Friday, September 30, 2011

October's 1st Saint of the day: the Little Flower

Saint Therese of Lisieux

Feastday: October 1
Patron of the Missions
1873 - 1897

Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called her the "Little Flower", and found in her short life more inspiration for own lives than in volumes by theologians.

Yet Therese died when she was 24, after having lived as cloistered Carmelite for less than ten years. She never went on missions, never founded a religious order, never performed great works. The only book of hers, published after her death, was an brief edited version of her journal called "Story of a Soul." (Collections of her letters and restored versions of her journals have been published recently.) But within 28 years of her death, the public demand was so great that she was canonized.

Over the years, some modern Catholics have turned away from her because they associate her with over- sentimentalized piety and yet the message she has for us is still as compelling and simple as it was almost a century ago.

Therese was born in France in 1873, the pampered daughter of a mother who had wanted to be a saint and a father who had wanted to be monk. The two had gotten married but determined they would be celibate until a priest told them that was not how God wanted a marriage to work! They must have followed his advice very well because they had nine children. The five children who lived were all daughters who were close all their lives.

Tragedy and loss came quickly to Therese when her mother died of breast cancer when she was four and a half years old. Her sixteen year old sister Pauline became her second mother -- which made the second loss even worse when Pauline entered the Carmelite convent five years later. A few months later, Therese became so ill with a fever that people thought she was dying.

The worst part of it for Therese was all the people sitting around her bed staring at her like, she said, "a string of onions." When Therese saw her sisters praying to statue of Mary in her room, Therese also prayed. She saw Mary smile at her and suddenly she was cured. She tried to keep the grace of the cure secret but people found out and badgered her with questions about what Mary was wearing, what she looked like. When she refused to give in to their curiosity, they passed the story that she had made the whole thing up.

Without realizing it, by the time she was eleven years old she had developed the habit of mental prayer. She would find a place between her bed and the wall and in that solitude think about God, life, eternity.

When her other sisters, Marie and Leonie, left to join religious orders (the Carmelites and Poor Clares, respectively), Therese was left alone with her last sister Celine and her father. Therese tells us that she wanted to be good but that she had an odd way of going about. This spoiled little Queen of her father's wouldn't do housework. She thought if she made the beds she was doing a great favor!

Every time Therese even imagined that someone was criticizing her or didn't appreciate her, she burst into tears. Then she would cry because she had cried! Any inner wall she built to contain her wild emotions crumpled immediately before the tiniest comment.

Therese wanted to enter the Carmelite convent to join Pauline and Marie but how could she convince others that she could handle the rigors of Carmelite life, if she couldn't handle her own emotional outbursts? She had prayed that Jesus would help her but there was no sign of an answer.

On Christmas day in 1886, the fourteen-year-old hurried home from church. In France, young children left their shoes by the hearth at Christmas, and then parents would fill them with gifts. By fourteen, most children outgrew this custom. But her sister Celine didn't want Therese to grow up. So they continued to leave presents in "baby" Therese's shoes.

As she and Celine climbed the stairs to take off their hats, their father's voice rose up from the parlor below. Standing over the shoes, he sighed, "Thank goodness that's the last time we shall have this kind of thing!"

Therese froze, and her sister looked at her helplessly. Celine knew that in a few minutes Therese would be in tears over what her father had said.

But the tantrum never came. Something incredible had happened to Therese. Jesus had come into her heart and done what she could not do herself. He had made her more sensitive to her father's feelings than her own.

She swallowed her tears, walked slowly down the stairs, and exclaimed over the gifts in the shoes, as if she had never heard a word her father said. The following year she entered the convent. In her autobiography she referred to this Christmas as her "conversion."

Therese be known as the Little Flower but she had a will of steel. When the superior of the Carmelite convent refused to take Therese because she was so young, the formerly shy little girl went to the bishop. When the bishop also said no, she decided to go over his head, as well.

Her father and sister took her on a pilgrimage to Rome to try to get her mind off this crazy idea. Therese loved it. It was the one time when being little worked to her advantage! Because she was young and small she could run everywhere, touch relics and tombs without being yelled at. Finally they went for an audience with the Pope. They had been forbidden to speak to him but that didn't stop Therese. As soon as she got near him, she begged that he let her enter the Carmelite convent. She had to be carried out by two of the guards!

But the Vicar General who had seen her courage was impressed and soon Therese was admitted to the Carmelite convent that her sisters Pauline and Marie had already joined. Her romantic ideas of convent life and suffering soon met up with reality in a way she had never expected. Her father suffered a series of strokes that left him affected not only physically but mentally. When he began hallucinating and grabbed for a gun as if going into battle, he was taken to an asylum for the insane. Horrified, Therese learned of the humiliation of the father she adored and admired and of the gossip and pity of their so-called friends. As a cloistered nun she couldn't even visit her father.

This began a horrible time of suffering when she experienced such dryness in prayer that she stated "Jesus isn't doing much to keep the conversation going." She was so grief-stricken that she often fell asleep in prayer. She consoled herself by saying that mothers loved children when they lie asleep in their arms so that God must love her when she slept during prayer.

She knew as a Carmelite nun she would never be able to perform great deeds. " Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love." She took every chance to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn't like. She ate everything she was given without complaining -- so that she was often given the worst leftovers. One time she was accused of breaking a vase when she was not at fault. Instead of arguing she sank to her knees and begged forgiveness. These little sacrifices cost her more than bigger ones, for these went unrecognized by others. No one told her how wonderful she was for these little secret humiliations and good deeds.

When Pauline was elected prioress, she asked Therese for the ultimate sacrifice. Because of politics in the convent, many of the sisters feared that the family Martin would taken over the convent. Therefore Pauline asked Therese to remain a novice, in order to allay the fears of the others that the three sisters would push everyone else around. This meant she would never be a fully professed nun, that she would always have to ask permission for everything she did. This sacrifice was made a little sweeter when Celine entered the convent after her father's death. Four of the sisters were now together again.

Therese continued to worry about how she could achieve holiness in the life she led. She didn't want to just be good, she wanted to be a saint. She thought there must be a way for people living hidden, little lives like hers. " I have always wanted to become a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passers-by. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. It is impossible for me to grow bigger, so I put up with myself as I am, with all my countless faults. But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.

" We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: "Whosoever is a little one, come to me." It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up: I must stay little and become less and less."

She worried about her vocation: " I feel in me the vocation of the Priest. I have the vocation of the Apostle. Martyrdom was the dream of my youth and this dream has grown with me. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is Love!"

When an antagonist was elected prioress, new political suspicions and plottings sprang up. The concern over the Martin sisters perhaps was not exaggerated. In this small convent they now made up one-fifth of the population. Despite this and the fact that Therese was a permanent novice they put her in charge of the other novices.

Then in 1896, she coughed up blood. She kept working without telling anyone until she became so sick a year later everyone knew it. Worst of all she had lost her joy and confidence and felt she would die young without leaving anything behind. Pauline had already had her writing down her memories for journal and now she wanted her to continue -- so they would have something to circulate on her life after her death.

Her pain was so great that she said that if she had not had faith she would have taken her own life without hesitation. But she tried to remain smiling and cheerful -- and succeeded so well that some thought she was only pretending to be ill. Her one dream as the work she would do after her death, helping those on earth. "I will return," she said. "My heaven will be spent on earth." She died on September 30, 1897 at the age of 24 years old. She herself felt it was a blessing God allowed her to die at exactly that age. she had always felt that she had a vocation to be a priest and felt God let her die at the age she would have been ordained if she had been a man so that she wouldn't have to suffer.

