Archives for January 2015

NFPC This Week #599, 1/25-1/31/2015

Of Note This Week –

NFPCConv_2015Registration continues for the 2015 NFPC Convocation in Louisville, KY at The Galt House. Theme – Father, Brother, Son: The Priest in the Family of God.

Caritas Internationalis UN rep asks for more funding for Central African Republic refugees

Photo courtesy of Caritas Internationalis

Photo courtesy of Caritas Internationalis

Monsignor Robert Vitillo, head of Caritas Internationalis UN delegation in Geneva said that if more funds are not appropriated for Central African Republic Refugee Response Plan. In his address Monsignor Vitillo said, “If more funding is not made available during the current year, aid agencies will not be able to meet the basic needs of the refugees and, even less so, will they be able to facilitate development among these people,”

Zenit news agency (Jan. 29, 2015) reported nearly 190,000 people have fled the Central African Republic since the Anti-Balaka militia overran the capital Bangui in December 2013. Before that, more than 230,000 people already had fled, bringing the total number of refugees from the Central African Republic to some 425,000. Many are in Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In these countries, Caritas has been providing training programs for the refugees as well as education, agricultural supplies and equipment, clean water, sanitation and food assistance. Msgr. Vitillo also urged the international community to support to those who have fled their homes, but remained within the Central African Republic. 

For the Zenit summary, click here.

For Msgr. Vitillo’s address to the UNHCR (Jan. 29, 2015) provided by Zenit, click here.

Pope to fathers: Spend time with your kids

In his weekly General audience on Wednesday, Jan. 28, Pope Francis told those gathered that often, especially in Western culture, we’ve gone from one extreme to another. Whereas in the past “cases of authoritarianism indeed even oppression reigned in some homes: parents who treated their children like servants, who did not respect the personal needs of their growth, fathers who did not help them to embark on their path in freedom, to assume their own responsibilities for building their future and that of society.”

Now the pope says, “we have passed from one extreme to the other. The problem of our times no longer seems to be the invasive presence of fathers, but rather their absence. … Fathers are so focused on themselves, on their work and at times their personal fulfillment, that they even forget their families, leaving children and the young to their own devices. …”

The pope recalled how when he served as archbishop of Buenos Aires he would often ask fathers if they played with their kids, “if they had the courage of love to ‘waste’ their time with their children. And their answer was awful, you know. The majority said, ‘Well, I can’t, too much work.'”

Another problem, the pope said, is sometimes fathers seem lost or unsure of what role they are supposed to play in the family and “so, being in doubt, they opt out, they withdraw and neglect their responsibilities, perhaps hiding behind a dubious relationship of ‘equal footing’ with their children.”

For the Catholic News Service (Jan. 28, 2015) summary, click here.

National Association of Diaconate Directors Convention

The 2015 National Association of Diaconate Directors Convention will take place from April 21-24 at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis in Minneapolis, Minn. The theme for the assembly is, Deacon: Steward of God’s Mercy. The Keynote speaker is George Weigel, author and Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC. He will present on the topic, “The Deacon in Evangelical Catholicism: Experiencing the New Moment in Catholic History, and the Deacon’s Roles in the New Evangelization.” Other speakers include, Father W. Shawn McKnight, executive director of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, and Dr. Michael Naughton, director of the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought and the Alan W. Moss Chair in Catholic Social Thought, University of St. Thomas. For more information and to register contact, NADD, 7625 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43235. Tel: (614) 985-2276. Web site:

Telling the Story of Jesus: Word – Communion – Mission

Story_JesusTelling the Story of Jesus: Word – Communion – Mission, by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is a collection of addresses, which offer a refreshing focus on the New Evangelization with three presentations on the Word of God, the Eucharist, and the mission of the church. The cardinal combines biblical narration and personal experience with sound theological reflection so that the story of Jesus becomes a story of love that leads to hope for the poor, for the church, and for the life of the entire world. The 75-page pamphlet-size volume can easily be carried in purse or backpack. Available for $9.95 (also available in e-book format) from Liturgical Press, 2950 St. John’s Rd., P.O. Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321. Tel: (800) 858-5450. Fax: (800) 445-5899. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

