Man Up, Veterans Day and USCCB

This morning I will be joining several hundred men of the Camden diocese in an all-day men’s conference called “Man Up.” There will be speakers and Bishop Dennis Sullivan will celebrate Mass at the close of the day.

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, significantly the 100th anniversary of the end of the “war to end all wars!” It know that wasn’t true, but we remember and honor the sacrifice of all veterans then and since who have served our nation.

Next week the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be meeting in Baltimore for annual conference. This has been a widely-anticipated meeting in light of the “summer of shame” starting with the revelations about ex-Cardinal McCarrick and then the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

We need to continuing praying that our bishops will recognize that they and we are in “the war of the ages” and they need to “man up!”

Man Up, Veterans Day and USCCB

Evangelization: New or Otherwise

Last night Charlotte and I attended a dinner with our pastor and several other parishioners in preparation for our participation in a diocesan retreat on evangelization. Besides a lovely meal, we spent time sharing our stories and our particular interest and involvement in evangelization. We look forward to meeting monthly to continue to plan and pray in anticipation of the March 2019 retreat. This prompted me to search out what we mean by evangelization, something the Church has been engaged in for 2000 years.

What is the New Evangelization?

The website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops answers the question as follows: “The New Evangelization calls each of us to deepen our faith, believe in the Gospel message and go forth to proclaim the Gospel. The focus of the New Evangelization calls all Catholics to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize. In a special way, the New Evangelization is focused on ‘re-proposing’ the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith. Pope Benedict XVI called for the re-proposing of the Gospel ‘to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization.’ The New Evangelization invites each Catholic to renew their relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.”*

The Diocese of Camden, on their web page states: “We have the vision of evangelization for the Diocese of Camden rooted in the words of Bishop Galante: ‘Evangelization is not a program. It is to bring people into a relationship with Jesus’  We see evangelization as a continuous three-step process. We are invited to live this process and incorporate new parish members into this experience:

  1. Discovering Jesus through a personal encounter with him.
  2. Following Jesus, becoming his disciple.
  3. Proclaiming the Good News is to be a witness of Jesus.”

We were given a gift from the bishop, a book by Chris Lowney, Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church. I confess I approach the book with hesitation and some prejudice as it is written from a entrepreneurial viewpoint. I am allergic to business strategies being employed to share the good news of Jesus Christ to a lost world. I will read the book and mark it up and let you know what I discover.

I found another book on my shelf by Dr. Scott Hahn called Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization. I will reread it alongside the other. I will mark it up and let you know what I discover.

The bottom line is, as Lowney states on page 5 of his book, “The apostles were blessed by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, not with Harvard Business School educations.” He goes on to say, “Still, whether by intuition or by the Holy Spirit’s guidance, our earliest leaders embodied all the traits that today’s great leaders manifest: they were creative, took risks, adapted to new circumstances, unleashed each person’s talents, never wavered from their core values, emphasized the mission above all, and acted courageously, thanks to the transformation that God’s Spirit worked within them.”

Holy Spirit, guide your Church and may we be your ready servants, completely at your disposition to share the love and mercy of God with our generation!

Evangelization: New or Otherwise

Is this enough?

I have been waiting for a statement from my bishop about the current crisis/scandal in our beloved Church. As I stated in my “Open Letter to My Bishop” in this blog on August 13, as a faithful son of the church I want to know that my leaders are giving spiritual leadership to the flock that they have been entrusted to their care. Cardinal Raymond Burke in a recent interview calls this the greatest crisis the American Catholic Church has ever faced!

So three days ago this joint statement was issued by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, and the four bishops of Trenton, Paterson, Camden and Metuchen. You can read it below. But in case you don’t get through it, allow me to say that this statement is well crafted and sound like it’s coming from corporate headquarters regarding a potential recall. What we don’t see here is a call to prayer and fasting. Was this just an unfortunate circumstance that took place in neighboring Pennsylvania, and we’re good in New Jersey?

Again to quote Cardinal Burke (and our Lord), this demon can only come out by “prayer and fasting.” The faithful of New Jersey love our Church. With all due respect to your offices that has been entrusted to you, we plead with your Eminence and your Excellencies to lead us into righteousness through confession and repentance.

Saint Joseph, patron of the Church, pray for us! Saint Peter Damian, reformer of the Church, pray for us! Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Newark  Trenton  Paterson  Camden  Metuchen 

August 15, 2018

New Jersey’s Roman Catholic Bishops acknowledge that media accounts of the details contained in Pennsylvania’s grand jury report show a heartbreaking departure from our fundamental belief in the dignity and value of every child.  As a Church, our calling remains unchanged – to help children in our care encounter leaders who exemplify God’s commandment to love and protect the most vulnerable.

As Bishops, we hold that every parent and every child deserve a safe environment to learn and explore their faith.  Every space where teaching, worship, and ministry take place must provide this safe environment. There must be no compromise on this principle.  The children entrusted to our care are treasures.

We cannot undo the actions of the past, but we shall remain vigilant to ensure that not one child will ever be abused on our watch.

New Jersey’s Catholic dioceses have conducted some 380,000 criminal background checks of all diocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors.  In addition, all Catholic dioceses have integrated a comprehensive program of reporting abuse to civil authorities, compensating and counseling victims, and implementing rigorous protocols and training for more than 2.3 million clergy, employees, volunteers and children.

We thank law enforcement agencies, child protection advocates and victims themselves who have helped us move beyond compliance to creating the safest environments for learning and worship.  We are deeply thankful for those who have joined our efforts to extend both healing and hope to every victim and their family.  We renew our commitment to foster healing and seek forgiveness.

We urge anyone who was abused by clergy to come forward to civil authorities.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Newark

Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M.
Bishop, Diocese of Trenton

Most Reverend Dennis J. Sullivan
Bishop, Diocese of Camden

Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli
Bishop, Diocese of Paterson

Most Reverend James F. Checchio
Bishop, Diocese of Metuchen

Is this enough?