After she died, everything at the convent went back to normal. One nun commented that there was nothing to say about Therese. But Pauline put together Therese's writings (and heavily edited them, unfortunately) and sent 2000 copies to other convents. But Therese's "little way" of trusting in Jesus to make her holy and relying on small daily sacrifices instead of great deeds appealed to the thousands of Catholics and others who were trying to find holiness in ordinary lives. Within two years, the Martin family had to move because her notoriety was so great and by 1925 she had been canonized.

Therese of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of the missions, not because she ever went anywhere, but because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. This is reminder to all of us who feel we can do nothing, that it is the little things that keep God's kingdom growing.

Emotional scene at Texas Rangers Stadium: Cooper Stone delivers 1st pitch in honor of his daddy, Shannon Stone

Cooper Stone delivers pitch to Josh Hamilton before Rangers game
The first moment of baseball's postseason will probably turn out to be its best.
Once you dab the tears from the corner of your eyes, I'm sure you'll agree. That's  six-year-old Cooper Stone delivering the ceremonial first pitch to Texas Rangers all-star Josh Hamilton(notes) before Friday's playoff opener at Rangers Ballpark.  
Cooper Stone delivers pitch to Josh Hamilton before Rangers gameTalk about a brave little boy. You probably already know Cooper's story. Back in July, he attended a Rangers game with his father, Shannon. Hamilton noticed the pair in the stands and tossed the father and son a ball. Shannon lost his balance and fell 20 feet to his death, making national headlines and leading Hamilton to pledge that he'd meet with Cooper at "an appropriate time."
That time turned out to be Friday, when Cooper strode out to the pitcher's mound with a determined look on his face. He was accompanied by his mother Jenny — who wore sunglasses to hide her tears — and Rangers team president Nolan Ryan.
Hamilton, Cooper's favorite player, knelt down in the grass to receive the pitch.
A no-doubt-about-it strike.
Watch it here:

"(Cooper) represents what we believe we're about and he is a very dyed-in-the-wool Ranger fan," Nolan Ryan said. "We're just honored that they were willing to come out and do that and share the day with us."
The crowd on hand for the ALDS game between the Rays and Rangers gave Cooper and his mother a standing ovation and television cameras showed several fans wiping tears from their eyes. It was an emotional moment in every sense of the word.
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BONUS: Here's a photo gallery of Cooper's first pitch.

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Archbishop Aymond shares touching intimate story of Archbishop Hannan's last days

Archbishop Philip Hannan whispers, 'Sounds good to me,' upon receiving deathbed blessing

Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011, 8:45 PM
Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune
It was Saturday afternoon, about 4 p.m., and as Archbishop Philip Hannan lay near death on the third floor of Chateau de Notre Dame, his younger brother, Jerry, a nephew, Tom, and a few of his oldest New Orleans friends gathered somberly around Hannan’s hospital bed in the institution where he had lived since June.

Archbishop Philip Hannan throughout the years
Enlarge TED JACKSON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Philip Hannan retired archbishop of New Orleans, center with former President George H.W. Bush and Saints Garrett Hartley before the start of the NFC Championship between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans Sunday, January 24, 2010.
For weeks Hannan, 98, had been slowly failing; now his decline had steepened sharply. He was dying.
On Saturday, the doctors had said it did not appear he would survive the night, Archbishop Gregory Aymond recalled.
So Aymond and a few friends assembled to celebrate what the Catholic church calls the Mass for Viaticum — the Latin term for “food for the journey” — essentially, a dying person’s last opportunity to receive the Eucharist, the central spiritual experience of Catholic life.
Aymond would shortly issue a public statement asking for prayers for Hannan. That would be the first public notification that the former archbishop, who died four and a half days later, was near death after a long and graceful decline.
But for several days before that, Aymond said, those closest to Hannan had known of his recent frailty and had formed “a constant stream” of well-wishers.
On Saturday, with the end apparently near, the few people around the archbishop's bed included his brother, Jerry Hannan, 89, who had flown in from Bethesda, Md.; the archbishop’s nephew, Tom; his oldest and closest New Orleans friend, Alden “Doc” Laborde, the oil-field entrepreneur; Saints owner Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle; restaurateur Klara Cvitanovich, who for years sent Hannan a daily take-out lunch from Drago’s; and a few others.
“It was an emotional time for all of us there,” Aymond said Thursday. “It was clear he knew some of what was going on.
“I gave no homily,” Aymond said. “I simply pointed at him and said he IS the living homily.
“He taught us in many ways how to live, but I think he taught us how to grow old gracefully.
“For a man who was independent, he became totally dependent on others, and never, ever complained about it.”
Aymond said Hannan had already been anointed several times with the Sacrament of the Sick. This final Mass, the last of uncounted thousands in Hannan’s life, would be his last reception of the Eucharist.
In the early part of the ritual, Aymond and the others jointly confessed their sins in prayer, and as part of the rite, Aymond said he granted Hannan absolution from his sins in the name of Jesus.
Though weak and perhaps not entirely alert, Aymond said Hannan whispered a response.
They are what so far are his last recorded words:
He said: “Sounds good to me.”
“He was reassured, and knew God was forgiving him,” Aymond said.
Hannan survived the night, in and out of consciousness, and into much of the following week.
Aymond said he visited Hannan again on Wednesday, when he was weaker yet.
They have known each other for all of Aymond’s adult life.
Hannan ordained the young Aymond a priest in 1975, shepherded his career as a seminary rector, and assisted in Aymond’s ordination as a bishop in St. Louis Cathedral in 1997.
“He was truly a mentor and a father figure,” Aymond said.
On Wednesday, Aymond found Hannan was largely unaware, profoundly weak.
At the end of that visit, Aymond said he gave Hannan a farewell blessing, and on impulse Aymond asked for a blessing in return.
Aymond said Hannan understood the request.
“He tried to raise his hand, but he had trouble,” Aymond said. “He tried, in his way, to make the sign of the cross. And I will always consider that an important farewell we were able to exchange.”
Before dawn on Thursday, Aymond said Hannan lay alone in his room, his visitors having left, and his sitter having stepped out. It was shortly after 3 a.m.
Aymond said the sitter reported hearing a slight noise. She entered to check, and found Hannan gone.

Transitions on this last day of September

This is an important day to me every year.  It is the last day of the summer months; the months I dislike the most.  October 1st ushers in the best time of the year.  We rapidly approach fall-like weather, which really means milder weather for us in the deep south.  And we start experiencing earlier night-falls; something I actually enjoy.  At least the football season is in full bloom and we are eagerly watching our Saints, LSU and high school gridiron heroes.

Like clockwork, the weather is in full cooperation as October 1st draws closer by the minute.  Low temps tonight are rumored to be around 49; a far cry from the many nighttime lows of 78-80 over the past 4 to 5 months.  The humidity promises to make a hasty retreat for the weekend and the wind will blow gently from the north.  And high temps the next few days promise to be around 78, again, so much lower than the recent 95-100 afternoons.  In other words, these first few days of October, timed to coincide with a weekend, will be glorious.  And I can hardly wait.

How glorious are these months ahead.  Fall festivals, school activities, cooler weather, football in full bloom, falling leaves, Halloween, and looking ahead, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What is not to like about these fall months of October, November and December?

