Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Archbishop Marini hospitalized

There are rumors in Rome that Archbishop Piero Marini, Papal Master of Ceremonies, was admitted to Gemelli Hospital on Monday. The details of his condition are not available and no official statement has been made. It seems to be the common belief that his illness is cardiac related.

I did notice during the numerous consistory events that Archbishop Marini seemed tired, distracted and off his game.

I spoke with him briefly on Friday afternoon and he seemed to be stressed. Perhaps the hectic events of the week were simply too much for him.
On a related note, the Holy Father also seemed very tired as the week went on. At the least, I know they exhausted me.

Let us pray that the Archbishop recovers his health quickly and returns to the Holy Father's side.

Photo by Domini Sumus

Back from the Vatican

I am back. Being at the consistory and all the surrounding events was an amazing experience.

I will be posting the details soon and will backtrack. I wrote all my posts while I was there, but unfortunately I was unable to post them.

Photo by Domini Sumus

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More on the Consistory

VATICAN CITY, MAR 21, 2006 (VIS) - On Friday, March 24, Benedict XVI will celebrate his first Ordinary Public Consistory, during which he will create 15 new cardinals. Including the newcomers the College of Cardinals will, on that day, have 193 members of whom 120, those under the age of 80, enjoy the right to participate in a conclave for the election of a new Pope.

Following Friday's consistory Europe will have 100 cardinals of whom 60 have the right to vote, while the Americas will have 52 cardinals (20 from North America and 32 from South America) with 36 electors. There will be 17 African cardinals with 9 electors, 20 Asian cardinals with 13 electors, and four cardinals from Oceania with 2 electors.

Italy remains the country with the largest number of cardinals, 40 in all including three who will be created on March 24. It is followed by the United States with 15 cardinals , and by France and Spain with nine each.

Tomorrow's consistory will take place according to the new rite introduced at the consistory of June 28, 1991. After a liturgical greeting, the Holy Father will read the formula of creation and solemnly proclaim the names of the new cardinals. The first of the new cardinals, in the name of all the others, will address the Pope.

Following the Liturgy of the Word, the Holy Father will deliver a homily. There will then be the profession of faith and taking of the oath by the new cardinals, the imposition of the red "biretta" or hat and assignment of the titular or diaconate church in Rome as a sign of participation in the Pope's pastoral concern for the city.

The Holy Father will hand over the Bull of Creation as cardinal and that of assignment of titular or diaconate church, and exchange an embrace of peace with the new cardinals. The cardinals will then do the same with each other. The rite will conclude with the prayer of the Faithful, the recitation of the Our Father and the final blessing.

Packed and Ready

I will be leaving for Rome in a few short hours. I have never been to Europe before so this will be a new experience for me. Actually, I have never been anywhere English is not the native language. Does Quebec count? Eh, everyone there speaks English. They just don't want to.

Expect lots and lots of pictures from the Consistory and the surrounding events. I have tickets to 6 events, so keep checking back. I will update as often as possible.

Please remember to pray for these 15 holy men who will beome Cardinals. Please pray for the Church and for all those who serve her and will serve her in the future.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Interview

The Boston Globe has published the complete transcript from their interview with Cardinal-Designate O'Malley. It is long, 13 pages, but definately worth reading.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

One in 500

Ok...breaking news:
I am going to the consistory. To me, this is a once in a lifetime experience. I am so excited to go to Rome and Vatican City, to see the Pope, but most of all, to see Archbishop Sean become a Cardinal.

Between the consistory, the receptions, the Mass of the Rings, the first Mass as cardinal and all the other events, I doubt I will be able to see much of the city, but I really don't care.

The Boston Globe write a nice article.

Friday, March 17, 2006

In Memoriam

VATICAN CITY, MAR 17, 2006 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Cardinal Pio Taofinu'u S.M., archbishop emeritus of Samoa-Apia, on January 20, at the age of 82.

- Bishop Joao Jose Burke O.F.M., of Miracema do Tocantins, Brazil, on March 14 at the age of 70.

