMFORD—Students from Trinity Catholic Middle School responded with enthusiasm to an essay contest on "The Responsibility of Being Catholic in a Free Society" sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
In April, the Knights awarded the winners (l-r): First Place, Kyle McArthur; Second Place, Jennifer Garcia; Third Place, Zachary Lockwood. On hand for the presentation were contest chair and past Grand Knight, Carmine J. Vaccaro; Principal of Trinity Catholic Middle School, Richard Fox; and current Grand Knight, Mike Tassone.
Pictured from left: Bill Newbauer, son Liam, and Fr. John Hanwell, S.J., Fairfield Prep president
FAIRFIELD—Fairfield Prep is pleased to announce Bill Newbauer, Class of '85 alumnus and father of Liam Newbauer (Class of ’16), is the winner of the annual $25,000 Tuition Raffle.
The winning ticket was pulled by Fr. John Hanwell, S.J., Prep's president, at the Spring Dinner and Auction on May 4, 2013. The prize can be used for any K-12 schools, colleges or universities, located and accredited in the U.S. Proceeds from the raffle benefit the scholarship and student enrichment programs at Fairfield Prep. Congratulations to Bill and his family!
DANBURY—St. Joseph School has taken on a very serious approach to their Anti-Bullying Campaign. Music Director, Jennifer Doherty has written and directed the school’s annual spring play: “Suddenly Saints”.
The play depicts a new student, Agnus Day, as a young lady who is bullied because she cannot afford to buy a stylish pair of shoes and is forced to wear work boots from a second hand shop because that is what her family can afford. She takes much criticism from her peers, but remains confident in herself throughout the story. Her school officials see her problem as a uniform violation and Agnus must serve daily detention for not wearing the proper shoes to school. It is Miss Day’s job to share her life with her superiors and peers so that they may see what the situation is like from her perspective. She does so through an original song written for the play called “Mile in My Shoes”.
In all 103 students, ranging in age from 6 through 14, have worked on this heartwarming production. All performances , held May 17 – 19 were SOLD OUT!
STRATFORD—St. Mark School in Stratford recently celebrated both a May Crowing and Grandparents and Special Friends Day. Students in grades 2 and 8 professed their devotion to our Holy Mother with flowers.
The ceremony was followed by a special tribute to grandparents. Second graders wore their First Communion attire and eighth graders were dressed in their traditional white gowns and suits.
St. Mark School is a private elementary (PreK-grade 8) Roman Catholic School in Stratford, Connecticut. St. Mark School is a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School. We provide a faith based excellent primary education. St. Mark School is Stratford's only Blue Ribbon School. It's located at 500 Wigwam Lane in Stratford. For information, call 203-375-4291
WASHINGTON—The chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for reflection, greater respect for human life and healing in the wake of the May 13 convictions of Dr. Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia.
“Dr. Gosnell’s trial brought much-needed attention to the tragedy of abortion,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., of Boston. “His murder convictions of newly delivered infants have caused many people to reexamine their positions on abortion.”
Among Gosnell’s 237 convictions were three counts of first-degree murder of infants born alive during attempted late-term abortions, one count of infanticide, and the involuntary manslaughter of a patient who died from complications of anesthesia administered by an unlicensed nurse at his abortion clinic. He was also found guilty of conspiracy, performing abortions beyond the legal limit in Pennsylvania, and 208 violations of the state’s informed consent law. On May 14, Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison.
“In addition to the violence against defenseless unborn and newborn children, women’s lives were endangered by his unethical practices. I hope and pray that Dr. Gosnell will come to regret and repent for his many crimes,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “Our nation needs great healing from the culture of death, of which this sad story is only one example. Let us pray for the children who have been lost and the many mothers and families who silently grieve their loss. Our Lord longs to heal every person affected by the tragedy of abortion and other violence.”
More information on the Catholic Church’s pastoral response to those who have been involved in abortion is available at HopeAfterAbortion.com. More information on nationwide efforts of prayer and fasting are available at www.usccb.org/fast.
The Trinity Catholic Legacy Gala honorees accepting their
proclamations from the City of Stamford: (l-r) Msgr. Robert Weiss,
Rita Romano, Michael Walsh, Mary Ann O’Leary, Michael O’Leary,
and Warner Depuy from the William H. Pitt Foundation.
DARIEN—306 alumni, parents, clergy, and friends of Trinity Catholic High School experienced an unforgettable evening on May 4th at Water’s Edge at Giovanni’s where the energy was so high, the dance floor was packed before dinner!
The chock-full room felt like a reunion, or a wedding, with attendees reuniting with each other, and Trinity Catholic High School student photos and honoree storyboards around the room and on plasma screens.
Trinity Catholic’s first-ever Legacy Gala was designed to celebrate and formally honor members of the Trinity Catholic High School community who have each demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Catholic education and the students of Trinity Catholic High School. The event did just that, and in doing so, energized the entire community around the school’s bright future.
The presenting sponsor of the gala was St. Rose of Lima Parish in Newtown. Cacace Tusch Santagata, Attorneys at Law, was the supporting sponsor while Landmark Print sponsored all associated printing. Gold patrons were Mr. & Mrs. Nicholas Mercede P'68,'71, GP '00,'03,'15, and Silver patrons were: Mr. & Mrs. William Arnone '64, P'91, '93, '98, '00, Mr. & Mrs. James Daine P’16, ‘17, and Mrs. & Mrs. RJ Vassiliou P’16.
“The generosity shown here is wonderful. It's all about the mission of the school”, said Kimberly Harris ’85 Maloney P’15, who chaired the event and also serves as a member of the Advisory Board. “Trinity Catholic students are being given an excellent educational experience—and they are making the most of it.”
The gala commemorated five who have left significant legacies, each with their own indelible imprint on the fabric of the school. The Walsh Family for their 27 children and grandchildren among Trinity Catholic/Stamford Catholic’s alumni; The Romano Family for their commitment to Trinity Catholic with three generations of students; Red ’74 and Mary Ann O’Leary P'03, '04, '06, '08, '10, '13 for their tireless and selfless support of Trinity Catholic’s mission and students; Msgr. Robert Weiss for the impact he made as spiritual director at Stamford Catholic during the 1980s; and, the William H. Pitt Foundation for its legacy of philanthropy to the school. All have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to Catholic education and to Trinity Catholic’s students. “The school has reached its exceptional level of achievement because of generous partnerships in advancing the school’s mission. It is most fitting we celebrate that legacy”, said Tony Pavia ’72, Principal – himself a beloved star of the evening. Each honoree received a crystal award, and a City of Stamford Mayoral proclamation from Mayor Michael Pavia ’66.
In addition to recognizing some of the great legacies at the school, the gala and associated cash raffle raised more than $165,000 for academic programs, faculty development, and classroom technology. The evening included a silent and live auction, cash raffle drawing, and a paddle raise for classroom technology. Bobby Valentine served as the dynamic emcee and led a rousing auction that included a Yankees Suite experience and Super Bowl tickets.
The electric atmosphere in support of Trinity Catholic was palpable. Everyone in the room was there to help advance the mission of the school. One of the most memorable moments occurred when Kelly Romano ’82 Northrop P'07, '10, '15 was named the 2nd place winner of the cash raffle, winning $2500. “I’d like to donate it back to the school”, she said. Amidst cheers, the school’s spiritual director, Fr. Peter Towsley, pulled the name of Mrs. Emily Haggerty P’72, ’76, ’81 as the 1st prize $5,000 winner. “I’d like to give it back as well”, Mrs. Haggerty said. All were moved by their spontaneous generosity. “That’s so wonderful, and shows the kind of people Trinity is blessed to have in the family”, said Betsy Alipranti ’68 Mercede P’00, ’03, who served as the event manager and is also Vice President of the Advisory Board, “I have tears in my eyes”, she exclaimed.
“This has been an absolutely memorable evening,” said Board Chair Roger Fox P’94, ’96, ’00, as he looked out over the room of enthusiastic alumni, faculty, parents, and benefactors. “It is a privilege to honor loyal friends of the school and our mission.” said Fox, who noted that plans are already being made for the next Legacy Gala.
In summarizing why Trinity Catholic High School is such a special school and community, honoree Mary Ann O’Leary P'03, '04, '06, '08, '10, '13 urged all present to “Stay connected. Our experience as parents and coaches has resulted in so many blessings. You cannot help but give back to Trinity Catholic, for it is a great community to be a part of. We look forward to returning next year to honor the many others who deserve to be recognized for their legacies.”
The Trinity Catholic High School Legacy Gala was designed to commemorate legacies. Unexpectedly, the event created a legacy of its own, and created an impression on all present that will not soon be forgotten.
Pictures from the event can be viewed at www.trinitycatholic.org
The Trinity Catholic High School Legacy Gala celebrated the legacy of those who are committed to our school and our mission, in particular:
A Legacy of Commitment: The Walsh Family
A Legacy family with 27 children and grandchildren among our alumni, and a significant history of philanthropy and involvement.
A Legacy of Love: The Romano Family
The Romanos represent three generations of proud Catholic High students, and a scholarship so that others may follow in their footsteps.
A Legacy of Encouragement: Red ‘74 and Mary Ann O’Leary
The O’Leary’s serve, coach, volunteer, and give. They lift others up and bring the mission of TCHS to all they meet.
A Legacy of Purpose: Msgr. Bob Weiss
Msgr. Weiss recognizes that our faith calls us to use our strengths and talents for purposes beyond ourselves. He has led many to commit to making their lives about something much bigger.
A Legacy of Excellence: William H Pitt Foundation
The William Pitt Foundation is committed to Trinity’s mission through the gift of endowment for tuition assistance now, and in the future.
More than 300 attended the event, which raised more than $165,000 in support of Trinity Catholic High School’s academic programs, faculty, and classroom technology.
NORWALK—The Brother Knights of St. Matthew Council #14360 Knights of Columbus recent spent a Saturday Morning doing landscaping and yard cleanup work at the Notre Dame Convalescent Home in Norwalk for Sister Marie Lucie Monast, S.S.T.V. and the Sisters of Saint Thomas of Villanova.
About a dozen Brothers met at the center and performed various tasks such as weeding, planting flowers, spreading mulch, and power washing. The Brothers also had the opportunity to interact with some of the residents while there, brightening an already sunny day. Special Thanks goes to Brother Knight and local landscaper AJ Cossuto, who not only donated his time but also his expertise to the event, aided by some members of his landscaping team. It was truly a successful and rewarding day for all those in attendance.
NORWALK—Volunteers from the St. John Men's Group of Darien and teens from the St. John Youth Group helped repaint a home in Norwalk Saturday, May 4, as part of The Homefront Project.
Homefront is a community-based, volunteer-driven home repair program that provides FREE repairs to low-income homeowners, thus enabling them
to remain in their homes with an improved quality-of-life.
The group from St. John's is part of Homefront which currently serves Fairfield, Hartford and New Haven counties in Connecticut and Westchester County, New York.
This project is one of 80 Homefront projects helping to repair or refurbish houses this year in the CT/NY area, 20 of whom were damaged in
Superstorm Sandy as Homefront Project celebrates 25 years of service to local communities.
For more information, call Homefront Project at 800-887-4673 or visit their website http://homefrontprogram.org/
Dr. Henry Lee with Lauralton students and staff (left to right)
Shea Dolan ’13, Nicole Sweeney ’13, Theresa Napolitano
(science teacher), Dr. Henry Lee and Deirdre Eason ’13.
MILFORD—On April 24th Lauralton Hall’s forensic students had an exciting visit from a world renowned guest speaker, Dr. Henry Lee.
The legendary forensic scientist gave an inspiring presentation that expanded their interest in the world of forensics, regaling them with stories from several of his cases including, war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia, the suicide of President Clinton's former White House attorney, Vince Foster and the JFK assassination.
“Dr. Lee was incredible,” said forensic science teacher Jennifer Shea. “His talk ranged from motivational anecdotes to comprehensive descriptions of actual criminal cases. He incorporated details such as DNA analysis techniques and he illuminated “real world” forensics in a way that was humorous, informative and inspiring.”
Outlining why it’s important for high school students to study Forensics, Dr. Lee said, “Forensics helps students see the practical use of sciences. Abstract formulas can be difficult for young people to grasp and get excited about, but when they can see real life applications such as understanding how the trajectory of a bullet can help us solve a crime and help bring families resolution, it makes the science more meaningful to them. I encourage students to pursue a career in forensics because it is not only an exciting career path with many options, it is a field where you can prevent further crimes—where you truly can make a huge difference.”
Lauralton senior Shea Dolan agrees. “I think forensics is a cool field to study because it combines all of the sciences and it helps bring justice to the world. My grandfather worked with Dr. Lee on several cases and has travelled with him to China. Dr. Lee is not only an amazing scientist, but he knows how to explain forensics in a way that teens can relate to, so I was very excited when he agreed to come speak at Lauralton. I love watching shows like CSI, but Dr. Lee helped us realize that real forensics isn’t as easy as they make it seem on TV (he told us never to wear tight pants like they do on CSI—too impractical!) CSI makes forensics look glamorous, but in reality it involves doing a lot of grudge work like sorting through the trash. I hope to pursue a degree in forensic nursing which is a cross between anatomy and biology.”
For over 40 years, Dr. Lee has investigated more than 8,000 cases—even solving a murder without a body. He was pivotal in establishing a modern state police communication system, the community based police services sex offender and DNA databank, major crime investigation concepts and he created the Forensic Sciences program at the University of New Haven. Dr. Lee’s testimony figured prominently in the O. J. Simpson, Jason Williams, Peterson, and Kennedy Smith Trials; and in convictions of the “Woodchipper” murderer. He was also a consultant for more than 800 law enforcement agencies.
Ms. Shea concluded, “It was an absolute pleasure and honor to have Dr. Lee visit Lauralton. We hope he will return again soon.”
PITTSBURGH—This semester, John Cook, deputy superintendent for the Diocese of Bridgeport, took 16 students from the five diocesan high schools to the University of Pittsburgh for an intense weekend of biomedical engineering.
Students in diocesan high schools have the opportunity to study engineering both in their own schools and at the High School Engineering Academy held weekends at Fairfield University.
Regenerative medicine was the focus of the Connecticut High School Scholar Challenge at the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Institute (PTEI), a center for research, education, and commercial development of tissue-related medical therapies.
During their time at PTEI, the teens from this diocese had the chance for in-depth, hands-on work with regenerative engineering. They cultured cells, explored different growth mediums, implanted cells into a tissue scaffold, incubated them and analyzed the results of their procedures. They performed heart surgery, using the heart of a pig, measuring the strength its aorta and considering alternatives from synthetic material—actually making and testing synthetic arteries and charting the results.
“Their research was extraordinary, and the kids loved it,” says Cook. “Using these techniques, you could actually grow organs like a liver, or heart.” He and other adult chaperones, science teachers and coordinators at their schools, had the chance to take part in the experiments.
Students met and worked with their near-contemporaries, PhD bioengineering candidates at the University of Pittsburgh. They took part in a discussion of the bioethics of human trials, stem cell research and organ transplant waiting lists, and considered the factors in making ethical decisions.
“It definitely went beyond just learning things,” says Diler Haji, a senior at Kolbe-Cathedral High School in Bridgeport. “It was one of the best experiences of my life.”
The trip included a visit to the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, where tissue regeneration is already being used in wound healing therapies, most notably with wounded war veterans, and regeneration of organs.
“The trip definitely impacted my future career aspirations,” says Jonathan Highland, a senior at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull. Interested in studying biology and doing pre-med in college, he is now planning to study bio-engineering. “It coincides perfectly with my personal interests.”
BRIDGEPORT—Fran Andrade is one of the familiar faces in this year’s Annual Bishop’s Appeal brochure, where she is seen handing out a turkey last Thanksgiving as part of her volunteer work in the Blessed Sacrament food pantry.
The 80-year-old retired office worker dresses warmly each year and goes out in the cold to heft the 20-pound birds. It’s a labor of love for her. “People are whole-heartedly grateful. Some are old, ill, and on fixed incomes. Others have lost their jobs and the food makes a big difference to them,” she says.
Fr. Reggie Norman, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, says that Fran’s charity is rooted in her love for the neighborhood and her love for the Church.
“Mrs. Fran is the salt of the earth and an example of what our parish is all about. She knows that it’s the little things you do that make a difference in the neighborhood and the Church. It doesn’t matter what you ask, she never says, no. She wants to make everyone happy, and her efforts show the young kids that they need to be involved. It’s a blessing to have her.”
Fr. Reggie says that members of his parish are quick to volunteer and also are proud to give to the Annual Appeal. The parish of 480 families is already at 66% of its $10,000 goal, and he’s confident that they’ll make it.
“Our game plan is many small donations, because we don’t have people who can make a large gift. For some people, just to give $25 is a lot because they need it for food. Everyone gives a little,” says Fr. Reggie, who is grateful for Fran’s commitment to the Church.
Helping out is a family tradition for the Andrades, who have lived in the East End for 40 years. Fran’s nephews and nieces and their children volunteer for the food drives and other parish activities. Her daughter, Donna, is well known to many as the academic dean and assistant principal of Fairfield Prep.
“We all pitch in and have fun, and I like to think that someone would help me if I needed it,” says Fran, who lives with her 90-year-old husband, Clifton.
Fran retired in 1997 from her work in the Chief’s Office at the Bridgeport Police Department. She had also spent many years working in the business office of the Dinan Memorial Center. She grew up in St. Patrick Parish, graduated from Central High School and Butler Business School and later moved to the East side when her brother bought a two-family house.
Fran says that, like her, parish and community volunteers are grateful for the Annual Bishop’s Appeal because they’ve seen the impact it has on the lives of so many people through the programs and services it supports.
She says that even though many people in her parish are poor, they give what they can to help others. Fran credits her deep faith to her parents, Cape Verde natives who inspired a love for the Church and her concern for others.
“Serving others is very gratifying, and I would encourage everyone to give to the Appeal and volunteer in parishes. It’s very important to support the Church and help so many people.”