In the days ahead we will focus of course on those specific things that await us.  Paramount in these parts are the activities associated with saying goodbye to Archbishop Philip Hannan.  New Orleans is poised to say farewell to our longtime spiritual leader.

And then we will relax back into the routines that are associated with this first week of October, which ushers in the longer and much anticipated wonderful months of cooler weather and happy times.  See ya later summer and hurricane season(hopefully) and welcome on board the best months of the year!

Archbishop Aymond remembers Archbishop Hannan

Posted: Thursday, 29 September 2011 6:48PM

Archbishop Aymond reflects on Archbishop Hannan

In the online edition of the Clarion Herald, Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond offered this reflection on his friend and mentor, the retired Archbishop Phillip M. Hannan: 

Humanly speaking, we are grieving, and Archbishop Hannan will be greatly missed. At the same time, I do not believe he would have wanted to linger in the condition that he was in.

It was 46 years ago today – Sept. 29, 1965 – that Archbishop Hannan was appointed the 11th archbishop of New Orleans while he was attending the Second Vatican Council in Rome. He was such a wonderful shepherd who came into our midst when we needed him the most, right after Hurricane Betsy.

It was a real privilege to celebrate with him what is called the Mass of Viaticum in his room at Chateau de Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 24). Viaticum is giving Communion – the Body and Blood of Christ – to a person who is dying for his journey home to the Lord.

He's always been a father figure to me. He was the only archbishop I knew as a child – I was younger than 10 years old when he came here. He ordained me as a deacon and as a priest and was a co-consecrator when I was ordained a bishop. He was someone I always looked up to.

He was a man of the church, a man who loved God and certainly a man who loved God's people. He was a great shepherd for us, and he also was a true New Orleanian. He made New Orleans his home.

He was very active in the community, and he could deal with presidents like President John Kennedy, and he could also deal with the homeless. He had a great love for the poor, and much of the ministry that we do today in the archdiocese is continuing to build on who Archbishop Hannan was and what he has done for our archdiocese.

I'm sure in entering World War II as a paratroop chaplain, he was very brave, but I'm also sure that he became even braver during the war. He was very much self-assured. Not only did he risk jumping out of planes, but he also risked doing new things and confronting new challenges in the church and in the archdiocese. I think that kind of risk-taking and determination is very much who Philip Hannan is.

I was thrilled that Pope John Paul II came to New Orleans in 1987, but I was happier for Archbishop Hannan than for anyone else because his historic visit meant so much to him. That was really the high point of his tenure here.

People knew him and recognized him as THE archbishop of New Orleans. I think that was a testament to the love, admiration and affection that people have for him. It never bothered me in any way when I heard people talking about THE archbishop and meaning it was Archbishop Hannan. Even the day before he died, I was referring to him as THE archbishop.
He's someone I've learned a lot from. He's been a mentor and a father, and he will be missed. But I also truly believe that he is with the Lord in heaven and will continue to shepherd us from his place in heaven.

Still remembering Archbishop Hannan

Some great videos from our local news station, WWL-TV, celebrating the life and legacy of Archbishop Philip M. Hannan.

Please take your time and enjoy them as we all continue to pray for the repose of the soul of our great Archbishop:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feast of St Jerome: "ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ"

St. Jerome
Doctor of the Church

Feastday: September 30
Patron of Librarians
b.331 d.420

St. Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was the most learned of the Fathers of the Western Church. He was born about the year 342 at Stridonius, a small town at the head of the Adriatic, near the episcopal city of Aquileia. His father, a Christian, took care that his son was well instructed at home, then sent him to Rome, where the young man's teachers were the famous pagan grammarian Donatus and Victorinus, a Christian rhetorician. Jerome's native tongue was the Illyrian dialect, but at Rome he became fluent in Latin and Greek, and read the literatures of those languages with great pleasure. His aptitude for oratory was such that he may have considered law as a career. He acquired many worldly ideas, made little effort to check his pleasure-loving instincts, and lost much of the piety that had been instilled in him at home. Yet in spite of the pagan and hedonistic influences around him, Jerome was baptized by Pope Liberius in 360. He tells us that "it was my custom on Sundays to visit, with friends of my own age and tastes, the tombs of the martyrs and Apostles, going down into those subterranean galleries whose walls on both sides preserve the relics of the dead." Here he enjoyed deciphering the inscriptions.

After three years at Rome, Jerome's intellectual curiosity led him to explore other parts of the world. He visited his home and then, accompanied by his boyhood friend Bonosus, went to Aquileia, where he made friends among the monks of the monastery there, notably Rufinus. Then, still accompanied by Bonosus, he traveled to Treves, in Gaul. He now renounced all secular pursuits to dedicate himself wholeheartedly to God. Eager to build up a religious library, the young scholar copied out St. Hilary's books on and his Commentaries on the Psalms, and got together other literary and religious treasures. He returned to Stridonius, and later settled in Aquileia. The bishop had cleared the church there of the plague of Arianism and had drawn to it many eminent men. Among those with whom Jerome formed friendships were Chromatius (later canonized), to whom Jerome dedicated several of his works, Heliodorus (also to become a saint), and his nephew Nepotian. The famous theologian Rufinus, at first his close friend, afterward became his bitter opponent. By nature an irascible man with a sharp tongue, Jerome made enemies as well as friends. He spent some years in scholarly studies in Aquileia, then, in search of more perfect solitude, he turned towards the East. With his friends, Innocent, Heliodorus, and Hylas, a freed slave, he started overland for Syria. On the way they visited Athens, Bithynia, Galatia, Pontus, Cappadocia, and Cilicia.

The party arrived at Antioch about the year 373. There Jerome at first attended the lectures of the famous Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, who had not yet put forward his heresy1 With his companions he left the city for the desert of Chalcis, about fifty miles southeast of Antioch. Innocent and Hylas soon died there, and Heliodorus left to return to the West, but Jerome stayed for four years, which were passed in study and in the practice of austerity. He had many attacks of illness but suffered still more from temptation. "In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert," he wrote years afterwards to his friend Eustochium, "burnt up with the heat of the sun, so scorching that it frightens even the monks who live there, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome.... In this exile and prison to which through fear of Hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, with no other company but scorpions and wild beasts, I many times imagined myself watching the dancing of Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them. My face was pallid with fasting, yet my will felt the assaults of desire. In my cold body and my parched flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion was still able to live. Alone with the enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, though I grieve that I am not now what I then was."

Jerome added to these trials the study of Hebrew, a discipline which he hoped would help him in winning a victory over himself. "When my soul was on fire with wicked thoughts," he wrote in 411, "as a last resort, I became a pupil to a monk who had been a Jew, in order to learn the Hebrew alphabet. From the judicious precepts of Quintilian, the rich and fluent eloquence of Cicero, the graver style of Fronto, and the smoothness of Pliny, I turned to this language of hissing and broken-winded words. What labor it cost me, what difficulties I went through, how often I despaired and abandoned it and began again to learn, both I, who felt the burden, and they who lived with me, can bear witness. I thank our Lord that I now gather such sweet fruit from the bitter sowing of those studies." He continued to read the pagan classics for pleasure until a vivid dream turned him from them, at least for a time. In a letter he describes how, during an illness, he dreamed he was standing before the tribunal of Christ. "Thou a Christian?" said the judge skeptically. "Thou art a Ciceronian. Where thy treasure is, there thy heart is also."