- Archbishop Giovanni Ceirano, apostolic nuncio, on January 30, at the age of 78.

- Bishop Jean Hermil, emeritus of Viviers, France, on March 10 at the age of 88.

- Bishop Antonio de Hornedo Correa S.J., emeritus of Chachapoyas, Peru, on January 10 at the age of 90.

- Archbishop Mario Epifanio Abdallah Mgulunde of Tabora, Tanzania, on March 14 at the age of 74.

- Bishop John Joseph Paul, emeritus of La Crosse, U.S.A., on March 5 at the age of 87.

- Archbishop Donato Squicciarini, apostolic nuncio, on March 5 at the age of 78.

- Bishop Ramon Artemio Staffolani, emeritus of Villa de la Concepcion del Rio Cuarto, Argentina, on March 8 at the age of 75.

- Archbishop Antonio Maria Travia, former almsgiver of His Holiness, on February 5 at the age of 92.
.../DEATHS/... VIS 060317 (200)

Confessions of St. Patrick

I came to the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure the taunts of unbelievers, putting up with reproaches about my earthly pilgrimage, suffering many persecutions, even bondage, and losing my birthright of freedom for the benefit of others. If I am worthy, I am ready also to give up my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for Christ's name. I want to spend myself for that country, even in death, if the Lord should grant me this favor. It is among that people that I want to wait for the promise made by him, who assuredly never tells a lie. He makes this promise in the Gospel: "They shall come from the east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." This is our faith: believers are to come from the whole world.
From the Confessions of Saint Patrick

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Christ be beside me, Christ be before me,
Christ be behind me, King of my heart.
Christ be within me, Christ be below me,
Christ be above me, never to part.

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,
Christ all around me, shield in the strife.
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising, light of my heart.

Christ be in all hearts thinking about me,
Christ be on all tongues telling of me.
Christ be the vision in eyes that see me,
In ears that hear me Christ ever be.
Críost ar gach taobh díom; Críost amach romham;
Críost taobh thiar díom; Mo dhídean sa ghá
Críost I mo chroí istigh, Críost fúm is tharam;
Críost do mo thacu, mo neart os cionn cách.

Críost ar mo dheasláimh, Críost ar mo chlé dom;
Críost I mo thimpeall, mo sciath is mo scáth.
Críost I mo luí dom, Críost I mo shuí dom,
Críost liom ar m'éirí, á adhradh gach lá.

Críost I ngach éinne a mbímse 'na intinn;
Críost I ngach béal bhíonn ag labhairt liom nó fúm.
Críost isna súile dhearcann im' éadan;
Críost isna cluasa a éisteann lem'rún.
Gaelic Verses from

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fishers of Men

The USCCB has authorized a powerful new film on vocations called "Fishers of Men". It is meant to strengthen and inspire priests as well as to encourage new vocations.

If the movie is 1/2 as inspiring as the trailer I think it will be a success.
watch the trailer at

I am not a priest, nor do I want to be one. I am happy being a woman and very happy with my ministry, but watching that trailer made me happy to be a collaborator with the clergy and a worker in the church

The Bible and the Church

In the early Church, the Scriptures were revered and passed down orally and through the written word. These stories and accounts of Jesus connected them to Jesus and allowed them to spread his teachings. As time went on, the Bible became less and less important.

During the Protestant Reformation, the Protestant denominations became focused on Scripture, while the Catholic Church became more focused on the Sacraments.

Catholics were discouraged from reading the Bible. In fact, in many convents, not even the nuns read the Bible. Catholics received their biblical knowledge from reading the translated readings in their missals and by hearing the sermons of the priest. Many Catholics were told that if they read the Bible they wouldn’t understand it. I think much of the Church’s concern was that the laity wouldn’t be able to differentiate between the truth and myth in Scripture.

Things began to change in 1943 when Pope Pius XII wrote the encyclical “Divino Afflante Spiritu”. In this encyclical, Pope Pius XII encouraged the scholarly study of Scripture. He advised scholars to study the writings in their original languages. While this was a great advancement for the Church, it fell short of inviting the average Catholic to read and study the Bible.