When the Saints Came Marching In: Exploring the Frontiers of Grace in America

Saint_MarchWhen the Saints Came Marching In: Exploring the Frontiers of Grace in America, by Kathy Coffey is about significant American Catholic men and women and how they entered into the Catholic experience in this country to become “saints.” Coffey tells readers about Junípero Serra, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Pierre Toussaint, John Neumann, Julia Greeley, Marianne Cope, Katharine Drexel, Rachel Carson, Dorothy Day, Thea Bowman, Ruma Martyrs, Cesar Chavez, Mychal Judge, and Dorothy Stang. Each chapter ends with Questions for Reflection or Discussion   and suggestions for Further Reading. Available for $14.95 (also available in e-book format) from Liturgical Press, 2950 St. John’s Rd., P.O. Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321. Tel: (800) 858-5450. Fax: (800) 445-5899. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

Council Notes from Indianapolis

Minutes of from the January meeting of the Indianapolis Council noted Solemn Evening Prayer on Jan. 14 in celebration of the appointment of Bishop Christopher Coyne’s appointment as Bishop of Burlington, VT.

Monsignor Bill Stumpf was appointed Vicar General

Priesthood Day 2015 will be extended over two days in June in order to provide more opportunities for fraternity. The days are set aside to celebrate ordinations, anniversaries and retirements. 

Archbishop Tobin will reinstitute the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. He asked members to suggest names for a clergy delegate.

Minutes note any discussion of a salary increase for fiscal 2016 not exceed increase offered to lay employees.

Archbishop Tobin is revising the statures governing the Priest Personnel Board and will share them at an upcoming meeting.

Members are encouraged to participate in the NFPC Louisville Convocation April 20-23. The 2016 NFPC Convocation will take place in Indianapolis.

Vesting of palliums to be conferred in archdioceses

In a nod to decentralization, Pope Francis has changed the way new archbishops will receive their palliums. The pallium is an ancient symbol made of wool that symbolizes the “bond of hierarchical communion between the See of Peter and the Successor of the Apostle and those who are chosen to carry the episcopal ministry as Metropolitan Archbishop of an Eccleiastical Province.”

The practice of laying of the pallium on the shoulders a new metropolitan archbishop was begun by St. John Paul II on the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29, 1983. According to the Catholic News Service (Jan. 29, 2015) the tradition dates back probably at least to the sixth century, will not change: The pope blesses the pallium and concedes its use by certain bishops. The current Code of Canon Law stipulates that within three months of their appointment or consecration all metropolitan archbishops (residential archbishops who preside over an ecclesiastical province) must request a pallium from the pope.

Under the new proposal, the public ceremony “will henceforth take place in the prelates’ home dioceses and not in the Vatican.” According to Master of Ceremonies of papal liturgies, Monsignor Guido Marini, the Holy Father has decided “the pallium will be blessed during the Mass on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul in the Vatican, but placed on the Metropolitan Archbishop in his own diocese, by his representative, the Apostolic Nuncio.”

Monsignor Marini went on to explain, the new Metropolitan Archbishops “are invited to concelebrate” mass with the Pope on June 29. At the end of mass, he said, they will receive the Pallium “in a private manner, from the hands of the Holy Father.”

For Catholic News Service (Jan. 29, 2015) report, click here.

For the National Catholic Reporter (Jan. 28, 2015) summary, click here.

For the Vatican Insider (Jan. 28, 2015) report, click here.

I am looking for more information about the 2015 convocation. Is there more information about each day: workshops, plenary sessions, keynote speakers? I am trying to “sell” the convocation to the Presbyteral Council in order to send someone.
Martin Diaz
Diocese of Salt Lake City

Beyond Raising the Minimum Wage


By Claire Goldstene

In the ongoing struggle for worker justice, we may need a little 19th century wisdom.

Tired of waiting for Congress to act, campaigns to raise the minimum wage are enjoying success in states and municipalities across the country. From Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland to South Dakota, Nebraska and Arkansas, these efforts seek to remedy the severe economic inequality that currently plagues the country.