The church at Antioch was greatly disturbed at this time by party and doctrinal disputes. The anchorites in the desert took sides, and called on Jerome, the most learned of them, to give his opinions on the subjects at issue. He wrote for guidance to Pope Damasus at Rome. Failing to receive an answer, he wrote again. "On one side, the Arian fury rages, supported by the secular power; on the other side, the Church (at Antioch) is being divided into three parts, and each would draw me to itself." No reply from Damasus is extant; but we know that Jerome acknowledged Paulinus, leader of one party, as bishop of Antioch, and that when he left the desert of Chalcis, he received from Paulinus' hands his ordination as priest. Jerome consented to ordination only on condition that he should not be obliged to serve in any church, knowing that his true vocation was to be a monk and recluse.

About 380 Jerome went to Constantinople to study the Scriptures under the Greek, Gregory of Nazianzus, then bishop of that city. Two years later he went back to Rome with Paulinus of Antioch to attend a council which Pope Damasus was holding to deal with the Antioch schism. Appointed secretary of the council, Jerome acquitted himself so well that, when it was over, Damasus kept him there as his own secretary. At the Pope's request he prepared a revised text, based on the Greek, of the Latin New Testament, the current version of which had been disfigured by "wrong copying, clumsy correction, and careless interpolations." He also revised the Latin psalter. That the prestige of Rome and its power to arbitrate between disputants, East as well as West, was recognized as never before at this time, was due in some measure at least to Jerome's diligence and ability. Along with his official duties he was fostering a new movement of Christian asceticism among a group of noble Roman ladies. Several of them were to be canonized, including Albina and her daughters Marcella and Asella, Melania the Elder, who was the first of them to go to the Holy Land, and Paula, with her daughters, Blesilla and Eustochium. The tie between Jerome and the three last-mentioned women was especially close, and to them he addressed many of his famous letters.

When Pope Damasus died in 384, he was succeeded by Siricius, who was less friendly to Jerome. While serving Damasus, Jerome had impressed all by his personal holiness, learning, and integrity. But he had also managed to get himself widely disliked by pagans and evil-doers whom he had condemned, and also by people of taste and tolerance, many of them Christians, who were offended by his biting sarcasm and a certain ruthlessness in attack. An example of his style is the harsh diatribe against the artifices of worldly women, who "paint their cheeks with rouge and their eyelids with antimony, whose plastered faces, too white for human beings, look like idols; and if in a moment of forgetfulness they shed a tear it makes a furrow where it rolls down the painted cheek; women to whom years do not bring the gravity of age, who load their heads with other people's hair, enamel a lost youth upon the wrinkles of age, and affect a maidenly timidity in the midst of a troop of grand children." In a letter to Eustochium he writes with scorn of certain members of the Roman clergy. "All their anxiety is about their clothes.... You would take them for bridegrooms rather than for clerics; all they think about is knowing the names and houses and doings of rich ladies."

Although Jerome's indignation was usually justified, his manner of expressing it-both verbally and in letters-aroused resentment. His own reputation was attacked; his bluntness, his walk, and even his smile were criticized. And neither the virtue of the ladies under his direction nor his own scrupulous behavior towards them was any protection from scandalous gossip. Affronted at the calumnies that were circulated, Jerome decided to return to the East. Taking with him his brother Paulinian and some others, he embarked in August, 385. At Cyprus, on the way, he was received with joy by Bishop Epiphanius, and at Antioch also he conferred with leading churchmen. It was here, probably, that he was joined by the widow Paula and some other ladies who had left Rome with the aim of settling in the Holy Land.

With what remained of Jerome's own patrimony and with financial help from Paula, a monastery for men was built near the basilica of the Nativity at Bethlehem, and also houses for three communities of women. Paula became head of one of these, and after her death was succeeded by her daughter Eustochium. Jerome himself lived and worked in a large cave near the Saviour's birthplace. He opened a free school there and also a hospice for pilgrims, "so that," as Paula said, "should Mary and Joseph visit Bethlehem again, they would have a place to stay." Now at last Jerome began to enjoy some years of peaceful activity. He gives us a wonderful description of this fruitful, harmonious, Palestinian life, and its attraction for all manner of men. "Illustrious Gauls congregate here, and no sooner has the Briton, so remote from our world, arrived at religion than he leaves his early-setting sun to seek a land which he knows only by reputation and from the Scriptures. Then the Armenians, the Persians, the peoples of India and Ethiopia, of Egypt, and of Pontus, Cappadocia, Syria, and Mesopotamia!... They come in throngs and set us examples of every virtue. The languages differ but the religion is the same; as many different choirs chant the psalms as there are nations.... Here bread and herbs, planted with our own hands, and milk, all country fare, furnish us plain and healthy food. In summer the trees give us shade. In autumn the air is cool and the falling leaves restful. In spring our psalmody is sweeter for the singing of the birds. We have plenty of wood when winter snow and cold are upon us. Let Rome keep its crowds, let its arenas run with blood, its circuses go mad, its theaters wallow in sensuality...."

But when the Christian faith was threatened Jerome could not be silent. While at Rome in the time of Pope Damasus, he had composed a book on the perpetual virginity of the Virgin Mary against one Helvidius, who had maintained that Mary had not remained always a virgin but had had other children by St. Joseph, after the birth of Christ. This and similar ideas were now again put forward by a certain Jovinian, who had been a monk. Paula's son-in-law, Pammachius, sent some of this heretical writing to Jerome, and he, in 393, wrote two books against Jovinian. In the first he described the excellence of virginity. The books were written in Jerome's vehement style and there were expressions in them which seemed lacking in respect for honorable matrimony. Pammachius informed Jerome of the offense which he and many others at Rome had taken at them. Thereupon Jerome composed his , sometimes called his third book against Jovinian, in which he showed by quoting from his own earlier works that he regarded marriage as a good and honorable state and did not condemn even a second or a third marriage.

A few years later he turned his attention to one Vigilantius, a Gallic priest, who was denouncing both celibacy and the veneration of saints' relics, calling those who revered them idolaters and worshipers of ashes. In defending celibacy Jerome said that a monk should purchase security by flying from temptations and dangers when he distrusted his own strength. As to the veneration of relics, he declared: "We do not worship the relics of the martyrs, but honor them in our worship of Him whose martyrs they are. We honor the servants in order that the respect paid to them may be reflected back to the Lord." Honoring them, he said, was not idolatry because no Christian had ever adored the martyrs as gods; on the other hand, they pray for us. "If the Apostles and martyrs, while still living on earth, could pray for other men, how much more may they do it after their victories? Have they less power now that they are with Jesus Christ?" He told Paula, after the death of her daughter Blesilla, "She now prays to the Lord for you, and obtains for me the pardon of my sins." Jerome was never moderate whether in virtue or against evil. Though swift to anger, he was also swift to feel remorse and was even more severe on his own failings than on those of others.

From 395 to 400 Jerome was engaged in a war against Origenism2, which unhappily created a breach in his long friendship with Rufinus. Finding that some Eastern monks had been led into error by the authority of Rufinus' name and learning, Jerome attacked him. Rufinus, then living in a monastery at Jerusalem, had translated many of Origen's works into Latin and was an enthusiastic upholder of his scholarship, though it does not appear that he meant to defend the heresies in Origen's writings. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, was one of the churchmen greatly distressed by the quarrel between Jerome and Rufinus, and became unwillingly involved in a controversy with Jerome.

