MIDLAND -- Stephen Ray, a Baptist who converted to Catholicism and has subsequently become one of the Church’s most well-known apologists thanks to frequent appearances on EWTN, books and video presentations, will host a joint mission for all four parishes in Midland January 15-18, 2012. The four-night event will be held at the Midland Center.
Ray and his wife Janet will also attend a luncheon and talk at St. Lawrence the afternoon of January 15.
Ray is perhaps most well-known for his video series, “The Footprints of God,” as well as his web site, catholic-convert.com. The mission, in fact, is being held in part to help raise funds that will permit Ray and Ignatius Press to complete the 10-part “Footprints” series. Seven installments of the popular presentation, which show Ray in geographic locations telling the story of Catholicism, have been completed. Installments on Abraham, the prophets and the Fathers of the Church have yet to be completed.
“This is unique,” Ray said. “I get a lot of invitations, probably 20 a year, to do missions and conferences, but what happened in Midland was Joe Reed (a parishioner at St. Ann’s) liked the videos and wrote and asked me when the last three would be done.”
When Reed learned the economic downturn prevented Ignatius Press from having enough funding to complete the series, Reed jumped in and the wheels were in motion to help make possible Ray’s appearance in Midland.
A fundraiser January 14 in Midland will help with the cost of the completion of the project -- estimated at $200,000 per episode needed for production costs -- and love offerings at the mission will also be applied to Ray’s project.
Mission nights are from Sunday through Wednesday, Jan. 15-18.
Ray said it’s been over a decade since it first became clear to him what he needed to do to help spread his newfound faith.
“I woke up at 2 in the morning in 2000 and it was in my mind, right there in the front of my mind, and I knew exactly what I needed to do,” Ray said. “I shook my wife, Janet, awake, and said, ‘We have to do a 10-part video series on salvation from the Catholic perspective.’ And Janet’s response was, ’We can’t even take good pictures, how does God expect us to take movies?’
“So, I typed up the whole outline, ten parts, biographies, from Abraham thru Augustine. I flew out to pitch the idea to the editors at Ignatius with Janet, and they said ‘How soon can you get started?’ ”
The documentary series, Ray said, is one of the most popular series on EWTN, one of the reasons it is important that the final three episodes finally be produced.
Ray is also a documentary producer, Bible study writer and teacher, frequent guest on radio & TV.
The Ray Family entered
the Catholic Church in 1994, a journey from the Baptist tradition to Catholicism. Since, Steve has been busy writing books, giving talks, leading pilgrimages and producing the awardwinningc "The Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation From Abraham to Augustine".
According to his web site, Steve’s Footprints of God apostolate is one of adventure and education, demonstrating the truth, beauty and excitement of the Christian life lived in the heart of the Catholic Church.
His work has been endorsed by his current and former bishop in Lansing as well as the pastor of his Lansing, Mich., parish.
By Jimmy Patterson / Editor
Midland Lee senior Caitlin Dunaway posts video of struggle after father's suicide.
By Jimmy Patterson
When she was 9 years old, Cailtin Dunaway’s father killed himself. But it wasn’t until Caitlin was 17 that she learned how he died and that he had taken his own life.
Hearing the news almost a decade after his death, Caitlin said, was like living through the news that he was gone twice.
Despite her pain, Caitlin was able to find a way to turn that grief around and help others. Recently, when Midland experienced an increase in teen suicides — four in just over a month and at least two other attempts — she made her own YouTube video, telling her story through the displaying of index cards that revealed a little about her with each written message. At the end of her video, which is nine minutes in length, Cailtyn’s pain is fully revealed as she admits how much she loves and misses her father, talks of the experiences they were never able to share, and then reveals a picture of the two of them together.
Cailtyn admits that her video is not unique and that many others exist on the popular video web site. But when she pulls out the photo of her and father, it is a story that belongs to her and her alone.
“I finally realized that it’s OK to talk about (my father’s suicide),” she said. “It doesn’t make me weak.”
Along with that realization came a greater understanding of the meaning of life and the importance of relationships.
“You need to appreciate people in your life,” Caitlyn said. “It’s important to not make it harder for someone because you don’t know what they are going through. Sometimes a friend may have a problem and you say to them, ‘I don’t wanna hear it,’ but you need to listen. You need to be there for them.”
Caitlin was pained at the rash of suicides in Midland in the late fall and personally knew one of the victims. She sees bullying as a major problem in teen suicides, though she has no knowledge of whether it played a role in any of the recent deaths.
When she made the video she had no idea how it would take off. For the first 24 hours she had a handful of views, and then it was posted — and reposted and reposted — on Facebook, it took off. While not exactly going viral on a global scale, it went global at her school, Midland Lee High School, where Caitlin sings alto in the choir.