Vatican Council II was a turning point in the Church. In 1965, Pope Paul VI promulgated the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation “Dei Verbum”.(Word of God)
Dei Verbum declares that Scripture is integral to the Magisterium of the Church. It says,

“It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.”

Later in the document all Catholics are encouraged to study the Bible. It says,

“Easy access to Sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful. That is why the Church from the very beginning accepted as her own that very ancient Greek translation; of the Old Testament which is called the septuagint; and she has always given a place of honor to other Eastern translations and Latin ones especially the Latin translation known as the vulgate. But since the word of God should be accessible at all times, the Church by her authority and with maternal concern sees to it that suitable and correct translations are made into different languages, especially from the original texts of the sacred books. And should the opportunity arise and the Church authorities approve, if these translations are produced in cooperation with the separated brethren as well, all Christians will be able to use them.”

Since Vatican II, more and more Catholics have been reading and studying the Bible both formally and informally. Many parishes have Bible studies lead by either a priest or a layperson trained in Scripture. There are also Church groups, such as RENEW, where Catholics gather in small groups to read Scripture, share faith and discuss how what is written in the Bible applies to everyday life. Most Liturgical music, especially new music, is based on Scripture passages, especially the psalms. While Catholics are learning about the Bible in many traditional as well as new and different ways, but I think we still have a long way to go.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Youth in the Church

My parish is blessed to have to many young people involved in the parish. they serve as lectors, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, altar servers, greeters, collectors. They also help at parish fundraisers and at our soup kitchen. Yeah, sometimes these young people don't always look the way we wish they did and we are trying to impress that upon them without turning them away.

Several of them are seriously considering vocations but I think they are all keeping it as an option.

These young people are truly the future of the church. They are our future priests, deacons, religious, & parents. Too many people don't realize the potential within them. We have one teenage boy who really looks like something that crawled out of the gutter. With his long unwashed hair, straggly beard, chains and wristcuffs no one would think that he is a faithful altar server and one of our best servers are parish dinners. More than that, no one would think that his favorite subject to study is theology and he is considering entering the priesthood. I hope he cleans up his look before entering the seminary though.

While I am in no way endorsing his appearance, I think it is a reminder to look beyond appearances and see the person for who they truly are. After all, St. Francis must have looked like quite a character.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Where Jesus Speaks

Below is an excerpt from Zenit's translation Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa's homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent. It struck me as something that needed repeating.

"It can be said that there is no newspaper or radio station that does not offer daily its readers or hearers their horoscope. For mature persons, gifted with a minimum capacity for criticism and irony, it is no more than an innocuous joke, a kind of game or pastime.

Meanwhile, however, let us consider the long-term effects. What mentality is formed, especially in children and adolescents? A mentality according to which success in life does not depend on effort, diligence in studies and constancy in work, but of imponderable external factors; being able to acquire certain powers -- one's own or others' -- for one's own benefit.

Worse still: All this leads one to think that, in good and evil, the responsibility is not ours, but of the "stars," as Don Ferrante thought, of Manzonian memory.

I must allude to another realm in which Jesus does not speak and where, however, he is made to speak all the time: that of private revelations, heavenly messages, apparitions and voices of various kinds.

I do not say that Christ or the Virgin cannot also speak through these means. They have done so in the past and they can do so, of course, also today.It is only that before taking for granted that it is Jesus or the Virgin, and not someone's sick imagination, or worse, of fraudsters who speculate with people's good faith, it is necessary to have guarantees.

In this area, it is necessary to wait for the judgment of the Church, and not precede it. Dante's words are still timely: "Christians, be firmer when you move: do not be like feathers in the wind."St. John of the Cross said that ever since the Father said about Jesus on Tabor: "Listen to him!" God made himself, in a certain sense, dumb. He has said it all; he has nothing new to reveal.