Jerome's passionate controversies were the least important part of his activities. What has made his name so famous was his critical labor on the text of the Scriptures. The Church regards him as the greatest of all the doctors in clarifying the Divine Word. He had the best available aids for such an undertaking, living where the remains of Biblical places, names, and customs all combined to give him a more vivid view than he could have had at a greater distance. To continue his study of Hebrew he hired a famous Jewish scholar, Bar Ananias, who came to teach him by night, lest other Jews should learn of it. As a man of prayer and purity of heart whose life had been mainly spent in study, penance, and contemplation, Jerome was prepared to be a sensitive interpreter of spiritual things.

We have seen that already while at Rome he had made a revision of the current Latin New Testament, and of the Psalms. Now he undertook to translate most of the books of the Old Testament directly from the Hebrew. The friends and scholars who urged him to this task realized the superiority of a version made directly from the original to any second-hand version, however venerable. It was needed too for argument with the Jews, who recognized no other text as authentic but their own. He began with the Books of Kings, and went on with the rest at different times. When he found that the Book of Tobias and part of Daniel had been composed in Chaldaic, he set himself to learn that difficult language also. More than once he was tempted to give up the whole wearisome task, but a certain scholarly tenacity of purpose kept him at it. The only parts of the Latin Bible, now known as the Vulgate, which were not either translated or worked over by him are the Books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and the two Books of the Maccabees.3 He revised the Psalms once again, with the aid of Origen's ,4 and the Hebrew text. This last is the version included now in the Vulgate and used generally in the Divine Office; his first revision, known as the Roman Psalter, is still used for the opening psalm at Matins and throughout the Missal, and for the Divine Office in the cathedrals of St. Peter at Rome and St. Mark at Venice, and in the Milanese rite.

In the sixteenth century the great Council of Trent pronounced Jerome's Vulgate the authentic and authoritative Latin text of the Catholic Church, without, however, thereby implying a preference for it above the original text or above versions in other languages. In 1907 Pope Pius X entrusted to the Benedictine Order the office of restoring as far as possible the correct text of St. Jerome's Vulgate, which during fifteen centuries of use had naturally become altered in many places. The Bible now ordinarily used by English-speaking Catholics is a translation of the Vulgate, made at Rheims and Douay towards the end of the sixteenth century, and revised by Bishop Challoner in the eighteenth. The Confraternity Edition of the New Testament appearing in 1950 represents a complete revision.

A heavy blow came to Jerome in 404 when his staunch friend, the saintly Paula, died. Six years later he was stunned by news of the sacking of Rome by Alaric the Goth. Of the refugees who fled from Rome to the East at this time he wrote: "Who would have believed that the daughters of that mighty city would one day be wandering as servants and slaves on the shores of Egypt and Africa, or that Bethlehem would daily receive noble Romans, distinguished ladies, brought up in wealth and now reduced to beggary? I cannot help them all, but I grieve and weep with them, and am completely absorbed in the duties which charity imposes on me. I have put aside my commentary on Ezekiel and almost all study. For today we must translate the precepts of the Scriptures into deeds; instead of speaking saintly words, we must act them." A few years later his work was again interrupted by raids of barbarians pushing north through Egypt into Palestine, and later still by a violent onset of Pelagian heretics, who, relying on the protection of Bishop John of Jerusalem, sent a troop of ruffians to Bethlehem to disperse the monks and nuns living there under the direction of Jerome, who had been opposing Pelagianism5 with his customary truculence. Some of the monks were beaten, a deacon was killed, and monasteries were set on fire. Jerome had to go into hiding for a time.

The following year Paula's daughter Eustochium died. The aged Jerome soon fell ill, and after lingering for two years succumbed. Worn with penance and excessive labor, his sight and voice almost gone, his body like a shadow, he died peacefully on September 30, 420, and was buried under the church of the Nativity at Bethlehem. In the thirteenth century his body was translated and now lies somewhere in the Sistine Chapel of the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome. The Church owes much to St. Jerome. While his great work was the Vulgate, his achievements in other fields are valuable; to him we owe the distinction between canonical and apocryphal writings; he was a pioneer in the field of Biblical archeology, his commentaries are important; his letters, published in three volumes, are one of our best sources of knowledge of the times.

St. Jerome has been a popular subject with artists, who have pictured him in the desert, as a scholar in his study, and sometimes in the robes of a cardinal, because of his services for Pope Damasus; often too he is shown with a lion, from whose paw, according to legend, he once drew a thorn. Actually this story was transferred to him from the tradition of St. Gerasimus, but a lion is not an inappropriate symbol for so fearless a champion of the faith.

The funeral arrangements for Archbishop Philip M. Hannan

Archbishop Hannan funeral arrangements
Wake and funeral arrangements for Archbishop Philip Hannan:

•Monday, Oct. 3 - Hannan’s body will be received at 5 p.m. at Notre Dame Seminary, S. Carrollton Ave.

•Monday, Oct. 3 - Evening prayer service Monday for the priests of the Archdiocese

•Monday, Oct. 3 - Wake will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will continue until 9 p.m. Monday at Seminary

•Tuesday, Oct. 4 - Archbishop Hannan to lie in state at Notre Dame seminary from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Public may attend.

•Wed. Oct. 5 - Lie in state at Notre Dame seminary from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Public may attend. At 2 p.m., a procession to St. Louis Cathedral, where visitation will continue until 9 p.m.

•Thursday, Oct. 6 - Funeral service at St. Louis Cathedral - 2 p.m. Archbishop Hannan will be buried in sanctuary at St. Louis Cathedral immediately following.

Permanent Deacons remember Archbishop Philip M. Hannan

>>>What a beautiful letter written to the Archdiocese community of Deacons by our director, Deacon Ray Duplechain about the passing of Archbishop Phillip M. Hannan and his historic contribution to restoring the Permanent Diaconate in this Archdiocese.  And also note his historic contributions at Vatican Council II.  The good Archbishop often attended many diaconate functions, praising God for the gift of the diaconate and recalling his efforts at Vatican II.

Archbishop Philip Hannan
Dear Brothers in the Lord,

Another chapter in the restoration of the diaconate in the Church is finished. As the lone and last surviving bishop to attend and participate in all four session of the Second Vatican Council Archbishop Philip M. Hannan was called home today. What began as a nascent prompting of the Holy Spirit in cell block 26 in the Dachau prison camp sprung to life at the Second Vatican Council. The charism of Charity born of Christ’s own service; recognized by the Apostles, accepted as necessary by early Church Fathers, and practiced by many in answer to God’s call was again to be a sacramental sign of service as a separate and distinct order in its own right. As a participation in the mission of the Archbishop and his priests, deacons serve as the conscience of the Church by serving and not being served.

There are some who in this day deny the work of the Second Vatican Council and thus the dignity of the vocation of the deacon as a sacramental sign of Christ the servant in the Church. Archbishop Hannan was a visionary. In the earliest days of the restoration he reestablished the diaconate as integral to the pastoral care of the People of God in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. As was his style he saw to it that its integrity and fruitfulness was nourished as well as cherished. Like the deacons he called to ministry in those early days he was a man of prayerful exchange with God. He communicated Faith through action and the preferential options for and with the poor – those who were hungry as well as those who suffer from poorness of spirit. We now hope in faith that through the mercy of Christ that he who taught the Beatitudes to his sons the deacons will now enjoy eternal beatitude with the one who is the way, truth, and life. Being a visionary really isn’t that hard to do as long as one keeps his eyes fixed on Christ the servant. The hardest part though is keeping one’s eyes on the Lord. For us, these are some pretty big shoes to fill. For him, we ask God’s own Grace and Peace. Well done good and faithful servant! Today we remember who loved us…..

