Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Clericus Cup Begins Today

The first game, which will be held today, is between Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae and Pontifical Gregorian University. Both seminaries are operated by religious orders. Mater Ecclesiae is operated by the Legionaries of Christ and the Gregorian is operated by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

The Pontifical North American College will not play until March 3rd when they face the Pontifical Urbanian University.

The tournament will end in June with the championship game.

Read the Catholic News report here.
and the Catholic World News report here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Who Writes This Stuff?

I have just wasted some time reading bulletin inserts on the Resource Publications website (Modern Liturgy).

While they were virtually all poorly written and some provided questionable information, there was one which stood out from the others I read. I didn't read them all.

It was on Concelebration. The article says that concelebrated Masses can bad because, "Too many priests in the sanctuary can also offset the gender balance of the worshiping assembly."

The article goes on to say, "Although women frequently outnumber men in the pews, men can easily outnumber women in the sanctuary."

If you are at Mass and you are figuring out the male-female ratio of worshippers, then you are in need of some spiritual growth.

Yes, we have a male priesthood. Get over it!

Now I have a public service announcement:
Bulletin inserts which attempt to subvert the authority of the Magisterium cause the faithful to become distracted and lead them away from the Truth with is found in the Church.

Cardinal Rigali on Lent and Fasting

Proud to be a Student

Protesters refuse to be silenced - News

All I can say is way to go Fr. Shanley! It is great to see a college president upholding the Catholicity of a college.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Blessed Ash Wednesday

I want to wish you all a blessed Ash Wednesday.

Since I cannot write anything better myself I will post these words from the Holy Father.

During today's general audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of around 10,000 people, Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to the subject of Lent.

"Today, Ash Wednesday," said the Pope, "we begin the Lenten journey, characterized by listening to the Word of God, by prayer and penance. Forty days during which the liturgy will help us to relive the principal moments of the Mystery of salvation."

For the baptized, Lent is a "new 'catechumenate' in which we return to our Baptism in order to rediscover it and experience it more profoundly. ... It is an occasion to go back to being Christian via a constant process of interior transformation, and of progress in the knowledge and love of Christ."

"Conversion," the Holy Father explained, is not something that happens once and for all, it is a process, ... a journey, ... that cannot be limited to a specific period but must embrace all existence."

"In this light," he went on, "Lent is an appropriate spiritual moment to train ourselves more earnestly to seek God, opening our hearts to Christ. Conversion means seeking God. ... It is not an effort of self-realization. ... Self-realization is a contradiction, and it is too little for us. We have a higher destiny. ... Conversion consists precisely in not thinking that one is the 'creator' of oneself, and thus discovering the truth."

The Holy Father then went on to refer to his Lenten Message for this year, in which he highlights "the immense love that God has for us," and invites Christians to remain "with Mary and John, the disciple Jesus loved, next to Him Who on the Cross gave his life for humanity."

"The Cross is the definitive revelation of love and divine mercy, also for us, men and women of our time too often distracted by worldly and momentary concerns and interests. God is love and His love is the secret of our happiness. To enter into this mystery of love there is no other way than that of losing ourselves, giving ourselves, the way of the Cross."

"For this reason," Benedict XVI concluded, "the liturgy of Lent invites us ... to reject sin and evil, and overcome selfishness and indifference, Prayer, fasting, penance and works of charity towards our brothers and sisters thus become spiritual paths to follow in order to return to God."

Prior to today's audience, the Pope went to the Vatican Basilica where he met bishops from the Italian region of Umbria, who are currently on their five-yearly "as limina" visit.

"The Church," the Holy Father told the prelates, "has the perennial mission of spreading the light of Christ's truth that illuminates peoples, that it may shine in all areas of society. In announcing the evangelical message, all Christian communities place themselves at the service of man and of the common good. Aware of this missionary mandate, encourage the faithful entrusted to your pastoral care to continue in their efforts to permeate modern culture with the vital lifeblood of divine grace. This is certainly not an easy task, but it is indispensable."


Here is a link to the complete text of the Holy Father's address at today's audience.

Blessed Fish?

Here is something weird I came across today.

It seems that KFC, yes the chicken place, has asked Pope Benedict to bless their fish sandwich. I think the word they are looking for is endorse, not bless, but isn't this a clever marketing strategy.

You can read the article here.

Here is the press release:
The world's most popular chicken restaurant chain is offering fish for the first time nationally with the introduction of the new KFC® Fish Snacker. The company has asked the Pope himself for his blessing, with KFC President Gregg Dedrick sending a personal letter to the Vatican.

KFC's new Fish Snacker Sandwich, a tender, flaky filet of 100 percent Alaskan Pollack topped with tangy tartar sauce and served on a warm sesame bun, extends KFC's popular Snacker line-up and is ideal for American Catholics who want to observe Lenten season traditions while still leading their busy, modern lifestyles. The company has turned to Pope Benedict XVI, beseeching him to bestow his Papal blessing for this innovative new menu item. Vatican officials confirmed they received KFC's request, and the company is hopeful to get the Pope's blessing this Lenten season.

"People can enjoy the flavor of the new Fish Snacker any day of the week, but we believe it will be especially popular on Fridays," said James O'Reilly, Chief Marketing Officer for KFC. "It's perfect for an on-the-go lunch or any time of the day when you need a quick snack but don't want to sacrifice taste."