Those who ask for new revelations or answers, offend him, as if he has yet to explain himself clearly. God continues to say to all the same word: "Listen to him, read the Gospel: You will find there, no more and no less, all that you seek.""

Real Liturgical Abuses

I was criticized on another board for encouraging my pastor to remove the holy water in the fonts and to fill the fonts with sand during the Lenten season. I really think some people need to start criticizing the real Liturgical abuses.

For example what happened at the funeral I played for today....

The celebrant was a religious order priest. He greeted the casket and the mourners at the door of the church as usual and everything was fine until he reached the altar. Once everyone was in their places, he asked them to sit. He then read a rather lengthy meditation piece that while lovely, really should have been incorporated into his homily. Then the readings were proclaimed complete with the celebrants redactions (rather awkward inclusive language). After the homily, he went directly to preparing the altar. He completely left out the General Intercessions. I do not know if this was intentional or accidental, but I suspect it was intentional. The Eucharistic Prayers were also redacted. Thankfully everything else on the celebrants end was in order. During Communion, I watched as a woman received and I assume had some crumbs left on her hands, so she casually brushed them off as she walked back to her seat. I was appalled. I resisted the urge to pick them up off the floor, but I restrained myself until Mass was over.

Unfortunately, this was not the worst example of Liturgical abuse I have seen. Oh no, I have been at Masses where the parishoners of St. Joan of Arc would be quite a home. Luckily, I am at a parish with a pastor who would never allow such abuses to take place on his watch.

Forget the sand in the fonts and go after the real Liturgical abuses.

Washburn University Statue

The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal regarding the anti-Catholic statue called "Holier than Thou" which is displayed on the Washburn University campus.
The bronze statue is of a portly bishop with a grotesque facial expression wearing a miter that strongly resembles a phallis. The caption on the base of the statue is degrading to the sacrament of reconciliation.

It is my opinion that Catholics are the current acceptable group to attack. Had this statue been of a rabbi or an imam, the outcry would have been universal. That is a true shame.

Inconsistencies in Accusation

One day after the Spokane Catholic Diocese revealed Bishop William Skylstad has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, questions mount about his effectiveness as a leader.

News4 has learned that only the Vatican can remove a Bishop from his ministry. Diocese attorneys say a national policy adopted in the U-S dealing with abuse claims says the priest should not be removed from office without sufficient evidence.

In this case, the claim is being kept secret by the court but attorneys for the accuser confirmed to News4 it is a woman living in Europe now who claims to have been abused by Skylstad in the early 1960's while at St. Patricks and Gonzaga.

The bishop categorically denies the claim, and the church says they have no record of Skylstad ever serving at St. Patricks during that time.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

United States Bishops Launch Website to Counter DaVinci Code

The Catholic Communication Campaign has launched a great new website, "Jesus Decoded", to counter the fallacies in the DaVinci Code. A few of the topics covered include: Opus Dei, Mary Magdalene, celibacy,and Ecumenical Councils.

There will also be a TV special which will air on certain NBC stations. Check the "Jesus Decoded" website for the day and time for your local station. It might not be a bad idea to call your local station and encourage them to air it.

The "Jesus Decoded" TV special will be available by mid-April on DVD from USCCB Publishing for $19.95. A companion booklet, "The Authentic Jesus," sells for $2.50, and a box of 100 parish bulletin inserts on the same theme sells for $12. Prices do not include shipping and handling. Orders may be placed by phone at: (800) 235-8722. They may also be available at your local Catholic bookstore.

Visit the Website Here

Manufacturer's Notice

It has come to our attention that the pastor you received was shipped with a slight defect: he is not psychic. This defect necessitates certain special procedures to ensure optimum performance of your unit.

1. It is necessary to inform him of any members who are hospitalized.
2. It is necessary to inform him of any members who should be added to the "shut-in" list.
3. If someone you know is sick or otherwise in need of the pastor's prayers, or if you know of someone who should be included in the prayers on Sunday morning, the pastor must be told, or he won't know.
4. If you are in need of a pastoral visit or some other service from the pastor, you will get best results if you ask him.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause. If these special procedures create an undue burden, please feel free to send the unit back, and one with full psychic abilities will be shipped as soon as one becomes available.