From living Saint to a Saint now in Heaven: Archbishop Philip M Hannan

I can not leave for work this morning without personally reflecting on the life of Archbishop Phillip M. Hannan.  This morning he passes away peacefully, in his sleep, at the age of 98.  He was truly a great Sheperd of the people, arriving here in the turmoil and aftermath of Hurricane Betsy.  And he served faithfully for 24 years, a great leader for not only the Catholic Church but the City of New Orleans.  Archbishop Phillip M. Hannan hosted Pope John Paul II in 1987, one of the great moments in the history of Catholic New Orleans.

I remember him as a young child as he led the Archdiocese and sometimes he would visit the local parish, primarily for school events and confirmations.

And then much later in life I was thrilled when the Archbishop began celebrating Mass every Saturday at my home parish in Abita Springs.  You see the Archbishop, after riding out Hurricane Katrina at his own TV station headquarters, alone, relocated to the Northshore.  First as an acolyte and then as a Deacon, I had the high honor of assiting him at several Masses.  And I will never forget that at my ordination, at the age of 95, he was there on the altar, concelebrating the Mass.

Time prevents me from sharing much more as off to work I must go.  But I am thankful for the life of Archbishop Phillip M. Hannan and praying for him, on this his day of returning to the Father.  I met a living Saint in my life, now I believe he is a Saint in the kingdom of Heaven.

Rest in Peace, Archbishop Phillip M. Hannan, 1913-2011

The passing of a icon of Catholic New Orleans: Archbishop Philip M Hannan

Archbishop Philip Hannan dies at 98

Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011, 6:28 AM     Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011, 6:29 AM
Times-Picayune Staff Philip Matthew Hannan, the archbishop who built an ever-widening network of services for the poor during nearly a quarter-century as the pastor of nearly a half-million New Orleans’ Catholics, died Thursday at 3 a.m. at Chateau de Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New Orleans said. He was 98.
Archbishop Philip Hannan throughout the years
Enlarge TED JACKSON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Philip Hannan retired archbishop of New Orleans, center with former President George H. Bush and Saints Garrett Hartley before the start of the NFC Championship between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans Sunday, January 24, 2010. Archbishop Philip Hannan throughout the years gallery (40 photos)
Archbishop Hannan died on the 46TH anniversary of his appointment to New Orleans.
At his death, Archbishop Hannan was the senior archbishop or bishop in the American hierarchy, and the third oldest, behind retired Archbishop Peter Gerety of Newark and retired Bishop Joseph McLaughlin of Buffalo, both also 98.
Archbishop Hannan enjoyed a long and robust public retirement well into his 90s. But though free of major chronic illness, he became more frail year by year. Enfeebled by a series of small strokes, he was hospitalized during a dangerous bout with pneumonia in December.
He was able to return home to his cottage in Covington and live there with assistance. But the illness took a toll and initiated a general decline.
In mid-June, Archbishop Hannan moved to Chateau de Notre Dame, an archdiocesan facility built under his tenure.
There followed occasional brief hospitalizations for support and comfort care, most recently fewer than two weeks ago.
Born in Washington, D.C., Archbishop Hannan came to New Orleans at a moment of crisis in October 1965, in the wake of Hurricane Betsy. He spent nearly 25 years at the head of a regional church with nearly 500,000 Catholics.