KFC has more than 5,500 locations across the country, which means Americans won't have to travel to Vatican City to find the New Fish Snacker. The KFC Fish Snacker costs 99 cents plus tax at participating restaurants -- a price that is significantly less than most restaurant-made sandwiches.

On another note, I do not give my blessing or endorsement to the KFC fish sandwich. I had one last year and didn't like it at all.

Pope Benedict's Letter to Archbishop Wielgus

Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, emeritus of Warsaw, Poland. The text bears the date of February 12.

The Holy Father thanks the archbishop "for the trust with which you opened your soul before me, showing the anguished suffering of you heart throughout your life as a priest and bishop, until the moment of your resignation from the office of archbishop of Warsaw.
"In recent times I have participated in you sufferings and wish to assure you of my spiritual closeness and fraternal understanding.

"As for the past, I am fully aware of the exceptional circumstances in which you had to undertake your service, when the communist regime in Poland used all possible means to suffocate the freedom of citizens, and particularly of the clergy.

"As rector of the University of Lublin and as bishop of Plock you gave proof of your great piety, and of your profound love for Jesus Christ and for the Church.

"When, one month ago, you presented your resignation in the awareness that the situation that had arisen made it impossible for you to begin your episcopal service with the indispensable degree of authority, I clearly saw in this act a profound sensitivity for the good of the Church of Warsaw and of Poland, as well as your own humility and detachment from office.

"I would like, first of all, to encourage you to maintain faith and serenity of heart. I express the desire that you may resume your activity at the service of Christ, in whatever way proves possible, so that your vast and profound knowledge and priestly piety may be used for the good of the beloved Church in Poland.

"The episcopal mission, today as in the past, is marked by suffering. May Our Lord never cease to support you with His grace. Help will also come from the friendship of brother bishops and of the people who have known and respected you."


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pope Offers Advice and Encouragement to Seminarians

At 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, the Holy Father visited Rome's Major Pontifical Seminary for the occasion of the feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust. During the meeting, the Pope responded to six questions addressed to him by the seminarians. The text of their exchanges was made public yesterday afternoon.

Gregorpaolo Stano of the diocese of Oria, Italy asked how, "among the thousands of interior voices," to discern the voice of God speaking within,

"God speaks," Pope Benedict replied, "through other people, through friends, through our parents, ... through the priests who guide you," above all He speaks "in Sacred Scripture" which must be read "not as the word of a man or a document from the past, ... but as the Word of God which is always valid and speaks to me."

"It is important to remain attentive to the other voices of the Lord, to let ourselves be guided also by people who have, so to say, experience with God and help us along this path. ... In this way our discernment grows, our personal friendship with God grows, [as does] the capacity to perceive, in the thousands of voices we hear today, the voice of God, which is always present and always speaks to us."

Claudio Fabbri from the diocese of Rome wanted to know about the Holy Father's life during his own period of training for the priesthood at the seminary of Freising, Germany.

"I believe that our life in the seminary of Freising was structured very much like your own. ... I can say that Sacred Scripture was at the heart of our theological studies: we truly lived with Sacred Scripture and learned to love it, to communicate with it." Another "vital area for us was liturgical formation." The Pope also mentioned his interest in literature and his "great love for music."

Gianpiero Savino of the diocese of Taranto, Italy asked how, bearing in mind human weakness, it is possible to respond to a vocation "as demanding as that of being pastors of God's people."

"It is good to recognize one's own weakness," said the Pope, "because thus we know that we have need of the Lord's grace. ... I [also] believe it is important to recognize that we are in need of a permanent conversion." This is a journey with no lack of "joy and light from the Lord, but also no lack of dark valleys where we must walk with trust seeking support in the Lord's goodness. ... And therefore the Sacrament of Penance is also important, ... to convert us to a new beginning and thus grow and mature in the Lord, in our communion with Him."

The Holy Father also dwelt upon the necessity of not "isolating ourselves, not believing we can progress alone. We need the help of priest friends and lay friends to accompany and help us. ... The gift of perseverance brings us joy, it gives us the certainty that we are loved by the Lord, and this love sustains us, it helps us and does not abandon us in our weaknesses."

A Bulgarian seminarian, Dimov Koicio from the diocese of Nicopoli, asked a question concerning "corruption in the Church" to which the then Cardinal Ratzinger had alluded during the 2005 Way of the Cross, and the dangers of "seeking to advance one's career through the Church."

"The Lord knows," the Pope replied, "and knew from the beginning that sin also exists in the Church. And by our humility it is important to recognize this - not to see sin only in others, in institutions and in high office, but also in ourselves - so as, in this way, to be more humble and to learn that ecclesial standing does not count before the Lord, what counts is to remain in His love."

Francesco Annesi of the diocese of Rome wanted to know how "a priest can bear witness to the Christian meaning of suffering, and how he must behave before those who suffer without the risk of seeming rhetorical or pathetic."

"We must recognize that it is right to do everything possible to alleviate the afflictions of humanity, and help those who suffer ... to discover a life that is worthwhile and free from the evils which we ourselves provoke: hunger, epidemics, etc.," said the Holy Father in his reply. "But at the same time, recognizing this duty to combat the sufferings we have caused, we must also recognize and understand that suffering is an essential factor for our maturation. ... It is true that it is always problematic, if one is more or less in good health, to console someone else affected by a serious illness. ... Faced with these ills, which we all know and recognize, it is almost inevitable that everything seems rhetorical and pathetic. But if people feel ... that we want to carry the cross with them ... helping them in every way we can, they will believe in us."

