Thursday, March 31, 2022

Praying with the Pope in April


The Pope's Monthly Intentions for 2022


Health Care Workers
We pray for health care workers who serve the sick and the elderly, especially in the poorest countries; may they be adequately supported by governments and local communities.

First Saint of the Day for April


St. Hugh of Grenoble

Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He was born in the Dauphine region and became a canon of the cathedral in Valence. In 1080, while attending a synod in Avignon, Hugh was named bishop of Grenoble. He attempted a massive reform of the diocese, but, discouraged, retired to Chaise Dieu Abbey, and became a Benedictine. Pope St. Gregoiy VII ordered him back to Grenoble. Hugh gave St. Bruno the land on which the Grande Chartreuse was founded, thus starting the Carthusians. Hugh died on April 1 and was canonized by Pope Innocent II.

Louisiana Catholic Bishops supports bill to end the use of the death penalty


 The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops has consistently and resolutely provided pastoral teaching on the sacredness of life from conception to natural death. This statement provides an update in light of the current 2022 Louisiana Legislative Session. We remain deeply aware of the pain and grief that victims suffer, especially those who have lost a loved one through the crime of murder or crimes of violence. We pledge to deepen our commitment to persons who have suffered such violence, anguish and pain. Our opposition to the death penalty is not intended in any way to diminish what victims and their families have suffered. It is a statement which affirms the lives of those lost and the ultimate value of life in general.

 Pope Saint John Paul II proclaims "that not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, as God himself pledges to guarantee this. For this reason, whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself" (Evangelium Vitae, #9). Strong statements of Pope Francis echo the foundational principles laid out by Pope Saint John Paul II’s Gospel of Life. In keeping with this teaching Pope Francis, in 2018, approved a revision to the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2267 as follows: Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.

 Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person’, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide. No matter how heinous the crime, if society can protect itself without ending a human life, it should do so. While the Old Testament includes some passages about taking the life of one who kills, the Old Testament and the teaching of Christ in the New Testament call us to protect life, practice mercy, and reject vengeance.

 The death penalty is also riddled with practical failings. For example, Louisiana leads the nation per capita in wrongful death sentences. Therefore, the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops unequivocally supports both Senator Katrina Jackson’s SB 294 and Representative Kyle Green, Jr.’s HB 106 to end the use of the death penalty. The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops asks all women and men of good faith, especially those members of the Louisiana legislature, to search their heart in an effort to seek mercy and love to support the repeal of the death penalty and aid in building a culture of life. March 28, 2022

A prayer from Deacon Greg


Source: The Busy Person’s Guide to an Extraordinary Life

At the age of 90, she became a Catholic


At 90, Mom becomes a Catholic!

At age 90, Patty Sara Brooks received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and first holy Communion at Immaculate Conception Church, Lihue, from the pastor, La Salette Father Edison Pamintuan, on March 10. This account was written by her daughter, Debbie Sategna

By Debbie Sategna
Special to the Herald

People are asking us why, at 90, Mom is becoming Catholic. We’re not exactly sure, but we know she has watched us grow in our Catholic faith throughout the years, especially the past six years here on Kauai.

I became Catholic on my wedding day, at the age of 18. My husband Tom was born and raised Catholic. In the 53 years we have been together, we have never pushed her or even asked Mom to become Catholic.

We have invited her to church many times and she has attended Mass with us on a number of occasions. She enjoyed listening to us praying the rosary and even started praying it with us. She saw how our Catholic faith continued to grow even stronger after the death of our son. She also heard us talk about our church family at Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue, Kauai, and how special they are to us.

We are active in our parish and have discussed on many occasions the question of how to spread our Catholic faith. We believe it starts with the way you live your life and how you treat others. I know Mom sees this. She also sees how important the Holy Eucharist is to us, and she too wanted to receive the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

On March 10, Mom became a Catholic. For us and our family, this is a true blessing from God.

We are so thankful to God and the Holy Spirit for touching her heart and bringing her into our Catholic Christian faith community at Immaculate Conception Church.

It just shows you are never too old to start your journey as a Catholic Christi

The installation Mass of Archbishop Shelton Fabre in Louisville

 Historic installation of Archbishop Shelton Joseph Fabre heralded as ‘a new era’ for the Catholic church

The Archdiocese of Louisville has a new archbishop.

Archbishop Shelton Joseph Fabre was installed Wednesday during a Catholic Mass held at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Self-proclaimed “cradle Catholics” Larry and Louise Michalczyk showed up early to the service to witness what they called a historic moment in the city. 

“I think this is the start of a new beginning for the Catholic Church here in Louisville,” Larry Michalczky said. 