Money and Success

A few years ago I was training a class of altar servers and one of the children told me that he was thinking about becoming a priest. His mother instantly reprimanded him and said,

"You aren't going to be a priest. You are going to be successful".

I told the boy that I was very happy that he was considering a religious vocation, but he was very young. Then I instructed him to always keep his mind open to a religious vocation but to not commit to anything now nor to feel bad if he changed his mind later on. Then I addressed the mother.

There have been few things that have taken me aback quite like that comment. I wonder how many people measure success by the size of a persons paycheck. I measure success by the effect a person has on the world and the lives of those around them. I like to think I am successful, although I know I am not using my gifts to their fullest. I think most of the priests I know would consider themselves successful.

I am horrified to know there are church-going Catholics who don't consider their priests successful or even think their vocations are valuable endeavors. I guess they would rather have the local doctor, lawyer or engineer perform their funerals.

Money and Pleasure

We live in an age where money and pleasure have taken the place of God.

When I was a teenager, one of my cousins was questioning my lifestyle choices. She thought it was totally insane that I was planning to make ministry my career choice. She complained that I would never become wealthy on a lay-ministers salary. She made her opinions of me very clear through her words and actions. She also ridiculed me for not having a string of boyfriends and spending my nights clubbing. (At the time I didn't have one because I hadn't found anyone I thought was worth the time.) She said I was too particular and because of that I would never get married.

Here we are 10 years later. I am happily married and have been so for almost 6 wonderful years. She is single and still doesn't have a husband, fiance or even a serious relationship. She has just returned to living at home after her third co-habitating relationship has broken up. I have a job that I love. I work approximately 15 hours a week and I earn just enough to pay the bills. She works nearly 12 hours a day and has a ton of money in the bank. Unfortunately, she has no time to enjoy her accumulated wealth nor anyone to enjoy it with. She has also openly admitted to me that she hates her job.

I am not saying that everyone who makes the choices I have will end up happy, nor am I saying that everyone who makes the choices my cousin made will end up alone and unhappy. I am not even saying that most people who make those choices will end up that way. I just thought it was interesting that things turned out the way they did.

Diocese of Fall River Granted Lenten Dispensation

Bishop George W. Coleman has dispensed Catholics in the Fall River Diocese from the Lenten obligation to abstain from meat on Friday, March 17, the Feast of St. Patrick.
Members of the Church who make use of this dispensation are urged to make some other form of self-denial in accordance with the spirit of the Lenten season.

Bishop Skylstad

A woman has filed a claim that she was sexually abused more than 40 years ago by Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops and leader of the Spokane Diocese.
Skylstad issued a statement Wednesday categorically denying the accusation, saying he has not violated the vow of celibacy he took 47 years ago.
The claim was filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane on Dec. 27 by a woman who said she was under the age of 18 when Skylstad sexually abused her at St. Patrick's Parish and at Gonzaga University from December 1961 to December 1964.
Skylstad, 70, was a student at Gonzaga University from 1962-1966 and taught mathematics to students at Mater Cleri Seminary at Colbert, north of Spokane.
The diocese is one of three in the nation that filed for bankruptcy protection to deal with claims of sexual abuse by clergy. Skylstad last month offered to settle with 75 victims for $45.7 million.
The woman's claim was filed as a result of the bankruptcy "proof of claims" process, the diocese said.

Photo from the Website of the Diocese of Spokane

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

500 Years of the Swiss Guard

VATICAN CITY, MAR 8, 2006 (VIS) - "The Pontifical Swiss Guard, 500 years of history, art and life" is the title of an exhibition due to be inaugurated on March 29 in the Charlemagne Wing at the left colonnade of St. Peter's Square. It will commemorate the five centuries of life of the world's oldest active military force.