Marco Ceccarelli, a deacon of Rome, soon to be ordained a priest asked the Holy Father's advice on how to approach the first years of priestly ministry.

In his reply, the Holy Father highlighted "the need to be with the Lord in the Eucharist every day, not as a professional obligation but as a true interior duty," and "to dedicate time to the Liturgy of the Hours" because "it helps us to be more open and to remain in profound contact with the Lord." It is also important "not to lose communion with other priests, your companions on the journey, or to lose personal contact with the Word of God, meditation."

"Never lose," he concluded, "friendship with priests, listening to the voice of the living Church, or, of course, a readiness toward the people entrusted to us because from them, with their sufferings, their experiences of faith, their doubts and difficulties, we too can learn, and seek and find God."


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Polish Priests Win Gold in Soccer Championship

Not the Clericus Cup, but almost as good. Reuters is reporting that the third European Priests Football Championship was held in Sarajevo. 100 priests from 10 countries participated. The participating countries were: Austria, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.

A hundred Roman Catholic priests from all over Europe swapped their cassocks for football strips in Sarajevo this week to compete in an indoor football championship organised by the church.

The winners were: Gold - Poland, Silver - Croatia, Bronze - Bosnia.
"We are here because we love football," said Father Zarko Relota, captain of tournament favourites Croatia, which won both previous championships.

"We are absolutely going to win again," he said during his team's presentation at the opening ceremony.

As the games kicked off, the priests, proudly sporting national colours, showed off their tackling and dribbling skills in front of crowds of Catholic seminarians.


In Sarajevo's sports hall an action-packed game saw Croatia edge Portugal 11-10 on penalties while Bosnia went down to Poland 0-1 in front of cheering nuns.

"The motto of this championship is 'Meeting through Sport'," said Monsignor Ivo Tomasevic of Bosnia's Archbishopric, which is hosting the tournament.

Read the complete article here and see pictures here.

Archbishop Lipscomb Gets New Pallium

From the Press Register:

Mobile Catholic Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb said he received a new pallium Thursday night from the Vatican to replace the one stolen from his car on Christmas Eve.

The pallium was taken from Lipscomb's Mercedes about 6:30 p.m. Christmas Eve in front of a home on Spring Bank Road in Mobile's Spring Hill neighborhood. Several other religious items also were stolen.

Lipscomb said he had planned to petition church officials in the Vatican for a new pallium while he was there for work next month. A pallium, worn around the neck, chest and shoulders, is a white, woolen circular band, 2 inches wide, ornamented with six small black crosses and weighted pendants in the front and back, according to the Maryknoll Catholic Dictionary.

Lipscomb said he returned from Montgomery on Thursday night to find a packet sent to him by the pope's representative in Washington, D.C., who had apparently asked the Vatican for the new pallium.

"I didn't even have to ask for one," Lipscomb said Friday.

Two of the items stolen from his car, a pectoral cross and his crosier, or ceremonial shepherd's staff, have been recovered by two separate thrift store shoppers.

Both items were found at America's Thrift Stores at 312 Schillinger Road in west Mobile near Airport Boulevard. The pectoral cross was bought for $6, the crosier for $10.96.

My advice to all thrift shop managers: the average Catholic does not have a crozier in his house. Now, where is that pallium?

Michelangelo's Vatican Apartment

The Petrus Eni exhibit in Vatican City is continuing. While I have not visited it, people I know who have visited the exhibit tell me that it is awesome.

There are some items which are mentioned in the exhibit, but are not on display. One of these items is an account bookwhich containas an entry for a key which Michelangelo had made for a chest.

Here is are a few excerpts from the USA Today article:

Going through their archives for an exhibit on the 500th anniversary of the basilica, researchers from the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the office where all documents concerning the running of the basilica are kept, came across an entry for a key to a chest "in the room in St. Peter's where Master Michelangelo retires."


"We now know that Michelangelo definitely had a private space in the basilica," Maria Cristina Carlo-Stella, who runs the Fabbrica, said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. "The next step is to identify it."

The ink-scripted entry contained in a parchment-covered volume listing the expenditures of the Fabbrica for the years 1556-1558, refers to the payment of 10 scudos to the blacksmith who forged the key, but offers no details about the chest or the location of the room.


A frescoed room with a cozy fireplace, part of the area in the left wing of the basilica where the archives are housed, had traditionally been called "la stanza di Michelangelo," Michelangelo's room.


"The theory is very romantic and conspiratorial, but totally unfounded," said Federico Bellini, an art historian who works in the archive department, as he pointed to a 16th-century sketch on his computer showing the state of the left wing during Michelangelo's time at the Vatican — a pile of rubble intertwined with vegetation.

Originally the Fabbrica, whose documents date from as far back as 1506, was in the right wing of the basilica, already built at the time of Michelangelo. It was known that artisans had been allotted lodgings there, leading experts to direct their search for Michelangelo's studio to that area.

This gives me just one more reason to want to visit this exhibit. If only I was in Rome!

Thanks For Your Support

Thanks to my readers for all the nominations votes which I received during the Catholic Blog Awards.

While I didn't win in any of the categories in which I was nominated, I did much better than I expected.

