Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pope Benedict's General Audience Address - January 19

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, all the Lord’s followers are asked to implore the gift of full communion. This year’s theme – “They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42) – invites us to reflect on four pillars of unity found in the life of the early Church. The first is fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed by the Apostles. The second is fraternal communion, a contemporary expression of which is seen in the growing ecumenical friendship among Christians. The third is the breaking of the bread; although the inability of separated Christians to share the same Eucharistic table is a reminder that we are still far from the unity which Christ wills for his disciples, it is also an incentive to greater efforts to remove every obstacle to that unity. Finally, prayer itself helps us realize that we are children of the one heavenly Father, called to forgiveness and reconciliation. During this Week, let us pray that all Christians will grow in fidelity to the Gospel, in fraternal unity and in missionary zeal, in order to draw all men and women into the saving unity of Christ’s Church.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Patrons of World Youth Day 2011

Eucharistic Congress in St. Louis June 24-26

A New Year, A New Semester...

Today is the start of the spring semester at Southeast Missouri State University where our humble ministry is located.  We have a LOT planned for this semester at CCM, so I hope all you students are ready for four months of awesome prayer, learning, service and fellowship!  Here's a preview of what you can look forward to as we kick off the new semester:

Mass, Adoration, Confession - communing with Jesus - whoo!
Trips:  March for Life, FOCUS Conference, Spring Break Mission Trip, day trips, Church Teaches Forum 2011 (in the summer)
Continued Theology of the Body Study
Bible Study
St. Therese Women's Group
St. Augustine Men's Group
Guest Speakers:  Fr. Oscar Lukefahr on Feb. 8th; Martha Nolan of Crossroads on Feb 7th; Dr. Michael Wulfers and Joyce Gibbar on April 5th, Fr. Harold Fisher on Feb. 24th, etc.
Thursday Night Truth
Retreats:  Busy Person's Retreat Feb. 20-24; Women's Retreat April 1-3; Men's Retreat April 29-May 1
Catholicism 101
Various service, social, evangelization and spiritual life events planned by the Newman Council throughout the semester

As you can see CCM will be a very busy place from now through May 14!  Be sure to join in!

American Priest Continues on the Road to Sainthood

Fr. Nelson Baker of the Diocese of Buffalo, NY who died in 1936 has been declared "Venerable" by Pope Benedict the same day Pope John Paul II's beatification was announced. 

EWTN News Reports the following:
Pope Benedict officially recognized the heroic virtues of 20th century American priest Fr. Nelson Baker, which moves the beloved champion for the poor further along in the process towards sainthood.
Fr. Baker – who was born in Buffalo, New York in 1842 – lived to be 95 years old and is heralded for building what's been called a “city of charity” in Lackawana, New York. By the time of his death in 1936, his initiatives for the poor included a minor basilica, an infant home, a home for unwed mothers, a boys' orphanage, a hospital, a nurses' home, and an elementary and high school.
Continue reading here.

Statue Worship? I think not...

What is the Anglican Ordinariate?

Some of you may have heard about the Anglican Ordinariate that Pope Benedict has established.  Some of you are also probably confused about it and what it means.  Marcel has a good explanation here so check it out if you're interested. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

What is an auxiliary and titular bishop?

In previous posts we've mentioned the ordination of Bishop Edward Rice.  Bishop Rice's titles are Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis and Titular Bishop of Sufes.  What does this mean?
An auxiliary bishop is a bishop without canonical jurisdiction as mentioned here - this basically means that he is not the ordinary of a diocese.  An auxiliary bishop provides assistance to the ordinary bishop, who in this case is Archbishop Robert Carlson.  So, as stated on the Archdiocesan website, Auxiliary Bishop Rice "assists Archbishop Carlson in his many responsibilities for the Archdiocese, and represents the Archbishop in overseeing the parishes and several Archdiocesan agencies and ministries". 
A titular bishop is a bishop who basically is the bishop of a suppressed diocese only in title, hence the word "titular".  Catholic Encyclopedia defines it as follows: "Titular bishops are those who have been appointed by the Holy See to a see or diocese which, in former times, had been canonically established and possessed cathedral church, clergy and laity, but at present, on account of pagan occupation and government, has neither clergy nor people. It is essential that the titular diocese did once exist, and did cease to exist through death or defection of clergy and faithful, or pagan settlement and government."  The Catholic Encyclopedia also states, "According to the present ecclesiastical discipline no bishop can be consecrated without title to a certain and distinct diocese which he governs either actually or potentially. Actual government requires residence, potential does not."

Vote for Life!

Thomas Peters has some info and action items regarding pro-life bills being brought up in the House - this is all quite timely with the March for Life coming up in a little over a week.  HR 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, would deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood.  And HR 51111 tackles the problems with the health care law regarding funding for abortion facilities.  Go here to learn more and find out how you can contact your representative to encourage them to get on board and protect all human life. 

Bishop Rice Ordained Yesterday

Photo by Lisa Johnston
Yesterday was a day of much celebration as six CCM students, myself and Fr. Patrick travelled to St. Louis for the Ordination Mass for Bishop Edward Rice.  It was a beautiful Mass and the Archdiocese is very blessed with the addition of Bishop Rice to the episcopate.  The Cathedral Basilica was packed and there were many bishops, priests, seminarians and religious in attendance as well - which is always a great sight to see! 

CCM students with Bishop Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
 Of course, all of the Missouri bishops were in attendance including our own Bishop James Johnston and our Bishop Emeritus John Leibrecht.  Raymond Cardinal Burke was there and we're always thrilled to see him.  Archbishop Carlson was the principal consecrator along with Bishop John Gaydos of Jefferson City and Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville. 

Following the Mass, Bishop Rice quoted Pope John Paul II speaking of the role of the bishop in carrying the cross and embracing and offering up his sufferings.  He then said:

Two CCM students were able to
greet Bishop Rice at the reception
following Mass.
 "When I read that quote I paused, and then I panicked. It was not what I wanted to read; dying to self, suffering, taking up the Cross. And yet, at the same time, a conviction came over me – God is faithful, He will not abandon me – He has poured out the fullness of His Spirit upon me, so do not be afraid.  The ring I now wear signifies that I am wedded to the Church. The Gospel elevated over my head signifies my commitment to preaching and teaching the Good News. The crosier bespeaks my commitment to the flock, the miter, my pursuit of holiness. Scripture tells us that the Shepherd carries the lost sheep on his shoulders. The Shepherd leads the flock to green pastures. The Shepherd gathers and protects the sheep from danger.The Shepherd is willing to "lay down his life for the sheep." As I look out at all of you, I realize that is the type of bishop you deserve. And so, with God's grace, the strength of the Holy Spirit, and with your prayers, that is the type of Bishop I will strive to be." 
Read his full statement here at the Archdiocesan website.

Congratulations, Bishop Rice.  CCM is so happy for you and we know you will fulfill your new role as bishop with great love and humility!  We are praying for you!

Bl. JPII the Great! Yippee!

According to Vatican Radio, Pope John Paul II will be beatified on May 1, 2011!  Pope Benedict signed the decree today.  Oh, boy, I need to start looking up plane tickets to Rome!

The process of beatification and canonization:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What To Do This Summer

Some students are already thinking about what their summers are going to be like - maybe some will work, some will takes classes, some will veg out, but why not spend your summer doing something for someone else?  When I was in college I spent two summers doing pro-life work and they were totally the best summers of my life giving me memories that I will never forget, developing friendships that I will always have, making a gift of self to those in need and growing in relationship with God intensely.  Pray about it, and if you can, consider giving your summer to Christ and his people.  Here is just a sample of some ways that you could do that:


Counselor at Camp Wojtyla:

Catholic Urban Project:

These are just a small sample of ways that you can give of yourself this summer.  I'll probably post some other opportunities as the weeks roll on.

Preach it, Archbishop Dolan!

Archbishop Dolan has posted his speech from the 4th Annual Respect Life Week in Yonkers, NY on his  blog and I have to say that I love listening to, or reading as it were, his speeches because you can just feel his passion and conviction for the topic.  When I read the following it made me think of the upcoming March for Life which CCM will be attending:

"...we unite as Americans this afternoon eager to restore this premier civil right [the right to life]; we come together as friends and neighbors sincere in our love and respect for struggling moms and their unborn babies, so eager to assist them; we gather as no one’s enemy, with no threats, simply believing the truth will set us free, that this great nation will recover its birthright as a guardian, not a taker, of innocent life;
we assemble in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, that towering woman promising a welcome, a new life, to those threatened, conscious that those who are most threatened today are babies in the womb;
and we unite recalling the words of Mother Teresa, at the White House, before a president and guests who blushed at her remark that, 'the greatest poverty of all is for a nation to take the life of an innocent unborn baby so we could live as we want.'"

Brief Review of Beatification and Canonization

With the news about Pope John Paul II's possible beatification occurring this year many may be wondering about the process of being beatified and canonized.   Here is a brief overview of the process from our Bishop:

Pope Benedict's General Audience Address - January 12

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our catechesis today deals with Saint Catherine of Genoa, a fifteenth-century saint best known for her vision of purgatory. Married at an early age, some ten years later Catherine had a powerful experience of conversion; Jesus, carrying his cross, appeared to her, revealing both her own sinfulness and God’s immense love. A woman of great humility, she combined constant prayer and mystical union with a life of charitable service to those in need, above all in her work as the director of the largest hospital in Genoa. Catherine’s writings on purgatory contain no specific revelations, but convey her understanding of purgatory as an interior fire purifying the soul in preparation for full communion with God. Conscious of God’s infinite love and justice, the soul is pained by its inadequate response, even as the divine love purifies it from the remnants of sin. To describe this purifying power of God’s love, Catherine uses the image of a golden chain which draws the soul to abandon itself to the divine will. By her life and teaching, Saint Catherine of Genoa reminds us of the importance of prayer for the faithful departed, and invites us to devote ourselves more fully to prayer and to works of practical charity.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Never Too Early to Start Planning for a Great Event!

CCM will once again be attending the Church Teaches Forum 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky July 15-16th.  If you are interested in attending with us please contact Kristen.  Here is some info on the weekend:
The theme is "Restoring the Sacred Liturgy, the Summit of the Church's Life".  Speakers are as follows:
Francis Cardinal Arinze: The Centrality of the Sacred Liturgy in the Evangelizing Mission of the Church
Raymond Cardinal Burke:  Reform of the Reform
Bishop Daniel Thomas: Christ and His Church: The Mystery of This Dialogue in the Roman Missal
Fr. Roger Arnsparger:  Restoring the Sacred Liturgy: Building a Culture of Holiness and Salvation
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz and Fr. Edmund McCaffrey will also be present. 
For those wishing to attend on your own, you may contact the apostolate hosting the forum, Eternal Life, at 1-800-842-2871.

Dominican Sisters Continue to Encourage Vocations to Religious Life

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist have another discernment retreat coming up February 12-13th.  Contact Sr. Joseph Andrew at their website if you're interested in finding out how you can attend.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bishops of Missouri Ask Governor to Stop Scheduled Execution

The Bishops in Missouri have urged Gov. Nixon to stop the scheduled execution of Rick Clay who was convicted of capital murder in 1994.  According to this press release from the Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, questions remain about Clay's guilt or innocence.  The press release states: "The bishops and other religious leaders of the state have joined in the effort to stop the execution of Mr. Clay by submitting a clemency application to Gov. Nixon, asking him to halt the execution and call for an independent review of the case to ensure that all the facts are made known."

The Bishops ask the following:
Action Requested
1.Contact Governor Nixon's office immediately at 573-751-3222 or at and urge him to stop the execution set for Jan. 12 and convene a board of inquiry to re-examine the case.

2.Call the Board of Probation and Parole at 573-751-8488. They will be making a recommendation to Gov. Nixon on the case.

The Message
Please spare the life of Rick Clay and do not execute him. The jury in his murder trial did not receive evidence that could have cleared him of this crime. The state of Missouri should take a second look before they execute a man who may be innocent. A board of inquiry should be established to re-examine Rick Clay's case.

Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about capital punishment (my emphasis in bold):

CCC 2267: Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm—without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent".

Quotes from Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae regarding capital punishment:

"Modern society in fact has the means of effectively suppressing crime by rendering criminals harmless without definitively denying them the chance to reform."

"Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.

It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

**UPDATE**  As of Monday, January 10th, Gov. Nixon has commuted Clay's sentence.  Clay will not be executed, but rather has been given a sentence of life without parole.

An Exciting Week in St. Louis!

 According to the website for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Raymond Cardinal Burke will be celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis this Sunday at 2 p.m. followed by a reception at Rosati-Cain across the street.  If you're in St. Louis this would be a great opportunity to give thanks to God for this holy man who has dedicated himself so faithfully to serving the Church.

Secondly, of course, as mentioned in a previous post, Bishop-elect Rice's episcopal consecration will be taking place January 13th at 2 p.m. also at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and we are planning on attending.  If you would like to attend with CCM please email me here.  If you're unable to attend you can watch the Mass online here.

Short Video Contests

The Ruth Institute is hosting a video contest about the theme "Is life-long love possible?"  The winner will receive a prize of $2000 with runners-up receiving $1500 and $1000.  To find out more click here.

Goodness Reigns is hosting a video contest about the Catholic faith with the grand prize being four trips to World Youth Day or a production prize package.  Act fast on this one though because entries are due by Monday!  Click here for more info.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Abby Johnson Shares Her Story in New Book: unPlanned

If you haven't yet heard Abby Johnson's amazing story, here is the perfect opportunity for you to get to know her.  unPlanned is the book chronicling Abby's journey from working as a director at a Texas Planned Parenthood clinic to having a conversion and quitting her position at Planned Parenthood to speaking all over the country about her courageous decision to become pro-life.  When Abby was working at Planned Parenthood she was asked to assist in an abortion.  During the abortion an ultrasound was used and Abby watched as the little baby in the womb fought against the item that was being used to take the child's life.  That was the straw that broke the camel's back and Abby realized that she couldn't participate in the culture of death any longer.

Abby will be having a live webcast to give a preview of her new book on Monday, January 10th and if you would like to be a part of it you can sign up here.  Limited space is available and I hear over 4,000 people have already signed up, so act fast!  Learn more about Abby's heroic story by visiting her website
Also, hear her tell her story in these videos:

40 Days for Life- Abby Johnson story from David on Vimeo.

Veni Si Amas! - Come If You Love!

Attention all young women! Mark your calendars to join the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St.George at their Veni Si Amas Retreat February 11-13th.  The Sisters are awesome!  To sign up for the Veni Si Amas Retreat contact the sisters at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pope Benedict's General Audience Address - January 5th

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In this first Audience of the New Year, on the eve of the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, I offer my prayerful best wishes to you and your families. The Church’s celebration of these days of Christmas is not only a remembrance of things past, but a joyful experience of Christ’s enduring presence in our lives and in our world. In Jesus, the Word Incarnate, our salvation is accomplished in the flesh. Jesus’ humbling of himself, beginning with his conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary, will find its fullest expression in the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection. Our appreciation of the deep bond uniting the Incarnation and the Redemption naturally draws us from the contemplation of the Child Jesus in the Crib to the adoration of his real presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The liturgical celebrations of this holy season, from Christmas through the Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord, challenge us to be completely transformed by the Son of God who became man so that we might attain our ultimate human fulfilment by sharing in his glorious divine life.

JPII Beatification?

Well, it's been slow-blogging the last couple of weeks with Christmas and New Year's celebrations in full swing, but now that things are winding down blogging should be back to a regular schedule.  What better way to get back to our usual blogging schedule in the new year than with some good news about our beloved JPII!?  According to news reports and several other blogs, the beatification of Servant of God Pope John Paul II the Great could take place later this year.  You may remember a few years ago when a French nun reported a miracle contributed to the intercession of JPII when she was healed from Parkinson's disease.  This report has been under investigation and has been approved by both theologians and medical experts.  It should soon go to the desk of Pope Benedict for recoginition and, pending approval, we may see a beatification this year. Read more from CNA.
Ioannes Paulus II, ora pro nobis!

**UPDATE** The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the miracle and the paperwork is headed to Pope Benedict's desk!  I'll, of course, post about this when he signs it and announces a beatification date!