The exhibition will present, together for the first time, a series of documents and objects from other museums and institutions reconstructing the history of the corps founded by Julius II. In 1505, that pontiff sent a Bull to the Swiss Confederation communicating the fact that he had entrusted the prelate of the papal court Peter von Hertenstein to recruit 200 Swiss soldiers and lead them to Rome to guard the person of the Pope and the pontifical palaces. The Bull itself forms part of the exhibition, as do the flags that the Holy Father gave to Switzerland in gratitude for the arrival of the soldiers. They, after crossing the Alps, reached Rome on January 22, 1506 and marched to St. Peter's Square where they were solemnly blessed by the Pope.

Other objects of great historical and artistic value include the helmet and breastplate of Emperor Charles V, a sword with the motto of Julius II, and a large number of miniatures representing the most important moments in the life of the Swiss Guard during their service to the Successors of Peter. These depictions include the "Feast on the Capitol for the 'Possesso' of Alexander VII" by Piranesi, "Bernini's machine for the Forty Hours in the Vatican," and "Pius IX in the 'sedia gestatoria'."

One of the most dramatic incidents in the history of the Swiss Guard and of the city of Rome is the famous "Sack of Rome," organized by the troops of Emperor Charles V to "punish" the people of the city and Pope Clement VII. The Pope saved himself by taking refuge in Castel Sant'Angelo, but 147 Swiss Guards perished while defending him. The exhibition recalls this episode with the work "The defense of the Swiss during the Sack of Rome," painted by Giuseppe Rivaroli in 1927. The painting is interesting for its historical "errors," such as the fact that the Swiss Guards are represented wearing their modern uniforms, designed in 1915, and not those in use in 1527.

The numismatic section of the exhibition includes two extraordinary commemorative medals by Benvenuto Cellini: one produced to commemorate the Peace of Cambrai, and the golden medal of Clement VII with "Ecce Homo."

The exhibition also includes a series of portraits, including that of Clement VII by Sebastiano del Piombo, property of the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, Austria. Also in this section is the triptych kept by the Pope in his private apartments and stolen during the Sack. The work, which is currently kept in the cathedral of Cagliari, Italy, is being returned to Rome for the first time in five centuries.

From the Swiss Guard's own armory and archives, and here displayed for the first time, are portraits of all the commanders of the Guard over the last 500 years, uniforms, and arms and equipment for the parade ground and the field, both ancient and modern. Of particular interest and beauty are the two-handed swords from 1584, used to accompany the pontiff on his "sedia gestatoria" and last adopted during the pontificate of Paul VI.

The exhibition, promoted by Command of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, is being held under the patronage of Bishop Mauro Piacenza, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, and of various Swiss cultural institutions. It will be open from March 29 to July 30, 2006.
.../SWISS GUARD EXHIBITION/... VIS 060308 (630)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Online Paper Priest Dolls

I found out about this on Rocco's blog, Whispers from the Loggia and thought it was too cute and funny to not post here.

It is an interactive game where young children and get a priest dressed in Liturgical vestments. What a creative way to teach the names of the vestments and the significance of the colors.

In Memoriam

VATICAN CITY, MAR 7, 2006 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Manuel Tavares de Araujo, emeritus of Caico, Brazil, on February 17, at the age of 93.

- Bishop Ivan Choma, procurator in Rome to the major archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainians, on February 3, at the age of 82.

- Bishop Florencio Coronado Romani C.SS.R., emeritus of Huancavelica, Peru, on February 25, at the age of 97.

- Bishop Alexander Soetandio Djajasiswaja of Bandung, Indonesia, on January 19, at the age of 74.

- Bishop Roger Froment, emeritus of Tulle, France, on February 10, at the age of 77.

- Archbishop Paul Casimir Marcinkus, former pro-president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, on February 21, at the age of 84.

- Bishop Michael Francis McAuliffe, emeritus of Jefferson City, U.S.A., on January 9, at the age of 85.