Here are the results:
Best Individual Catholic Blog: I recieved 1 vote out of 871
Best Insider News Catholic Blog: I recieved 3 votes out of 716
Best Overall Catholic Blog: I recieved 2 votes out of 835
Smartest Catholic Blog: I recieved 2 votes out of 788

If you want to see the complete vote totals and the list of winner click here.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Secular Institutes: Servitium Christi

The Secular Institute I will profile this week is Servitium Christi.

Servitum Christi is related to Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. The order of priests was founded in 1856 by St. Peter Julian Eymard and the order of contemplative, but non cloistered, sisters was founded in 1858. The secular institute was founded in Holland in 1952. They were approved as a secular institute of diocesan right in 1963.

Membership in the institute is limited to women. Their purpose is to live the mystery of the Eucharist fully as consecrated lay persons and to make known its meaning so that the glory of God may be revealed to the world.

I will admit to you that I am not all that impressed by what I have found on the website for the order of priests, but I realize that looks can be deceiving. I fully admit that I know nothing about any of these groups other than what I have read their website.

I was not able to find much information on Servitium Christi in the United States, but I was able to find European and Australian websites.

Just a Reminder

Get out and vote! Tomorrow is the final day to cast a vote for your favorite blogs.

Medieval Tech Support

H/T to Rob, who got it from the Ironic Catholic and so on.

Just a reminder that some things never change.

In case anyone is wondering this clip comes from a Norwegian show called Øystein & Meg (Øystein & I).

Some of the You Tube comments are pretty good too.
Here are a few:

"I fully expected the book to catch on fire because of the candle, and for the 'user' to say, 'SEE! I LOST THE TEXT!' "

"Thats great, but wait until Book 2.0 comes out...he will be SCREWED! LMAO!!!! "

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bishops Reflect on the Amazing Holy Eucharist

Relevant Radio will host a new 6 part radio program entitled "Bishops Reflect on the Amazing Holy Eucharist". The participating bishops will be Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee, Archbishop John Myers of Newark, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, and Bishop David A. Zubik of Green Bay.

It's a stellar list and should be a good program.

Check out the program schedule here.

If Relevant Radio doesn't air in your area, you can listen online.

China Attempts to Reach Religious Accord

No, not with Catholics, with Muslims.

While faithful Catholics are persecuted, false bishops are installed, and priests are restricted from preaching the truth, Chinese State TV is banning advertizing featuring pigs. Why? Because Muslims might be offended by the image of the porkers.

Think it's a joke? Read this from Asia News:

In a week’s time, the Chinese world will celebrate the New Year under the zodiac sign of the Pig. But for the Year of the Pig, the Chinese government has banned all adverts showing this animal. Beijing is hoping to gain kudos from Islamic states for its sensitivity and respect for their religious convictions even if it continues repressing the Muslim minority, especially in Xinjiang.

In letter to advertising agencies, the main state television CCTV warned that “since China is a multi-cultural country, out of respect for the religious convictions of Muslims, images of pigs must be avoided in 2007.” TV sources said: “This was indicated to us from top government quarters... to protect harmony between different religions and ethnic groups”.

Read the complete article here.

Catholic Carnival 106

The newest Catholic Carnival is up. Go check out my post and all the others.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What is a Secular Institute?

Very few people have ever heard the term “Secular Institute” and even fewer know what it means. Since Pope Benedict addressed members of secular institutes this week, I thought this was a timely topic to write about.

I plan to also write several profiles of a few of the secular institutes which are active in the United States.

What is a secular institute?

The 1983 Code of Canon Law defines secular institutes in this way:

“A Secular Institute is an institute of consecrated life in which the faithful, living in this world, strive for the perfection of charity and endeavor to work for the sanctification of the world from within.”

Secular institutes are different from Third Orders because while they serve similar purposes, secular institutes are not a lay branch of a religious order. Rather, they an organization, structure and administration of their own.

Who are the members of these institutes?

Members of Secular Institutes are single lay men and women, as well as priests. Some institutes have an associate membership of married persons, and there is an institute for men and women who are married, engaged, or widowed.

Like members of religious orders, members of Secular Institutes make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Since they are not living in community, the vow of poverty can take non-traditional forms. Normally, members will live a simple life and consult with their institutes regarding financial matters.

While some members of Secular Institutes are employed by the Church, most have jobs outside the Church. Members of Secular Institutes are doctors, secretaries, teachers, artists, etc. Often, these members will not disclose their membership so they do not interfere with their secularity. However, they must disclose their membership to their diocesan bishop.

Are Secular Institutes something new?

Although Secular Institutes were not officially recognized by the Church until 1947, the oldest Secular Institute, The Society of the Sacred Heart, was formed in 1790. Through the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater Ecclesia, , Pope Pius XIII gave the official approval for Secular Institutes on February 2, 1947.

“For those who wish to do that but [lead a life of perfection] cannot or should not join a Religious Community, an Institute is often the answer. The effectiveness of Institute life in the Christian renewal of families, of secular professions, of society in general, through people's daily contact, from the inside of the secular scene, with lives perfectly and totally dedicated to God's sanctifying work in them is obvious. These Institutes also open the way to many forms of apostolate and service in times, places and circumstances from which priests and Religious are excluded by the nature of their calling, or which for other reasons are not accessible to them.”

Where can I find a Secular Institute?