Interestingly, echoes of the 19th century can be heard among today’s proponents of raising the minimum wage. For instance, Ira Steward, a prominent labor organizer who advocated the 8-hour workday, used many of the same arguments of today’s minimum wage campaigns. But Steward also reminds us about what’s really at stake in struggles to improve living standards for millions of workers.

Steward, in his capacity as Secretary of the Boston Labor Reform Association, published a paper in 1865, in which he proposed to shorten the standard workday from 10 hours to eight, with no reduction in pay. He presented this scenario as beneficial to workers, capitalists, and consumers by identifying their common interest in a more productive and robust economy. Greater leisure afforded by shorter hours, Steward maintained, would cultivate greater consumer desire among workers, and the higher wages would allow them to indulge these wants. This, in turn, would aid capitalists by spurring the demand for the products they produced. Thus, Steward contended, reduced hours with no loss of pay was sound economic policy.

This is not substantially different from the claim made today that increased income for low-wage workers, in the form of a higher minimum wage, will stimulate economic growth through greater consumer spending, particularly when that spending drives 70 percent of American economic activity. The current federal minimum wage, which prevails in over half of the states in the country, was set in 2009 and stands at $7.25 an hour ($15,000 annually for a full-time worker), while the federal minimum wage for tipped workers has languished at $2.13 per hour since 1991 (though in 19 states it is higher). Neither of these has kept pace with rising costs of living. Between 1979 and 2012, the lowest-income 20 percent of American families saw a decrease in real income of 12.1 percent, while income for the top 5 percent of American families rose 74.9 percent during that same period.

Steward, writing in the context of an economy dominated by industrial activity, expected that increased consumer demand would prompt technological innovations likely to reduce the costs of production, savings that could offset the higher wages paid to workers. Similarly, research today indicates that higher hourly wages can save employers money over time through improved worker productivity and reduced expenses related to the costs of employee turnover and training.

What is missing in today’s minimum wage campaigns is Steward’s broader vision of the value of leisure and his insistence that, collectively, workers held the power to achieve this vision. Steward argued that by participating more fully in the consumption of goods, workers would generate sufficient demand to justify the increased pay and shorter hours that made consumption possible. At a time when the realities of hourly work for many meant diminished independence through the regimentation and deskilling of labor by machines, this idea held particular appeal. So, as much as Steward’s argument for reduced hours and higher pay was centered on improving immediate material conditions for workers, he also sought to grant a measure of power to workers in their working and non-working lives.

Steward implicitly made a case for the value of leisure—not merely as more time to consume but, importantly, as time during which people had a greater opportunity to realize their own potential. For Steward, all workers should have time to think about matters unrelated to meeting their basic needs and to more fully enjoy their lives outside of work.

In fact, Steward’s primary concern was the capacity of the regime of industrial wage labor to dehumanize people and fundamentally narrow the scope of their life experience to a cycle of work, food, rest, and work again. The stress of constant financial worry and the physical exhaustion of industrial labor for meager wages inhibited people’s intellectual growth and their ability to participate in civic life. In this way, they were less than full members of society. Thus, Steward presented not only a progressive economic perspective, but a fundamentally progressive view of a more human existence for greater numbers of people.

Today, the richest .001 percent of Americans hold over 11 percent of the nation’s wealth; an increasing number of minimum wage workers are adults, not teenagers; and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the largest sector of job growth over the next decade will be in low-wage occupations such as food preparation and service, retail salesperson, office clerk, and home health aide (where the median age is 40).

The problem with these jobs is more than just low wages and poor working conditions. Just as in the 19th century, workers who spend their lives in these jobs are in a cycle of work, food, rest, and work again. In the ongoing struggle for worker justice, perhaps we ought to resurrect Steward’s 19th-century vision of a more civic-minded, pleasurable, and humane existence for all working people.

Claire Goldstene has taught United States history at the University of Maryland, the University of North Florida, and American University.  She is the author of The Struggle for America’s Promise: Equal Opportunity at the Dawn of Corporate Capital (2014). –