- Bishop Carlos Schmitt O.F.M., emeritus of Dourados, Brazil, on January 16, at the age of 86.

- Bishop Marko Sopi, apostolic administrator of Prizren, Srbija i Crna Gora, on January 11, at the age of 67.

- Archbishop David de Sousa O.F.M., emeritus of Evora, Portugal, on February 5, at the age of 94.

- Bishop Desmond A. Williams, former auxiliary of Dublin, Ireland, on February 24, at the age of 75.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithfully departed rest in the peace and love of Christ.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Up Close and Personal?

The Boston Globe has written an article about the personal side of Archbishop Sean O'Malley. There are many nice parts to this article, especially the part where they spoke with people who know and interact with him on a regular basis.

Since they didn't interview me, I will present my opinion here.
I worked with Archbishop O'Malley on a regular basis for many years. He is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. He has an amazing memory and even when surrounded by hundreds of people he can focus totally on the person he is speaking to. He is gentle and warm and his dry Irish wit is ever present. He is one of very few people I trust implicitly.

I am honored and humbled to call him friend.

Boston Globe Photo Slideshow

Sunday, March 05, 2006

What exactly happens at a consistory

On February 24th Pope Benedict XVI delivered his announcement of intent to elevate 14 bishops and 1 priest to the College of Cardinals. Since only bishops maybe cardinals, the priest who is being elevated will be ordained a bishop sometime before the consistory.

These 15 found out about the elevations a few days before the announcement was made.

On March 23rd, there will be a private consistory where all members of the College of Cardinals will meet with the Holy Father. It is not believed that the cardinal-designates will be in attendance.

The consistory will take place on March 24th in the Paul VI Audience Hall. Previous consistories have been held outdoors, but due to the cold weather and the small number of new cardinals, it will be held indoors.
The consistory will take place during a Liturgy of the Word service. During the ceremony, each bishop will promise fidelity to the death to the Holy Father. Then, each will approach the Holy Father and receive a red biretta. Each cardinal will also be appointed titular bishop to a Roman church. This is an ancient custom reflecting on the original role of the College of Cardinals.

Following the ceremony, there will be various receptions held throughout the Vatican. Traditionally, these receptions are held on the first floor of the apostolic palace, although they have also been held in the Audience Hall and the Vatican Museum.

On March 25th, there the Holy Father and the new cardinals will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. During this Mass, they will receive their cardinals rings from the Holy Father.

Lenten Message from the Holy Father

May they (Lent) be days of reflection and intense prayer, in which we let ourselves be guided by the Word of God, which the liturgy proposes to us abundantly. May Lent be, moreover, a time of fasting, penance and vigilance over ourselves, aware that the struggle against sin never ends, as temptation is a daily reality and frailty and illusion are everyone's experience. Finally, may Lent be, through almsgiving, a time to do good to others; may it be an occasion to share the gifts received with our brothers, to pay attention to the needs of the poorest and the abandoned.

May Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, who is teacher of listening and faithful adherence to God, accompany us on this journey of penance. Purified and renewed in mind and spirit, may the Virgin Mary help us to celebrate the great mystery of Christ's Pasch.

Pope Benedict XVI at his Ash Wednesday audience.

Going in to the desert

The Gospel today tells us that prior to beginning His public ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. Those 40 days were spent fasting and in intense prayer. The middle-eastern desert was and still is a dangerous place filled with wild animals, scorpions, snakes and vicious sand storms

What are we called to do during the 40 days of Lent? What does the Lord ask of us? The prophet Micah tells us that the Lord asks simply this, "To do right, love goodness, and to walk humbly with God."

We know what doing right is and most of us love goodness, but many people do not understand how to walk humbly with God. To walk humbly with God is to acknowledge that we are empty without Him.

There is an old story about a painter who was painting the outside of a church. He was the low bid and once he started the job he thought of ways to cut corners. After a few hours he decided to water down the paint a little. The next day he noticed that he couldn't notice any difference between the full paint and the watered down paint so he added more water. As the days went on, he added more and more water to the paint. When he fnally finished the job, he was quite proud of the work he had done and he had quite a bit of money left over. Suddenly, a rain storm came in and as the rain fell is washed all the paint off the church. When the storm passed the painter heard God speaking from the cloud saying, "Repaint, Repaint and thin no more!"

