Archives for January 2016

NFPC This Week, #646 – 1/24/-1/30/2016

Of Note This Week –


NFPC 2016 Convocation registration continues – $450.00 if you register by March 1. Click here to register for the Convocation

Click here to reserve your room at the Indianapolis Marriott East Hotel. Book your room early to receive NFPC’s block rate!

Retired Chicago priest finds “new pulpit” on social media

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Father John Cusick, for many years an associate pastor at Old St. Pat’s Church on Chicago’s Near West Side and director of the Archdiocesan Young Adult Ministry, retired (if you want to call it that) in July 2014.

A profile of Father Cusick by Chicago Tribune media writer, Rick Kogan shares what his “retirement” is all about.  One thing he said is that there’s a lot less stress. He’s thinking of writing a book and still presides at baptisms, weddings, and funerals. Recently he presided at the funeral of two 16 year-olds who died in a car crash.  “I believe that faith transcends the moment and gives us the ability to keep transforming life. Faith gives people a path.”

And, oh yes, he plays golf.

But what Father Cusick has found most enjoyable is his “new pulpit” on Facebook.

As Kogan notes, his recent posts on the site “have been poignant, entertaining, frank, stylish and not at all, for lack of a better work, preachy.”

For Fr. Cusick’s Facebook page, go to:

For Rick Kogan’s entire profile (Jan. 26, 2016), click here.

Keywords: Evangelization, priestly life, priests’ retirement, social media

Core of NJ priest’s calling: respect and reverence for the laity

Fr. William Bausch (Courtesy of St. Mary's Parish/Catherine Love) via NCR

Fr. William Bausch (Courtesy of St. Mary’s Parish/Catherine Love) via NCR

For retired Trenton priest, Father William J. Bausch, it was essentially “sitting on his hands” that made him the priest he is today.

National Catholic Reporter editor-at-large Tom Roberts profiled Father Bausch in the Jan. 15 online edition of the journal.

It was when Fr. Bausch was appointed as chaplain to a Christian Family Action group (known as Christian Family Movement) that led to a change in heart. One of the rules of the lay movement required that he be silent until the meeting ended. “I remember that they made me sit on my hands because if I can’t use my hands, I can’t talk. I was never so humiliated and humbled in my life.”

He went on to state, “I had to listen, really listen, to their stories of how, day after day, they struggled to be good Christians.”  As Bausch listened, he “began to realize what a privileged, innocent life I led,” he said. “Gradually, I began to realize with some guilt that I would always have a job no matter how poorly I performed. I had no accountability to the people. I could go home that night and get a full night’s sleep with no colicky baby or sick child to attend all night. I would take my scheduled vacations and not have to pinch pennies. In short, I began to realize that these people were the saints on the front line. I began to feel I was not worthy of them. I knew in my sinking heart I was incapable of their heroism.”

Fr. Bausch received NFPC’s Touchstone award in 1996.

For the entire NCR report, click here.

Lax collection practices still vex Church

Peter Feuerherd who writes The Field Hospital series for the National Catholic Reporter maintains that, “still in too many parishes there is little in place and it’s largely left to the discretion of the individual pastor” when it comes to counting the Sunday collection. Some parishes, he notes, still maintain a one-person counting system, often the pastor, a system open to abuse.

Feuerherd points to two elementary points of Catholic theology that Michael W. Ryan, a 79 year-old former US Postal security specialist has written about in a self-published book titled, Nonfeasance: The Remarkable Failure of the Catholic Church to Protect Its Primary Source of Income (2011).

Sin and the Trinity – are the two theological points that Ryan emphasizes. Regarding sin he warns, “It only takes a second to scoop up a bunch of twenties,”

Second, the Trinity. Ryan says that it takes three to do basic parish security. He goes on to note, “Each collection needs to be counted by three unrelated people. Most parishes rely on two: a prescription for disaster, says Ryan, who notes that a dishonest person can act quickly when a partner leaves a room. There is also the temptation to a wink-and-nod conspiracy between two that is much more difficult to pull off when three people are involved.”