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives
to lead his general audience May 1. The sign
in Italian says "Francesco, go rebuild my house,"
a reference to Jesus' words to St. Francis in an apparition.
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Pope Francis called for an end to slave labor and human trafficking as well as greater efforts to create dignified work for more people.
The problem of unemployment is "very often caused by a purely economic view of society, which seeks self-centered profit, outside the bounds of social justice," he said, marking the May 1 feast of St. Joseph the Worker during his weekly general audience.
"I wish to extend an invitation to everyone to greater solidarity and to encourage those in public office to spare no effort to give new impetus to employment," he said. "This means caring for the dignity of the person."
The pope touched on the same theme during the homily at his early morning Mass, before a congregation of unwed teenage mothers and their children in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
In his homily, the pope said unemployment "is a burden on our conscience" because when society is organized in such a way that it cannot offer people an opportunity to work, "there is something wrong with that society: It is not right!"
"It goes against God himself, who wanted our dignity to begin with (work)."
"Power, money, culture do not give us dignity," he said. "Work, honest work, gives us dignity."
However, he said, "today many social, political and economic systems have chosen to exploit the human person" in the workplace, by "not paying a just (wage), not offering work, focusing solely on the balance sheets, the company's balance sheets, only looking at how much I can profit. This goes against God!"
"People are less important than the things that give profit to those who have political, social, economic power. What point have we come to?" he asked.
The pope recalled a recent "tragedy" in Bangladesh, where more than 400 garment workers were killed when the building they were working in collapsed. The workers reportedly earned just $38 a month.
"This is what you call slave labor," the pope said.
Today, "we can no longer say what St. Paul said, 'Who will not work, should not eat,' but we have to say, 'He who does not work has lost his dignity' because he cannot find any opportunities for work."
A society that cannot offer a person the possibility of work is a society that "has stripped this person of dignity," he said.
Later in the day, Pope Francis returned to the theme of work and dignity during his weekly general audience.
More than 70,000 people turned out in St. Peter's Square, many of them Italian families and children enjoying the May 1 Worker's Day public holiday in Italy and many other countries.
After a long tour around the square in the popemobile, the pope dedicated his catechesis to May 1 as both the celebration of St. Joseph the Worker and the beginning of the month devoted to Mary.
He said the two saints represent two key facets of life: work and prayer.
Work is part of God's loving plan for humanity, who is called to participate in his act of creation, the pope said.
When, in the Book of Genesis, the Lord told Adam and Eve to "fill the earth and subdue it," the pope said that "didn't mean to exploit it, but cultivate it, safeguard it, take care of his work."
"Work is part of God's loving plan; we are called to cultivate and safeguard all of creation's resources and this is how we participate in the act of creation," he said.
Work gives people dignity by allowing them to participate in God's creation, support themselves and their families and contribute to the growth of their nation, he said.
While he called for more solidarity toward the unemployed and greater efforts by government officials to reinvigorate employment opportunities, the pope also called on people, especially the young, not to give up hope.
"There is always light on the horizon," he said.
The pope made a special appeal against slave labor and human trafficking.
"How many people worldwide are victims of this type of slavery, in which the person is at the service of his or her work," he said. "Work should offer a service to people so they may have dignity."
The pope also urged his listeners to remember the importance of prayer as the silent contemplation of Jesus and conversation with God.
The month of May, the pope said, recalls the beauty of praying the rosary, which helps people keep Jesus "at the center of our thoughts, our attention and our actions."
"It would be wonderful if, especially this month of May, (the rosary) were recited together as a family, with friends, in parishes," he said.
After greeting pilgrims from Poland, Pope Francis recalled the second anniversary of the May 1 beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II. He asked the Polish seminarians and teachers present that their lives "be permeated by the faith, charity and apostolic courage of John Paul II."
- - -
A video of the pope's general audience will be available at the Catholic News Service YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/CatholicNewsService.
The text of the popes audience remarks in English is available online at www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/audiences/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130501_udienza-generale_en.html.
The Obama Administration's contraceptive/ abortifacient/sterilization mandate will begin to be enforced against nonprofit religious schools, charities and health care providers on August 1.
In the days to come, Congress must decide whether to address this problem through must-pass legislation before that deadline.
Members of the House should be urged to include the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940) in the next bill needed to keep the federal government operating.
Materials on the need for better conscience protection are available at www.usccb.org/conscience.
Resources include new fact sheets and four "voices of conscience"—video testimonies of women who spoke at the House of Representatives press conference last month about the need to enact H.R. 940.
Please act today to protect conscience rights and religious liberty!
Send an e-mail to your Representative through the USCCB's Action Center.
Call your Representative. Contact the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or call your Representative's local office.
Additional info may be found on Representatives' web sites at www.house.gov.
Learn even more on this printer-friendly version of the alert.
Suggested Message: "Please include the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940) in upcoming 'must-pass' legislation. Government must not force Americans to violate their religious and moral beliefs on respect for life when they provide health care or purchase health coverage."
The Annual Bishop’s Appeal has reached the $4.5 million mark with the contributions of almost 10,000 donors to date in support of diocesan programs and ministries.
“The Appeal is one important opportunity for us to present a vibrant faith community to our new bishop when he arrives,” says Msgr. Jerald A. Doyle, diocesan administrator.
Msgr. Doyle says that even as we await a new bishop, people should be reassured the work of the diocese has gone on both at diocesan and parish level through the many services supported by the Appeal.
“The commitment of my brother priests, deacons, and sisters to serve the many ministries across the diocese is particularly heartwarming to me. Their dedication to building strong parishes, providing pastoral care to the ill in local hospitals and nursing homes, and reaching out to our retired priests proclaims the living gospel to us all,” he says.
This year’s “Beacon of Hope” campaign once again highlights diocesan schools, soup kitchens, formation of seminarians, and care for retired priests.
Among the highlights of services are the 1.3 million meals to the poor and homeless, 36,000 children who participate in religious education programs, 3,500 prisoners who receive spiritual counseling, 11,000 students in diocesan elementary and high schools, 22,000 patients receiving pastoral care in health facilities, and 600 couples who attended weekend retreats as they prepared for marriage.
With the Annual Bishop’s Appeal well underway, we can take new inspiration and hope from the words of Pope Francis, who began his papacy with a resounding call to protect human dignity and reach out to the vulnerable.
“To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love is to open up a horizon of hope,” said Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, teaching us that Gospel values involve everyone in the work of charity.
How moved we’ve been by the images of the Pope embracing and blessing paralyzed adults and children, and stooping to wash the feet of men and women who seemed overwhelmed by his act of humility.
He has plunged into the papacy at the deepest level of Christ-like compassion for the poor and marginalized, and he has urged us to care for “the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”
It is not easy for many people to give to the Bishop’s Appeal each year because rising expenses at home, job loss, and other challenges have created an uncertainty about the future. Yet they give because they feel blessed and they are aware that others have even greater need.
Pope Francis compels us toward charity when he says that renewing the Church is “going to require an engagement with the person of Christ, to follow Christ poor and humble.” When we participate in the Bishop’s Appeal, we answer that universal call in our own diocese. Now is the time to become a “Beacon of Hope” for the poor and vulnerable, and all those served by the Appeal.
WASHINGTON—The April 30 move by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve over-the-counter sale of “Plan B One-Step” to minors 15 years and older is a “disappointment,” said a spokesperson for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“The FDA has acted irresponsibly by approving sales of the powerful drug, single-dose Plan B, for those 15 and older,” said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director of policy and communications in the Pro-Life Secretariat. “The rule change subjects girls to risks of STDs and manipulation by others, a risk that is compounded by allowing males to purchase the drug even for girls under the age of 15.”
“Many studies have shown that wider access to so-called ‘emergency contraception’ reduces neither pregnancy nor abortion rates, but can contribute to higher rates of sexually transmitted disease, especially among young people,” McQuade said, “No public health consideration justifies the unsupervised sale of such drugs to young teens.”
McQuade added, “While the FDA is failing here in its responsibility to protect children, we continue to hope it will appeal the April 5 decision by one federal judge insisting that this drug be made readily available without any age limit at all.”
“Plan B One-Step” is a large dose of the hormonal drug levonorgestrel. It is available only by prescription when used either in two doses (in Plan B and its generic versions), or in smaller doses for ongoing contraception.
Left Back: John Paul Baughman, Rev. Shawn W. Cutler,
Juliet Docherty Kneeling: Elizabeth Booth,
Front: Emma Baughman
Elizabeth Booth, Rev.Shawn W. Cutler, John Paul Baughman
Left to Right: Fiona Druckenmiller, Mary DiProperzio, Sarah Wolk,
Olivia Docherty, Clare Sebestyen, Emma Baughman, Juliet Docherty,
Elizabeth Booth, Catherine DiProperzio
BROOKFIELD—To find out the answer, just ask any of St. Scholastica’s Shakespearean Players, who will be performing Much Ado About Nothing as part of a parish fundraiser for St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish in Brookfield on June 1 (rain date June 8).
This group of young children, who range in age from 4-15, have a Mass celebrated for them on her Feast Day, pray a litany to St. Scholastica, and begin each practice with a prayer, asking for her intercession for a successful performance and for good weather, since she is the patron saint against storms and rain.
Since St. Scholastica’s Shakespearean Players usually perform outdoors, in a “Shakespeare in the Park” production, they pray for sun all year long! This year they will be performing outdoors on the grounds of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish, along with St. Marguerite’s very own clergy!
“This is the closest I'll ever come to being a Franciscan; the brown habit itches!” laughs Fr. Shawn Cutler, parochial vicar at St. Marguerite’s, who plays the part of Friar Francis. On a more serious note, he commented, “it has been a pleasure working with such a dedicated group of kids who take their parts seriously. When you consider all of the lines that they have memorized and the acting direction that they have learned since the fall, we are all looking forward to a quality production for our family, friends, and parishioners. We hope that everyone enjoys watching our production as much as we enjoyed getting ready for it!" Fr. Cutler is especially grateful to Fr. George Sankoorikal, St. Marguerite’s pastor, and all the parishioners who have been so supportive of this play.
One very special cast member is Raechel Tricarico, the youngest cast member in the play. Raechel is 4 years old, and she will be a Lady in Waiting in Queen Elizabeth’s procession, which opens the play. Another excited cast member is Elizabeth Booth, a 12 year old, who plays the lead role of Beatrice. Elizabeth describes her character as “a strong, funny, and outspoken woman.”
This is Elizabeth’s fourth year in St. Scholastica’s Shakespearean Players, and she credits the group for “her love of Shakespeare, his plays, and acting.” Another lead, John Paul Baughman, a 14 year old, who plays Benedick, describes his character as a “sacrastic man who thinks he will never marry but then winds up marrying his rival.” John Paul likes being in Shakespeare, “not only for acting, but because it is a great way to learn Shakespearean language. The practices are always interactive, fun, and educational.” Emma Baughman, his 11-year-old sister, loves the fact that she gets to faint on stage!
June Lentini and Samantha Booth have directed and co-chaired Shakespeare Plays and Shakespearean Festivals in Ridgefield and Brookfield for almost a decade. They explain that these productions are “about fostering a love for Shakespeare and literature; the acting is secondary. To truly appreciate and comprehend Shakespeare’s plays, they should be performed.”
All of the Shakespearean Players hope that St. Scholastica has heard their prayers and that their performance will be a success and take place on a sunny day!
Monsignor William A. Nagle, former pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Stamford, entered into eternal rest on April 25, 2013 at the age of 89.
Msgr. Nagle retired in 1998 after serving for 25 years as pastor of St John the Evangelist Parish in Stamford. He is remembered as a kind, humble and brilliant man who taught the faith by his grasp of tradition and personal example.
While each of Msgr. Nagle’s assignments was near and dear to his heart, his last two assignments at St. Bridget and St. John the Evangelist parishes in Stamford were particularly meaningful as these were both parishes that his parents belonged to. His parents joined St. John in 1926 and moved to St. Bridget where the parish was created. He also loved his work in service of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Calling hours will be held at The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist 279 Atlantic St Stamford, CT on Tuesday April 30, 2013 from 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM. Wake service will begin at 6:30 PM followed by Holy Mass at 7 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at Basilica of St John on Wednesday May 1, 2013 at 10 AM and interment will follow at St. John's Cemetery in Darien.
Bill, as he was known to his large family of relatives and friends, was born in Hartford, Connecticut on June 1, 1923. He entered St. Thomas Seminary at the age of 13. He completed his high school education and continued for his first two years of college at St Thomas. He won a scholarship to attend Catholic University in Washington D.C where he was a Theodore Basselin scholar graduating in 1945 with a Bachelors Degree and two Masters Degrees. His masters degrees were in Philosophy and Theology ( STL). He returned to St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield where he served as deacon Prefect before his ordination.
Msgr. Nagle was ordained by Bishop Henry J O'Brien in Hartford CT on May 26, 1949. His assignments included St. Bernard in Sharon, Holy Family in Fairfield, St. Joseph in Shelton, Sacred Heart in Georgetown, St. Joseph in Norwalk, and St. John in Noroton. He served as Parochial Vicar for the Diocese of Bridgeport and resided at St. Aloysius in New Canaan before receiving his last two assignments at St. Bridget of Ireland and St. John the Evangelist in Stamford, CT.
While at St. Bernard his friendship with Mrs. Buckley led to a lifelong friendship with her son William F. Buckley, Jr. Msgr. Nagle was the quintessential Catholic priest who loved God and his family.
While each of Bill's assignments was near and dear to his heart, his last two assignments at St. Bridget and St. John were particularly meaningful as these were both parishes that his parents belonged to. His parents joined St. John in 1926 and moved to St. Bridget where the parish was created.
Msgr. Nagle also served in as a Chaplain to many organizations that included the Ancient Order of Hibernian, the Knights of Columbus (where he was a 4th Degree Knight), Stamford and Darien Police Department, Stamford and Darien Fire Department, and the Stamford Yacht Club. He was the AOH Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick's Day Parade on several occasions.
Following his retirement in 1998, Msgr. Bill became one of the first residents to live at Catherine Keefe Queen of the Clergy Retirement Home for Priests. He continued to serve as a visiting priest in neighboring parishes for many years.
Monsignor Nagle was predeceased by his parents Harold E. Nagle and Anne Lowe Nagle, and his great nephew, Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Brian R Bill. He is survived by his brother John A. Nagle, MD and his wife Mary, his sister Betty Nagle Hardiman, 12 nephews and nieces, Patricia Parry (Michael), Anne Goebel (Jim), Sharon Davis, Rev. Deacon Thomas Davis (Joanne), Maureen Davis, Mary Sikes (John), Jeffrey Davis, John A. Nagle, Jr. (Debbie), Jeffrey Nagle (Kelly), Brian Nagle (Kathleen), Kathleen Coffey (Michael), Kerry Nagle, 27 great nieces and nephews, and 3 great grandnieces.
Calling hours will be held at The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist 279 Atlantic St Stamford, CT on Tuesday April 30, 2013 from 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM. Wake service will begin at 6:30 PM followed by Holy Mass at 7 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at Basilica of St John on Wednesday May 1, 2013 at 10 AM and interment will follow at St. John's Cemetery in Darien.
In lieu of flowers, memorial Donations can be made in Msgr. Nagle's memory to St. John the Evangelist Church, 279 Atlantic Street, Stamford, CT (www. stjohnsstamford.com) or to a non-profit organization founded in memory of his great nephew Navy SEAL Brain R. Bill called The Little Warriors A Brian Bill Project (www.navyseallittlewarriors.org). Arrangements entrusted to Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, Stamford. www.leopgallagherstamford.com
The experience one faces, at Saint Joseph’s Manor for the senior citizen prom, is moving.
The seniors look forward to the prom all year long, and are beyond appreciative of the students who spend their day with them. The feeling of giving your undivided attention and time to people who are so welcoming, is indescribable. All they want is somebody to talk too, considering most of the elder’s spouses have passed, or the living family members rarely visit them.
My encounter with the prom and citizens was only positive. They were all eager to tell their life stories. A gentleman I was speaking with, known as Walter, told me everything there is to know about his life, from his family, to being a veteran, to getting spinal surgery. He was one of the happiest, healthiest 94 year olds I have ever met. He was so glad to talk to me, and in return he went into his suit jacket pocket and took out a Milky Way candy bar. Walter told me he “wants me to keep it” and then went into explaining how the world has changed from when he was my age, 78 years ago. His stories and advice are things that I am going to keep with me for the rest of my life. At the prom, I learned many life lessons from the aged men and women because they have lived through everything that you can imagine.
Further into the afternoon, we distributed lunch to the elders. When they finished eating, we cleaned the tables and gave them dessert. After that was complete, the music began playing throughout the hall.
I approached a lady, Ella Miller, who is 90 years old. I have met her before; therefore I brought her a stuffed teddy bear, because she had told me about all of her stuffed animals. I talked with her for a while then we went and danced. Although she is in a wheelchair, she was ecstatic to be bouncing in her chair to the beat of the music with all of her friends. We danced for about 15 minutes then went back to her table and talked. She has a poor memory ergo, she repeated a lot of her stories she was telling me. Also, because she does not get many visitors she was nervous that she was annoying me, so she kept saying, “am I driving you crazy”. Even though she has been trapped in the manor for a few years, she is still very alive and happy. She also has one of those smiles that light up a room instantly.
The prom makes you open your eyes and be appreciative for what you have. It’s the simple things such as having healthy grandparents, or the capability to visit the seniors at Saint Joseph’s manor. The people make you want to strive to be a better person. I would recommend anyone that has never gone to go, because it is not a drag, on the contrary, you actually have a great time with the older men and women. It is also a great feeling to give your time, and not expect anything physically back, but it is emotionally fulfilling.
Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican April 23, the feast of St. George, the martyr. The feast is the pope's name day; he was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio. (CNS/L'Ossevatore Romano via Reuters)
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Following Jesus means belonging to the church, the community that gives Christians their identity, Pope Francis said.