A parent saw the video and called the high school principal, Stephanie Howard, who was so moved by its content that she recommended that all of the teachers at LHS show the video to their students if time allowed.
“Mrs. Howard called me into her office and told me how touched she was by it,” Caitlin said. “She asked me for my permission to show it to the whole school. I was shocked, I didn’t understand how it spread so fast.”
When she took the daily roll to the attendance office, the clerk said to her, ‘You’re that girl!’
“I said, ‘What girl?’ and she said, ‘The video girl.’”
“I’m just glad I could help. I have had friends who have been more than willing to help me when something has been going on in my life. To be there for someone else is something they will remember for a long time.”
Caitlin’s video might very well save someone’s life. It also demonstrates the positive aspects of social netowrking and the new media most all of us can access.
Watch Caitlin’s “Suicide Awareness” video
As I have stated before in my writings, our nation faces dismal unemployment figures in recent months. It is reported that 46 million people (15%) now live in poverty in the United States, the land of plenty. For us as bishops, these numbers are not just statistics, but people suffering and wounded in their human dignity. They are parents who cannot feed their children, families that have lost their homes and jobless workers who have lost not only income, but also a sense of their place in society. For us, each of these persons is a child of God with innate human dignity and rights that deserve respect.
The huge numbers of people living in poverty, and the some 14 million who are unemployed, and many more who are underemployed, bring home to us the human costs and moral consequences of a broken economy that cannot fully utilize the talents, energy and work of all our people. All of us know from experience the terrible toll the current economic turmoil is taking on families and communities.
As we deal with widespread unemployment, underemployment and pervasive poverty that are affecting human lives at a deep level and undermining human dignity, we must use our opportunities as pastors, teachers and leaders to focus public attention and priority on the scandal of so much poverty and so many without work in our society. We need to preach more about this critical issue, educate our faithful and to do much more to advocate on behalf of the poor and jobless.
Of course, the best way out of poverty is to work at a living wage. Pope Benedict XVI tells us, “Being out of work or dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his family and social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering.” The common good will not advance; economic security will not be achieved, and individual initiative will be weakened when so many live without the dignity of work and bear the crushing burden of poverty. These economic failures have fundamental institutional and systemic elements that have either been ignored or made worse by political and economic behaviors, which have undermined trust and confidence in our government.
This is not a time to make excuses or place blame. Rather, it is a time for everyone to accept there own personal and institutional responsibility to help create jobs and to overcome poverty, each in accord with their own abilities and opportunities. Individuals and families, faith-based and community groups, businesses and labor, government at every level, all must work together and find effective ways to promote the common good in national and economic life.
Sixteen million of our children (almost one out of four) are growing up poor. This reality contradicts our national pledge of “liberty and justice for all.” It is an essential part of our work as Catholics to build a more just society and economy. We need to reach out more to feed the hungry, be more aware of how we can shelter the homeless, educate the young and welcome refugees and care for the sick and vulnerable.
In these tough economic times, we turn to our loving God and Father in prayer who loves us. We pray for those who need work. We lift up the poor and the suffering. We ask God’s guidance for our nation. This is not a time to give into discouragement. It is a time to practice faith, hope and love. Faith offers us moral principles to guide us in the days ahead and Christian hope gives us strength, and Christ’s love calls all of us to care more in a pastoral and practical way for those who lack the basic necessities of life as we deal with the broken economy.
By Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- An emotional pastoral letter to immigrants from the U.S. Hispanic and Latino Catholic bishops offers love, encouragement, welcome, sympathy and assurance that "you are not alone or forgotten." "We recognize that every human being, authorized or not, is an image of God and therefore possesses infinite value and dignity," begins the strongly worded letter released on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12. "We open our arms and hearts to you, and we receive you as members of our Catholic family. As pastors, we direct these words to you from the depths of our heart. We urge you not to despair," said the letter signed by 33 bishops. "Keep faith in Jesus the migrant who continues to walk beside you. Have faith in Our Lady of Guadalupe, who constantly repeats to us the words she spoke to St. Juan Diego, 'Am I, who am your mother, not here?'" The letter thanks immigrants for "the Christian values you manifest to us with your lives -- your sacrifice for the well-being of your families, your determination and perseverance, your joy of life, your profound faith and fidelity despite your insecurity and many difficulties." Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., told Catholic News Service the bishops wanted "to reach out to the immigrant community and express our concern for them, to speak to them in a spirit of solidarity." Though there's been interest in such a form of outreach for a while, Bishop Soto said there was a sense that it might especially be needed now, because from a political standpoint, it "does not look promising" for government action to improve the legal situation of millions of undocumented immigrants. "Christian solidarity is not based on political optimism, but it is based on religious hope," he said. The release date of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was chosen because she "is such a powerful symbol of solidarity and hope, particularly in difficult times."
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USCCB seeks answers to why plan to help trafficking victims was denied
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The letter arrived after business hours at the end of the workweek the last Friday of September in an email message to the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services. "Thank you for submitting an application for the National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program ...," began the correspondence from George H. Sheldon, acting assistant secretary in the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services. "I regret to inform you that your organization's application was not approved for funding." Sheldon's letter contained little information other than an encouraging word to try again in the future. It gave no explanation as to why MRS was denied funding to continue a five-and-a-half-year-long government-funded program respected for its compassionate and professional service to foreign-born victims of human trafficking. Missing were details on which agencies were funded to serve those whom advocates and social workers describe as victims of modern-day slavery. The brief letter offered no word of thanks and no acknowledgment of how MRS had aided 2,783 men and women victims of labor and sex trafficking and their family members under what became a $19 million contract administered by the Office of Refugee Resettlement within HHS. And that shocked and irritated MRS staff. "It was a very generic message. They could have sent it to anyone," Johnny Young, executive director of MRS, told Catholic News Service. "It's not the way you deal with an institution that has been in partnership with you for over five years," Young said.
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HHS announcement made MRS plan to help trafficking victims a tough sell
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After weeks of waiting, the federal announcement that staff members of the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services had been anticipating became public. But the Department of Health and Human Services document released May 27 was not exactly what MRS's Hilary Chester, associate director with the Anti-Trafficking Services Program, and Beth Englander, director of special programs, had expected. The document, called a funding opportunity announcement, was soliciting proposals from qualified nonprofit agencies to operate the National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program, under which MRS had provided case management services to foreign-born trafficking victims since April 2006. This time the announcement included a stipulation that "preference will be given to grantees ... that will offer all victims referral to medical providers who can provide or refer for provision of treatment for sexually transmitted infections, family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care." It omitted abortion from the list, but Chester and Englander knew that's what the program was looking to offer female trafficking victims if needed. The announcement welcomed proposals from organizations that would be unable to meet all of the guidelines, but required an explanation of services "the applicant is unwilling to provide and the projected impact on clients." Chester and Englander privately questioned why such a preference was inserted into the announcement given it was omitted in the original five-year contract MRS signed with HHS for such services in 2006. The contract was set to end Oct. 10.
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Lawsuit challenging HHS contract with USCCB awaits judge's decision
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A lawsuit pending in a Massachusetts federal court may determine if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can allow religiously based restrictions on reproductive health services in agreements with private agencies to provide social services. The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in Boston in January 2009, stems from a now ended five-year contract that HHS signed with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide case management services to foreign-born victims of human trafficking through its Migration and Refugee Services. ACLU claims that the bishops' conference dictated terms of the contract it received from the government to serve trafficking victims in violation of the separation of church and state provisions of the U.S. Constitution. ACLU attorneys maintain that the government, because it is spending taxpayer dollars, must set the terms of the contract. Michael O. Leavitt, then Secretary of Health and Human Services, was named as the chief defendant. Since then Kathleen Sebelius, current health and human services secretary, has replaced Leavitt as the government's defendant. The USCCB joined the case as an intervenor and, through its attorney, argued that its intention under the contract not to fund abortion or contraceptive services was permitted because of religious freedom and conscience provisions in federal law. The parties submitted final arguments to Judge Richard G. Stearns Oct. 18. He is expected to issue his decision early in 2012.
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Pope names two auxiliary bishops for Quebec
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI named two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Quebec: Servite Father Gaetan Proulx, 64, and Father Denis Grondin Jr., 57. The appointments were announced at the Vatican Dec. 12. Father Proulx, currently pastor of Notre-Dame-de-Foy Parish, Quebec City, and a member of the archdiocesan presbyteral council, was involved in Servite formation for years. He served as the provincial superior for Canada, France and Belgium from 2000 to 2006. Born May 27, 1947, he entered the Servites in 1969 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1976. Father Grondin currently serves as pastor of 10 parishes in the Charlevoix region of the archdiocese. Born in Rimouski, Quebec, in 1954, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Quebec in 1989.
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Christians draw joy from knowing God is near, pope says
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In the dry spiritual desert of modern society and the darkness of moral and economic confusion, Christians draw joy from knowing that Christ is near, Pope Benedict XVI said. Celebrating a morning Mass at Rome's Our Lady of Grace parish and reciting the Angelus at the Vatican later Dec. 11, Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, Pope Benedict said true joy is not found in twinkling Christmas decorations or presents, but in God's gift of his son. During his homily at the parish Mass, the pope said the world today still needs a John the Baptist, "a voice in the desert, like today in the desert of the large cities of this world, the desert of the great absence of God. We need voices that simply proclaim to us: 'God exists, is always near, even when he seems absent.'" Pope Benedict told members of the parish, which consecrated its new church in 2010, that their Advent task is to share the Good News with their neighbors, bringing light and joy to situations often marked by sadness and struggle. "In this world with so much darkness, we all are called to be witnesses of the light," he said. "We can do that only if we carry the light within us, if we are sure not only that the light exists, but if we have seen a bit of the light" in prayer, in the Mass and in the sacrament of reconciliation.
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Andean community, fighting for water rights, wins Peruvian award
LIMA, Peru (CNS) -- With the help of the Catholic Church, the small Quechua-speaking community of Cruz de Mayo, high in the Peruvian Andes, has been waging a legal battle for nearly four years over the lake that provides its drinking and irrigation water. In early December, Cruz de Mayo received the Angel Escobar Award from the National Human Rights Coordinating Committee, an umbrella group of human rights organizations, many of which are church-related. The annual award is the committee's highest honor. "Our trout have disappeared and our plants have died. We have lost the peace that once reigned in our community," said Carlos Milla, president of Cruz de Mayo, as 20 community leaders looked on. "We want to live in peace and harmony with nature. Water is our life. That is why we are defending our Lake Paron." Water levels in the turquoise, glacier-fed Lake Paron dropped to dangerously low levels during the annual dry season, which was exacerbated by a drought. The community's farmers, many of whom grow barely enough food for their families to eat, blamed the Peruvian subsidiary of the North Carolina-based Duke Energy, which operates a hydroelectric dam downstream, on the Santa River, and had property rights to the lake. The farmers blocked the service road to the dam and seized control of the sluice gates in a face-off that lasted nearly two years. With assistance from the Peruvian bishops' Social Action Commission, they also launched a legal battle over the water, on which they rely for drinking, watering livestock and irrigating crops.
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Kolkata Christians cancel festivities to pray for fire victims
KOLKATA, India (CNS) -- Christians in Kolkata have canceled Christmas festivities scheduled to start Dec. 12 so they can pray for victims of a hospital blaze that killed 92 people. "We had planned weeklong Christmas festivities, the first such program to be held in the city," Father Dominic Gomes, public relations officer of Kolkata Archdiocese, told the Asian church news agency UCA News. "We decided to forgo the festivities to remember the fire victims," he added. The archdiocese also canceled the lighting of a huge Christmas tree at the event. Instead, organizers planned an interfaith prayer service in a park. Meanwhile, the death toll from the Dec. 9 fire at the Advanced Medical Research Institute rose to 92. The chief minister has ordered a judicial probe into the tragedy. Earlier, the government revoked the license of the private hospital. The dead included two nurses who died while trying to rescue patients. Other staff members reportedly fled after the fire broke out.
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Pope says late cardinal should inspire use of media to spread Gospel
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI said he hoped the legacy of the late Cardinal John P. Foley would inspire others to make the Gospel known through mass media. In a telegram to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia Dec. 12, the pope expressed his sadness and condolences for the death of Cardinal Foley, who died Dec. 11 in Darby, Pa., after a battle with leukemia. The College of Cardinals now has 192 members, 109 of whom are under age 80 and eligible to vote. "I recall with gratitude the late cardinal's years of priestly ministry in his beloved Archdiocese of Philadelphia, his distinguished service to the Holy See as president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and most recently his labors on behalf of the Christian communities of the Holy Land" as grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, the pope wrote. The pope prayed that the cardinal's "lifelong commitment to the church's presence in the media will inspire others to take up this apostolate so essential to the proclamation of the Gospel and the progress of the new evangelization." Archbishop Claudio Celli, who succeeded the U.S. cardinal as president of the communications council, said Cardinal Foley "stressed the positive potential of the media in informing, instructing and inspiring others, as a key component of the church's mission and pastoral outreach in spreading the Gospel." The cardinal combined his journalistic training, professionalism, a friendly and approachable manner with his wisdom, humor and "passion to share the good news of God's infinite love for every person," the archbishop said.
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Australian researchers: Nuns should take pill to protect against cancer
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Catholic nuns should take contraceptives to protect themselves against cancers linked to childlessness, two Australian researchers said in a British medical journal. Writing in The Lancet, Dr. Kara Britt and Professor Roger Short say that oral contraceptives help prevent the onset of cancer of the breast, ovaries and uterus in women who have never had children. "Catholic nuns are committed to leading a celibate, spiritual life in a monastery or convent," they said in the article, titled "The Plight of Nuns: Hazards of Nulliparity. In 1713, Italian physician Bernardino Ramazzini noted that nuns had an extremely high incidence of that 'accursed pest,' breast cancer," the researchers wrote, adding that research among more than 30,000 nuns in the U.S. found a similar problem. They said: "Today, the world's 94,790 nuns still pay a terrible price for their chastity because they have a greatly increased risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers: the hazards of their nulliparity. They point out in the article that although Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae" prohibited couples from using contraception to regulate their fertility, it was silent on the use of the pill for health benefits.
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Pope celebrates Guadalupe feast, confirms he'll travel to Mexico, Cuba
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and confirming he will travel to Mexico and Cuba in the spring, Pope Benedict XVI called on the people of Latin America to hold firm to their faith. During his homily at the Mass Dec. 12 in St. Peter's Basilica, the pope prayed that God would guide the decisions of the Latin American people, so they could progress in "building a society based on the development of good, the triumph of love and the expansion of justice." Pope Benedict added that he intends "to make an apostolic trip to Mexico and Cuba before Easter to proclaim the word of Christ and to strengthen the conviction that this is a precious time to evangelize with a steady faith, a lively hope and an ardent charity." Various Spanish language news outlets have reported the trip will take place between March 23 and March 29. In addition to marking the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, the pope's Mass marked the bicentennials of many Latin American countries, which gained their independence from Spain between 1810 and 1825. The pope said he could not let the anniversaries pass without demonstrating "the joy of the church for the many gifts which God, in his infinite goodness, has bestowed on these beloved nations throughout these years." The bicentennial celebrations should not only recall historical, social and political events, he said, they also should include recognition of the Christian faith of the vast majority of the region's people and how that faith contributed to the development of society.
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Cardinal Foley dies; was Vatican communications chief, Mideast advocate
DARBY, Pa. (CNS) -- U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley, who spent more than two decades leading the church's social communications council and later worked for the church in the Middle East, died Dec. 11 after a battle with leukemia. The cardinal, who had been residing at Villa St. Joseph, the home for retired Philadelphia archdiocesan priests, was 76. Cardinal Foley's media-friendly style and quick sense of humor shone in person and throughout the numerous speeches and homilies he delivered around the world. He often spoke of the joys of working for the church, telling his audiences that while the pay often is not great "the benefits are out of this world. Last February he retired from his post as grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a chivalric organization dedicated to supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and to responding to the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land. Addressing the 2010 Synod of Bishops on the Middle East, he said he was convinced that "the continued tension between the Israelis and the Palestinians has contributed greatly to the turmoil in all of the Middle East and also to the growth of Islamic fundamentalism." The cardinal said: "While many, including the Holy See, have suggested a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, the more time passes, the more difficult such a solution becomes, as the building of Israeli settlements and Israeli-controlled infrastructure in East Jerusalem and in other parts of the West Bank make increasingly difficult the development of a viable and integral Palestinian state."
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With applause and song, new archbishop installed in Manila, Philippines
MANILA, Philippines (CNS) -- The crowded Manila cathedral erupted in applause and the choir sang "Alleluia" after the priest read the letter from the Holy See appointing Archbishop Luis Tagle the next head of the Archdiocese of Manila. "By the leadership of your example, may the faithful entrusted to your care heed their superiors and, above all, pursue holiness of life to which we are called," read Father Rufino Sescon Jr. of the archdiocesan liturgical office. "This is the will of God: your sanctification." Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, retired archbishop of Manila, handed over the seat of the archdiocese to Archbishop Tagle. "The bishops, the clergy, the religious and the laity of the metropolitan Archdiocese of Manila now welcome your 32nd shepherd," Cardinal Rosales proclaimed to the overflowing crowd of around 2,000, including the U.S. and Swiss ambassadors to the Philippines and bishops from at least five Asian countries. A long line of clergy, religious and laypeople snaked its way to the altar to pay homage to Archbishop Tagle. The laity included members of the marginalized segment of the population, for which the archbishop is a major advocate. During his homily, the new archbishop, whom many call humble, asked: "Is this occasion really about me? I know many people are asking, 'Who is this new archbishop of Manila? What is he like? What are his vision and plans?' But, like John the Baptist, I am inviting you to focus on the one mightier than all of us: Jesus Christ the risen one, and the true shepherd of the church," he said.
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Cardinal Foley remembered as friend to Catholic press around the world
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley, longtime Catholic journalist and advocate of Catholic communication, was being fondly remembered after his Dec. 11 death as a friend to the Catholic press around the world. The cardinal, a Philadelphia native, was residing at Villa St. Joseph in Darby, the home for retired Philadelphia archdiocesan priests, when he died of leukemia at age 76. "I was pleased that he was able to come home during the final months of his life. No matter where he lived or how he served the church over the years, he always considered Philadelphia his home," said Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. The archbishop described Cardinal Foley as "a man of great apostolic energy" and said anyone who met him "was immediately aware of his intense love for the church and his zeal for communicating the Gospel. By the sheer force of his personality, he drew people to the faith and to himself," he said, adding that the cardinal's "charisma and gentle spirit will be sorely missed throughout the universal church." The cardinal's body was to lie in repose for public viewing Dec. 15 at the chapel of St. Martin of Tours at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. His body will also lie in state Dec. 16 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia prior to the 2 p.m. funeral Mass. Cardinal Foley was known for his many different roles: editor of Philadelphia's archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard & Times, 1970-1984; head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 1984 to 2007; and most recently, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a chivalric organization dedicated to supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and to responding to the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land.
14-18 -- MADRID, SPAIN, Oblate Beatification Celebrations
20 -- EDEN, Detention Center – Christmas Mass at 1:00 p.m.
20 -- SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral – Christmas Penance Service at 7:00 p.m.
21 -- SAN ANGELO, Baptist Memorial Center – Christmas Mass at 2:00 p.m.
24 -- SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral – Christmas Vigil Mass at Midnight
25 -- SAN ANGELO, Goodfellow AFB – Christmas Day Mass at 9:00 a.m.
26-29 -- Rest and Prayer
1 — SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral –New Year’s Day Mass honoring the Mother of God Mass at 10:00 a.m.
2-6 — SAN ANTONIO, Annual Retreat for Bishops of Region X
8-10 — SAN ANTONIO, Dialogue on Catholic Schools, 5:30 p.m.
11 — SAN ANGELO, Christ the King Retreat Center - Mass for Diocesan Directors - Religious Education Meeting at 5:30 p.m.
14 — CHRISTOVAL, Carmelite Hermitage, Mass for the Diaconal Ordination of Brother Martin Hubbs, O. Carm., 10 a.m.
15 — CARLSBAD, St. Theresa – Mass at 11 a.m.
16 — SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral – Dr. Martin Luther King Prayer Service at 12:00 noon
17 — SAN ANGELO, Diocesan Pastoral Center, Staff Mass at 8:30 a.m.; Staff Meeting at 11:00 a.m.
18 — SAN ANGELO, Newman Center, Mass at Noon
19 — SAN ANGELO, Diocesan Pastoral Center – Personnel Board Meeting at 11:00 a.m.
20 — MIDLAND, Rosary in Front of Planned Parenthood, Noon
21 — SAN ANGELO, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Pro Life Mass, 11 a.m.
22 — ABILENE, Rosary in Front of Planned Parenthood, 2:30 p.m.
24-26 — DALLAS, Southwest Liturgical Conference
27 — SAN ANGELO, Feast of Santa Angela Prayer Service at 5:30 p.m.
29 — SAN ANGELO, Holy Angels, Bread of Life Retreat, 10:45 a.m.
30-31 — CORPUS CHRISTI, Kenedy Foundation Meeting
Christ the King
10 -- DOSA Continuing Ed. of Deacons Church History #2
10-11 -- GFAB Wolf Pack Christmas Party
12 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Group
13 -- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
19-21 -- Seminarian Winter Gathering
23-26 -- Office Closed Christmas Holiday
26 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Group
30-31 -- Office Closed - New Year’s
1 -- Office Closed – New Year’s
2 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
3 -- Adoration
3-5 -- Seminarian Winter Gathering
9 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
10-12 -- TCCRE Members
13-15 -- Engaged Encounter Weekend
14-20 -- Renew Over Night Rooms
15 -- NFP Class
16 -- Heart of Mercy
17 -- Dcn. Quarterly Meeting
17 -- Adoration
23 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
24 -- Adoration
27-29 -- Spanish Engaged Encounter
30 -- Heart of Mercy Prayer Grp
31 -- Adoration
No workshops currently scheduled
10-Rev. Francis Beazley, OMI (1992)
13-Rev. Joseph Walter (1989)
16-Rev. Cyril Lange (1971)
16-Msgr. Timothy Murphy (2004)
18-Rev. Patrick Ryan, O.M.I. (1975)
19-Fr. Robert Kelly (1999)
24-Bishop Thomas Tschoepe (2009)
26-Deacon D.J. Goetz (2003)
26-Deacon Jack Peterson (1987)
SAN ANGELO -- With an objective to awaken a sense for creation, to offer the option of acting and speaking peacefully, to stand in global solidarity with the poor and to empower others to follow the example of St. Francis, the School Sisters of St. Francis have opened the Franciscan Resource Center, 133 W. Concho (Concho Suites) in San Angelo.
Sisters Hilda Marotta, OSF; Adelina Garcia, OSF, and Kathy Kudlac, OSF, as well as Brenda Maiman will help guide the center in its mission and objectives, which also include evening prayer at the center every Thursday. Spiritual direction is also available. Days and evenings of reflection will be offered periodically. and a reading room is available with Franciscan theological and spiritual books.
Upcoming events can be found on the website: frcsanangelo.org
The center is made possible with the support of Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI, the Catholic Extension Society, the Art and Eva Tucker Foundation and many others. It is the hope of the sisters that the spirit of St. Francis will continue to blossom in the San Angelo area and people will join in the “journey and the dream of the peace and love of creation.”
Scouting Awards Mass
SAN ANGELO -- The Diocese of San Angelo Scout Awards Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Angelo at 5 p.m., Feb. 4, 2012 for those receiving their Boy and Girl Scout religious emblems. All who are involved or interested in scouting are welcome. For more info, call Becky Sotelo, 432-689-4411.
SAN ANTONIO—Catholic laymen and women pursuing a graduate degree in theology or religious studies in order to serve their church in a professional capacity must submit applications for the Rev. Msgr. Larry J. Droll Scholarship by Feb. 15, 2012.
The renewable $2,000 scholarship will be awarded to two candidates in need of tuition assistance for additional education who serve or want to serve his or her parish as an Administrator, Youth Minister, Parish Coordinator or other role.
The scholarship is geared to those who have already obtained their bachelor’s degree and who are either enrolled or wanting to enroll at any Catholic graduate school in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma or Mississippi. Applicants may also be enrolled in an extension program or in the Catholic University of America School of Canon Law.
Applications can be obtained at www.cliu.com, by contacting the Communications Department at 800-292-2548 or by writing Catholic Life Insurance, Attn: Communications Department, P.O. Box 659527, San Antonio 78265.
Catholic Life Insurance also offers IRAs and retirement annuities to individuals and businesses in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Mississippi.
‘40 Days’ Thank You Note
“As you know, the fall ‘40 Days for Life’ recently ended, and we want to thank all those that participated. We had about 100 signed up (exclusive of the Rosary groups on Tuesday and Fridays) and were able to cover most of the Planned Parenthood open hours at their Secor location. For those with some experience in the pro-life field, it is very difficult to ascertain the level of success during this ‘40 Days,’ but one thing we know for sure: Planned Parenthood does not want your presence there! Your prayers and sacrifices do make a difference, we just don’t know where and how much!
-- Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life
Marriage Encounter Thanks
“To Bishop Pfeifer, Pastors and Staff:
“We would like to express our appreciation for helping us make the October Marriage Encounter in Odessa a success. You graciously allowed us to come to your parishes and recruit couples through pulpit talks and bulletin announcements. As a result, 24 couples completed the weekend. Parishes represented by couples attending included: St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton, Holy Redeemer and St. Joseph’s, Odessa; St. Stephen’s and St. Ann’s, Midland; Sacred Heart, Abilene, and Good Shepherd, Crane. Thank you for your support of this ministry that helps married couples and priests live out their vocations to the fullest.
The 2012 Marriage Encounter weekends are scheduled for February 10-12 in Midland and October 12-14 in Odessa.
-- Tom & Jeannie Van Vranken
Marriage Encounter West Texas
Franciscan Center opens
Advent is a time to prepare for the birthday of Christ on Christmas Day, December 25. The four weeks of Advent preparing for Christmas is a time to reflect on the important questions as regards our relationship with Christ, and how we are becoming other Christs for people we live and work with and meet in our everyday lives.
Advent is a season of waiting; it is a season to grow in our understanding of Christ, and to take more time for prayer and reflection. Advent is a season when we especially need to practice the virtue of patience and humility, helping us realize who we are, and the great One we are waiting for on Christmas day. Advent is a time for silence and growth in the spiritual life, to attend Mass more often and to make a good confession.
After Mary learned the wonderful news from the angel that she was to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah and Savior, for nine months Christ grew in His mother’s body in a silent way, in the simplicity of her daily life. Mary went about her daily tasks, and she had nothing to give her God but herself. She did this in a spirit of total surrender, humility and in a spirit of great faith and hope as she prepared for the birth of her Son, our Messiah and Savior. Mary is our great model of how we are to live the Advent season in a spirit of trust, surrender, and living each day the best way we can. Working, eating, sleeping, each day Mary was forming the body of Christ from hers. From her humanity, she gave Jesus His humanity.
Mary is the best one to teach us how to live these days of Advent in a spirit of patience, humility, prayer and surrendering of our lives to God so that we can truly find Christ in a new way when we celebrate His birthday on Christmas. Yes, Christ wants us to have our festivities, have our decorations, our lights, our Advent and Christmas celebrations, but most of all, we are to focus our lives on the One who is the true meaning for the season. As we do this, we need to ask ourselves some important questions so that we can prepare well through the season of Advent for the birth of Christ:
4How am I offering my humanity to Jesus during this Advent season?
4How is Jesus growing in my life each day, especially as I try to share Christ’s love with others?
4How am I carrying Christ in my heart to where He wants to be and go each day through me?
4How is the work of my hands, as I go about my daily tasks and endeavors, becoming the Word made Flesh?
4How am I practicing patience during this time of waiting for our Savior?
During these days of Advent, reflect on these questions with Mary, asking her to help us to prepare well for the birthday of her Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The way we answer these questions will indeed help us to prepare well for the birthday of Jesus.
By Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI
It was on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (then celebrated on December 9) that Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the unborn, first appeared to St. Juan Diego. The National Night of Prayer for Life bridges these two feasts to honor Our Blessed Mother and to pray for the sanctity of all human life. The National Night of Prayer for Life is a pro-life prayer service consisting of exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, 20 decades of the Rosary, prayer to St. Michael, silent prayer and hymns. Please join us in the church to pray before the Blessed Sacrament—for a few minutes, for an hour, for whatever time you can. Check with your parish for more information and plans for observation of the event.
Each year, the National Night of Prayer for Life takes place from 9 p.m. December 8 to 1 a.m. December 9.
Editor / The Angelus
MIDLAND -- Cathie Moravcik knew she had to do something, she just wasn't sure what. But after friends -- and even people she didn’t know -- helped raise more than $600 last year in a new treasure hunt-type fundraiser, Moravcik knew she and others were on to something.
Simply explained, "Pay It Forward" is a treasure hunt. Last year, an envelope with cash in it was hidden in a variety of locations around Midland. Each time someone located the envelope, the finder was greeted with a message that said, in effect, "If you need this money, take it. If you want to help someone who may need it more, add to it, hide it again, and log on to our Facebook page and give us clues as to here it is you’ve hidden it.”
It’s an ingenious idea for a fundraiser, one that is fun and can incorporate people of all ages into the giving process. In fact Moravcik says being able to bring her children into it is one of her favorite aspects of the generosity-based endeavor.
It is similar in nature to the popular geo-caching that many teens and young people do nowadays, except the reward found is not tallied in an app-based, search-and-discover contest put passed along, or paid forward, for the benefit of others.
This year the cash aspect has been taken out, especially since the starting point in the fundraiser has been estab-
lished at over $2,000, an amount raised through an art show held to help Moravcik and friends provide a nice kick-start for ‘Pay it Forward.’ Moravcik said it made her nervous to think about an envelope of cash being searched for all over town. Instead, inside will be a smaller envelope in which people can mail their donation after locating its whereabouts. Players in the game will still re-hide the envelope and then visit Facebook to provide clues as to its whereabouts.
“I believe God speaks in echos,” said Moravcik, a parishioner at St. Ann’s in Midland. “And this was an echo or a whisper of an idea that just kept coming back to me.”
Last year’s game started out with $28 dollars, initially hidden on the grounds of Midland’s Museum of the Southwest. Other hiding spots were at a Taco Villa drive-thru, under the reindeer and sleigh display at Midland College, at the downtown prayer garden and at Grande Communications Stadium.
A week after the game began, about midnight on Christmas Eve -- the conclusion of the treasure hunt -- the envelope had been stuffed full with $600 and found by Peggy Kayser, a Midland woman who donated the money she found to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
This year, Moravcik says it is her hope that the final amount, whatever it ends up being, will be donated to a less-fortunate family.
"That kind of money can really make a difference to a family in need," she said.
Moravcik said she will have a vote in who receives the final amount to avoid any awkward occurrence such as a donation to an organization not in keeping with the Catholic faith; she said, for instance, she wouldn’t want the money to end up in the hands of Planned Parenthood.
Almost 30 people participated last year. Anyone can play but access to Facebook is essential.
To get started, submit a friend request to “Pay it Forward Treasure Hunt” on Facebook and watch for clues for the first drop.
The hunt will be held the week before Christmas.
By Jimmy Patterson