Archives for April 2014


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NFPC This Week #565

 Registration now available for the

46th Annual NFPC Convocation of Priests

Renewing the Heart of the Church

April 28th-May 1st

Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center | Atlanta, Georgia 

Of note this week:

Editor’s Note: The NFPC office will be closed from April 25 through May 5 as staff will be travelling to and assisting at the NFPC annual Convocation in Atlanta. We will be checking e-mail daily, however we will be unable to fulfill any requests for publications until after we return. The next regular NFPC This Week e-letter will be published the weekend of May 10.

We ask your prayers for a successful Convocation. Thank you.

Featured Speakers:

Most Rev. Wilton Gregory
Archbishop of Atlanta

John Allen, Jr. Associate Editor – The Boston Globe

Arturo Chavez
President – Mexican American Catholic College

Rev. J. Michael Joncas
Theologian, AuthorComposer – University of St. Thomas

Please select from the following sections for more information on attending and participating at the 2014 NFPC Convocation.

Convocation Overview Convocation Schedule
Priest-Labor Workshop Overview Exhibitor/Sponsor Overview
Convocation Registration Hotel Room Reservations

Pope appoints Coptic priest as a personal secretary

In a move considered a first, the Vatican announced that a priest of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, was appointed second personal secretary to Pope Francis. According to the Catholic News Agency (April 22, 2014) the position is among the Pope’s closest collaborators, and marks the first time an Eastern Catholic priest has been appointed to the position.

The CNA report notes Msgr. Lahzi Gaid currently serves in the Secretariat of State, and is known for reading the Gospel, and summarizing the Pope’s comments, in Arabic at his General Audiences. He has also served as translator for the Pope’s meetings with Arabic-speaking delegates, including at his encounter with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine.

For the entire CNA report, click here.

San Diego bishop recovering from stroke

Photo courtesy of the Diocese of San Diego

Photo courtesy of the Diocese of San Diego

San Diego Bishop Cirilio Flores was hospitalized on April 16 after suffering a stroke. A statement from the Vicar General, Monsignor Stephen Callahan, stated that the bishop “is alert and in good spirits, and will be receiving treatment for a few days before his release.” The stroke occurred at the diocesan offices. “With the faithful people of God let us pray for Bishop Flores’ speedy and full recovery,” the statement concludes.

Bishop Flores, 65 has headed the Diocese of San Diego since Sept. 2013.

For Msgr. Callahan’s entire statement, click here.

Canonizations of Blessed Pope John Paul II and Blessed Pope John XXIII


Bl. Pope John Paul II and Bl. Pope John XXIII.

On Sunday, April 27 a great event in the Roman Catholic Church takes place with the canonizations of two popes – Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII.

We’re including some links to copy we’ve come across during the week that speaks to the humanity of both popes.

In one particularly poignant reflection, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture tells an interviewer with the Catholic News Agency (April 22, 2014) that both Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII of their lives “totally dedicated to their priestly service.”

He noted that Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the man who became Pope John XXIII, chose as his episcopal motto Oboedientia et pax, which means, “Obedience and peace.”

“When you read ‘Journal of the Soul,’ the daily diary Roncalli sketched, you read at one point that he stated: ‘Obedience and peace: this is the secret of my life,’” he said. Cardinal Poupard underscored that John Paul II lived the same trust in God, so much so that he chose the episcopal motto Totus tuus, which means, “All yours.”

Click on links below for entire articles on the canonizations.

Rome diocese reaches out to digital generation for canonizations

A free app – Santo Subito – will be available in English, Spanish, Polish, and Italian, which will provide pragmatic details as maps, the time and place of events, the addresses of the churches which will remain open for a prayer vigil the night of April 26, and spiritual reflections based upon the teachings of both future saints. The app, developed with the help of volunteer university students, is available for both Android and IOS formats.

Also, the Rome diocesan office promoting Blessed John Paul’s cause also has a YouTube page — — with videos in a variety of languages.