"It is not possible to find Jesus outside the church," he said in his Mass homily April 23. "The great Paul VI said it is 'an absurd dichotomy' to want to live with Jesus without the church, to follow Jesus outside the church, to love Jesus without the church."
Dozens of cardinals living in Rome or visiting the Vatican joined the pope in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace for the Mass on the feast of St. George, the martyr. The feast is the pope's name day; he was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, told the pope the cardinals had wanted to join him for the Mass "to thank our Father in heaven for the gifts he has given you thus far and to request abundant graces upon your Petrine ministry."
The cardinal asked God to give them and the pope "the strength with which the Holy Spirit infused St. George and the martyrs of every age" to face difficulties, serve the poor and spread the Gospel.
Adding to the festivities, after the Mass, in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, the Swiss Guard band played for the pope and the cardinals.
In his homily, Pope Francis spoke about the persecution of the first Christian communities and how opposition did not stop them from sharing their faith in Christ, but went hand in hand with even greater missionary activity.
"Precisely at the moment persecution erupted, the missionary activity of the church erupted as well," the pope said.
When the first Christians began sharing the Gospel with "the Greeks," and not just other Jews, it was something completely new and made some of the Apostles "a bit nervous," the pope said. They sent Barnabas to Antioch to check on the situation, a kind of "apostolic visitation," he said. "With a bit of a sense of humor, we can say this was the theological beginning of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."
Barnabas saw that the church was growing, he said. The church was becoming "the mother of more and more children," a mother that not only generates sons and daughters, but gives them faith and an identity.
Christian identity is not a bureaucratic status, it is "belonging to the church ... the mother church, because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the church," Pope Francis said. "It is the mother church who gives us Jesus, gives us identity."
Pope Francis said that when Barnabas witnessed the crowds of new believers he rejoiced with "the joy of an evangelizer."
The growth of the church, the pope said, "begins with persecution—a great sadness—and ends with joy. This is how the church moves forward—as I saint, I don't recall which right now, said -- between the persecution of the world and the consolation of the Lord. The life of the church is this way."
"If we want to take the path of the mundane, negotiating with the world," the pope said, "we will never have the consolation of the Lord. If we seek only consolation, it will be superficial."
The life of the church is a path that always alternates between "persecution and consolation, between the Cross and the Resurrection," he said.
Pope Francis asked the cardinals to join him in praying that they, too, would have the "fervor to move forward—as brothers, all of us—forward, forward, carrying the name of Jesus in the heart of holy mother church, which is—as St. Ignatius said—hierarchical and catholic."
“Richer than I, you can never be; I had a mother who read to me” (Anonymous)
“Even now I like reading a book more than I like looking after my children” (Anna Quindlen)
In these pages last issue, I lamented the erosion of reading among today’s college students.
I think this erosion goes beyond that. There is something in the American character that is even hostile to the act of reading, a certain hale and heartiness that is suspicious of reading. Americans prize sociability and community; this is true even of Catholic parishes. Any turning away from human contact is suspect. Reading has fallen upon hard times.
I suppose reading can take on the aspects of a vice. But there’s something the Roman Senator Cicero wrote (well before the birth of Christ): “Why, then, should anyone reproach me… that I allow myself so much time to spend on reading? Some spend quite as much time on their business, or on games, on other amusements, or on the repose of their bodies and minds. Others waste time on long banquets, games of dice, and ball playing” (In Defense of Archias).
Here’s something else by Cicero one can wish our priesthomilists would ponder: “Do you imagine that persons like me could find material for weekly speeches if I did not cultivate the intellect by reading? I am devoted to this pursuit… out of it grows my skill as an orator” (In Defense of Archias).
As already mentioned, I essentially came to a deeper understanding of the faith by way of literature. One way I’ve come to understand the Holy Spirit is as the One who puts a particular volume in one’s hand at a particular time. When I think back about books that came at the right moment and influenced me deeply, I think of works by Flannery O’Connor that made God and the reality of grace believable. I learned from her that Catholic teaching increases rather than decreases one’s vision. It is an instrument for penetrating reality. As O’Connor put it: “The Catholic writer lives in a larger universe.”
O’Connor’s novel Wise Blood was for me an influential and memorable book, some brilliant writing in which the author expressed her scorn for anticerebral religion, for feel-good Christians on chummy terms with God.
A novel that left its mark upon me was Barabbas by Pare Lagerkvist. It tells a deceptively simple imaginative tale about what happened to Barabbas after the
crowd chose to crucify Jesus and spare his life. The book is about the Redemption, the idea that Christ died for our sins and about the universal agony of spiritual torment and disbelief. The book is clearly about modern people.
The poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins made an indelible impression on my mind. Many of his verses are irrevocably imprinted in my soul. Hopkins heightened my ability to respond to reality, to see the beauty in ordinary things, to come alive to the sacred dimensions of life all around me. I met a “Christ that plays in ten thousand places,” and a “world that is charged with the grandeur of God.” Hopkins was among the writers who helped me see that the Supernatural completes the picture, gives reality its true flavor.
Outside of literature in the strict sense, when I search for books that changed me, I think of writings by Jacques Maritain, Gerald Vann, Frank Sheed, Therese of Lisieux, Soren Kierkegaard.
Enough! So much of modern literature is lacking in a sense of spiritual purpose. Where there is no belief, there is very little drama. Today, the books that make best-selling lists are as ephemeral as mayflies.
How I love reading a book on a porch as rain beats down on the porch roof. And it is a real treat to settle down with a good book on a wintry evening. It’s like the perfect end of a day and the best way to welcome the night. Reading and prayer are both acts of worship to me.
Books, like good music and art, can attune the soul to God. They can give us new eyes. A book can change one’s life. A life lived in the company of books is richer and fuller than life spent in their absence. It still seems to me that books are the unique decoration of a room.
On Monday afternoon, April 15, I was working at home when I learned the news of the violent attack against those taking part in the Boston Marathon. The same sinking feeling came over me as when I learned of the Newtown shootings last December. So, too, the same unanswerable questions: “Why do people do things like that? What is in their minds and hearts?”
My reaction to this tragic news was hardly unique. Like all such heartbreaking events, this one too was brought instantly into our homes and offices by the media. I watched some of the news coverage and listened to the stories of eyewitnesses. I heard them asking the same questions that were going through my mind. A friend from Connecticut also called to talk. For him it brought to life again the sadness of Newtown.
Events such as the Boston Marathon attack and others make us wonder what the world is coming to. We want to know how our lives could have become so vulnerable by the violent machinations of a few. We wonder what produces people capable of random acts of hatred aimed at innocent men, women and children. And we may be tempted to ask if the good guys will prevail, if violence and death, in the end, don’t have the upper hand.
I must confess those thoughts were in my mind and heart as I drove up North Charles Street listening to a newscast. My destination was Notre Dame of Maryland University. I was keeping a long-standing appointment to have dinner with the young people involved in something called “Operation Teach.”
As I drove up to the Noyes Alumni House on campus, a young man, Roberto, was waiting for me. Sharon Derr, who directs the program, warmly greeted me as did Dr. Jim Conneely, the newly inaugurated president of the university, as well as School Sisters of Notre Dame. Dr. Barbara Edmondson, superintendent of schools for the archdiocese, was inside with about 15 student teachers whom I was about to meet.
Operation Teach has been around since 2001. It is a joint project of the University and the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Department of Catholic Schools that attracts excellent young people from around the country to teach in our schools. It is a two-year service program for college graduates who agree to serve in a Baltimore-area Catholic elementary or secondary school while earning a master’s in teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland.
They learn the art of living in community, hone their teaching skills, and grow in their lives of faith. These student teachers told me where they came from, what schools they are teaching in, and how they love our Catholic schools and their students. Some had questions about the church and wanted to know about my ministry as archbishop. There was an easy spirit of give and take, not to mention a very nice meal.
All of us prayed for the victims of the Boston Marathon attack, as well as for the young people which these student teachers are serving. We prayed for an end to violence and we prayed that the students in our schools would grow to become the people God meant them to be and to understand and live according to their God-given dignity.
The evening went by quickly and soon it was time to leave. After all, teachers have tests to grade and lesson plans to prepare ... and archbishops have columns to write.
On the way home I reflected on the young people I had just met ... on their talents as well as their spirit of faith and service. They helped me put into context the terrible news I had heard just before leaving my home to have dinner with them. They reminded me that the upside-down world of the irrationally angry is not the last word. The Lord continues to raise up new generations of leaders endowed with talents and blessed with a spirit of service.
The source of our hope is none other than the Risen Christ. By dying he destroyed our death and by rising restored our life. Through the sacraments, he still walks among us and dwells in our hearts. He even calls us his friends. How blessed I was to spend an evening with the Lord’s special friends. Without even trying, they bore witness to the Risen Lord.
Pictures of the victims of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, (l to r) Sean Collier, Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard and Lu Lingzi, at Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
BOSTON—In a Mass for the repose of the souls of the Boston Marathon bombing and all victims of violence, the archbishop of Boston calls believers to ‘draw people into Christ’s community.’
Cardinal Seán O’Malley delivered a strong message during a Mass April 21 for the victims of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing and its aftermath.
Pointing to the resurrected Christ and addressing the pain of the past week, and calling on a civilization of love, the archbishop of Boston gave an impassioned plea on Good Shepherd Sunday to build and sustain a culture of life.
“As believers, one of our tasks is to build community, to value people more than money or things, to recognize in each person a child of God, made in the image and likeness of his Creator,” said Cardinal O’Malley.
The 11:30am Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross drew much less attention than Thursday’s interfaith service with faith and government leaders — including President Obama — but it allowed the cardinal more space to comfort, teach, admonish and, ultimately, to bring the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist to the faithful and a hurting city.
In the front of the sanctuary, offset toward the left, a poignant shrine was erected, with candles and pictures of the four victims: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and MIT police officer Sean Collier. Richard, Campbell and Collier were Catholic.
Those injured during the week and first responders were also remembered at the Mass, along with a special invitation to medical personnel.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, a central figure in the law enforcement effort after Monday’s attack, was in attendance. He, along with two police officers, brought the bread and wine up at the Offertory.
During his approximately 15-minute homily, Cardinal O’Malley drew on the Resurrection account and referenced, among others, the words of Servant of God Dorothy Day and Blessed John Paul II to drive home his themes.
Cardinal O’Malley said that, though Catholics put a large emphasis on Lent, the Easter season is of far greater importance. He said Christ returned on Easter to gather the disciples who had been scattered, and he listed common sources of life’s pains. He then brought this theme to the incident of April 15.
“This week, we are all scattered in the pain and horror of the senseless violence perpetrated on Patriots Day,” said the cardinal.
He mentioned that the rector of the cathedral, Father Kevin O’Leary, had given a blessing to marathon participants a week prior and that some of those injured were in attendance.
“But everyone has been profoundly affected by this wanton violence and destruction inflicted upon our community by two young men unknown to all of us,” said the cardinal.
Never referring to Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev by name, the cardinal remarked that nobody knew much about their lives. Later, he added that one of the brothers said he had no American friends, and the other’s ambitions were said to be focused on money and his career.
“It’s very difficult to understand what was going on in their heads, what demons were operative, what ideologies or politics or the perversion of their religion,” said Cardinal O’Malley.
He added, “It was amazing to witness, however, how much goodness and generosity were evidenced in our community as a result of this tragedy.”
He recalled Dorothy Day’s autobiography, where, as a young girl, she was “amazed and delighted” at the response of neighbors helping each other following an earthquake in California. However, she saw that, a couple weeks later, “people retreated into their former individualism and indifference.” He said that Day spent the rest of her life “looking to recapture that same spirit of community.”
The cardinal noted the response of civic awareness, sense of community and sometimes heroic response after the Boston Marathon bombings.
“Our challenge is to keep this spirit of community alive going forward. As people of faith, we must commit ourselves to the task of community building,” said Cardinal O’Malley.
He recalled Christ’s teachings in the Gospel to care for the most vulnerable.
“We must be a people of reconciliation, not revenge. The crimes of the two young men must not be justification for prejudice against Muslims or against immigrants,” said the cardinal.
He said the Gospel is the “antidote to the eye-for-an-eye-and-tooth-for-a-tooth mentality,” recalling the power of the Good Samaritan, whose action “cuts through centuries of antipathy.”
Loving Response to the Culture of Death
After calling on the need to build a community that values people over objects and recognizing everyone is a child of God made in his image, the cardinal listed some specific signs of the culture of death, which he said was “spawned” by “the individualism and alienation of our age.”
“Over a million abortions a year is just one indication of how human life has been devalued,” said Cardinal O’Malley.
“Entertainment, films and video games have coarsened us and made us more insensitive to the pain and suffering of others.”
He contrasted this with Blessed John Paul II’s words in 2003 at World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, where the Pope had told young people, “Respond to the blind violence and inhuman hatred with the fascinating power of love.”
The cardinal said, “We all know that evil has its fascination and attraction, but too often we lose sight of the fact that love and goodness also have the power to attract and that virtue is winsome. Passing on the faith means helping people to lead a good life, a moral life, a just life.”
He referred to the letters of Holocaust survivor Haim Ginott, who highlighted that medical workers, scientists and soldiers had contributed to the carnage, “showing that knowledge is not virtue, and often science and technology have been put at the service of evil.”
“It is only a culture of life and an ethic of love that can rescue us from the senseless violence that inflicts so much suffering on our society,” said Cardinal O’Malley.
Toward the end of his remarks, the cardinal called the faithful to gather people into Christ’s community like the Good Shepherd himself, reminding those gathered that the Gospel provides answers to life’s questions, and in it “we find the challenging ideals that are part of discipleship: mercy, forgiveness, self-sacrifice, service, justice.”
Cardinal O’Malley mentioned that faith goes far beyond the optimism of John Lennon’s words, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’”
“We are going to live forever in the Resurrection [that] Christ won for us on the cross,” said the cardinal, and he then mentioned the four victims by name who died in the last week.
He called them “innocent” and said that they would live in eternity. He recalled the words of Martin Luther King, who said death is a comma rather than a period.
In closing, even though the culture of death “looms large,” Cardinal O’Malley said, “our Good Shepherd rose from the grave on Easter” and has returned.
“His light can expel the darkness and illuminate for us the path that leads to life, to a civilization of solidarity and love,” said the cardinal.
“I hope that the events of this past week have taught us all how high the stakes are. We must build a civilization of love or there will be no civilization at all.”
Register correspondent Justin Bell writes from the Boston area.
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/cardinal-omalley-without-civilization-of-love-theres-no-civilization-at-all/#ixzz2RNyCYiZi
DANBURY—The week of April 15-21, St. Joseph Parish’s Youth Ministry Group went to the St. Vincent de Paul Center in Germantown, PA, to work.
The students from St Joseph’s gave up their spring break to come and work with the poor and marginalized in the Vincentian Family in Germantown.
The students began the day early with prayer, then went off to service for the day. Their variety of service included St. John’s soup kitchen in Philadelphia; Whosoever Gospel Mission/Thrift Store; Mercy Neighborhood Ministries; DePaul Catholic School; and Inn Dwelling, a Habitat-type building work in Germantown run by Brother Al Smith.
After their morning service the students came home for a Holy Hour and then off to afternoon working with the children at the school and aftercare programs!
The teens’ week consisted of prayer, work, community, visiting the priests at St Catherine’s and St Vincent’s Seminary, touring our Miraculous Medal Shrine, plus getting to try some local cheesesteaks, philly pretzels, and water ice!
So if you are wondering what our young people are doing… we can tell you… SERVING!!
STAMFORD—On the morning of April 20, Holy Spirit School preschooler, three-year-old Ryan Sasser, and his brother, pre-school alum five-year-old Michael, had long hair.
But now all that remains is stubble after they shaved their heads for a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event at the New Canaan Firehouse.
Holy Spirit School is proud of their enterprise. Ryan raised $1,825 for the foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research. The St. Baldrick’s event held by the Fire Department raised $15,250, according to its page on the foundation’s website. Thank you to all who donated on behalf of our children to help others.
DARIEN—CBS news anchor Scott Pelley said that childhood poverty “is a ticking time bomb in our lives, and now is the time to do something about it,” at the New Covenant House of Hospitality Celebrity Breakfast held at Woodway Country Club.
The Stamford-based soup kitchen, sponsored by Catholic Charities, served 675,000 meals last year through its soup kitchen, food pantry and after-school programs. It is open 365 days a year.
Speaking to a gathering of almost 300 men and women, Pelley said that the United States ranks fourth behind Mexico, Chile andTurkey for child poverty rates in the developed world.
“That is the company we are in,” said Pelley, who added that nearly 25% of the children in American now live below the poverty line, which translates into children going hungry each night and living in inadequate housing.
At 18%, Connecticut’s child poverty rate is lower than the rest of the nation but it is unacceptable “in a state as affluent as ours,” Pelley said.
Pelley said that he and his news producers at CBS look for stories that show the “hidden America,” which is often hidden in plain sight.
“We’re busy people rushing through out lives and we miss the hidden America, particularly children living in poverty around us but we don’t see them,” he said.
During his talk Pelly played two video excerpts from a 60 Minutes report on children in poverty. In one interview at Casselberry School n Orlando, Florida, just outside of Disney World, many of the children reported going to bed hungry because there parents did not have money for food.
In the second segment, a young family was living in a truck that father also used to search for work.
The veteran newsman, who has covered human rights issues including hunger across the globe, said many families are struggling with the fallout of the recession that has left more lingering unemployment than any time since the Great Depression.
Pelley said that many people may not be brave enough to respond to tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombings, but we can “save lives” by supporting organizations that feed hungry children and empower the poor.
“The fact that you’re here says that you know this truth and that you want to help,” he said.
Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer, Al Barber, said that many of the children served in the after school nutrition program at New Covenant House are like the children in the CBS video.