I think we thin on a daily basis. We thin when we don't use our gifts to their fullness. We thin when we are proud of doing things without God's help. We thin when we do nothing but the bare minimum.

May our almsgiving be from our need, our fasting from our meals, our sacrifice from our desires. Let your Lenten sacrifices not come from your excess, but from your core.

Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for March

The Holy Father's general prayer intention for March is: "That young people who are searching for the sense of life may be understood, respected and accompanied with patience and love."

His mission intention is: "That, throughout the Church, there may grow that shared missionary awareness which favors the collaboration and exchange of those who work in the missions."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

St. Paddy's Day Exemption

Cardinal-Designate O'Malley has granted a dispensation to everyone in the Archdiocese of Boston so they can eat corned beef on St. Patrick's Day. Many other bishops have done the same, although my bishop has not gone on the record one way or another on the issue.

Getting back on the horse

Every Lent I hear the same thing regarding Lenten sacrifices and even following the Lenten regulation.
"I gave up coffee (or whatever) and then I forgot and had a cup so I have given up on my Lenten sacrifice."
What kind of Catholics does that make us if we give up so easily. Is that our opinion of sin as well? We slipped up, so we won't try anymore. Lenten sacrifices aren't about being perfect. It's about making an effort. If you slip up, get back on the horse.

This year, I have resolved to make more time for meditative prayer. So far, it hasn't been going so well, but I am still working at it. Hopefully, by the end of Lent, I will have a good pattern.

Lenten sacrifices aren't like New Year's resolution. Remember, our sacrifices are our gift to God. Don't rescind the gift because it's too hard.
Christ could have easily decided that suffering and dying on the cross was too hard, but he didn't.

Going purple for Lent

I decided to make the background purple, in keeping with the liturgical season. I am sorry I started it because it is becoming more of a hassle than I think it's worth.

After lent, I will change it back and I am not planning on ever changing it again.

I guess I will use this as one of my Lenten crosses.

I decided to go to plain white representing the simplicity and sacrifice of the Lenten Season.

Cardinal Dziwisz

I was reading some old posts on Amy Welborn's blog and there were a few responses that bothered me. She had written about Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz being appointed to head the Archdiocese of Krakow. There were several vile replies to her post. It seems there are those who don't believe he has the experience or qualifications. I hope those sentiments are fading now that he is joining the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal-Designate Dziwisz has a wealth of knowledge gleaned from one of the best teachers possible, Pope John Paul II. I imagine that what he lacks in parish experience, he gained in worldwide pastoral experience. There have been few popes as pastoral as John Paul II. Being one of the only people with true 24 hour access to him and obviously serving as a trusted advisor and a true friend. I think Cardinal--Designate Dziwisz is well qualified to serve as Archbishop of Krakow and in the College of Cardinals.

Cardinal-Designate Dziwisz didn't plan on this path when he was ordained to the priesthood, but God and a bishop named Karol Wojtyla has other plans for him. He served Bishop Wojtyla during dangerous times in Poland and followed him faithfully when he was elected Pope. I am sure it was heartbreaking to leave his home and country.

He caught John Paul when he was shot and cradled him in his arms as the popemobile rushed to the waiting ambulance. He traveled around the world with him and was a listening ear to ideas and problems. He was a trusted advisor to John Paul. He administered the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum during John Paul's last days and sat by his bedside, holding his hand as he died. The images of him sitting unwavering during John Paul's wake present us with the true closeness between them. He looked like a son. Exhausted by caring for someone so ill, happy to see him at rest and heartbroken at the loss of a dear friend. The image of his brushing away his tears is one that will remain with me always.

Cardinal-Designate Dziwisz is well qualified and deserves his red hat. Congratulations! Sto-lat!