He pointed to Fabre’s history of elevating racial justice in his ecclesiastical work.

“And I think that’s particularly pertinent here in Louisville at this time,” Larry Michalczyk, who is white, said. “So he brings a new fresh face, new leadership and new experiences.”

Louise Michalczyk, who is also white, said he’ll face some immense challenges, “undoing some of the damage that has been done, within the church, within the diocese and within the community as well.” 

“We need a fresh start here in the community,” she said.

Fabre accepted his duty to lead the Archdiocese of Louisville “with the love of God in my heart.”

Pope Francis appointed Fabre to the post earlier this year. He’s the Archdiocese of Louisville’s fifth archbishop, its 10th bishop and the area’s first Black leader of the local archdiocese, which encompasses 24 Kentucky counties and more than 200,000 parishioners, in its more than 210-year history. 

Fabre, 58, came to Louisville from his home state of Louisiana, where he had been the bishop of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux since late 2013. 

According to his biography on the Archdiocese of Louisville’s website, Fabre studied at the American College of Louvain and the Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven in Belgium. He was ordained as a priest in the Diocese of Baton Rouge in 1989. 

Fabre succeeded Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, who had held the title since 2007 and retired in August on his 75th birthday.

A ‘message of joyful hope’

During a press conference in early February announcing Fabre’s appointment, Kurtz said the area parishes are “getting someone who is a deeply human person, a very healthy person, a holy man and, in a special way, a good pastoral bishop.”

“I’m both humbled and excited by this appointment by the Holy Father, and I pledge to serve the needs of this church to the very best of my ability,” Fabre said during that same press conference.

In March 2020, then-Archbishop Kurtz invited Fabre to give a virtual presentation of “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love.” Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, of which Fabre serves as chair, penned the anti-racism letter. It states that racism continues to have significant and harmful impacts on society, and it “has no place in the Christian heart.”

“While I recognize that our community has faced, what some may say, is far too great an experience of injustice and disregard for human life and dignity, I come to you with a message of joyful hope,” Fabre said during the February press conference. “I have great faith and great hope in the work already underway within our community regarding racial equality.”

He expressed a conviction that working together will help the local Catholic community in attaining “the promotion of life, charity, justice and peace as we endeavor to build an even greater civilization of love.”

Uniting the region’s Catholic community

Fabre will have his work cut out for him. 

In the months leading up to his appointment, local Black Catholics demanded that the archdiocese and archbishop do more to address the treatment of three parishes in Louisville’s West End. 

“Repeatedly, our assigned Black priest has shown disregard for our voices in managing and leading our congregations,” several parishioners wrote in an opinion column in the Courier Journal in November. 

They said Catholic leadership in the area had failed them on a number of levels, including not addressing concerns about mismanagement of funds and pervasive mistreatment from church leadership.

“Is it too harsh to label this racism?” the parishioners wrote. “No. It is the truth. Do we Black Catholics in struggling, small parishes in marginalized neighborhoods count as much as white Catholics in parishes with corporate and professional parishioners holding country club memberships and living in East End McMansions with four-car garages?”

Upon his appointment as archbishop, Fabre said he hopes Black Catholics in the archdiocese’s region, “will see in me someone who looks like them.” 

“Someone who knows them and wishes to speak with them,” he continued. “Someone who was sent here to serve all members of the archdiocese.”

That gives parishioners, like lifelong Catholic Lisa Johnson of Bardstown, hope.

Johnson, who is Black, said Fabre seems like someone who will listen, “someone who’s going to be available and approachable.” 

“And I think that’s the first step because that opens up the dialogue and opens up that opportunity to improve,” she said.

She was excited to be in attendance Wednesday, and said, “coming from a multicultural church,” the moment felt historic. 

“I know he’s well equipped,” Johnson said. “And I’m excited to see what he’s going to do.”

During his sermon Wednesday, Fabre said the local Catholic community is confronted with many unknowns and challenges, encouraging the attendees to “look to Christ” for hope. 

“We together face the challenges of COVID-19, the effects of past hurts and injustices, and the disregard of human life and dignity through racism,” he said.

He continued that he believes the Archdiocese of Louisville is its people, and that’s why they should face challenges, like racism, as a community. 

“We stand on the precipice of an exciting future,” Fabre said Wednesday. “However, the future will largely be determined by us standing together and keeping our eyes focused on Him, who unites us, rather than on the things that divide us.”

Fabre also noted other challenges he sees the church facing, including “aggressive secularism, assaults on religious freedom, the reality of poverty, and the need for healing the woundedness of marriage and family life.” 