“We serve dinner daily to 300 and 400 meals daily. They were eating junk food before we started, now they get a quality meal. It’s one way we can help face the consistent challenge of needing to make sure our children right here in Connecticut are well fed.”
Brian Jenkins, Executive Director of New Covenant House of Hospitality said the ultimate goal for the soup kitchen is to empower individuals and families by giving them the skills to move away for poverty and survival mode.
New Covenant House of Hospitality has been serving lower Fairfield County since 1978. Its guests include the homeless; working poor; elderly; mentally ill; HIV/AIDS clients; the disabled and immigrants. It is located at 90 Fairfield Avenue in Stamford. Phone: (203) 964-8228 or visit www.nchstamford.org
SHRINE STEPS UP—(l-r) Fr. Alphonso Picone, rector of St. Margaret’s Shrine in Bridgeport; Deacon Don Foust, Shrine administrator; and parishioner Angelo Cocco, who inspires others to give to the Bishop’s Appeal.
When you give to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal, you’re following in the footsteps of the apostles, says Angelo Cocco, who directs the appeal at St. Margaret’s Shrine in Bridgeport.
STAMFORD—CBS News anchor Scott Pelley will be the featured speaker at the 9th Annual Breakfast Fund Raiser for New Covenant House of Hospitality on April 23, from 7:30-9:30 am at Woodway Country Club in Darien.
“We’re honored that Scott Pelley has chosen to recognize our work through his appearance. In numerous stories all over the world, he has reported on human
rights issues including hunger, whether in the Third World or our own cities in Fairfield County,” says Al Barber, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities.
Barber says that New Covenant House served 675,000 meals last year through its soup kitchen, food pantry and afterschool programs.
Scott Pelley, one of the most experienced reporters in broadcast journalism, was named anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News in May 2011. In its first season, “The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” won a Peabody award and was the only network evening news broadcast to grow its audience.\
Few journalists have made as wide and as deep a mark on a news organization as Pelley has at CBS News, where he’s covered everything from breaking national news stories to politics to wars and has served as the network’s chief White House correspondent. Since he brought that experience to “60 Minutes” in 2004, half of all the major awards won by the broadcast have been for stories reported by Pelley. In addition to his daily anchor role as the network’s chief reporter, Pelley continues to provide many stories to “60 Minutes.”
Pelley joined CBS News as a reporter based in New York in 1989.
Prior to his time at CBS News, Pelley was a producer/ reporter for WFAA-TV Dallas/ Fort Worth (1982-89), KXASTV Dallas/Fort Worth (1978-81)
and KSEL-TV Lubbock, Texas (1975-78). He began his journalism career at the age of 15 as a copyboy at the Lubbock Avalanche- Journal newspaper.
Pelley serves on the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee, a refugee relief agency headquartered in New York City. He is co-chair of the IRC’s Board of Overseers.
Scott Pelley was born in San Antonio, Texas, and attended journalism school at Texas Tech University. He and his wife, Jane Boone Pelley, have a son and a daughter.
New Covenant House of Hospitality has been serving lower Fairfield County since
1978 by feeding the hungry in a welcoming and safe environment that helps to restore dignity and empower people who are struggling. Its guests are the poor
and disadvantaged including the homeless; working poor; elderly; mentally ill; HIV/AIDS clients; the disabled and immigrants, both with and without citizenship
FAIRFIELD—An eclectic array of music highlighted the first-ever “Luncheon and Cabaret Day” held at St. Emery Parish on April 14.
Selections by soprano Krista Adams Santilli opened the cabaret, followed by a Hungarian choir performing popular ethnic songs. The St. Emery Festival Choir concluded the program with a rousing Gospel-style composition. The parish’s music director, Anthony Procaccini, served as emcee and piano accompanist. Proceeds from the cabaret benefitted the parish. Given the popular response, St. Emery’s hopes to run the event every six months.
Shown in this photo, Anthony Procaccini at the microphone with members of the St. Emery Festival choir (l-r) back row: Bob Rouse, Gary Disco, Marie Warren, Barbara Fencil; front row: Veronica Disco, Krista Adams Santilli, Claudette Apple, and Louise Miller.
Sophia Miller, St. Mary School, Ridgefield; Ryein Troiano, St. Peter - Sacred Heart School, Danbury; Wyatt Cicarelli, St. Rose of Lima School, Newtown; Colm Doherty, St. Joseph School, Danbury; Brandon Forlastro, St. Peter - Sacred Heart School, Danbury; Jack Guiry, St. Joseph School, Danbury. Front row: Maggie Swenson, St. Gregory the Great School, Danbury; Zachary Meyerson, St. Gregory the Great School, Danbury; Chris May, St. Mary School, Ridgefield; Nathan Erdtmann, St. Rose of Lima School, Newtown; Colman Tokar, St. Rose of Lima School, Newtown; Robert Yastremski, St. Joseph School, Danbury; Peter Hiltz, St. Jude School, Monroe; and Ally Wrenn, St. Jude School, Monroe. Not shown: Charlie Stuhr, St. Mary School, Ridgefield.
The top three contestants outlasted all other competitors through seven elimination rounds. On right is Colm Doherty, 8th grade, St. Joseph School, Danbury, who won by to tracing Connecticut's coast's latitude all the way to Nebraska without referring to a map. On left is Colman Tokar, 5th grade, St. Rose of Lima School, Newtown, who took second place by coming within one of knowing that 26 states are primarily east of the Mississippi River. Front and center is Charlie Stuhr, 5th grade, St. Mary School, Ridgefield, who advanced through challenges such as knowing that Iceland is Europe's northwesternmost country, known for eruptions of its Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Colm, Colman, and Charlie are shown receiving their awards from (back l-r) Richard King, Grand Knight, Council #29, and John Pitrelli, Geography Bee Chairman, Council #29. Thomas Burns, Immaculate High School's director of admissions, served on the judges panel and provided awards from Immaculate for the top three finishers.
DANBURY—The Knights of Columbus McGivney Council #29 in Danbury held its third annual Catholic Geography Bee March 9 at St. Joseph School in Danbury.
Fifteen fourth through eighth graders from six parochial schools in the northern portion of the Diocese of Bridgeport answered questions about world, the U.S., and Connecticut geography, including Catholic content.
BOSTON (CNS)—Within hours of two explosions taking place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley sent a message of prayer and support for those injured, their loved ones and those who experienced the trauma of the tragedy.
"The Archdiocese of Boston joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon today," he said.
Close to 3 p.m. the Boston Police Department reported that officers had responded to two large explosions along the Boston Marathon route that left three people dead, including an 8-year-old boy, and more than 140 wounded.
"The citizens of the city of Boston and the commonwealth of Massachusetts are blessed by the bravery and heroism of many, particularly the men and women of the police and fire departments and emergency services who responded within moments of these tragic events," the cardinal said.
Many expressed fear the explosions, which were seconds apart, were carried out by terrorists, and AP reported that federal officials were treating the bombings as an act of terrorism.
As of early April 16, no one had yet stepped forward to claim responsibility for the act, which took place on Patriot's Day, a civic holiday in Massachusetts that commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution.
Cardinal O'Malley commended the leadership efforts of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and the city's police commissioner, Ed Davis.
"(They) are providing the leadership that will see us through this most difficult time and ensure that proper procedures are followed to protect the public safety," Cardinal O'Malley said.
The cardinal also commended those who rushed to help at the scene of the tragedy.
"In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today," he said.
Cardinal O'Malley promised the Catholic Church's support for other faith communities, promoting a message of hope in response to the tragedy.
"We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing," the cardinal said.
New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, as president of the U.S. bishops' conference, urged all "to pray for the souls of those killed, the healing of those injured and the restoration of peace for all of us unsettled by the bombings at a world renowned sporting event."
"Our special prayers are with the Archdiocese of Boston and the people there who are working in the aftermath of this crisis to address those wounded in so many ways by these events," he added in a statement issued a few hours after the explosions.
The "tragic end" to the marathon "reminds us all that evil exists and that life is fragile," Cardinal Dolan said.
"The growing culture of violence in our world and even in our country calls for both wise security measures by government officials and an examination by all of us to see what we can personally do to enhance peace and respect for one another in our world," he said.
In a press briefing President Barack Obama offered the nation's condolences to the victims and their families, saying he was confident residents of the "resilient town" that Boston is would pull together to take care of one another.
"And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way," he said.
Obama urged people not to "jump to conclusions" as to the reason for the bombings and said a full investigation was well under way. "We will get to the bottom of this. ... Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice," the president said.
In Boston, archdiocesan spokesman Terrence C. Donilon said the pastor at Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Parish, Father James DiPerri, was to offer a special eucharistic Holy Hour with the rosary for the Boston bombing victims at Our Lady's Parish in Waltham.
Massachusetts' governor also called for prayer in a statement issued after the explosions.
"This is a horrific day in Boston. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured," Patrick said.
Pineo is a reporter at The Pilot, newspaper of the Boston Archdiocese.
Lauralton Hall students holding flag during opening ceremony
MILFORD—On Saturday, April 6th nearly 200 parents, students, faculty, staff, alumnae, family and friends came out to support Lauralton Hall and watch the Sound Tigers vs. Connecticut Whale ice hockey game.
Lauralton Hall athletes and the Advanced Vocal Ensemble were part of the opening ceremonies, proudly holding the American flag during the National Anthem and during the moment of silence for Sandy Hook.
Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has weighed in on the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, which is under consideration in the Senate.
“We ask you to support policies that: require effective and enforceable universal background checks for all gun purchases; and, establish a vigorous law that makes gun-trafficking a federal crime,” he said in an April 8 letter to senators. “Support provisions that: limit civilian access to high-capacity ammunition magazines; ban assault weapons.”
“I also urge you to resist amendments that would expand the use of minimum mandatory sentences as punishment for gun violations,” he continued.
Bishop Blaire’s letter mirrors the language of an “action alert” issued on April 2 by the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.
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Just over 50 years ago, the earth as we know it came dangerously close to being engulfed in a nuclear fireball.
In October of 1962, the United States demanded that the Soviet Union’s nuclear missile sites in Cuba be dismantled and removed. After the Soviet Union refused, the U.S. established a Cuban naval blockade.
With the situation quickly escalating towards nuclear war, Pope John XXIII issued an urgent appeal for peace.
In a letter to American President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, Blessed Pope John XXIII pleaded, “We beg all governments not to remain deaf to this cry of humanity. That they do all that is in their power to save peace. They will thus spare the world from the horrors of a war whose terrifying consequences no one can predict. …”
A few days later, Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles.
The Cuban missile crisis had ended, but it had a profound effect upon Good Pope John.
Just months later in April of 1963 he issued his prophetic landmark encyclical letter Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”).
Mindful of humanity’s recent close brush with nuclear war, and the devastation conventional war causes, he wrote “Justice, then, right reason and consideration for human dignity and life urgently demand that the arms race should cease, that the stockpiles which exist in various countries should be reduced equally and simultaneously by the parties concerned, that nuclear weapons should be banned, and finally that all come to an agreement on a fitting program of disarmament, employing mutual and effective controls.”
Tragically, Blessed Pope John’s appeal to justice, right reason, and consideration for human dignity and life is largely ignored when it comes to ending the arms race, banning nuclear weapons and moving toward verifiable multilateral disarmament of all weapons.
Big money is a gigantic obstacle here. War making and war preparation is an extremely lucrative business.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, worldwide annual military spending is approximately $1.7 trillion. The U.S. spends about 41 percent of that amount.
In Pacem in Terris Blessed Pope John astutely observed if one country is equipped with nuclear weapons, certain other countries feel they must produce their own – “equally destructive” weapons.
Nations possessing nuclear weapons need to set a good and credible example by moving toward the elimination of their stockpiles as specified by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Visit www.globalzero.org to learn how you can help.
Without this good-faith effort on the part of the nuclear powers, more non-nuclear countries will seek, as Pope John observed, their own “equally destructive” nuclear weapons.
North Korea is a clear example of this dangerous cycle.
As I write, North Korea’s military posturing could lead to war – nuclear war! But tough talk and muscle-flexing from South Korea and its U.S. ally only fuels the tension.
Instead, as Pope John wrote “… Disagreements must be settled, not by force … but rather in the only manner which is worthy of the dignity of man, that is, by a mutual assessment of the reasons on both sides of the dispute, by a mature and objective investigation of the situation, and by an equitable reconciliation of differences of opinion.”
And as Good Pope John wisely counseled, solid and true peace will be born when human rights are universally respected, and when equality of arms is replaced with “mutual trust alone.”
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist.
FAIRFIELD—George Valentine Schreyer passed away on March 30, 2013 at Cambridge Manor in Fairfield.
Born in Bethany, CT, he was the son of the late George Carl Schreyer and Frances Alice Strong. He was 101.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Aloysius R.C. Church, in New Canaan. He was buried at Spring Grove Cemetery in Darien.
Mr. Schreyer had been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1939. He was a fourth degree knight with the Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100 of Norwalk as well as a member of Father John Stapleton Council #2287 in New Canaan. He was a former Grand Knight and also served as financial secretary. He was a member of the Color Guard group and a member of the degree team for many years. He enjoyed gardening and woodworking. He was a 4-H leader in the 1950's and 1960's.
When interviewed in 2001 at the time of his 90th birthday, Ms. Schreyer told writer Dee Maggiori that "I have been a member of the council for 62 years and I really enjoy it. I like the way the Knights help people and the charitable work they do. It's a great organization."
He was predeceased by his wife Veronica Ruth Schreyer in 2009. They were married for 73 years. He lived in New Canaan prior to moving to Trumbull.
He graduated from Norwalk High School in 1928. He worked as a printer for the Hat Corporation of America. He retiredfrom Machlett Laboratories (Raytheon) in 1976. After retirement he worked for Norwalk Container Corporation and Joseph Coupe Packaging. He was an active member of the Society of Packaging and Handling Engineers.
He is survived by his two daughters Gloria S. Murphy of Trumbull, CT and Victoria S. Marbacher (Bruno) of Stratham, NH; and two sons Donald G. Schreyer (Sheila) of Knoxville, TN and William M. Schreyer (Deborah) of Monroe, CT. He is also survived by two sisters Josephine Barlow of Vermont and Jane Ells of Wantagh, NY. Also surviving are thirteengrandchildren, sixteen great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
LIMA, Peru (CNS)—In his first weeks as head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has echoed many of the concerns that he and fellow prelates raised in a conference of Latin American bishops six years ago.
Evangelization, ministry to the poor and disenfranchised, the seduction of the global marketplace, cultural changes and the environment were among the issues addressed at the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007.
Then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, headed the commission that drafted the final conference document -- more than 160 pages.
"He gave everyone a chance to speak and gathered the most important points, developing the road map we were going to follow," said Archbishop Ricardo Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia, who served on the commission with the man who is now pope. "We saw him as a serene man, solid, serious in his work, a man who went to the heart of the matter."
Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago, Chile, who also served on the drafting commission, recalled "the feeling and conviction of coming face to face with a 'man of God.' With few words, he invited us to work in an atmosphere of faith and deep spirituality. He called us to trust in God, to discover the action of the Holy Spirit in our work," he told Catholic News Service in an email message.
"I was struck by the great trust he placed in his collaborators. He ably wove together the contributions from the various study commissions and the work of the members of the drafting commission," Archbishop Ezzati added. "I found him to be excellent at drawing things together and a great architect of dialogue and consensus."
When the conference began, Cardinal Bergoglio was the runaway choice to head the drafting commission, said Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno of Huancayo, Peru, who served on a subcommission that worked on the section of the final document about the environment.
"More than 130 bishops from Latin America and the Caribbean trusted him," he said. "That trust reflected his simplicity, his lack of desire to stand out. Those things drew everyone's attention."
The cardinal repaid that trust by working long into the night, encouraging his colleagues who were drafting various chapters of the document and urging them to keep two things in mind -- "Christ, the Good Shepherd ... and the people who were awaiting a word of enlightenment that responded to their needs," Archbishop Barreto said.
Three themes at the heart of the Aparecida conference, which Pope Francis has echoed in his early homilies, were "the personal encounter with Christ, the option for the poor and stewardship of creation," the archbishop said.
At his installation Mass March 19, the pope called for people of faith to be "protectors," respecting "each of God's creatures and respecting the environment in which we live."
Before his election in March, Pope Francis told his fellow cardinals that the church needed to reach people on the periphery. While he may have been speaking metaphorically, that expression resonates in Latin America, where slums and shantytowns of substandard housing, without sewers or running water, ring the cities.
Ministry in large urban areas like Mexico City, Sao Paulo or Lima poses particular challenges that the bishops discussed in Aparecida, and which the pope will have to address.
Jesuit Father Matthew Garr, former head of the Peruvian bishops' Social Action Commission, has seen parish ministry change radically at Our Lady of Nazareth -- a large, Jesuit-run parish in a hilly, dusty, low-income area of Lima -- since it was founded in the 1960s.
"The parish grew up in relationship to the social situation," Father Garr said. It responded to parishioners' problems with programs like soup kitchens and ministry to gang members. Over time, the parish developed a social service area staffed by psychologists, social workers and volunteers and became known as a place where people could find help, whether or not they were active Catholics.
That style was also embraced by Pope Francis, who urged priests in his archdiocese to live in Buenos Aires' shantytowns.
The Argentine pope "is demonstrating a pastoral style and a vision of the church that is inspired by the experience in Latin America," Archbishop Tobon said. "At a time when we are experiencing a profound cultural change, the church must re-encounter its mission and vision and reach out in a new way in society."
If Blessed John Paul II was a pilgrim pope and retired Pope Benedict XVI an intellectual pope, "Pope Francis is a pastoral pope," Archbishop Barreto said. "He has already said that a pastor has to smell of sheep. That's not a very diplomatic thing to say, but it is very evangelical. It expresses a church that is close to the people, which does not exclude anyone, but which emphasizes what Christ emphasized -- the poor, the sick, the excluded."