Wellness, fitness top priority for Rockford priests, bishop

The Rockford, Ill. diocese takes its priests’ wellness seriously. In fact the Priests Wellness Initiative is operated as non-profit 501(c)3 corporation under the title “We Love Our Priests Foundation.”  Father David Peck, pastor at St. John Neumann parish in St. Charles, Ill. is the new chairman of the Priests Wellness board of directors. An article in The Observer (Jan. 10, 2014), the diocesan newspaper refers to his “schtick,” which is not to meddle or preach, but to encourage priests to get their annual screenings and to provide more educational resources about well-being to the priests. “We want to encourage them, more through example, to live a healthy lifestyle,” Father Peck said. 

As an example Fr. Peck uses the personal training facilities of his parishioners, Richard Wolff and Joanne Lollino who own a personal training facility in St. Charles, Ill. called Medfitness. “Personal trainers, let me tell you, that really helps,” he says. “You go in there, and they tell get your chart, and they kind of push you in a good way. They tell you that you can do it.” And do it for sure because two other priests at St. John’s also avail themselves of the fitness routine. Fr. John Gow, 36, is managing a 2013 diagnosis of diabetes. “It changed my life, which was good because for years I was walking around with the symptoms. So it was a blessing to find that out,” Fr. Gow said. He changed his diet and is careful to exercise, including walking his dog several times a day in addition to twice-a-week Medfitness strength training.”

Fr. Joseph Lutz, 86, who continues to help out at St. John Neumann and other parishes said, “I was desperately in need of some kind of physical (activity),” adding that he was “sitting around doing nothing except hearing confessions and saying Mass.” Medfitness staff, “have a series of strengthening devices that work your lower back, lats, arm muscles,” etc. Everything is under supervision. “I’m trying top stay active …  for my age,” Fr. Lutz says. “Otherwise I watch too much TV.”

Bishop David Malloy connects fitness to spirituality. “I find the (efforts for) fitness to be a part of a whole spiritual approach,” he says. He views his workouts as having a greater purpose. “Just like a husband and wife ought to view their own physical health as a contribution to the other (spouse), so for priests, taking care of yourself is a contribution” to the people they serve, he says. “We’re preparing ourselves for a life of service to the Church and the faithful. (The) cross of health problems makes us less available to service we are called to.” Bishop tries to run at least three miles several times a week.  He takes stairs instead of elevators and uses a treadmill. Personal discipline, he says with a smile, “is helpful in getting work done, meeting prayer obligations, getting your checkbook balanced …” And in keeping fit.

More young Britons begin studying for the priesthood

More conga than wonga for the clergy

More conga than wonga for the clergy

Even though the work is growing more difficult, Sunday Mass attendance is declining, and church coffers are emptying, The Economist (April 19, 2014) reported that more young Britons are joining the Catholic priesthood. According to the report, the number of new seminarians has almost doubled since 2003, with 63 beginning studies for the Catholic Church in England and Wales in 2012. Their average age has also fallen.

The report notes that the recession may have had something to do with the spike, as jobs after graduation are more difficult to get. Another reason is that urban ministry appeals the idealistic young. A television comedy in England called “Rev” also has raised the profile of priests. The report goes on to note that whereas in the past, the priesthood was seen as a shortcut to the establishment; many of today’s young people take pride in the shift to the margins of society. Sam Dennis, a 29 year-old curate from Catford says he sees ministry as a “distinctive alternative” for people disillusioned with how much of modern Britain is run.

For the entire The Economist report, click here.

Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks, Summer 2015 & 2016 Sabbatical schedule

The Redemptorist Renewal Center at Picture Rocks has scheduled an extra Summer Session of its Contemplative Study and Retreat Sabbatical for 2015 and 2016. This is a good time to plan ahead.

2015 – August 9-September 11
2016 – August 7-September 9

For a complete list of all programs and schedules at the Redemptorist Renewal Center, contact them at: 7101 W. Picture Rocks Rd., Tucson, AZ 85743. Tel:(520) 744-3400. Toll Free: (866) 737-5751. E-Mail: Peter Tran – [email protected]. Web site: Also, click here for PDF of Sabbatical schedule through 2017.