Members of Louisville’s LGBTQ Catholic community have voiced concern over Fabre’s record of speaking against same-sex marriage.

In 2015, Fabre told a Louisiana newspaper that the church believes same-sex marriage is harmful to society, and advised against Catholics attending same-sex ceremonies or providing services for them.

And in early 2021, he put his name on a statement, along with other Catholic bishops, saying they were concerned by President Joe Biden’s executive order to extend federal sex discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. 

“Wednesday’s executive order on ‘sex’ discrimination exceeds the Court’s decision,” the statement said. “It threatens to infringe the rights of people who recognize the truth of sexual difference or who uphold the institution of lifelong marriage between one man and one woman.”

During the February press conference, a reporter asked Fabre if he would welcome LGBTQ community members into the Catholic church. 

“I stand ready, certainly, to meet and to listen,” Fabre responded. “I hope they would find in me someone who is willing to listen to them, someone who is willing to journey with them, someone who is willing to invite them to come to know the Jesus Christ that we know.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Deacon, Martyr and Saint


St. Benjamin

St. Benjamin, Martyr (Feast Day - March 31) The Christians in Persia had enjoyed twelve years of peace during the reign of Isdegerd, son of Sapor III, when in 420 it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian Bishop who burned the Temple of Fire, the great sanctuary of the Persians. King Isdegerd threatened to destroy all the churches of the Christians unless the Bishop would rebuild it.

As Abdas refused to comply, the threat was executed; the churches were demolished, Abdas himself was put to death, and a general persecution began which lasted forty years. Isdegerd died in 421, but his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with great fury. The Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.

Among those who suffered was St. Benjamin, a Deacon, who had been imprisoned a year for his Faith. At the end of this period, an ambassador of the Emperor of Constantinople obtained his release on condition that he would never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.

St. Benjamin, however, declared it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. Although he had been liberated on the agreement made with the ambassador and the Persian authorities, he would not acquiesce in it, and neglected no opportunity of preaching. He was again apprehended and brought before the king. The tyrant ordered that reeds should be thrust in between his nails and his flesh and into all the tenderest parts of his body and then withdrawn. After this torture had been repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him. The martyr expired in the most terrible agony about the year 424.

Papal prayer request for upcoming journey to Malta


Pope Francis during the General AudiencePope Francis during the General Audience  (Vatican Media)

Pope asks for prayers for his weekend visit to Malta

At the conclusion of Wednesday's General Audience, Pope Francis asks for prayers for his weekend visit to Malta from 2-3 April, while thanking all those involved in the preparations.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Pope Francis spoke about his Apostolic Journey coming up this weekend to the Mediterranean island of Malta.

The Pope said he looks forward to visiting that "luminous land" following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, who was warmly welcomed there after being shipwrecked at sea on his way to Rome. 

He said this Apostolic Journey will offer a unique opportunity "to go to the wellsprings of the proclamation of the Gospel" and experience for himself the Christian community there whose lively history goes back thousands of years.

Appreciation for welcoming migrants

Looking forward to meeting the Maltese, Pope Francis paid them tribute for their modern-day welcome and commitment shown to "so many brothers and sisters seeking refuge."

Malta is at the center of the Mediterranean, a landing point for many migrants and refugees seeking safety and a better life. 

Vatican News will be providing full coverage of the weekend visit to Malta and live broadcasts of the events.

Pope Francis at General Audience 03.30.2022


Pope at Audience: Old age can be a time of spiritual vitality

At the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis continues his catechesis on the lives and witness of the elderly, looking at how they can ensure our spiritual grounding and teach us the importance of discerning God’s presence in our daily lives and the unfolding of His saving plan.

By Thaddeus Jones

Presenting the next part of his catechesis on the meaning and value of old age, Pope Francis this week explored how the Gospel account of the elderly figures Simeon and Anna help us see how the elderly are called to offer a personal witness of faith and trust in the fulfilment of God’s promises, and thus build bridges between the generations.

And while the passing of years can dull our physical senses, he said, at this precious time in life the Holy Spirit can sharpen our spiritual senses. 

Fidelity of waiting

The Pope noted how in Luke's Gospel we read how Simeon and Anna await God's visit, and Simeon by premonition of the Holy Spirit knew he would not die before seeing the Messiah.

Both of them, "filled with spiritual vitality", recognize the presence of the Lord in the Child Jesus who fills them with consolation before they bid farewell to life.

This "fidelity of waiting sharpens the senses," as the Holy Spirit "enlightens the senses," despite the limits or decline of our physical senses of the body that is natural as we age. And old age dedicated to God and waiting for His visit and consolation will be even more keen and ready to sense it, he noted.