Pastoral work in modern megacities, however, is fraught with challenges. Of the 100,000 or so people who live within the boundaries of Our Lady of Nazareth Parish, only 5,000 or 6,000 use the parish's services each year, and even fewer are active in the main church or its neighborhood chapels.
"People don't make the connection between (the social services the parish provides) and the faith community," Father Garr said. "I don't think we've reached the insight about how to evangelize the unchurched."
Archbishop Tobon believes Pope Francis' simple style will draw some people back to the church.
"I think the style of Pope Francis, who goes out to the people, blesses children and lives simply is becoming a sign for many people who have distanced themselves from the church or are indifferent," he said. "But reaching out to and assisting the indifferent and the distant requires a church that is very holy, very strong and very missionary. And that is not going to happen overnight."
Such outreach was a recurring theme at Aparecida, where the bishops launched what they called the "great continental mission," which has become "a permanent mission," Archbishop Tobon said.
Following the bishops' call, the church in Medellin has formed small ecclesial communities that remain closely tied to parishes and the archdiocese, he said. In Lima, at Our Lady of Nazareth, such small communities date back to the Latin American bishops' 1979 meeting in Puebla, Mexico. But community members are middle-aged now.
"The great challenge is how to work with young people," Father Garr said.
Another challenge is how to support parishes. As missionary societies age and international aid dwindles, foreign missionaries are discovering what diocesan priests have known all along -- that the Sunday collection in a parish like Our Lady of Nazareth barely covers basic expenses, much less services like the ones Father Garr's parish has provided for years.
Those are just a few of the challenges that Pope Francis will face, not just in his homeland, but in developing countries around the world.
BRIDGEPORT— “Chastity” is the subject of three presentations in May for teens and parents by Chris Stefanic, a nationally celebrated speaker, columnist and youth minister.
Stefanic is widely recognized for his ability to engage youth with apresentation that is a lively mix of humor, music and Catholic teaching.
Teens are invited to “No Imitations, a Chastity Presentation” set for May 1, 7 pm at St. Joseph Parish in Danbury, and May 3, 7 pm at St. Andrew Parish in Bridgeport.
Stefanick will also speak to parents “Raising Kids in Postmodern World” on May 2, 7 pm at the Catholic Center 238 Jewett Avenue in Bridgeport.
The presentations are sponsored by the Youth Ministry office of diocesan Pastoral Services.
Chris Stefanick speaks to over 50,000 teens, young adults, and parents every year. He has spoken at hundreds of high school assemblies and parish events, colleges (including Annapolis, Penn State and the US Air Force Academy) and both national and international events including the Steubenville Youth Conferences, National Catholic Youth Convention, the Knock, Ireland Youth Festival, and FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) National Conference.
He is a syndicated columnist and a regular in Catholic radio and TV. He has authored or co-authored, “Do I Have to Go?” (about the Mass),“Raising Pure Teens,” and “Absolute Relativism.”
The young but veteran Youth Minister has served at a parish in the East LA area, as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Lacrosse, and as Director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for theArchdiocese of Denver and is on the board of Directors for the Dead Theologians Society. He currently works for the Augustine Institute as Director of Youth Outreach for YDisciple. Most of all he is proud to be a husband and father to six beautiful children.
The Pope’s retirement distresses me. All things equal, I’d prefer the secular world didn’t spend time analyzing and opining on the inner workings of the Catholic Church.
But I am glad of it for at least two reasons. For one thing, we will be blessed with a new Pope, and that is exciting. For another, it provides an unprecedented teaching moment for the kids. This kind of thing happens twice, maybe three times, in a lifetime. We have to make the most of it.
Of course, Mr. and Mrs. Hennessey do their best to raise their children in the faith even when papal succession is not leading the news, but it’s not always easy to know how we’re doing. Things occasionally fall through the cracks.
For example, Paddy turned to his mother recently and, with the shock of revelation in his eyes, said, “You mean, Jesus… is a boy!?” The child is only four, so certain gaps in his understanding are to be expected. But I couldn’t have guessed that the gender of the son of God would have been among them.
It only goes to show how attentive we have to be about instructing the next generation. There was a time when being a Catholic meant you could acquire certain cultural and theological information by osmosis. Those days are gone. Now it takes a little work.
I was poorly catechized myself. My parents gave up on the Church when I was a teenager, so I was forced to fill in a lot of the basic facts when I returned to it on my own as an adult. There were—and are—some holes in my vocabulary.
For instance, I don’t think I ever heard the word “transubstantiation” once in 10 years of religious education. The Magisterium? Not sure what that is. The College of Cardinals? Isn’t that the really good school out in California? What’s it called—Stamford?
My wife was brought up in a solidly Catholic home and went to a solidly Catholic high school. Nevertheless, she, too, had her blind spots. Like all Mets fans of a certain age, she loved slugger Dave Kingman. For the best part of her childhood, she says, she recited the relevant passage in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingman come, thy will be done.”
I find there is a generation gap at work here. Older Catholics often can’t fathom how us younger folks don’t know what we don’t know. They marinated in this stuff as kids, and they presumed we’d become Catholics the way they did: by proximity.
But the world changed in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The “traditional” cultural Catholicism that produced our parents and grandparents— the Pat O’Brien priests and the Ingrid Bergman nuns—fell victim to some of the same cultural forces that swept through the larger culture. Be yourself. Follow your bliss. Live your truth.
Now, some will say, “Good. Catholicism needed some fresh air. It wasn’t all The Bells of St. Mary’s.” Which is fine, but I can’t help but think that the baby was thrown out with the bathwater.
As a young adult, I overheard a conversation between my father and an aunt in which one of them made mention of the Paraclete. I thought for sure I had heard them wrong.
“You mean parakeet, right?”
“No,” they said. “The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit.” They were bewildered by my ignorance. How could I not know what the Paraclete was? This was something they had learned as kids. It was as familiar to them as the air they breathed.
Their shock was legitimate, but it was misdirected. It wasn’t my fault that I didn’t know what the Paraclete was. It was theirs.
You see this kind of thing almost everywhere. Older people are prone to complaining about the state of the world—specifically what they think young people have done with it. But if things ain’t what they used to be, it’s usually because someone dropped the ball. Someone failed to keep faith with tradition. Centuries’ worth of hard-won cultural information doesn’t just pass itself along. It requires active stewardship.
All is not lost. We can revive tradition and educate ourselves. The dedicated catechists of this diocese and the larger Church who volunteer their time and energy to prepare the young people to receive the sacraments are truly inspiring.
A true catechism, however, must begin in the home.
GREENWICH—Greenwich Catholic School students were recently entertained by Dennis Waring from Young Audiences Arts for Learning.
Waring uses a wide array of instruments, indigenous and homemade, and weaves fun, fascinating tales of the origin of music and how through time all cultures utilized their natural environments for making fantastic sound-making devices.
The assembly was a demonstration and performance of almost fifty handmade and homemade musical instruments based on ideas and inspirations from around the world. Interesting signs, sounds and stories provided the audience with a new awareness into folklore, music, craft, and science.
Fourth graders Luke Lori, Paul Davey, Joe Hanson, Peyton Hackett and Valeria Barbaglio give an impromptu concert at the end of the presentation with instruments made from recycled materials.
Dennis Waring demonstrates one of his instruments made from a garden hose and a funnel.
(Photos by Cheryl Moss)
WASHINGTON—The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development urged the U.S. Senate to promote policies that "reduce gun violence and save people's lives in homes and communities throughout our nation."
In an April 8 letter, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, addressed provisions in S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013,including the expansion of background checks for all gun purchases and strengthening of gun trafficking provisions, which the bishops deem "a positive step in the right direction." He also urged Senators to support an assault weapons ban and limits on access to high-capacity ammunition magazines as they consider amendments to the bill.
Bishop Blaire cited the U.S. bishops' 2000 pastoral statement on criminal justice, which voiced support for "measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer." The bishops especially supported efforts to keep guns out of the hands of children or anyone other than the owner.
Bishop Blaire asked the Senate not to expand minimum mandatory sentences as punishment for gun violations, calling it a cause of rising incarceration rates. "One-size-fits-all policies are counterproductive, inadequate and replace judges' assessments with rigid formulations. Punishment for its own sake is never justified," he said.
The full text of Bishop Blaire's letter is available online: www.usccb.org/about/domestic-social-development/upload/2013-April-8-Letter-to-Senate-on-Gun-Violence-from-Bishop-Blaire.pdf
WASHINGTON—A statement by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, expressed “deep gratitude” and “solidarity and appreciation” for litigants challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, which forces employers to pay for contraceptive services even over their religious and moral objections. The statement was issued April 8.
Archbishop Lori issued his statement as dozens of lawsuits against the mandate are being considered nationwide. Among litigants are Catholic dioceses, Catholic and other religious non-profit organizations and for-profit companies that operate according to the religious principles of their owners.
In voicing his support for bishops and other Catholic entities, he noted that “Their goal is nothing less than securing the freedom of the Church to continue to obey the Lord’s command—and, in turn, to serve the common good—by providing charitable ministries in health care, education, and service to the poor, all without compromising Catholic beliefs.” He also expressed “deep gratitude to the scores of people and organizations—from various denominations and walks of life—who have challenged the HHS mandate in federal courts around our country over the last year.
“We continue to pray for the success of all of these lawsuits,” he said.
Archbishop Lori added that “in our Catholic tradition, the right to religious freedom proceeds from the inherent dignity of each and every human person. Accordingly, our concern for religious freedom extends well beyond our own ministries of service.”
He singled out for special praise “those in the business sector who have courageously challenged the HHS mandate in court.”
“Their actions have been a source of encouragement, particularly because of their high rate of success in obtaining early injunctions to block the mandate,” Archbishop Lori said.
He acknowledged the recent move by the government to clarify the definition of a “religious employer”—which would receive a full exemption from the mandate. He said that “this small, incremental step is welcomed,” but added that “most of the serious problems with the definition and mandate remain, and so we will continue our vigorous efforts to correct those remaining flaws.”
Archbishop Lori said that “Catholics in America have long been advocates for religious liberty, and we continue to affirm this basic right today.
“We have consistently supported the rights of individuals not to act against their religious beliefs or moral convictions, especially when individuals seek to protect the dignity of human life,” he said. “As Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, I would like to urge all people of good will to pray that our leaders, and all people of this great country, will promote and protect religious liberty and its fundamental place in society.”
The full statement can be found at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/religious-liberty-statement-supporting-litigants-lori-2013-04-08.pdf
A federal district judge in New York has ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift all age limits on over-the-counter access to the so-called 'emergency contraceptive' drug Plan B and its generic versions.
Fr. David W. Howell, former pastor of St. Joseph Parish in South Norwalk, died on April 4 in Stamford Hospital.
He was 73 years old.
Fr. Howell’s body will be received into St. Joseph Church on Sunday, April 7 at 4 pm. The Parish Vigil Mass will take place at 7 pm. Fr. Gilbert D’Souza, current pastor of St. Joseph’s, will be the celebrant. Fr. John Baron, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Fairfield who served as a parochial vicar under Fr. Howell, will be the homilist. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Fr. Howell on Monday, April 8, at 10:30 am. Msgr. Jerald A. Doyle, diocesan administrator, will be the principal celebrant. Msgr. Scheyd will deliver the homily.
After a brief reception, burial will follow in the family plot in St. Michael Cemetery, Stratford.
Survivors include his sister; Donna Kelly and her husband, Jay, of Bluefield, Virginia; two nieces: Kyle Thomas and her husband, Richard, of Max Meadows, VA; and Elizabeth Branner and her husband, Rod, of Harrisonburg, VA; Donna’s grandchildren: Kelly Thomas, Coleman Thomas, Brooke Branner and Abigail Branner; and Fr. Howell’s life-long friend, Msgr. William J. Scheyd. He was predeceased by his parents: William and Jeanette Kondrat Howell.
Condolences may be sent to Fr. Howell’s sister, Donna Kelly, 644 Sedgewren Street, Bluefield, VA 24605. Memorial contributions are requested to Queen of Clergy Residence, 274 Strawberry hill Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902. Please visit www.collinsfuneral.com to leave a condolence.
For more on Fr. Howell
A native of Bridgeport, he graduated from St. Ann School in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport and Fairfield Prep. Fr. Howell credits his vocation to the priesthood both to the priests he knew at St. Ann’s, where he was an altar boy, and the Jesuits at Prep. He attended the Jesuit-run Holy Cross College in Worchester, MA, and completed his theological studies at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, MD. He was ordained on May 22, 1965 at St. Augustine Cathedral by Bishop Walter W. Curtis.
His first assignment was as parochial vicar of St. Stephen Parish in Trumbull. While there, he was also a member of the faculty of St. Joseph High School in Trumbull. He served at St. Mary Parish, Greenwich; St. Joseph Parish, Shelton; and St. Cecilia Parish in Stamford before coming to St. Joseph’s as a parochial vicar. He was named temporary administrator in 1979. He served as a territorial vicar, was member of the Diocesan Priests’ Council from 1982-83, and was appointed as auditor-instructor in the diocesan tribunal in 1983.
Always interested in aircraft, Fr. Howell became chaplain of the Civil Air Patrol in 1967. He became chaplain of the International Order of Characters (IOC), an organization dedicated to improving the fields of aviation and aerospace, in 1975. Following his appointment to St. Joseph’s, he also became a chaplain to the Norwalk Fire Department and was on the Norwalk Catholic Charities board.
Fr. Howell was appointed pastor of St. Joseph’s on June 25, 1986. He remained at the parish until failing health necessitated his retirement in 2008.
He lived at the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence Stamford from his retirement until the time of his death.
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Women have a privileged role in the church because of their ability to pass on the faith through love, Pope Francis said.
"Women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love," the pope told an estimated 50,000 people in St. Peter's Square April 3.
"This is the mission of women, of mothers and women, to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is risen," he said. "Faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love."
In the second weekly public audience of his pontificate, Pope Francis resumed a series of catechetical talks on the creed begun by Pope Benedict XVI in January.
Commenting on the words, "rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures," the pope noted that the New Testament gives women a "primary, fundamental role" as witnesses of Jesus' resurrection. He cited the passage in Mark Chapter 16 in which women find an empty tomb and an angel who tells them that Jesus is alive.
"Here we can see an argument in favor of the historical truth of the resurrection," Pope Francis said. "If it had been an invention, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women," since the Jewish law of period did not consider women or children as "reliable, credible witnesses."
"This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria," the pope said. "The first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, and the first witnesses of the resurrection are women."
Jesus' male apostles and disciples "find it harder to believe in the risen Christ," the pope said. "Peter runs to the tomb, but stops before the empty tomb. Thomas has to touch the wounds of the body of Jesus with his own hands."
By contrast, the "women are driven by love and they know to accept this proclamation (of the resurrection) with faith," the pope said. "They believe and immediately transmit it; they do not keep it for themselves."
"Let us also have the courage to go out to bring this joy and light to all the places of our lives," the pope said, eliciting cheers from the crowd, as at several other moments in his talk. "The resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty, it is our most precious treasure. How can we not share this treasure, this beautiful certainty with others?"
"Unfortunately, there have often been attempts to obscure faith in the resurrection of Jesus, and doubts have crept in even among believers themselves," Pope Francis said, lamenting what he called a "rosewater"-like faith, diluted by superficiality, indifference, other priorities or a "purely horizontal vision of life."
Hope in the resurrection, he said, enables Christians to "live everyday realities with more confidence, to face them with courage and commitment."
Following the audience, the pope spent about 45 minutes personally greeting prelates and other dignitaries, as well as members of the general public, including many small children and disabled people in wheelchairs.
In what has already become a common sight during his young papacy, a number of pilgrims, including a group of Jesuit deacons studying in Rome, broke Vatican protocol by embracing Pope Francis and kissing him on both cheeks.
It amazes me when basic church teaching is received as if it were something brand new. This morning's New York Times brought the latest example with the headline: "Dolan Says the Catholic Church Should Be More Welcoming to Gay People." A glance at other media outlets finds similar news accounts. From the NBC website: "Cardinal Dolan: Church Must Embrace Gays, Lesbians." Then from the NY Daily News: "'Jesus died on the cross for them as much as He did for me’: Cardinal Dolan says church should not push away gays."
NEWTOWN—The St. Rose of Lima Girls’ Varsity Basketball team made school history as being the first team to win the league championship banner and to also win first place in the end of the year tournament for the Greater Danbury Parochial Basketball League.
Team members include: Muriel Daccache, Marcella Daily, Lauren Cirone, Bridget Walsh, Isabella Luciano, Colleen McCarthy, Diana Kirkman, Anna Brubaker, Caroline Beal, Madeline Meier, Ashling Sugarman, Grace Herrick
When a priest falls, it wounds the entire Church. As a family of faith, we are sorry for those who have been hurt by Msgr. Wallin's actions, and we also remember that that he did much good work in his ministry.
Msgr. Wallin's guilty plea represents an important step in his coming to terms with his own actions and their impact on others. It is a difficult moment for all of us but we hope it is also the first step in rebuilding his life. We pray that he moves toward healing and wholeness.
BRIDGEPORT— “Chastity” is the subject of three presentations in May for teens and parents by Chris Stefanic, a nationally celebrated speaker, columnist and youth minister.
Visit Reallifecatholic.com to watch Chris Stefanic speaking.Stefanic is widely recognized for his ability to engage youth with apresentation that is a lively mix of humor, music and Catholic teaching.
Teens are invited to “No Imitations, a Chastity Presentation” set for May 1, 7 pm at St. Joseph Parish in Danbury, and May 3, 7 pm at St. Andrew Parish in Bridgeport.
Stefanick will also speak to parents “Raising Kids in Postmodern World” on May 2, 7 pm at the Catholic Center 238 Jewett Avenue in Bridgeport.
The presentations are sponsored by the Youth Ministry office of diocesan Pastoral Services.
Chris Stefanick speaks to over 50,000 teens, young adults, and parents every year. He has spoken at hundreds of high school assemblies and parish events, colleges (including Annapolis, Penn State and the US Air Force Academy) and both national and international events including the Steubenville Youth Conferences, National Catholic Youth Convention, the Knock, Ireland Youth Festival, and FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) National Conference.