Although he once said the crowning moment of his tenure came when he played host to Pope John Paul II in September 1987, he will be remembered as an enormously popular churchman who, in partnership with the federal government, established a vast network of housing, medical, literacy and other services for the city’s most vulnerable residents.
Moreover, Archbishop Hannan permanently altered the demographic makeup of the New Orleans area. His decision in 1975 to invite to the city first hundreds, then thousands, of Vietnamese families fleeing the fall of Saigon established the Vietnamese presence here.
“He was a theological conservative and a social liberal,” said Bishop Roger Morin of Biloxi, Miss., who previously served as executive director of the New Orleans archdiocese’s Department of Community Services. “He always heard the cry of the poor and was willing to do whatever was necessary to respond to that call.”
Archbishop Hannan could be a difficult man to classify. For instance, he opposed a 1985 New Orleans city ordinance giving equal rights to gay men and lesbians — but less than a year later, the archdiocese quietly opened Project Lazarus, a home for people suffering from AIDS, most of them gay men.
For most of his career he also supported capital punishment, calling it a deterrent. But he frequently wrote prosecutors requesting that individual prisoners be spared.
“He could get things done that another man might not be able to do,” said the Rev. Edgar Bruns, a former president of Notre Dame Seminary. “He was deeply concerned about trying to assist as much as possible.”
In recognition of his work, Archbishop Hannan received The Times-Picayune Loving Cup for 1982.
Active retirement
And that work continued into his retirement, when he became the first New Orleans archbishop to remain active in the community after stepping aside. Previously, the service of New Orleans archbishops ended only with their death or transfer.
Archbishop Hannan preached and spoke at a wide variety of functions. He was president of WLAE-TV, the nonprofit station the archdiocese founded and later transferred to the Willwood Foundation, and was co-host of a weekly news program, “Focus,” in which he traveled the globe for news stories, concentrating on the religious implications underlying the news.
Archbishop Hannan showed he could still make news even in retirement. In October 1996, a week before Mary Landrieu faced Woody Jenkins in a hotly disputed contest to choose a successor to U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, Archbishop Hannan called a news conference. He told reporters: “If a person actually believes in Catholic doctrine, I don’t see how they can avoid it being a sin” to vote for Landrieu or President Bill Clinton, then running for re-election, because both favored abortion rights.
His pronouncement was front-page news in the days leading up to the election, but exit polls showed it had little effect on the balloting. Landrieu became Louisiana’s senator.
Sex-abuse scandals
Thirteen years after Archbishop Hannan stepped down, the American church was rocked by revelations across the country that for decades bishops, as a matter of unofficial but uniform practice, labored to suppress allegations of priests molesting children.
In 2003, an internal archdiocesan audit found that from 1950 to the late 1980s — Archbishop Hannan’s tenure occupied about half those years — the local hierarchy had credible evidence that 10 of about 1,100 diocesan priests or deacons had molested children.
That figure turned out to be much lower than in many other cities. But even so, none had come to light while Archbishop Hannan was the local Catholic leader. When such allegations quietly arose in New Orleans, “he did not level with the parishioners,” said Jason Berry, who has written extensively about the subject. “He put a blanket over it.”
In the one controversial case of Hannan’s tenure, the archdiocese discovered in 1988 that the Rev. Dino Cinel, then a faculty member at Tulane University, owned a cache of sexually explicit material, and videotapes of himself having sex with young men in his rectory at St. Rita parish in New Orleans.
Archbishop Hannan notified state prosecutors and also called Cinel, who was vacationing in Rome. He fired Cinel and suggested he stay in Italy.
When the case exploded publicly early in Archbishop Hannan’s retirement, he said he had acted decisively in defense of the church and community. But, particularly because he was already in consultation with the district attorney’s office, others interpreted the move as part of an arrangement with the state to protect Cinel and smother a potentially embarrassing scandal.
Cinel eventually returned to New Orleans and left the priesthood. After the case became public, he was prosecuted and acquitted of criminal charges of possessing child pornography. He now lives in Italy.
The Jumping Padre
Archbishop Hannan was born in Washington on May 20, 1913, the fourth of Frank and Lillian Hannan’s eight children. His father was an Irish immigrant with a third-grade education who prospered as a plumbing contractor.
Young Phil Hannan chose the priesthood over careers in the military, architecture and law. He studied at seminaries in Maryland and Washington, and received a master’s degree from Catholic University in Washington before setting off in 1936 to the North American College in Rome, where he was ordained on Dec. 8, 1939.
By the time he returned to the United States, war was raging in Europe. Father Hannan enlisted in the Army in 1941. He became known as the Jumping Padre of the 82nd Airborne, a paratrooper priest who found shrapnel in his clothes and saw an 88 mm shell explode at his feet.
His experiences in Europe gave him years of stories, an appreciation of the power of military might, and a glimpse of the Russians’ operating style that shaped his world view. Nearly four decades later, it led him to join eight other American bishops in opposing a 1983 pastoral letter that took a stand against nuclear weapons.
Father Hannan returned to Washington in 1946 and was named an auxiliary bishop 10 years later. In a gesture that could be seen as a foreshadowing of his work in New Orleans, he took as his motto, “Charity is the bond of perfection.”
Bond with the Kennedys
In Washington, he met John F. Kennedy, a young member of Congress from Massachusetts, and they became friends. In his memoir, “The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots,” Archbishop Hannan described Kennedy as a “cultural” Catholic whose faith was nonetheless politically problematic at the time. He said Kennedy frequently consulted him — always discreetly — about what the church’s response might be to various policies.
After the president was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, Bishop Hannan was Jacqueline Kennedy’s choice to deliver Kennedy’s eulogy in St. Matthew’s Cathedral. He stood next to her during the graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery. A few weeks later he joined her again in a private second ceremony to re-inter the bodies of a stillborn daughter and an infant son next to her husband.
Slightly more than 30 years later, he presided at her burial at the same Arlington gravesite.
He also was asked to deliver a eulogy for U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in Los Angeles in June 1968 during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Championed social services
On Sept. 29, 1965, while Bishop Hannan was attending the Second Vatican Council, he was appointed New Orleans’ 11th archbishop, succeeding John Patrick Cody, who had been named Chicago’s prelate.
Archbishop Hannan’s tenure in New Orleans is variously given as 23 or 24 years. The discrepancy rises from the fact that under church law his tenure ended on the day his successor was named in 1988, yet he remained functionally in charge until Archbishop Francis Schulte’s arrival in 1989.
When Archbishop Hannan was installed Oct. 13, 1965, at St. Louis Cathedral, the New Orleans area was still reeling from the damage Hurricane Betsy had inflicted a month earlier.
Archbishop Hannan decided early on that the church should serve the poor. Some programs that are results of his stewardship include:
  • Second Harvest, a food bank for nonprofit agencies that distributes food to 41,000 people each week.
  • Christopher Homes Inc., a housing agency that provides 1,300 apartments for elderly and low-income residents.
  • A greatly expanded Catholic Charities, a collection of 42 ministries that last year distributed $84 million in aid to the poor, elderly and handicapped.
One of the biggest groups of refugees came from South Vietnam after that country fell to Communist insurgents in April 1975. His residual anti-communism, coupled with his inherent desire to serve others, led Archbishop Hannan to prepare for their arrival by traveling to refugee camps to pick out nuns, priests and seminarians to serve the thousands who would eventually flood into the New Orleans area.
Archbishop Hannan always had explanations for such apparent inconsistencies. His reasoning was well thought-out, Morin said, and once he had reached a decision, he moved on to the next topic.
“He was absolutely decisive,” Morin said, “and would not have doubts about the decisions that he made.”
While he worked long hours — he once described himself as “a drudge by necessity, not preference” — Archbishop Hannan took to New Orleans traditions with a vengeance. He displayed a Zulu coconut and a second-line umbrella on a table just inside his front door, and people sent him all sorts of gifts.
And invitations.
“Year after year, the more he was accepted and became an integral part of the community, everybody would invite him, and he would go,” Morin said. “It became all-consuming because his automatic reaction was to say yes if his calendar allowed the time.”
Survivors include a brother, Jerry Hannan of Washington, and nieces and nephews.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: The Archangels.

September 29th: Feast of The Archangels
by Linda O'Brien

The name Michael signifies "Who is like to God?" and was the war cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against satan and his followers. Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief princes," and leader of the forces of heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. He has been especially honored and invoked as patron and protector by the Church from the time of the Apostles. Although he is always called "the Archangel," the Greek Fathers and many others place him over all the angels – as Prince of the Seraphim. St. Michael is the patron of grocers, mariners, paratroopers, police and sickness.

On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said: '"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: 'Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power' (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world."'

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;

and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host

- by the Divine Power of God –

cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,

who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.



St. Raphael the Archangel

St. Raphael is one of seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord. He was sent by God to help Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah. At the time, Tobit was blind and Tobiah's betrothed, Sarah, had had seven bridegrooms perish on the night of their weddings. Raphael accompanied Tobiah into Media disguised as a man named Azariah. Raphael helped him through his difficulties and taught him how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. Tobiah said that Raphael caused him to have his wife and that he gave joy to Sarah's parents for driving out the evil spirit in her. He also gave Raphael credit for his father's seeing the light of heaven and for receiving all good things through his intercession.

Besides Raphael, Michael and Gabriel are the only Archangels mentioned by name in the bible. Raphael's name means "God heals or The Remedy of God." This identity came about because of the biblical story which claims that he "healed" the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal book of Enoch. Raphael is also identified as the angel who moved the waters of the healing sheep pool. He is also the patron of the blind, of happy meetings, of nurses, of physicians and of travelers.


St. Gabriel the Archangel

The name Gabriel means "man of God," or "God has shown himself mighty." It appears first in the prophesies of Daniel in the Old Testament. The angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. His name also occurs in the apocryphal book of Henoch. He was the angel who appeared to Zachariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptizer. Finally, he announced to Mary that she would bear a Son Who would be conceived of the Holy Spirit, Son of the Most High, and Saviour of the world. St. Gabriel is the patron of communications workers.

Who Is Like Unto God?

(As) we celebrate the Feast of the holy Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Each year, this feast gives us a golden opportunity to renew our friendship with the angels who are given for our spiritual benefit and are eager to assist us in our battle against the principalities and powers of the world of darkness. We need only to ask their assistance and their guidance on our way to heaven.

Let us take a moment to reflect on the glorious prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, the most potent of all God's helpers. We start with his name: "Michael" is of Hebrew origin and, literally translated, means, "Who Is Like Unto God?" It is actually a composite of three little Hebrew words that form one phrase: "Mi" (pronounced "mee" and meaning "who?"); "cha" (pronounced "ka" and meaning "like"), and "el" (the Hebrew name for "God.") The phrase, "Who is like unto God?" is not a statement about this angel being so close or similar to God – no one can claim that. Rather, it is a rhetorical question. It is what Michael uttered in his disbelief that someone would claim to be like God. That someone was another angel named Lucifer.

Tradition has it that Lucifer, the sublime Seraphim, ranked highest in the order of angels and proudly asserted that he wanted to "be like the Most High" (see Isaiah 14:14 for this). One faithful angel of a lower rank, unable to countenance the impudence of a creature thinking he were equal to God, courageously stood up in the divine assembly to defend the rights of God with a rebuke that issued from the depths of his being as a question something like: "And just who could possibly claim to be like God?" And so "Mi-cha-el" became his name.