Lively spiritual senses

Pope Francis underscored how much society needs older persons capable of recognizing and welcoming Christ’s presence and the gifts of his Spirit.  

“Today we need this more than ever: an old age gifted with lively spiritual senses capable of recognizing the signs of God, or rather, the Sign of God, who is Jesus.”

On the other hand, a society that exalts pleasure and cultivates the illusion of eternal youth can act as an "anaesthesia of the spiritual senses," he warned, and it is particularly insidious because we not even be aware this is going on.

We can lose a sense of touch or taste, he observed, but matters of the soul can be ignored causing an insensitivity to the spiritual senses related to compassion, remorse, devotion, tenderness, and responsibility for oneself and others.

Spirit of human fraternity

We need to regain a spirit of human fraternity, the Pope said, to regain our sensitivity to spiritual matters and creating a culture where social tenderness can grow.

The lives and witness of Simeon and Anna, as well as other Spirit-sensitive elderly in biblical accounts, can teach us ways to bring vitality and grounding into our own spiritual lives, as they teach us the primary importance of discerning God’s presence in our daily lives and the unfolding of His saving plan from one generation to the next.

Spiritual old age unites

In conclusion, the Pope pointed out how "spiritual sensitivity of old age is capable of breaking down competition and conflict between generations in a credible and definitive way," by showing us the way to what is ultimately important in life, "for an advent of God in the generation to come, which arrives together with the departure of one’s own."

“Only spiritual old age can give this witness, humble and dazzling, making it authoritative and exemplary for all.”

Remembering Ukraine

At the conclusion of the General Audience, Pope Francis greeted Ukrainian children hosted by the Italian Associations “Aiutiamoli a vivere” and “Puer”, and the Ukrainian Embassy to the Holy See. He added that our thoughts turn to the monstrosity of war, and he asked that we renew our prayers so that this savage cruelty that is war be stopped.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

More info on the new priestly assignments in the Archdiocese of New Orleans

 Below is the link with more information on the new priest assignments for the Archdiocese of New Orleans including the 12 new pastors and the 4 priests retiring.

Pray for all of our priests.

Archbishop announces 12 new pastors; four priests retire - Clarion Herald - New Orleans, LA

Wednesday Saint of the Day


St. John Climacus

Abbot of Sinai, so called "Climacus" from the title of his famous book, The Climax, or The Ladder of Perfection; also known as John Scholasticus. He was a Syrian or a Palestinian who started his eremitical life at sixteen, living for many years as a hermit on Sinai. He then went to Thale. Revered also as a scriptural scholar, he authored The Ladder of Perfection to provide a comprehensive treatise on the ideal of Christian perfection and the virtues and vices of the monastic life. Composed in thirty chapters, it was intended to correspond to the age of Christ at the time of his baptism by John the Baptist. John was elected abbot of the monks of Mt. Sinai at the age of seventy He died there on March 30.

Little known gathering of Bishops to plan greater support for the Pope by the US Church


Cardinals, theologians gather to plan how US church can support Pope Francis

CHICAGO — A group of about 70 cardinals, bishops and theologians gathered privately for two days here from March 25-26 for conversations focused on how the U.S. Catholic Church can better support the agenda of Pope Francis.

Through a series of keynote presentations and panel discussions centered on tracing the roots of Francis' papacy to the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, invited participants also considered the opposition the pope continues to face from some quarters of the U.S. church, more than nine years after his March 2013 election.

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, one of the attendees, told NCR that part of the purpose of the event was to "understand the spirit of what they call the 'opposition.' "

"We have this what they call 'opposition' to the pope. It's trying to build walls, going backwards — looking to the old liturgy or maybe things before Vatican II," said Rodriguez, who is also the coordinator of the pope's advisory Council of Cardinals.


Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in a 2018 file photo (CNS/Paul Haring)
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in a 2018 file photo (CNS/Paul Haring)

"Vatican II is unknown by many of the young generation," said the cardinal. "So, it's necessary to come back and to see that all the reforms of Pope Francis are rooted in Vatican II."

The event, which carried the title "Pope Francis, Vatican II, and the Way Forward," was co-organized by Loyola University Chicago's Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, Boston College's Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, and Fordham University's Center on Religion and Culture. Also helping with the organization was NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters.

The conversations were held under the "Chatham House Rule," meaning attendees agreed they could speak afterwards about the contents of the discussions but not reveal who had made any particular comment, with hopes of fostering a more open and forthright atmosphere.

Christine Firer Hinze, one of about a dozen theologians attending the event, said she found the conversations between the participating academics and bishops "heartening and hopeful." Pointing to the willingness of the bishops to listen to the theologians' viewpoints, Hinze called the experience an example of "servant leadership."

"It feels more like collaboration," said Hinze, chair of the theology department at Fordham and president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. "It doesn't necessarily change when you go back to your own diocese, everything that's going to happen. But at least it points in a direction."

Beyond Rodriguez, other bishops attending the conference included Cardinals Blase Cupich, Sean O'Malley and Joseph Tobin; and Archbishops Mitchell Rozanski, John Wester, Charles Thompson and Roberto González Nieves. Also present was the Vatican's ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, and the undersecretary of the Vatican's office for the Synod of Bishops, Xavière Missionary Sr. Nathalie Becquart.

The three keynote presentations at the conference were given by Villanova theologian Massimo Faggioli, Loyola Chicago theologian M. Therese Lysaught and Peruvian Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, who is president of the Latin American bishops' council, commonly known as CELAM. (Cabrejos was unable to attend, so his talk was read by Archbishop González.)

Among topics brought up in the panel discussions: the impact of moneyed conservative influence in Catholic social movements and media companies; polarization and division among U.S. bishops; the atmosphere of education at American seminaries, and the reluctance of some U.S. dioceses to implement the grassroots consultation process requested by Francis for the 2021-23 Synod of Bishops.

New Instruction on Catholic Education and Catholic identity


A Catholic missionary school in LebanonA Catholic missionary school in Lebanon 

New document on Catholic Education: identity and challenges

The Congregation for Catholic Education releases a new “Instruction” for Catholic educational institutions focusing on the identity of Catholic schools and on current challenges.

By Isabella Piro

The underlying principle of the new “Instruction” issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education is that educating is a passion that is always renewed. The document released today by the Congregation is entitled "The Identity of Catholic Schools for a Culture of Dialogue". It is a concise and practical tool based on two motivations: "the need for a clearer awareness and consistency of the Catholic identity of the Church's educational institutions throughout the world," and the prevention of "conflicts and divisions in the essential sector of education". The document falls within the goals of the Global Compact on Educational, desired by Pope Francis, so that the Church may remain strong and united in the field of education, and thus carry out its evangelizing mission and contribute to the construction of a more fraternal world.

The Church is mother and teacher

In particular, the Instruction highlights that the Church is "mother and teacher": its educational action, therefore, is not "philanthropic work", but an essential part of its mission, based on fundamental principles, first and foremost the universal right to education. The other principles that are developed are: the responsibility of everyone - first of all of the parents, who have the right to make educational choices for their children in full freedom and according to conscience, and of the State which has the duty to make different educational options available within the framework of the law – and within these, the Church’s basic principle for education in which evangelization and integral human promotion are intertwined. Also considered is the formation of teachers, so that they may be witnesses of Christ; collaboration between parents and teachers and between Catholic and non-Catholic schools; the concept of Catholic schools as "communities" permeated by the evangelical spirit of freedom and charity, thus providing formation and promoting solidarity. In a multicultural world, we are also reminded of "a positive and prudent sex education," a not insignificant element that students must receive as they grow up.

The culture of care

Catholic schools, the document highlights, also have the task of educating for a "culture of care," in order to convey those values based on the recognition of the dignity of every person, community, language, ethnicity, religion, peoples, and all the fundamental rights that derive from it. A culture of care is precious "compass" for society, forming people dedicated to listening, constructive dialogue and mutual understanding.

In constant dialogue with the community

In constant dialogue with the entire community, Catholic educational institutions must not be a closed model, in which there is no room for those who are not "totally" Catholic. Warning against this attitude, the Instruction recalls the model of an "outgoing Church": "We must not lose the missionary impulse to close ourselves in an island - the document reads - and at the same time we need the courage to witness to a Catholic "culture" that is universal, cultivating a healthy awareness of our own Christian identity".

Clear qualifications and legislation

Another focal point of the document is the need for clarity of competencies and legislation: it can happen, in fact, that the State imposes on Catholic public institutions "behaviors that are not in keeping" with the doctrinal and disciplinary credibility of the Church, or choices that are in contrast with religious freedom and with the very Catholic identity of a school. In such cases, it is recommended that "reasonable action be taken to defend the rights of Catholics and their schools, both through dialogue with state authorities and through recourse to the competent courts."

To educate is always an act of hope

The Instruction concludes by emphasizing that Catholic schools "constitute a very valid contribution to the evangelization of culture, even in countries and cities where an adverse situation stimulates the use of creativity to find adequate paths," because, as Pope Francis says, "to educate is always an act of hope."