There are currently over 200 secular institutes throughout the world, but only 27 are active in the United States. Some of these institutes are institutes of diocesan right and other are of pontifical right. The difference is from where they receive their permission. New institutes begin as diocesan right (their receive permission from their local bishop) and apply later on for pontifical approval (permission from the Pope).

There are also Associations of the Faithful which are groups which are working toward becoming Secular Institutes.

Read more about Secular Institutes at the United States Conference of Secular Institutes web site.

The Tridentine Indult Survey

There has been much speculation regarding when Pope Benedict will issue the moto proprio which will allow wider use of the Tridentine Mass.

Here is your chance to express your real opinion regarding the slew of dates we have received.

When do you think Pope Benedict will grant the Tridentine indult?
The Feast of the Chair of Peter
Holy Thursday
The day after never
The day and the hour is known by the Pope alone
huh? that like the gum?

View Results

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Church History Quiz

I created a quiz. It's not as good as I wanted it to be, but I forgot the name of the one I originally started and I couldn't finish it.

Anyway, here it is. Come and take it.

You got 100% correct

You are a Church history expert. You know more than the average Catholic. You probably even have a love of Latin. Which your knowledge, you should consider teaching religious education classes, if you don't already.

How well do you know the history of the Catholic Church
Create a Quiz

The Superbowl Ad That Should Have Been

H/T to the Ironic Catholic

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Archdiocese of Boston to Sell Caritas Christi Hospital Group

The Archdiocese of Boston and Ascension Health today announced that they have agreed to engage in good faith discussions pursuant to a non-binding Letter of Intent to explore a change in sponsorship of Caritas Christi Health Care. All parties hope to move rapidly through the due diligence process, reaching a Definitive Agreement, and then closing an agreed transaction in July 2007.

Cardinal Seán P. O' Malley said, "We are pleased to announce that we have selected a potential sponsor and health system that has both the values consistent with those of the Archdiocese of Boston and Caritas Christi and the financial strength to support our healthcare system. Ascension Health possesses the integrity and commitment to excellence necessary to be successful in today's competitive healthcare environment. Mission is at the heart of Catholic healthcare and Ascension Health has consistently been responsive to the needs of the poor. This collaboration will ensure a strong future for Catholic healthcare in our Archdiocese and throughout Eastern Massachusetts."

Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer for Ascension said, " Ascension Health is committed to strengthening Catholic healthcare. Our Mission calls us to serve all, with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. Caritas Christi has a long history of serving the community and Catholic healthcare. We are very pleased that Ascension Health has been selected to develop a new relationship with Caritas Christi. In the days and weeks ahead we will conduct due diligence with a goal of determining how we can work with Caritas Christi in a way that benefits the people of Eastern Massachusetts, Caritas Christi employees and the Catholic health ministry. "

Chancellor James P. McDonough said, "From the start Cardinal Seán expressed a desire to ensure that Catholic healthcare be continued and strengthened in the Archdiocese of Boston. With this announcement we have brought together two strong and leading healthcare systems that share a similar commitment to Catholic healthcare and to meeting the needs of the less fortunate in a dignified and compassionate manner."

Ascension Health is committed to strong local leadership and governance. Under an affiliation with Ascension Health, the local hospital boards will remain in place with responsibilities and duties related to their local organizations.

Ascension Health Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Ascension Health is a Catholic healthcare system formed in 1999, when four provinces of the Daughters of Charity (Northeast, Southwest, East Central and West Central) and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth came together to create the system as a sponsorship organization to continue the work of their ministry, which began more than 400 years ago. This model was shaped to welcome additional religious sponsors and their ministries into the organization. In 2002 the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet joined as the sixth sponsor.

Ascension Health is the largest Catholic and largest nonprofit healthcare system in the United States, with more than 101,000 associates serving in 65 acute care hospitals and dozens of related facilities in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

Caritas Christi Health Care Established in 1985, Caritas Christi Health Care, the second largest healthcare system in New England, is a comprehensive, integrated healthcare delivery network providing community-based medicine and tertiary care in eastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and Rhode Island. At the hub of the system's six-hospital network is Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center of Boston, a tertiary academic teaching hospital affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine. The other acute care hospitals in Massachusetts are Caritas Carney Hospital, Dorchester; Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center, Brockton; Caritas Holy Family Hospital and Medical Center, Methuen; Caritas Norwood Hospital, Norwood; and Saint Anne's Hospital, Fall River. John B. Chessare, MD, MPH, Interim President/CEO at Caritas Christi said, "Today ' s announcement has created great excitement about the future of Catholic healthcare and Caritas Christi. I am extremely proud of the entire Caritas community for their continued commitment to providing exceptional care to our patients and for demonstrating tremendous professionalism during this period of change. For that I extend my deep appreciation to our medical team and staff."

The Archdiocese of Boston The Archdiocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of approximately 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 295 parishes, across 144 communities, educating nearly 50,000 students in its Catholic schools each year, ministering to the needs of more than one million patients annually in its hospitals and 200,000 families through its social service outreach. Mass is celebrated in more than 23 languages each week. For more information, please visit

The Ordination That Almost Wasn't

The new Anglican bishop of Nelson, New Zealand was ordained last weekend under unusual circumstances.

Read about it here.

Indulgence for World Day of the Sick

Late yesterday afternoon, the Apostolic Penitentiary published a decree announcing the concession of indulgences to the faithful for the World Day of the Sick, which is celebrated every year on February 11, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year, the Day will be celebrated in Seoul, Korea.