Michael then cast Lucifer out of heaven with all his rebellious companions. No creature that rejects the sovereignty of God could ever remain in heaven. Michael is thus the defender of the rights of God and the one who manhandles the strongest of the demons. We have him to thank for showing us that proud Satan can actually be defeated and that the rights of God can be vindicated against all blasphemers.

Does God really have rights? You better believe it! The Lord of Heaven and Earth has, above all, the supreme right to be worshipped by all creation. God doesn't need our worship in an absolute sense, but all creatures need very much to worship Him and keep Him in the first place in our lives because that is how the order of the universe is maintained. When creatures replace Him with idols or arrogantly suppose that they, as creatures, are gods, then all things fall apart and man loses the very meaning of his life. God is the divine center that holds all things together and, as such, He has an absolute right to be worshipped by His creation.

Today we need St. Michael's aid more than ever. Never in the history of humanity has Satan convinced so many people to set up false idols to replace the worship of the True God. Never has Satan been so successful in getting people to abandon the worship of God and obedience to the moral law on such a massive scale. In the same way, never have we seen so much blasphemous conduct disseminated with such intensity throughout the human community by the power of modern communications; nor have we ever seen the glorification of Satan given such pride of place in the entertainment business.

We need a powerful and glorious angel to teach us to defend the rights of God again. St. Michael has been doing this since before time began and is eminently equipped to teach us to make sure that God remains as the absolute center of our lives and our society. Let us turn to St. Michael on his feast day and thank him for defending God and us against "the wickedness and snares of the devil." Let us invoke his protection over our loved ones and renew our friendship with him again on his feastday.

The first Saint from the Philippines

St. Lorenzo Ruiz

Feastday: September 28

Lorenzo Ruiz is the first Filipino saint. He is also the first Filipino martyred for the Christian Faith. Lorenzo Ruiz was a layman, married, and had two sons and a daughter. Born in Binondo, Manila, about 1600's, he was educated in the school of the Dominicans there. He served as an altar boy and later was a helper and clerk-sacristan in the church of Binondo. He was a member of the Confraternity of the Rosary. He made his living probably as a calligrapher, one who renders documents in beautiful penmanship for private or official use. To be sure, that work denoted an accomplished and educated person, especially at a time when many an illustrious personage were far from excelling in this art. An adverse event made him leave the Philippines in 1636. When he was in his late twenties or early thirties, he became involved or was accused of being involved in a criminal case, the circumstances of which are far from clear. Whether he was involved or not, one thing was clear, he was afraid that, as a consequence of a trial or mistrial, he might be given a death sentence. Upon landing in Japan where Christians were being persecuted, he was arrested and imprisoned together with his companions. He underwent inhuman tortures and valiantly confessed his Christian Faith. Refusing to renounce his Faith, he told his executioner that he was ready to die for God and give himself for many thousands of lives if he had them. On September 27, 1637, he was hung from a gallows by his feet, his body falling into a pit. After two days of agony, he died of bleeding and suffocation. His body was cremated and the ashes thrown into the sea. He and fifteen companions, martyred in the same persecution, were beatified by Pope John Paul II in Manila on February 18, 1981 and elevated to full honors of the altar by canonization on October 18, 1987 in Rome. Their feast day is on September 28th.

Good news for LSU football

Jordan Jefferson reinstated to LSU football team

Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 7:42 PM     Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 8:07 PM
The Times-Picayune
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson arrives at a Baton Rouge courthouse Wednesday. A grand jury reduced charges against him in an Aug. 19 bar fight to simple battery, a misdemeanor. He was reinstated to the team this evening.
Jordan Jefferson and Josh Johns have been reinstated to the LSU football team, LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva announced Wednesday.
Jefferson and Johns were suspended from the team Aug. 26 when they were arrested on felony charges associated with an off-campus incident. On Wednesday, a grand jury reduced the charges against Jefferson to a misdemeanor and did not charge against Johns.

"We certainly don't condone participation in the incident, but the legal system has determined that their actions did not rise to the level originally charged, and their punishment to date related to football has already been considerable," Alleva said. "They will rejoin the team and begin practice immediately."

>>>Let's hope much good can come from this; including a realization by young people that drinking, fighting, looking for happiness in bars not necessary for real happiness or doing God's will.  And yes, I'm serious!

The death of Pope John Paul I: 33 years ago today.

L'Osservatore Romano

His Holiness Pope John Paul I is dead. His death took place in the Apostolic Palace about eleven o'clock on the evening of 28 September, little more that a month after his election. He had been elected on the evening of 26 August. The news of the Pope's unexpected death caused widespread sorrow and shock.
The first person to become aware of Pope John Paul's death was his private secretary, Father John Magee. The latter at once informed Cardinal Jean Villot, Secretary of State and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. That was in the early hours of the morning of 29 September. The Cardinal Secretary of State went at once to the Pope's room where he testified that the Pope was dead. Meanwhile the doctors in attendance attributed death to a coronary thrombosis. They considered that it took place about eleven o'clock on the previous evening (28 September).

The Dean of the Sacred College, Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri, and the Pope's Vicar for the city of Rome, Cardinal Ugo Poletti, were then informed. About 9 a.m. the formal recognition that the Pope was dead was made by the Cardinal Camerlengo in the presence of representatives of the Papal Household.

The Dean of the Sacred College, Cardinal Confalonieri, indicated that the first meeting of Cardinals would be held at 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, 30 September.

Notice of the Pope's death was given as follows: "This morning, 29 September 1978, about 5.30, the private Secretary of the Pope, contrary to custom not having found the Holy Father in the chapel of his private apartment, looked for him in his room and found him dead in bed with the light on, like one who was intent on reading. The physician, Dr Renato Buzzonnetti, who hastened at once, verified the death as having presumably taken place around eleven o'clock yesterday evening through an acute coronary thrombosis."


Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
5 October 1978, page 1

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good King Wenceslaus he looked out...but it's only September

St. Wenceslaus

Feastday: September 28
Patron of Bohemia

Patron saint of Bohemia, parts of Czech Republic, and duke of Bohemia frorn 924-929. Also called Wenceslas, he was born near Prague and raised by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla, until her murder by his mother, the pagan Drahomira. Wenceslaus's mother assumed the regency over Bohemia about 920 after her husband's death, but her rule was so arbitrary and cruel in Wenceslaus' name that he was compelled on behalf of his subjects to overthrow her and assume power for himself in 924 or 925. A devout Christian, he proved a gifted ruler and a genuine friend of the Church. German missionaries were encouraged, churches were built, and Wenceslaus perhaps took a personal vow of poverty Unfortunately, domestic events proved fatal, for in 929 the German king Heinrich I the Fowler (r. 919-936) invaded Bohemia and forced Wenceslaus to make an act of submission. This defeat, combined with his pro-Christian policies, led a group of non-Christian nobles to conspire against him. On September 28, 919, a group of knights under the leadership of Wenceslaus' brother Boreslav assassinated the saint on the doorstep of a church. Virtually from the moment of his death, Wenceslaus was considered a martyr and venerated as a saint. Miracles were reported at his tomb, and his remains were translated to the church of St. Vitus in Prague which became a major pilgrimage site. The feast has been celebrated at least since 985 in Bohemia, and he is best known from the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslaus."