Friday, 21 December 2012

Only in self-giving does man discover the breadth of his existence

In his speech to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI reviewed the apostolic journeys he made in the past year, with a special emphasis on World Congress of Families in Milan. The Milan meeting, he said shows that "the family is still strong and vibrant today" but he added "there is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations -- especially in the western world". The Pope recognized the widespread refusal in today's world "to make any commitment" as one of the biggest challenges to family life. Only in self-giving, noted Pope Benedict "does the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child ...

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Newtown priests harassed

Elizabeth Scalia, a renowned Catholic blogger in the States, exclaims on her blog, "What the hell is wrong with these people?" She is responding to the reports that the two Catholic priests ministering in Newtown, where the dreadful murder of young children occurred, are being subjected to harassment!

In the face of unimaginable evil there many stories of people of faith and people of no faith together doing whatever they can to help in some small way. Yet in the midst of this there are people who want to do whatever they can to hurt the work of these servants of the Church who are doing what they can for people.

Here is a letter from Fr Suarez's sister (the young priest pictured above). Fr Suarez assists Mgr Weiss (also pictured) in the parish of Newtown.

My friends,
All of you, I am sure, have heard so much about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. Many of you have received emails from me about my younger brother, Father Luke Suarez, who is a priest at St. Rose of Lima parish, a Catholic church just down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary. He, and his pastor, Monsignor Weiss, arrived at the school within moments of the shooting, and have been caring for the community ever since. The picture I have included was taken at the school.
Father Luke has an impossible task before him. His diocese is without a bishop right now…. Monsignor … is personally devastated by the losses. The parish is very large…. The rectory has received serious threats, and as my brother gave the homily Sunday at the noon mass, the church had to be evacuated by SWAT teams. After experiencing identity theft and online hacking incidents, he had to erase all of his internet accounts. After a weekend of endless media requests, notifications and vigils with heartbroken families, and little sleep, he now has two wakes and two funerals every day, until the fourth Sunday of Advent. Father Luke has not even been ordained two years.

My large family has been trying to send Father Luke our love and support from afar, and one of my brothers was able to visit with him briefly a couple times. All he asks for is prayer.

I have been wracking my brain, trying to think of a way that our beautiful, loving community could tangibly reach out to Father Luke, Monsignor Weiss, and the St. Rose parish, to support them in this most awful of times. I have sent many prayer requests, and I am asking for more prayers again. But I also want to ask everyone to search their hearts, and if the Holy Spirit moves you, please consider sending one of your family’s Christmas cards to the rectory, with a few words of love and encouragement. Here is his address:
Father Luke Suarez
46 Church Hill Road
Newtown, CT 06470
My brother has said over and over again that without the prayer support he is receiving, he could not keep going. And this week is only the beginning. Everyone there is still in shock. Their peaceful home has been desecrated by violence. They will need to live with this sorrow forever.

But in our weakness is His strength. Grace abounds. Can you help me carry him through this time of trial?”

H/t Thomas Crowe, who adds:
“…I was in seminary for one year with Father Luke Suarez, parochial vicar at St. Rose of Lima parish in Newtown, Connecticut. He is one of the gentlest and most generous souls I’ve known. As I remarked on Facebook when I saw the below picture, I had never seen him without a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye until this picture…”

Let us remember to pray for Mgr Weiss and Fr Suarez as they not only face the difficulties of ministering to grieving parents and loved ones, but also combating this harassment.

Holy Land Pilgrimage in 2014

Members and supporters of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are being invited to attend a Holy Land pilgrimage in 2014. 

Led by Fr David Lashbrooke, a member of the interim Governing Council of the Ordinariate, and Derek Vogt - who has some 25 years of experience of Holy Land pilgrimage - the journey will seek to explore the life and ministry of Jesus Christ in the very place where he lived and died.

As well as the daily celebration of Holy Mass, there will be plenty of free time for reflection and a glimpse of local culture and customs. 

The pilgrimage will take place from Thursday 8 May to Monday 19 May 2014. For more details, please contact Derek Vogt by email ( or telephone 01392 271943.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Prefect speaks about Ordinariates

Archbishop Gerhard Müller

Archbishop Gerhard Müller, who was recently appointed as the Prefect (head) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has given an interview to Catholic Herald journalist, Mary O'Regan. Archbishop Müller and the CDF oversee the Personal Ordinariates.

Here is an extract from the interview, which looks specifically at the Personal Ordinariates:

As Prefect of the CDF, Archbishop Müller is responsible for the implementation of the apostolic constitution  Anglicanorum Coetibus. He was keen to talk about the great benefits which have come to the Church through the inclusion of these communities of Anglicans, with their pastors, into Catholic life. Commenting on the ecumenical dimension of the personal ordinariates, he said:
 “It’s not only the will of the Holy Father, but it is the will of Jesus Christ that all the baptised are drawn together into full visible communion. In this way Anglicanorum Coetibus is both a fruit of the ecumenical dialogues of the last 40 years and an expression of the ultimate goal of the ecumenical movement. 
Archbishop Müller (Photo: CNS)“What we notice particularly from the clergy who are applying for ordination in the various ordinariates is that there has been a rediscovery in some Anglican and Protestant circles of the importance and the necessity of the papacy in order to maintain the authentic link with biblical Christianity against the pressures of secularism and liberalism. Many of those who have entered into full communion through the ordinariates have sacrificed a great deal in order to be true to their consciences. They should be welcomed wholeheartedly by the Catholic community – not as prodigals but as brothers and sisters in Christ who bring with them into the Church a worthy patrimony of worship and spirituality.”

The complete interview may be read here.

What is CDF? The CDF is a sacred Congregation of the Roman Curia and is the oldest Congregation. It stands for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As the name suggests it has particular care for the faithful communication of Catholic doctrine. The Holy Father, was the Prefect of this congregation before he was elected Pope. It also has oversight of the Ordinariates established by Pope Benedict.

What is the Roman Curia? This is the central administrative apparatus of the Holy See. It works, in obedience to the Pope and Catholic teaching, to make sure the entire Catholic Church functions according to its aims. It is normal for every Roman diocese to have its own curia which performs a similar function within the diocese. You can find out more here.

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)