He is a syndicated columnist and a regular in Catholic radio and TV. He has authored or co-authored, “Do I Have to Go?” (about the Mass),“Raising Pure Teens,” and “Absolute Relativism.”
The young but veteran Youth Minister has served at a parish in the East LA area, as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Lacrosse, and as Director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for theArchdiocese of Denver and is on the board of Directors for the Dead Theologians Society. He currently works for the Augustine Institute as Director of Youth Outreach for YDisciple. Most of all he is proud to be a husband and father to six beautiful children.
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—With Jesus' resurrection "love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious," Pope Francis said in his first Easter message "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world)
"Let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish," the pope said after celebrating Easter morning Mass March 31.
Pope Francis offered special prayers for peace in Syria and the rest of the Middle East, for an end to violence in Africa -- especially in Mali, Nigeria, Congo and the Central African Republic -- and in Asia, particularly on the Korean peninsula.
He prayed for "peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this 21st century."
Pope Francis said he would like to bring the good news of Christ's resurrection to each person on earth, "to every house and every family, especially where suffering is greatest: in hospitals, in prisons."
Easter, he said, "means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom."
Easter dawned with blue skies and sunshine in Rome, but as the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square, dark clouds began gathering overhead. Still, some 250,000 people gathered for the Mass, and thousands more arrived for the pope's "urbi et orbi" blessing.
The steps leading to St. Peter's Basilica and to the altar were decorated with thousands of flowers, trees and bushes. The Dutch flower growers' association provided 20,000 tulips, 10,000 daffodils and 3,000 white roses in addition to small birch, maple and mulberry trees.
Like his predecessors, Pope Francis did not give a homily during the morning Mass, but spoke during his "urbi et orbi" address about the significance of the Resurrection for individuals and for the world.
But unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis did not read quick Easter greetings in dozens of languages, although the brief phrases had been prepared for him.
Rather, in his message, he told people, "Jesus is risen, there is hope for you; you are no longer in the power of sin, evil."
Easter, the pope said, "is the exodus, the passage of human beings from slavery to sin and evil to the freedom of love and goodness."
However, he said, that passage must be renewed in every age and in every human heart.
"How many deserts, even today, do humans beings need to cross -- above all, the desert within, when we have no love for God or neighbor, when we fail to realize that we are guardians of all that the Creator has given us and continues to give us," Pope Francis said.
"God's mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones," he said.
Pope Francis urged people to join him in praying to be transformed by the power of God's love and mercy and to help "change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace."
The morning Mass began less than 12 hours after Pope Francis had finished presiding over the nighttime Easter Vigil, lighting the Easter candle and processing into a St. Peter's Basilica lit mainly by the flashes of the cameras that people had been asked not to use.
During the Mass, he welcomed into the Catholic Church four men between the ages of 17 and 30. The men from Albania, Italy, Russia and the United States were baptized, confirmed and received their first Communion at the Mass. The 17-year-old from the United States was identified as Anthony Dinh Tran.
In his homily for the vigil, Pope Francis spoke about how the women had gone to Jesus' tomb with sorrow and love to anoint his body.
But, he said, "something completely new and unexpected happens."
They find the tomb empty, and they are confused and afraid, the pope said.
"Doesn't the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don't understand, we don't know what to do," he said. "Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us."
Like the women at the tomb, he said, often "we are afraid of God's surprises," yet, "he always surprises us."
"Dear brothers and sisters," he said, "let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives. Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won't be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up."
The risen Jesus is risen for all time, he said, meaning that his is forever victorious "over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human."
Pope Francis said he knows there are many times in life when it is difficult to believe in the power of God to bring forth new life. It's easier, he said, to be like the women in the Gospel and "look for the living among the dead."
The women in the Gospel are told to remember their life with Jesus and the things he had said and done. Only then do they conquer their fear and share the news of the Resurrection with the other disciples.
"To remember what God has done and continues to do for me, for us, to remember the road we have traveled; this is what opens our hearts to hope for the future," he said. "May we learn to remember everything that God has done in our lives."
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Editors: The text of Pope Francis' message "urbi et orbi" may be found at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20130331_urbi-et-orbi-pasqua_en.html.
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Lying prostrate on the floor before the main altar of St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion.
The pope presided at the service March 29 to commemorate Christ's death on the cross.
He began the rite after a silent procession down the central nave under dim lighting, which underlined the solemnity of the ceremony. Then he rested his forehead on a red pillow while lying face down in front of the altar in silent prayer, in a sign of adoration and penance.
Stations of th Cross - NewsTimes.com
Christians mark good Friday - CTpost.com
Living the Passion in the Cove - StamfordAdvocate.com
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Evils within the church are caused by a self-centeredness and "theological narcissism" that forget to share Christ with people outside of the church, Pope Francis said in the days before his election.
"When the church is self-referential, inadvertently, she believes she has her own light," he said in a summary of a speech he gave to the College of Cardinals before the start of the conclave that ended in his election.
When the church ceases to be "the mysterium lunae," that is, to depend on Christ for receiving and reflecting his -- not its own -- light, the church then "gives way to that very serious evil, spiritual worldliness, which according to (Jesuit Cardinal Henri-Marie) De Lubac, is the worst evil that can befall the church," said then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
The church then "lives to give glory only to one another" and not the rest of the world, he said.
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, and Vatican Radio published March 27 the future pope's comments, which were in the handwritten outline of the speech he gave during the pre-conclave meetings, called general congregations. The meetings, which ran March 4-11, gave the cardinals a chance to discuss the main challenges facing the church.
Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana "had been so impressed" by then-Cardinal Bergoglio's speech that he asked for a copy of it, according to Vatican Radio. The radio said Cardinal Ortega received the pope's permission to share the contents of the speech's outline.
The outline said evangelization presupposes that the church does not want to be locked up inside herself, but wants to go "to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents, and of all misery."
"When the church does not come out of herself to evangelize, she becomes self-referential and then gets sick," he wrote, adding a note of reference to St. Luke's Gospel account of Jesus curing the crippled woman on the Sabbath.
In the passage, Jesus is criticized for healing on the Sabbath, the day dedicated to rest. Jesus calls his critics hypocrites, asking why they can interpret the law to allow them to untie and release their animals on the Sabbath and not let a woman be unleashed from the binds of the devil who caused her illness.
The future pope wrote, "The evils that, over time, happen in ecclesial institutions have their root in self-referentiality and a kind of theological narcissism."
"In Revelation, Jesus says that he is at the door and knocks. Obviously, the text refers to his knocking from the outside in order to enter, but I think about the times in which Jesus knocks from within so that we will let him come out," he wrote.
"The self-referential church keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not let him out," he added.
The pope wrote, "Put simply, there are two images of the church: a church which evangelizes and comes out of herself" by hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith; and "the worldly church, living within herself, of herself, for herself."
"This should shed light on the possible changes and reforms which must be done for the salvation of souls," he wrote.
Then-Cardinal Bergoglio told the College of Cardinals that the next pope "must be a man who, from the contemplation and adoration of Jesus Christ, helps the church to go out to the existential peripheries, that helps her to be the fruitful mother, who gains life from 'the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing.'"
The College of Cardinals elected Pope Francis, reportedly beyond the two-thirds required, on March 13, on the fifth round of conclave voting.
The Public Health Committee of the state legislature has raised a bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Connecticut.
The bill number is HB 6645. The Bishops of Connecticut, along with members of the health care community and those representing the elderly and disabled, strongly oppose this legislation.
The Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference is asking you to sign the petition below to urge the members of the Public Health Committee to reject any legislation authorizing physician-assuited suicide (PAS) in Connecticut.
The facts on PAS can be found on the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference's website at www.ctcatholic.org/Assisted-Suicide.php
Note: The Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference will provide you with further information as the bill progresses through the legislature. We look forward to your assistance in defeating the effort to legalize physician- assisted suicide in our state.
BRIDGEPORT—“Thank you for the wonderful ways you respond to God’s love,” Hartford Archbishop Henry J. Mansell said to priests of the Diocese of Bridgeport at Chrism Mass held today at St. Augustine Cathedral in downtown Bridgeport.
At the yearly Chrism Mass, priests renew their priestly vows and the Bishop blesses the sacramental oils that are used throughout the year in parishes.
“Are you resolved to renew, in the presence of God’s holy people, the promise you once made?” Archbishop Mansell asked the 200 priests who stood for the renewal of their vows.
“I am,” replied the priests in unison to prolonged applause.
In a joyful and upbeat talk, Archbishop Mansell thanked all those in attendance, and reminded them that 1.2 billion Catholics across the globe are affirmed and strengthened by the sacramental oils that are blessed in Churches during the Lenten season.
When Archbishop Mansell asked the children in attendance if they knew the name of the new Pope, hands began to wave with the name, “Francis” on their lips.
The Archbishop said that Catholics have been inspired by the Pope’s humility and simplicity.
“He has taught us that we are in service to the world,” said Archbishop Mansell, who noted that Catholics are grateful to priests for their availability and their presence in the lives of those who are suffering or in need.
He singled our Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, for his compassionate leadership after the shooting death of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook School.
“People across the country saw how he was there through the days and nights, and how he continues to be there for the families. He is an example of what it means to be a priest.”
At the conclusion of the service, diocesan administrator Msgr. Jerald A. Doyle, who concelebrated Mass with Archbishop Mansell, extended his personal gratitude to the Archbishop and also thanked his brother priests for their efforts and support since Bishop Lori left to become Archbishop of Baltimore.
He joked about the frequent questions he receives concerning when a new Bishop will be named. He said that the diocese will welcome the unity and leadership that comes with a new bishop but that the work of the local church has gone on and “things have run smoothly because of the work done everyday in parishes by you, my brother priests.”
Following the Pontifical Blessing, the priests processed out into the crisp air and brilliant sunshine to be greeted by Archbishop Mansell. Many requested his blessing and took photos with the leader of the Church in Connecticut.
After Mass, the holy oils that were consecrated on the altar were distributed to priests who will use them in their parishes when blessing the sick and in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
“We are Easter people and alleluia is our song!”
But the cross always comes first. In this imperfect life suffering comes to everyone. But Christ does not cause our suffering. So much of human suffering is caused by human sin.
The pope's study at his modest quarters in the Vatican guest house
VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis has decided not to move into the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, but to live in a suite in the Vatican guesthouse where he has been since the beginning of the conclave that elected him, said Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.
"He is experimenting with this type of living arrangement, which is simple," but allows him "to live in community with others," both the permanent residents—priests and bishops who work at the Vatican—as well as guests coming to the Vatican for meetings and conferences, Lombardi said Tuesday.
The spokesman said Pope Francis has moved out of the room he drew by lot before the conclave and into Suite 201, a room that has slightly more elegant furnishings and a larger living room where he can receive guests.
The Domus Sanctae Marthae, the official name of the guesthouse, was built in 1996 specifically to house cardinals during a conclave.
Celebrating Mass on Tuesday with the residents and guests, Pope Francis told them he intended to stay, Lombardi said. The permanent residents, who had to move out during the conclave, had just returned to their old rooms.
Pope Francis has been there since his election March 13, taking his meals in the common dining room downstairs and celebrating a 7 a.m. Mass with Vatican employees in the main chapel of the residence.
He will be the first pope in 110 years not to live in the papal apartments on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace.
In 1903, St. Pius X became the first pope to live in the apartments overlooking St. Peter's Square. The apartments were completely remodeled by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and have undergone smaller modifications by each pope since, according to "Mondo Vaticano," a Vatican-published mini-encyclopedia about Vatican buildings, offices and tradition.
The large living room or salon of the apartment is located directly above the papal library where official audiences with visiting bishops and heads of state are held.
Pope Francis will continue to use the library for official audiences and to recite the Angelus prayer on Sundays and holy days from the apartment window overlooking St. Peter's Square, Lombardi said.
The apartments contain a chapel, an office for the pope and a separate office for his secretaries, the pope's bedroom, a dining room, kitchen and rooms for two secretaries and for the household staff.
When Pope Francis returned to the guesthouse after his election, Lombardi had said the move was intended to be short-term while a few small work projects were completed in the papal apartments. He said Tuesday that all the work had been completed, but at least for the foreseeable future, Pope Francis would not move in.
The Domus Sanctae Marthae, named after St. Martha, is a five-story building on the edge of Vatican City.
While offering relative comfort, the residence is not a luxury hotel. The building has 105 two-room suites and 26 singles; about half of the rooms are occupied by the permanent residents. Each suite has a sitting room with a desk, three chairs, a cabinet and large closet; a bedroom with dresser, night table and clothes stand; and a private bathroom with a shower.
The rooms all have telephones and access to an international satellite television system.
The building also has a large meeting room and a variety of small sitting rooms. In addition to the dining room and the main chapel, it also has four private chapels, located at the end of hallways on the third and fifth floors of each of the building's two wings.
Front row: Bridget Murphy, Julia Bacarella, Mary Grace Held; Back row:
Frances Morrisey, Thomas Montelli, Jillian Hurley, Abigail Kelly.
A Saint Catherine of Siena School student recently received a perfect score in the first of three meets for this year’s WordMasters Challenge, a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually.
The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships.
Competing in the Blue Division of the WordMasters Challenge, eighth grader Bridget Murphy earned a perfect score of 20 in the December meet. Nationally, only 27 eighth graders achieved a perfect score.
Other students at Saint Catherine of Siena who achieved outstanding results in the meet include 8th graders Thomas Montelli, Abigail Kelly, Frances Morrisey, Julia Bacarella, Jillian Hurley, and Mary Grace Held.
LOS ANGELES (CNS)—The archbishop of Los Angeles called upon the United States to remember the humanity of men, women and children in the country illegally or risk losing its soul.
Addressing the city's Jewish community March 19, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said the time has come for the U.S. to adopt comprehensive immigration to provide undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship.
He also urged U.S. officials to end the practice of breaking up families through deportation.
The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration called immigration reform "the most urgent civil rights question of our time."
Archbishop Gomez, a native of Monterey, Mexico, recalled being an immigrant himself and how he became a naturalized citizen as a young adult in explaining the church's support for comprehensive immigration reform.
He suggested to the audience at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel that immigration reform would be better addressed by Christian and Jewish leaders by invoking religious and moral terms and by recalling the religious principles upon which the U.S. was founded.
"One of the problems we have today is that we've lost our ability to talk about issues in religious and moral terms," he said. "We are becoming a more and more secular society. And that makes it hard to talk about the values and commitments we find in America's founding documents."
Archbishop Gomez said the social justice movements that ended slavery in the 19th century, led to major civil rights gains in the 1960s and gave rise to today's culture of life campaign are grounded in the nation's Judeo-Christian heritage.
It's time, the archbishop said, to return God to the debate on immigration and other concerns facing the country.
"We have lost the sense of the humanity of the men and women and children who are living in this country illegally," Archbishop Gomez said. "That worries me as a pastor. I'm worried we are losing something of our national soul."
Describing the U.S. as a great nation that readily turns to aiding people in need around the world, he questioned its treatment of undocumented immigrants.
"Yet this great nation finds itself today reduced to addressing this major issue in our public life through name-calling and discrimination, criminal profiling based on race, random identity checks, violent raids of workplaces and homes, arbitrary detentions and deportations," he said.
Citing the deportation of 1.5 million people in recent years, Archbishop Gomez called for compassion.
"I am a pastor, not a politician. And to talk as a pastor, these are not statistics. These are souls. Human beings. We're talking about fathers and husbands who, with no warning, won't be coming home for dinner tonight and who may not see their families again for a decade at least. We are talking about a government policy that punishes children for the crimes of their parents.
"We are a better people than this. America has always been a nation of justice and law. But we are also a people of compassion and common sense. What we're doing right now betrays our values and makes our country weaker and more vulnerable," he said.
Thanking Jewish leaders for their leadership through the L.A. Council of Religious Leaders in seeking a just solution to the country's burning immigration questions, Archbishop Gomez cited the words of Pope Francis who earlier in the day during his inaugural Mass called people to the vocation of "protector" by showing love and concern for every human being.
In thinking about immigration reform, the archbishop said his mind turns to the words of Moses during the exodus from Egypt in which he reminds the Jewish people not to oppress a stranger because they too were strangers in a foreign land.
"That's what our society needs to hear right now," Archbishop Gomez said. "Our society needs the heart of a stranger. This is our task. To be that beating heart. The heart of a stranger. We need to help our brothers and sisters to remember the founding vision of America. The vision of the Bible. The vision of the Gospel.
"We need to communicate this vision to our neighbors," he continued. "This vision of God and this vision of the human person who is made in the image of God. Our society needs us to be the people of conscience. The people who remember and believe that in God's eyes we're all his beloved sons and daughters, and not one is a stranger to any of us."
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis celebrated his first Palm Sunday Mass as pope March 24, telling an overflow crowd in St. Peter's Square that Christ's death on the cross is a source of eternal consolation and joy.
"A Christian can never be sad. Never give way to discouragement," the pope said in his homily, assuring listeners that with Jesus, "We are never alone, even at difficult moments, even at difficult moments when our life's journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them."
As he has done with striking frequency since his election March 13, Pope Francis warned against the action of the devil, who he said comes to discourage believers in times of trouble, "often disguised as an angel who insidiously tells us his word. Do not listen to him."
Recalling Jesus' triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, acclaimed as a king only days before his crucifixion, the pope stressed the otherworldly nature of Christ's reign.
"Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honors reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused," Pope Francis said. "His royal throne is the wood of the cross."
"Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin," the pope said, "and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God.""Christ's cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy," he said.
Pope Francis characteristically strayed from his prepared text in a personal aside when deploring the sin of greed, adding that money is something "no one can bring with him. My grandmother would say to us children, 'No shroud has pockets.'"
Noting that "for 28 years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day," the pope told young people in the congregation that "you bring us the joy of faith, and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of 70 or 80."
Pope Francis confirmed that he would attend the July 2013 World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, saying, "I will see you in that great city in Brazil." Though the announcement was widely expected, it drew applause from the crowd in the square and the avenue beyond.
Before the Mass, young people carrying woven palm fronds led a procession that included bishops, cardinals and Pope Francis in the popemobile. They processed to the ancient Egyptian obelisk in the center of the square, where the pope blessed palm and olive branches held up by members of the congregation.
After Mass, before praying the Angelus from the altar set up in front of the basilica, the pope made special mention of "people afflicted with tuberculosis, as today is the world day against this disease."
GREENWICH—Making their own interpretation of Jesus’ final sacrifice, students in Marianne Licare’s third grade religion class at Greenwich Catholic School recently completed their Stations of the Cross.
The entire class worked on the project. Students were allowed to pick a Station of the Cross and choose to do their work as a black and white sketch, a drawing, a model with clay, a painting or a collage. As an alternative to art work, they could respond by writing a poem or a prayer.
For a third year, the Fairfield Prep Robotics Club, moderated by math teacher Mr. Jaques, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge —an international robotics competition founded by inventor Dean Kamen.
This year’s competition, called “Ring It Up!” involved competing in a “vertical tic-tac-toe style” game with three other teams, from area high schools, to score points. Twenty-six teams competed against each other in tournament style matchups. The Northeast Utilities Foundation’s Connecticut FIRST Tech Challenge took place on February 16 at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, CT.
The Fairfield Prep team competed very well, relative to the competition. Sophomore Gavin Granath said, “This year’s competition was very competitive compared to the last two years in New Hampshire. However, I think it is less about winning, and more about the skills we’ve gained here.” Staples High School came in first place at Greens Farms and will move on to the National Championship in St. Louis, Missouri in April.
In addition to competing, the team had a special chance to meet with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Senator Richard Blumenthal, who came to speak about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) opportunities in high school. Sophomore Dylan Hawkes recalls, “Governor Malloy came over to our table and talked with the team. He said he was very familiar with Fairfield Prep because of his Jesuit connections at Boston College.”
BRIDGEPORT—The Diocese of Bridgeport has announced the principals who will lead the two campuses of its new Cathedral Academy in downtown Bridgeport.
Sr. Deborah Lopez will serve as the principal of the St. Raphael Campus for students from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3. Lawrence DiPalma will serve as the principal of the St. Augustine Campus for students from Grades 4-8.
“As we continue to plan for the opening of the new Cathedral Academy for the 2013-14 academic year, we welcome two principals who bring extensive educational experience, leadership and a commitment to Catholic education to this new initiative,” says Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, interim superintendent of schools.
The new campus principals will coordinate with Jo-Anne Jakab, president of the Cathedral Academy, for the smooth transition from four buildings to two campuses. Jakab will continue to serve as principal of Kolbe-Cathedral High School.
Sr. Deborah Lopez has been the principal of St. Raphael’s since March 2011. Prior to that she was an elementary principal in New York City; Middlesex, NJ; and St. Louis, MO. She also served two terms as provincial superior of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Under Sr. Deborah’s leadership, St. Raphael School moved ahead with a strong program emphasizing mastery in reading, writing and mathematics, and faculty collaboration on literacy and math plans. St. Raphael’s is equipped with laptop computers, as well as networked classroom computers and a fully-equipped science lab. Beyond the academic subjects, students enjoy classes in art, music, computer, physical education and Spanish.
Lawrence DiPalma of West Haven will serve as the principal of the St. Augustine Campus for students from Grades 4-8. Early in his career, he served as principal of the former Sacred Heart/St. Anthony School in Bridgeport and St. Bernadette School in New Haven. He was a middle school math teacher for nine years before becoming a director of curriculum and instruction and then principal of Highville Charter School in Hamden.
He was later the restructuring principal of Prendergast School in Ansonia. In 2011 he received the CT Elementary Principal of the Year Award and the National Distinguished Principal Award. For the past year he has been at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield as a math teacher and director of the Teaching and Learning Center.
ESSAY CONTEST WINNER—Holy Spirit School student and award winning essayist Veronica Fahs is congratulated 5th Grade Teacher Mrs. Beverly Jodarn-Murphy (l) and Holy Spirit Principal, Mrs. Pat Torchen.
STAMFORD—Veronica Fahs, a fifth grade student at Holy Spirit School in Stamford, has been awarded first place in the Daughters of the American (D.A.R.) Revolution Essay Contest, Stamford Chapter, Fifth Grade Division.
She recently presented her essay at the D.A.R. Awards Ceremony on March 2. As the winner of the Stamford Division, Veronica’s essay goes on to be judged at the state level.
The D.A.R.’s American History Essay Contest was established to encourage young people to think creatively about our nation's past and learn about history in a new light. This year’s essay theme was, “Forgotten patriots who supported the American struggle for independence.” Veronica’s essay highlighted Phillis Wheatley, who was the first African-American poet and first African-American woman to publish a book.
Beverly Jordan-Murphy, Veronica’s English teacher at Holy Spirit School, says she is proud of Veronica and notes the strong emphasis put on writing at the school. Jordan-Murphy says, “Veronica’s essay exemplifies the work we do every day with students at Holy Spirit to create effective writers.”
Holy Spirit School is a PreK3 thru 5th grade school located in Stamford, CT. With a low student-teacher ratio, Veronica and the other students at Holy Spirit School are exposed to a refreshing and open attitude toward new ideas and teaching methods emphasizing academic excellence in a faith-based environment.
About Daughters of the American Revolution National Society
The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.
VATICAN CITY (CNS)—Pope Francis has decided to celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper in a Rome juvenile detention facility and wash the feet of some of the young detainees.
It marks a change in venue of the previously scheduled March 28 Holy Week event from St. Peter's Basilica to Rome's Casal del Marmo prison for minors.
While the practice of his predecessors has included washing the feet of priests or laypeople, the ceremony was normally held in either St. Peter's Basilica or the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
The Vatican said that, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis used to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper -- which reflects on the call to imitate Christ by serving one another -- in prisons, hospitals or shelters for the poor and marginalized.
"With the celebration at Casal del Marmo, Pope Francis will continue that practice, which must be carried out in a context characterized by simplicity," the Vatican said in a March 21 statement.
The Mass of the Lord's Supper highlights "the commandment of love" and service through the ritual of washing the feet of others, the statement said.
The other Holy Week and Easter events and celebrations were expected to remain as previously scheduled, the Vatican said, including the pope celebrating the morning chrism Mass on Holy Thursday in St. Peter's Basilica, in which the chrism and the oils used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick are blessed.
At the start of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI reversed a 20-year Vatican tradition of washing the feet of priests during the Holy Thursday evening Mass. In 2006 and 2007, he returned to a practice in effect before 1985, when he washed the feet of 12 laymen from the Diocese of Rome during the evening Mass.
From 2008 onward, Pope Benedict switched back to washing the feet of 12 priests from the Rome diocese.
From 1985 to 2001, Blessed John Paul II washed the feet of 12 priests each year during the Holy Thursday Mass. Beginning in 2002, because of his weakened physical condition and his inability to walk, the pope had cardinals perform the foot-washing ritual, but always washing the feet of 12 priests.
However, in the first six years of his pontificate, Pope John Paul continued Pope Paul VI's practice of washing the feet of laypeople.
For several years, Pope John Paul washed the feet of elderly laymen, including a group of homeless men living at a shelter run by the Missionaries of Charity in 1980. In 1983, he washed the feet of 12 young men from Italy's Boys Town, and in 1984 the 12 were representatives of Rome parish youth groups.
In 1974, Pope Paul washed the feet of 12 boys undergoing therapy for the effects of polio. In 1977, he washed the feet of 12 boys, ages 12-14, who were students at the Rome Diocese's minor seminary.
Pope Benedict visited the Casal del Marmo prison in 2007, meeting with the young detainees in a gym and celebrating Mass with them in the prison chapel.
Photos: Christian Abraham
NEW HAVEN—The referee's arm went up to send Kevin Brown to the penalty box in the third period of a tie game in the CIAC Division I final.
The feeling, Fairfield Prep coach Matt Sather said, was "bittersweet" in a way.
"As a coach, you've been through it a lot," Sather said, "you say 'this isn't good, but at the same time, if we kill it, the momentum shift will be big.'"
The shift was huge, and the Jesuits are state champions in boys hockey for the 15th time, the 14th in Division I.
The Jesuits killed the penalty, and on a rebound 11 seconds later, Matt Wikman scored the winner in a 3-2 victory Tuesday over Notre Dame-West Haven.
Jesuits junior Dean Lockery pulled a puck out of the slot in his own zone just before the penalty expired, starting the rush. Senior captain David White, who finished his four years with 150 points, carried the puck into the zone and beat a couple of defenders as Lockery went to the right post.
"Dave did his thing, dangling," said Wikman, a junior. "He put one out front for Dean, he hit the post, and it came right out to me."
With 6:26 left, the goal sent half of sold-out Ingalls Rink into hysterics and left the other half subdued. Though the Green Knights' Paul Sliwinski made big save after big save, so did Fairfield Prep's Matt Beck to preserve the lead.
"God bless 'em," Notre Dame coach Bill Gerosa said. "They beat us four times this year, they deserve to win. I really enjoyed this game, the whole game. It was a terrific game. The crowd was into it."
Fairfield Prep (23-1) won its eighth state title since 2000 (four of them over Notre Dame in the final), going 18-0 against Connecticut opponents this year. The 2006-07 Jesuits went 17-0-1 (the tie at Hamden) in-state on the way to a championship.
Sather credited this one to his senior defensemen, Sean Henry, Brown, Andrew Hatton and Billy D'Amore.
"To log that time, they were awesome," Sather said.
The defending champions finished 18-6-1.
"We lost four or five good players, but we were able to regroup," Gerosa said. "We just came up a goal short today. I'm very, very proud of my boys."
The Green Knights took a 2-0 lead on goals 83 seconds apart in the first period, junior defenseman Lou Iannotti from above the left circle at 7:34, then Billy Vizzo at 8:57, coming out from Beck's right into the left circle and snapping a shot inside the left post.
Wikman said the team was confident in the adjustments it made. He began the comeback, deflecting in Henry's point shot on the power play with 2:29 left in the period.
"Being able to come back is a tribute to good teams," Gerosa said. "Fairfield Prep is a good team."
Jesuits sophomore Mike Ventricelli tied the game on a two-on-one at 3:02 of the second. That set up an intense, instant-classic third period between the state's two best teams, decided by a penalty kill and its aftermath.
"For (the players), it's something they'll always remember," Sather said.
"A lot of guys sacrificed a lot. They bought into a school and a program."
That school hasn't graduated a class without at least one state hockey championship since 1990. That streak will continue until at least 2017.
– Photo by Elmer Castillo
BRIDGEPORT—Hundreds of high-school students attended the 2013 Convivio Youth Congress in Connecticut March 8-10 to talk about the Christian faith, grow spiritually and consider the meaning of friendship today.
Florencia Silva, youth-ministry director for the Diocese of Bridgeport, said the event is intended “to help kids encounter Christ and grow in their friendship with him.”
Friendship, she noted, is “a very important topic” for teenagers, since contemporary culture “doesn’t help people form real relationships.”
“Many times, the young people feel very isolated and alone, and it’s very hard for them to find relationships,” she added.
Even social media “sometimes makes them feel more connected, but also more isolated.”
The 2013 congress’ theme was taken from the words of Jesus to the disciples in the Gospel of John: “I have called you friends.” The congress aimed to explore common misconceptions about friendship, the problem of loneliness and the longing for genuine relationship. It intended to explore the qualities of true friendship, with the goal of helping others reach eternal life.
Stephen Kawulicz, a two-time Convivio attendee from Brookfield, Conn., said he loved the congress’ talks. “They’re all very thought-provoking and make me look at things in a new light,” he told Catholic News Agency.
“I think that a friendship with Christ and a friendship with God should be both the center of our lives and the center of our friendships with other people. Because that’s what makes everything last,” he said.
“God’s love is eternal and perfect, while our love falls short.”
The Convivio gathering was held at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., with help from about 100 adult volunteers and 80 student leaders.
At the congress’ opening, dozens of teens waited at the doors to greet their friends and classmates, help with registration and make introductions. Besides talks, small-group discussion and a concert, the congress featured chances for prayer, Eucharistic adoration and Sunday Mass.
The three-day youth congress was introduced to the U.S. in 2010 by the Marian Community of Reconciliation, a community of lay consecrated women whose ministry focuses on youth outreach.
Silva, who is a member of the Marian Community of Reconciliation, said Convivio is unique because it is youth-run. High school and college students help in the planning and organization of the congress. They invite other young people to attend through giving speeches at their parishes and schools, putting up posters and posting Facebook statuses. The students lead the groups and give the talks and witnesses. The event leads youth through a question-and-answer process.
“They’re not here to be told. We help them encounter the answers themselves,” Silva told CNA, noting that the small-group format also helps promote one-on-one engagement.
The event is open to youths who question their faith or are looking for answers, along with those who are excited about their faith, Silva said.
Convivio delegations came from Massachusetts, Texas and Colorado. Maria Salazar, a high-school freshman from Denver, said that she attended because she wanted to grow stronger in her faith.
“I honestly thought it was going to be one of those normal retreats and not a lot of fun, but after the first day, I had so much joy I couldn’t contain it,” she said. “I wanted to stay there and grow closer in friendship with Christ and the people around me.”
Salazar said Eucharistic adoration and singing together with other retreat attendees were her favorite parts of the congress.
Silva said her favorite part of Convivio is witnessing young people change from Friday to Sunday. “On Friday, they are insecure, and they don’t want to step out of their comfort zone,” she said. Attendees become more self-giving and appear “completely transformed” by Sunday.
Past Convivio participants say they have formed long and lasting friendships over the weekend, rooted in their common love for Jesus Christ.
From left, Sacred Heart University students Meaghan Garrigal ’15, Lea DeRosa ’15, Anthony Tartaglia ’16 and Stefani Wren ’16 have developed the Last Straw Campaign on campus to raise awareness about gun control in the wake of the Newtown tragedy in December. They announced the launch of the campaign at the University’s “Reflecting on Sandy Hook” colloquium on March 18. Photo by Tracy Deer-Mirek
FAIRFIELD—Amid a widespread gun control controversy sweeping the country, a group of Sacred Heart University students have come up with an innovative way to create awareness on their own.
Students from Professor Steven Michels’ Intro to American Government class have developed the Last Straw Campaign. Their goal is to collect 100,000 straws to represent the 100,000 gun victims in the United States each year.
Professor Michels’ original project was a group assignment to create a simulated public event in an area representing gun control, education, transportation, energy, health care or the environment. The group that took on gun control – sophomores Lea DeRosa, Meaghan Garrigal and freshmen Kyle Martin, Anthony Tartaglia and Stefani Wren – decided they could turn their idea into more than just a classroom project. “My classmates and I really hope that this project will expand to other schools, other towns and even other states,” Wren said.
The group came up with the idea of creating a Facebook group and Twitter account to take advantage of the widespread use of social media in the world today. Michels not only liked their idea, but wanted them to take it a step further. “What the group came up with was so simple and clever that I thought we had to actually do it. It would have been a shame not to do it, and the group was thrilled when I suggested that they go ahead with it. While everyone else was away for spring break, we spent our time sending e-mails back and forth to get our game plan in order,” he said.
The class assignment has blossomed into a campus-wide campaign headed by the five group members. “I was talking about how the Sandy Hook tragedy should have been the last straw, and then it hit us. We decided we should start a campaign called The Last Straw,” Wren said.
With the accumulation of “likes” on the Facebook page, following the Twitter account and having individuals send in their own straws, the group hopes to demonstrate their support for restrictions on gun ownership. “We hope to expand this campaign and become known, so that hopefully we can make a difference and really try to put an end to it. I, along with my group members and the rest of the class, are working toward getting our campaign known not only locally, but trying to expand to other places as well,” Wren added.
The group hopes to have 100,000 straws by December 14, 2013, which will be the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings. The Facebook page was established on February 25, and already has more than 300 “likes.” The campaign also has already begun receiving straws. Once they have reached their deadline, the students intend to take their awareness one step further. “We want to deliver the straws to Congress in Washington D.C., on the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy. We want to end instances such as Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora and so many more from happening by making a change and taking a stand. Make your straw the last straw,” said Tartaglia.
Michels continues to be impressed with the work and dedication of all his students. “The class is learning about American government from the perspective of what it means to be an active and responsible citizen—engaged in the real work on communities: learning about issues, having their voices heard and, hopefully, making a difference. It’s been a great deal of work, and we haven’t even really started counting yet. But it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had as a teacher. I think this is college education at its best,” he said.
Donated straws can be sent to the Sacred Heart mailroom at Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Avenue, Fairfield, CT 06825.
Courtesy of the Vatican on Youtube
Imagine getting a call from Pope Francis explaining that he would like your advice concerning the most important issues facing the Catholic Church and the world.
If he asked you, “What kind of pope does the church and world need at this moment in history?” What would you say to him?
Well, if our new Holy Father asked me that question, I would first of all suggest that he deeply reflect on the challenge given to him by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the cardinals.
In his homily during the Mass before the election of a new pope, Cardinal Sodano said in light of Christ’s teachings to love and serve the church and all of humanity, “the last popes have been builders of so many good initiatives for people and for the international community, tirelessly promoting justice and peace.”
He then added this challenge: “Let us pray that the future pope may continue this unceasing work on the world level.”
My sentiments exactly!
Throughout much of the world, where ongoing war has become the norm, and where even nuclear war is not only thinkable but a real possibility – consider North Korea’s recent threats to strike the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons, and U.S. counter threats – having a pope who is deeply committed to “tirelessly promoting justice and peace” is an absolute necessity!
In addition to the inhumanity of war, Pope Francis faces a whole host of serious threats to human life and dignity.
In response to the catastrophic assaults and cold-hearted indifference experienced by countless persons who are unborn, poor, hungry, homeless, jobless, medically uninsured, undocumented, and on death row, our new pope needs to ceaselessly and courageously stand up and proclaim “No!” to all of this cruel injustice.
And I would ask him to urge all the clergy to do the same with their preaching and example.
Also, I would request that the Holy Father mandate that all seminarians be given a much expanded exposure to Catholic social teaching. And that they be required to spend one year of their formation ministering to, and being ministered by, the poor in economically underdeveloped nations, as well as in their own country. This immersion experience would go a long way in deepening the sensitivity of clergy and laity alike to the many injustices suffered by the poor.
Additionally, I would urge Pope Francis to take to heart, further develop, and strongly attempt to infuse into the everyday life of the Catholic Church the prophetic social justice and peace teachings of his recent predecessors.
Here would be an excellent place to start: Following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Blessed Pope John Paul II declared, “No, never again, war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution to the very problems which provoked the war.”
Here Blessed John Paul contributed to the development of recent papal teaching that is steadily shifting the Catholic Church away from the just-war theory towards nonviolent solutions based on justice and love.
I would urge Pope Francis to take the final remaining step here, and declare that war is never just, and is always to be condemned as a curse upon humanity!
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist.
Monsignor Robert Weiss, more commonly known by
his congregation at St. Rose of Lima parish in Newtown
and others in town as Father Bob, has been with
the parish for fourteen years.
(Richard Messina, Hartford Courant / March 7, 2013)
NEWTOWN—As he stood near the front door of the Sandy Hook Elementary School on the morning of Dec. 14, shattered glass near his feet, Monsignor Robert Weiss knew he was as close to evil as he would ever get.
Newtown police officers had asked the pastor of nearby St. Rose of Lima church to go into the school and bless the bodies of the 26 people, including 20 children, massacred only moments earlier by Adam Lanza.
Weiss, known as Father Bob to almost everyone in the tight-knit community, was the first religious person on the scene. He said he felt an obligation to the souls lost inside until he got close enough to see heavily armed police officers still running into the school.
"Some of the officers had told me that I didn't want to see what was in those classrooms,'' Weiss said. "I didn't think there was a need to go into the school.''
Weiss said a prayer for the dead near the front entrance and then went back up to the nearby firehouse. It was then that he began to realize the enormity of the tragedy facing the families of the dead and the town itself.
The monsignor stayed at the firehouse all day and then went back to his church, located not more than a mile from the school, to help lead an impromptu memorial service that drew more than 1,000 people.
"I really wasn't sure what I was going to say, but I kept thinking love has to be here," Weiss said recently during an interview at the church rectory.
Weiss told the crowd, which included the Gov, Dannel P. Malloy, that "evil visited us but we have to get through it and find some good."
It became a theme for the town. Variations of what Weiss said that night about "choosing good" are now on bumper stickers, signs and logos.
Nearly three months since the massacre, Weiss remains a central figure — as a confidant for families still struggling with losing their children, and as a calming influence by town officials who have asked him to serve as one of five committee members who will determine how to distribute the more than $10 million collected through the United Way after the tragedy.
Weiss gets invited to events every day. He passed up a chance to meet the Boston Bruins to sit with The Courant. He has been interviewed by Katie Couric and British newspapers.
The attention has left the 66-year-old, who has been at St. Rose for 13 years and is celebrating his 40th anniversary in the priesthood this year, more than a little overwhelmed and uncomfortable — particularly since he still is having a hard time processing what happened at the Sandy Hook school.
"The whole thing is unreal to me," Weiss said fighting back tears. "Many times I've thought, 'How in God's name could this happen?' We all have horrible things to deal with in our lives but nothing this horrible."
Then The Phone Rang
The morning of Dec. 14 started like almost every other for Weiss. He went to the Sandy Hook Diner and had a plate of his favorite French toast. With no parish Mass planned that Friday morning, the priest was looking forward to a quiet morning in the rectory "wrapping Christmas presents."
Then the phone rang.
It was the Newtown Police Department, ordering him to lockdown the St. Rose School because there had been a report of a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. As it happened, all 359 students at the Catholic K-8 school were in the church for their weekly Mass when Weiss walked in and told school administrators to put students in lockdown.
Weiss then drove toward Sandy Hook Elementary, stopping at the firehouse when he saw teachers trying to organize students by grade after bringing them down from the school.
"I had several kids that knew me come up and give me a hug. There was one little girl who grabbed me by a belt loop in back and wouldn't let go. They were looking for comfort," Weiss said.
Weiss then ran down to the elementary school parking lot, where he found "organized chaos." Emergency medical personnel were waiting for victims that never came. Officers were still arriving and running in and out of the school, parents were looking for their children.
When he went back to the firehouse, Weiss saw one group of parents being led to a separate room. Many were still hopeful their children were alive.
Copyright © 2013, The Hartford Courant
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis is "a Jesuit's Jesuit" who understands the importance of St. Francis of Assisi in the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, said the Jesuits' secretary for the promotion of the faith.
U.S. Jesuit Father Gerald Blaszczak told Catholic News Service March 15 that while most Jesuits were shocked that a Jesuit was elected pope, "any Jesuit worth his salt" would not be surprised that the pope took the name of St. Francis of Assisi.
Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1958 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1969. He had been novice master and, from 1973 to 1979, was the Jesuit provincial for Argentina.
Father Blaszczak said Pope Francis' training and priesthood as a Jesuit "tell you that he's been steeped in Ignatian spirituality," has had "a top-notch secular education" and that "his formation has always put him in touch with real people in real-life situations," which he then has reflected upon in an effort to identify the ways God was present.
"That he chose the name Francis signals to us where he's from, what he's about and what he believes the reform of the church is going to require: It's not going to require moral muscle, it's not going to require just philosophical analysis; it's going to require an engagement with the person of Christ," particularly through the Scriptures, he said. "But it's going to be the Christ poor and humble."
While some people thought maybe Pope Francis took his name thinking also of the great Jesuit St. Francis Xavier, Father Blaszczak said Jesuits know just how important the life, example and spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi was in the conversion of their founder, St. Ignatius, and in the development of what has come to be known as Ignatian spirituality.
St. Ignatius, who lived 1491-1556, was from a Spanish noble family. After being wounded in battle, he began reviewing his life and thinking about his future. Father Blaszczak said he saw his choices as life and a career in the royal court or a life spent imitating St. Francis of Assisi.
"For Ignatius, Francis is the alternative to the life of the world. Francis, with his itinerant ministry and his intense devotion to the life of Christ and his ascetical lifestyle," is the counterbalance to the worldly life in the court, the Jesuit said.
"Ignatius, as he admits himself, was given to womanizing, gambling and feats of arms," but at the time of his conversion, "to his great surprise," Ignatius finds himself "much more attracted, much more consoled, enlivened and given joy when he thinks about imitating the life of St. Francis," the founder of the Franciscans, who died in 1226.
Father Blaszczak said Catholics already have a good hint of how Ignatian and Franciscan spirituality might impact the way Pope Francis exercises his ministry "in the way he engaged the people of Rome" when he first stepped out onto the balcony as their bishop and pope March 13 "with great simplicity, with minimal pomp and circumstance."
The Jesuit said he expected Pope Francis to continue as much as possible to live as he did while cardinal and archbishop of Buenos Aires, with "simplicity and austerity in conformity with the life of Ignatius and Francis, in conformity with his intention to follow Christ poor and humble."
The focus of St. Ignatius, St. Francis and "historically of our new pope" when he was bishop was to be closest to the poor and those on the margins of society, he said.
The modern papacy, however, has included a certain style dictated by protocol and respect for the pope.
Father Blaszczak said he did not think that would frustrate Pope Francis.
"From the conversations I've had with my Latin American Jesuit colleagues, this is a man who knows his own mind. This is a man who is not afraid of choosing and marking his own direction," he said.
He also said he did not think the life of the Society of Jesus would change much with a Jesuit in the Apostolic Palace, because "we are bound to the service of the church through our connection and availability to the Holy Father, and that doesn't change" no matter who is pope.
The Jesuits promise not to seek high offices in the church, which explains in part why there has never been a Jesuit pope before. However, Father Blaszczak said, that Jesuit promise is secondary to their promise to always be available for whatever mission the church needs them to take on.
A PARADE DAY—The Diocesan celebration of St. Patrick's Day began with celebration of Mass by Msgr. Jerald A. Doyle on Friday March 15, at St.Augustine Cathedral in downtown Bridgeport.
After Mass, students from diocesan Catholic schools marched in Bridgeport's St. Patrick's Day Parade. This year, under the leadership of Robert O'Keefe of Trumbull, the parade introduce a new Catholic Schools Division. Students proudly displayed the new banner as they marched. Sister Mary Grace Walsh, new diocesan superintendent of schools, joined Mr. O'Keefe in the division car to wave to people along the parade route and enjoy the day.
Deacon Joseph Farley, retired Deacon of St. Leo Parish in Stamford, and former Director of the Diocesan Immigration Office, passed away on March 16.
He is remembered fondly by many as a man of good heart, positive spirit, and strong commitment to others. Upon his retirement in 2005, Bishop William E. Lori praised Deacon Farley, "As a servant after the mind and heart of Christ, you have helped us, as a family of faith, to welcome strangers with compassion and love. You have assisted the Diocese also in welcoming priests and religious who serve our diverse Catholic population. All this has required of you hard and patient work and a detailed knowledge of immigration law and practice. In thanking you, Joe, I echo the gratitude of the many lives your special ministry has touched."
Calling Hours, Monday, March 18 from 4:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M., at Cognetta Funeral Home, 104 Myrtle Avenue, Stamford
* Mass of Christian Burial, Tuesday, March 19, 10:00 A.M. at St. Leo Church, 24 Roxbury road, Stamford.
* Burial will follow the Mass, at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Hawthorne, NY.
Read Full Obituary
On behalf of the faithful of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Msgr. Jerald A. Doyle has expressed joy that a new Pope has been elected, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who has taken the name Francis.
Today, the Catholics of Fairfield County join with the 1.2 billion Catholics in celebrating the announcement and asking the Lord’s blessing on him.
This is an historic and exciting moment in that Francis is the first Pope from the Americas. We look forward to his leadership as he represents the faith and aspirations of people across the globe.
It is reported that he is a man of deep humility, commitment to the poor, and passion for evangelization. He is also known to his brother Bishops for his extraordinary intellectual and cultural strengths in the Jesuit tradition, and as a man who will not only provide great personal witness but also be avoice for justice, peace and human dignity.
We pray for his well- being and for the blessings of the Holy Spirit on his leadership as the Church faces the many challenges and opportunities ahead.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Jesuit brethren of the new Pope Francis I were as surprised as anyone when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was announced March 13 as the first Jesuit to be elected pope.
Jesuit Father Gerard Stockhausen, executive secretary of the Jesuit Conference USA, told Catholic News Service that when Cardinal Bergoglio's name was announced from the Vatican balcony, he didn't realize immediately that it was a fellow member of the Society of Jesus, the religious order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola in 1534.
Jesuits generally don't seek higher offices in the church, Father Stockhausen said. "There are relatively few who are bishops even. We don't ordinarily take on those posts."
Even the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, told reporters: "Personally, I'm a bit shocked to have a Jesuit pope. Jesuits think of themselves as servants, not authorities in church."
"Jesuits resist being named bishop or cardinal. To be named pope -- wow," Father Lombardi said. "Must have been result of strong call."
In Dajabon, Dominican Republic, Jesuit Father Regino Martinez, called it "a moment of great hope and opportunity for the church."
He said Pope Francis as the first Latin American pope also offers "an opportunity to support the work being done in the Latin American church and a show of support for Latin Americans."
Father Stockhausen said that even those Jesuits who do become cardinals "tend not to move in 'cardinal circles,' where they get to know each other. That's not our world."
He acknowledged that Jesuits are generally thought of as highly educated, and "men of the world."
There's a saying that goes "'Francis (of Assisi) loved the countryside, Dominic loved the countryside and Ignatius loved the cities,' we're 'worldly' in the good sense of the word," he said.
Jesuits also have a reputation for being careful decision-makers, particularly if they follow the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, said Father Stockhausen. The exercises lead one to make decisions not out of personal interests or attachments, he said, but out of where the Spirit is leading through prayer.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has announced Pope Francis’ schedule for the coming days, which will begin with Mass today in the Sistine Chapel together with the cardinals at 5pm.
It is expected that Pope Francis will pay a private visit to Santa Maria Maggiore today as well, asking for the Blessed Virgin’s protection and intercession during his pontificate.
On March 15 at 11am, he will officially welcome and address the cardinals, both those who elected him and those who are over 80.
On Saturday, March 16, Pope Francis will hold an audience for journalists and media representatives in the Paul VI hall. He will give an Angelus address on Sunday.
Pope Francis’ inauguration as Bishop of Rome will be held Tuesday, March 19, the feast day of St. Joseph. The inauguration Mass is to be held in St. Peter’s Square.
Read more on National Catholic Register's website
Video Courtesy of Salt and Light TV
Kathleen Politica was the 2012 Annual
Bishop’s Appeal Poster Contest
participant from St. Marks Parish, Stratford.
BRIDGEPORT—“We can change the world with just a little faith” is the powerful message on the brochure that kicks off the 2013 Diocese of Bridgeport Annual Bishop’s Appeal. It was written by a young parishioner of St. Mark Parish in Stratford.
Kathleen Politica submitted the poster last year as part of a diocesan contest that encouraged children to celebrate the work of the Church. “I wanted to show people that if one person can help someone, then maybe others will hear about it and help someone else. One person can cause great change. I hope that my poster shows that many people can help by supporting the ministries of the Annual Bishop’s Appeal,” says Kathleen.
“Faith and good works come together each year in the Annual Appeal,” said Msgr. Jerald A. Doyle, diocesan administrator. “They are at the core of our work as a diocese and our commitment to each other.”
Pope Benedict XVI echoed those words in his recent Lenten statement. He said that faith and charity can never be separated nor opposed to each other, just as faith by itself isn’t genuine without charity.
“Faith is knowing the truth and adhering to it; charity is ‘walking’ in the truth,” the Pope said in his annual message. “Faith is genuine only if crowned by charity.”
The “Beacon of Hope” theme will once again guide the 2013 Annual Bishop’s Appeal, that will be launched in parishes throughout the diocese on the weekend of February 26-27.
Funds raised are the major source of support for diocesan ministries and social programs that benefit families and individuals throughout Fairfield County. This year’s goal is $12 million.
Msgr. Doyle has encouraged everyone to donate early in order to help the diocese save on printing and postage costs.
Jeff Machi, chief development officer of the diocese, said parishioners in the 82 parishes across the diocese will begin to receive Appeal materials, including the new Beacon of Hope brochure that focuses on vocations, Catholic Charities and education.
“Having the resources and readiness to respond to needs across the diocese is an important ongoing goal,” adds Machi. “From the tragedy in Newtown to the dayto- day challenges of serving the poor and helping our children, we’ve seen people turn to faith communities when their lives are in crisis. The Appeal gives the resources to respond both in the short and long term.”
Machi points out that many of the programs and services provided by the diocese are available nowhere else. Their faith-based response makes them unique and powerful when people are in crisis.
Last year more than 1.3 million meals were served through Catholic Charities and food pantries throughout the diocese, including the major centers such as Merton Center in Bridgeport, New Covenant in Stamford and Morning Glory program based at Dorothy Day House in Danbury.
At a time when many individuals and families are under stress due to job loss or other problems, Catholic Charities has provided 15,000 counseling sessions related to its marriage and family therapy, medications management and other programs for at-risk children and families.
Gifts to the Appeal also make the presence of the diocese strongly felt in its outreach to the elderly. Last year, 22,000 visits to nursing homes residents and hospital patients were made by diocesan chaplains who provided spiritual care to the sick and their families.
Likewise, the Appeal helped support 48 retired priests, including 17 now in residence at the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of Clergy Residence in Stamford. Many of these priests were beloved pastors who continue to help out on weekends in parishes across the diocese.
Last year, the 38 Catholic schools throughout the diocese educated over 10,000 children in pre-K through high school through its faith-based approach and emphasis on academic excellence.
Through the Annual Appeal and gifts of individual donors, the diocese also was able to provide 1,323 financial scholarships, which made it possible for inner-city and low-income families to send their children to Catholic schools.
The Appeal also made it possible for 36 men who are discerning the priesthood to continue their studies at St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford as well as at major seminaries.
Checks may be made payable to the Annual Bishop’s Appeal, and a credit card gift may be made online or by pledge card. All gifts will be acknowledged by the diocese and are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Erin Puglia and Liam Coyle
The Greater Bridgeport St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has chosen its Mr. and Miss Shamrock for this year’s parade to be held on Friday, March 15. Both Mr. and Miss Shamrock are Trumbull residents. Mr. Shamrock Liam Coyle is a senior at Fairfield Prep and Miss Shamrock Erin Puglia is a senior at Trumbull High School.
Liam plays football and lacrosse at Fairfield Prep and serves as president of Prep’s first Irish Cultural Club. He also performs community service at the ABCD Head Start program in Bridgeport.
Erin is a Trumbull Board of Education student representative, and is a member of the We the People team, Key Club, French Club and Red Cross Club. She also serves as a Bible Camp Counselor, St. Theresa’s Church Catechist Aide and St. Vincent’s Hospital Aide.
This year’s parade activities will begin with Mass at St. Augustine’s Cathedral at 8 a.m. followed by the Flag Raising at Bridgeport City Hall at 9:15. Breakfast will follow at the Holiday Inn at 10 a.m. The parade will kick off at noon from Harbor Yard followed by lunch at the Holiday Inn at 1:30 p.m. Among the many bands performing will be the Trumbull High School Golden Eagle Marching Band.
Tickets are available for breakfast at $20 each and lunch for $25 each, by calling Nancy at 203-268-9657. The deadline for tickets is March 11.