"We must," the text of the decree reads, "reflect deeply upon the fact that human remedies have a limit and that, therefore, there will inevitably come a time when man reaches the end of his journey on this earth. To the sick who are in that condition we must offer the most attentive care and the greatest charity, so that their transit from this world to the Father is comforted by divine consolation and so that, as the Church's prayer for the dying implores, they may see the gentle face of Jesus Christ and clearly hear the voice calling them to eternal glory and joy."

"With this awareness, the Holy Mother Church hopes that the annual celebration of the World Day of the Sick may become an effective catechesis of the teaching ... of the treasure of Revelation, concerning the value and function of suffering."

For this reason, Plenary Indulgence will be granted "to the faithful who, under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Holy Father), and with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin, participate on February 11 in the city of Seoul, or at any other place decided by the ecclesiastical authorities, in a sacred ceremony held to beseech God to grant the goals of the World Day of the Sick."

The decree continues: "The faithful who, in public hospitals or in private houses, like 'Good Samaritans' charitably assist the sick - especially those suffering incurable and terminal diseases - and who, because of the service they provide, cannot participate in the aforementioned ceremony, will obtain the same gift of Plenary Indulgence if on that day they generously provide, at least for a few hours, their charitable assistance to the sick as if they were tending to Christ the Lord Himself, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin, and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the conditions required for obtaining the Plenary Indulgence.

"The faithful who, through sickness, old age or similar reason, are prevented from participating in the aforementioned ceremony, may obtain the Plenary Indulgence if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the conditions required, they spiritually participate together with the Holy Father in the aforesaid ceremony, pray devotedly for the sick, and offer - through the Virgin Mary 'Health of the Sick' - their physical and spiritual sufferings to God."

Partial Indulgence, the text of the decree concludes, will be conceded to "all the faithful whenever, between February 9 and 11, with a contrite heart they raise devout prayers to the merciful Lord calling for these aspirations to be met in order to help the sick, especially those suffering incurable and terminal disease."


Papal Message for Youth Day

Made public yesterday was the Message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World for the Occasion of the 22nd World Youth Day, which is to be celebrated in all dioceses on Palm Sunday, April 1, and has as its theme this year Jesus' words from the Gospel of John: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another." The Message is dated January 27, 2007. Ample extracts from the English-language version are given below:

"Love is possible, and the purpose of my message is to help reawaken in each one of you - you who are the future and hope of humanity-, trust in a love that is true, faithful and strong; a love that generates peace and joy; a love that binds people together and allows them to feel free in respect for one another."

"How is God-Love revealed to us? ... In Christ, true God and true Man, we have come to know love in all its magnitude. ... The manifestation of divine love is total and perfect in the Cross. ... Redeemed by His blood, no human life is useless or of little value, because each of us is loved personally by Him with a passionate and faithful love, a love without limits."

"Moreover, the Crucifix, which after the Resurrection would carry forever the marks of His passion, exposes the 'distortions' and lies about God that underlie violence, vengeance and exclusion. Christ is the Lamb of God Who takes upon Himself the sins of the world and eradicates hatred from the heart of humankind. This is the true 'revolution' that He brings about: love."

"Christ cried out from the Cross: 'I am thirsty.' This shows us His burning thirst to love and to be loved by each one of us. It is only by coming to perceive the depth and intensity of such a mystery that we can realize the need and urgency to love Him as He has loved us. ... To love as He loves us means loving everyone without distinction, even our enemies, 'to the end'."

"I would like to linger for a moment on three areas of daily life where you, my dear young friends, are particularly called to demonstrate the love of God. The first area is the Church, our spiritual family. ... You should stimulate, with your enthusiasm and charity, the activities of the parishes, the communities, the ecclesial movements and the youth groups to which you belong. Be attentive in your concern for the welfare of others, faithful to the commitments you have made. Do not hesitate to joyfully abstain from some of your entertainments; cheerfully accept the necessary sacrifices; testify to your faithful love for Jesus by proclaiming His Gospel, especially among young people of your age."

"The second area ... is your preparation for the future that awaits you. If you are engaged to be married, God has a project of love for your future as a couple and as a family. Therefore, it is essential that you discover it with the help of the Church, free from the common prejudice that says that Christianity with its commandments and prohibitions places obstacles to the joy of love and impedes you from fully enjoying the happiness that a man and woman seek in their reciprocal love."

"The period of engagement, very necessary in order to form a couple, is a time of expectation and preparation that needs to be lived in purity of gesture and words. It allows you to mature in love, in concern and in attention for each other; it helps you to practise self-control and to develop your respect for each other. These are the characteristics of true love that does not place emphasis on seeking its own satisfaction or its own welfare. In your prayer together, ask the Lord to watch over and increase your love and to purify it of all selfishness.

"Do not hesitate to respond generously to the Lord's call, for Christian matrimony is truly and wholly a vocation in the Church. Likewise, dear young men and women, be ready to say 'yes' if God should call you to follow the path of ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life. Your example will be one of encouragement for many of your peers who are seeking true happiness."

"The third area of commitment that comes with love is that of daily life with its multiple relationships. I am particularly referring to family, studies, work and free time. ... Develop your capacities, not only in order to become more 'competitive' and 'productive,' but to be 'witnesses of charity.' In addition to your professional training, also make an effort to acquire religious knowledge that will help you to carry out your mission in a responsible way. In particular, I invite you to carefully study the social doctrine of the Church so that its principles may inspire and guide your action in the world."

"My dear young friends, I want to invite you to 'dare to love.' Do not desire anything less for your life than a love that is strong and beautiful and that is capable of making the whole of your existence a joyful undertaking of giving yourselves as a gift to God and your brothers and sisters. ... Love is the only force capable of changing the heart of the human person and of all humanity, by making fruitful the relations between men and women, between rich and poor, between cultures and civilizations. This is shown to us in the lives of the saints. ... Try to know them better, entrust yourselves to their intercession, and strive to live as they did. I shall just mention Mother Teresa. ... The only desire of her life was to quench the thirst of love felt by Jesus, not with words, but with concrete action by recognizing His disfigured countenance thirsting for love in the faces of the poorest of the poor."

"Only the Lord's help will allow us to keep away from resignation when faced with the enormity of the task to be undertaken. It instills in us the courage to accomplish that which is humanly inconceivable. Contact with the Lord in prayer grounds us in humility."

"Above all, the Eucharist is the great school of love. When we participate regularly and with devotion in Holy Mass, when we spend a sustained time of adoration in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, it is easier to understand the length, breadth, height and depth of His love that goes beyond all knowledge. By sharing the Eucharistic Bread with our brothers and sisters of the Church community, we feel compelled, like Our Lady with Elizabeth, to render 'in haste' the love of Christ into generous service towards our brothers and sisters."

"The next World Youth Day ... will be an important stage on the way to the meeting in Sydney where the theme will be: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.' May Mary, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, help you to let that cry ring out everywhere, the cry that has changed the world: 'God is love!' I am together with you all in prayer and extend to you my heartfelt blessing."


The complete message is available here.

Pope Benedict Addresses Secular Institutes

Saturday in the Vatican, the Pope received a large group of representatives from secular institutes in various countries, who are in Rome for the occasion of an international symposium being held to mark the anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution "Provida Mater Ecclesia."

Recalling that six decades have passed since February 2 1947, when Pope Pius XII promulgated the Apostolic Constitution, Benedict XVI said: "That juridical act was not an end but the starting point of a process that aimed to define a new form of consecration: that of lay faithful and diocesan priests, called to live with evangelical radicalism the secular state in which, by virtue of their life condition or pastoral ministry, they are immersed."

The Holy Father went on to enumerate the characteristics of the secular mission: "bearing witness to human virtues, ... an 'honorable conduct of life' as mentioned by Peter in his first Letter, ... and commitment to building a society that recognizes in all its various aspects the dignity of human beings and the values essential for their full realization, from politics to economics, from education to commitment to public health, from providing services to scientific research."

"All the circumstances in which man lives and dies," the Pope told his audience, "are an opportunity for you to bear witness to the salvific work of God. This is your mission."

The Holy Father told the members of the secular institutes that "the secular nature of your consecration highlights, on the one hand, the means you use to put it into practice, ... and on the other, the way in which it develops: through a profound relationship with the signs of the times, which you are called to discern, individually and as a group, in the light of the Gospel."

"The place of your apostolate is, then, the entire human sphere, not only in the Christian community, ... but also and above all in the civil community with which you relate in the search for the common good and in dialogue with everyone, called to bear witness to Christian anthropology, which proposes meaning to a society disoriented and confused by the multi-cultural and multi-religious atmosphere that characterizes it."

Benedict XVI concluded with an exhortation to announce "the beauty of God and of His Creation. Following the example of Christ, remain obedient to love and be men and women of humbleness and mercy, capable of following the paths of the world doing only good. ... The Church also needs you to give completeness to her mission. Be seed of sanctity ... in the furrow of history."


Consecrated Life is a Divine Gift

Friday afternoon in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father met with members of congregations, institutes, societies of apostolic life, and new forms of consecrated life, for the occasion of the World Day of Consecrated Life, an annual celebration instituted by John Paul II.

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration presided by Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Benedict XVI entered the basilica and greeted those present. Opening his address he affirmed that the Day "is an appropriate opportunity to ask the Lord together for the gift of an ever more incisive presence of male and female religious, and of consecrated people, in the Church on her journey in the world."

The Pope reminded his audience that "your evangelical witness, in order to be truly effective, must arise from an unreserved response to the initiative of God, Who consecrated you for Him through a special act of love."

"In our time there exists, especially among the young, a widespread need to meet God. Those who are chosen by God for consecrated life make this spiritual longing definitively their own. ... With their example, they proclaim to the world - which is often disoriented but in reality searching for meaning - that God is the Lord of existence."

Consecrated men and women, "by choosing obedience, poverty and chastity for the Kingdom of Heaven, show that all ties of love to things and to people are incapable of definitively satisfying the heart." Their lives "constitute a total and definitive, unconditional and passionate response to God."

"When they renounce everything to follow Christ," the Pope added, "consecrated people ... necessarily become a 'sign of contradiction,' because their way of life and thought often contrasts with the logic of the world. ... When faced with such courage, many people who thirst for truth are inspired and attracted by those who do not hesitate to give their lives for that which they believe."

The Pope encouraged those present never to forget that "consecrated life is a divine gift and that it is, in the first instance, the Lord who brings it to success. ... This certainty must be a comfort to you, keeping you from temptation and discouragement in the face of the inevitable difficulties of life and the many challenges of the modern age."

The Pope concluded his remarks by recalling how that day's liturgy of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple is characterized by the symbol of light, "indicating Christ, the true light of the world, which shines forth in the night of history and illuminates all searchers after truth. Dear consecrated men and women, burn with this flame and make it shine in your own lives, so that everywhere may be lit by a fragment of the brilliance irradiated by Jesus, splendor of truth."


The Baltimore Catechism Quiz

H/T to Leticia

You are a 100% traditional Catholic!

Congratulations! You are more knowlegeable than most modern theologians! You have achieved mastery over the most important doctrines of the Catholic Faith! You should share your incredible understanding with others!

Do You Know Your Baltimore Catechism?
Make Your Own Quiz

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Unusual Fishing

Since the readings today were about fishing, I thought it would be appropriate to post this video.

H/T to Fr. Stephanos.

Waiting for the Tridentine Indult?

Fr. Z has his ideas on the date and I have mine.

Personally, I have seen so many dates come and go that I don't know if it will ever happen. However, I doubt it will be on February 22.

Jeff has created a Indult date predictor. I have it located in at the top of the sidebar. It gives random dates, so it is bound to be correct at least once.

H/T to Brian for this cartoon which was created by Paul Nichols.

The Importance of Celibacy

Over the winter break, I took an intensive class in public speaking. It was an interesting class. We finished the class with a debate. The class was divided into two groups. One group debated the death penalty, while the other group debated priestly celibacy. Of course, I was on the death penalty debate.

Most of the arguments offerered on both sides of the celibacy debate were superficial and some were even ridiculous. Money seemed to take top priority. With the pro-celibacy team arguing that parishes couldn't afford to support a priest's family and the anti-celibacy team arguing that parishes were loaded with money. (By the way, if you find that parish let me know. My parish is not one of them. Maybe they will share.)

Until a few days ago, I was undecided on where I stood on priestly celibacy. My thoughts on the issue depended on the day. A few days ago, I figured out my opinion. I am sure that what I am about to write will not be groundbreaking news to many of you. It wasn't anything that I didn't know before. The difference was in how I looked at it.

The problem lies in clerical professionalism. Basically, some priests and lay people see the priesthood as a job. Come to work, put in 8 hours, punch out and go home. If that is all the priesthood is, there is no reason for celibacy.

Celibacy calls the priest to a deeper level of commitment. It is not a 9-5 job. It is not even a 9-9 job. It is a marriage. The priest is celibate because he is married to the Church. As parishioners, we are the priest's "kids".

The priesthood is a 24 hour 7 day a week commitment. Just as when my son calls me from his crib (soon to be bed because he climbed out last night), I don't say, "Sorry, call me a 9. Mommy's not working right now", the priest must be available to his parishioners.

Now, I understand that that is not always possible. Unfortunately, we have too few priests who are stretched far too thin. We have priests ministering to 2, 3, and more parishes. Some of these are not located near each other. We have priests with parish and other diocesan duties. However, we cannot forget the ideal, because our current situation is far from ideal.

I pray that the day will come when each parish has two, three or more priests. The day when parishioners can call the rectory at any hour and have a priest attend to their needs immediately. Hopefully, that day is soon.

Even if it isn't, priestly celibacy is important because it creates a special bond between priest and Church. To lose that bond would change the priesthood from a relationship to a job.

Catholic Blog Awards

The 2007 Catholic Blog Awards are now accepting nominations.

Head over there and nominate your favorite Catholic blogs. Nominations end on February 9th. Voting will begin on February 12 and end on February 16th.

Here are the award categories:

Best Overall Catholic Blog
Best Designed Catholic Blog
Best Written Catholic Blog
Best New Catholic Blog
Best Individual Catholic Blog
Best Group Blog
Best Blog by Clergy/Religious/Seminarian
Funniest Catholic Blog
Smartest Catholic Blog
Most Informative & Insightful Catholic Blog
Best Apologetic Blog
Best Political/Social Commentary Catholic Blog
Best Insider News Catholic Blog
Most Spiritual Blog

Go and nominate now.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

February Prayer Intentions

Pope Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for February is: "That the goods of the earth, given by God for all men, may be used wisely and according to criteria of justice and solidarity."

His mission intention is: "That the fight against diseases and great epidemics in the Third World may find, in the spirit of solidarity, ever more generous collaboration on the part of the governments of all nations."

Just As I Thought

Almost Perfect- INFP
40% Extraversion, 60% Intuition, 33% Thinking, 40% Judging

So, you want to make the world a better place? Too bad it's never gonna happen.

Of all the types, you have to be one of the hardest to find fault in. You have a selfless and caring nature. You're a good listener and someone who wants to avoid conflict. You genuinely desire to do good.

Of course, these all add up to an incredibly overpowered conscience which makes you feel guilty and responsible when anything goes wrong. Of course, it MUST be your fault EVERYTIME.
Though you're constantly on a mission to find the truth, you have no use for hard facts and logic, which is a source of great confusion for those of us with brains. Despite this, in a losing argument, you're not above spouting off inaccurate fact after fact in an effort to protect your precious values.

You're most probably a perfectionist, which in this case, is a bad thing. Any group work is destined to fail because of your incredibly high standards.

Disregard what I said before. You're just easy to find fault in as everyone else!

Luckily, you're generally very hard on yourself, meaning I don't need to waste my precious time insulting you. Instead, just find all your own faults and insult yourself.

Take the test for