For the NCR (Jan. 25, 2016) posting, click here.

Keywords: Best practices, church management, financial mismanagement

Clergy try to reach the “nones”

It’s a difficult sell, but many clergy members want to reach the fast-growing demographic of people who don’t identify with any particular faith tradition. Yet, clergy find that their traditional tools for talking about faith usually don’t work with that audience, according to an article on the Religion News Service web site (Jan. 25, 2016).

Enter Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. The college’s Kenyon Institute is sponsoring a weeklong writing workshop called Beyond the Walls: Spiritual Writing at Kenyon from July 10-16. The intensive workshop is geared to teach participants how to be a more expressive, authentic, and skilled writer, honing what you have to say and becoming more proficient and current in how to say it in media as diverse as op-eds, blogs, the personal essay, and social media.

Faculty member, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield says typically faith leaders communicate with parishioners through sermons, worship or community newsletters, but speaking to people outside of the faith demands different skills. Hirschfield edits a and writes occasional op-eds for The Washington Post. To communicate with wider audiences, he said, clergy must reach people “where they’re at.”

Writing for a broader audience, Hirschfield added, “you can’t write with the goal of getting more dues-paying members. It’s to enlighten the reader, not to convince, convert or cajole. It means moving from ‘selling’ to ‘sharing.’” That can be a stretch for clergy, said Amy Frykholm, an associate editor of The Christian Century and Beyond Walls faculty member. By bringing together students and faculty from different faiths and denominations, the workshop gives participants a diverse, but friendly, space to experiment.

For the RNS summary, click here.

For more information on the Kenyon Institute workshop, click here.

Keywords: Evangelization, millennials, social media, spiritual writing

National Association of Church Personnel Administrators 45th Annual Convocation

NACPA_2016The National Association of Church Personnel Administrators is hosting its 45th annual Convocation from April 17-19 at The Sheraton Downtown in Oklahoma City, OK. The theme for the assembly is 45 Years: We Remember, We Celebrate, We Continue. Keynote speakers include: Dina Dwyer-Owens, co-chair of the Dwyer Group; Theresa Ridderhoff, executive director of Human Resources at the US Conference of catholic Bishops; and Sr. Mary Angela Shaughnessy, SCN, J.D., Ph.D. dean of the graduate school and legal counsel at St. Catharine College, St. Catharine, KY and executive director of the Education Law Institute at St. Catharine’s. A variety of workshops are scheduled on pertinent topics. For more information and to register contact, NACPA, 2050 Ballenger Ave., Ste. 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: (703) 746-8315. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

Washing Feet: Imitating the Example of Jesus in the Liturgy Today

Wash_FeetLast week Pope Francis declared that those chosen for the mandatum ceremony during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper be open to all the people of God, not only men and boys. Washing Feet: Imitating the Example of Jesus in the Liturgy Today, by Thomas O’Loughlin was released right before the new decree. Yet this volume goes beyond that point and delves into the heart of the matter and what it means to live the Christian life. The 125-page book has five chapters:

  1. Awkward Moments
  2. An Action by Jesus?
  3. Mystagogy, Memory, and Meaning
  4. Getting Down to It
  5. Liturgical Scenarios.

There are also extensive Notes and Bibliography sections. Available for $14.95 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:

Journey of Faith, Journey of the Universe: The Lectionary and the New Cosmology

Jour_FaithIn Journey of Faith, Journey of the Universe: The Lectionary and the New Cosmology, Bro. Ivan Nicoletto, OSB Cam. explores the Lectionary readings for Years, A, B, and C through the lens of what he calls the new cosmology. He urges readers to be open to the science and philosophy of geology and physics. The volume provides ways of listening to Scripture readings with fresh ears. Two questions inspired this book: “How do we interpret the Scripture in light of the new universe story? And, how do we participate with our lives in the creative and sacred Action who continues to be at work in the evolutionary process of the world?” The volume breaks new ground in Scriptural interpretation. Available for $19.95 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:

Honolulu diocese posts detailed report of stewardship, including priests’ pensions

The January 1, 2016 edition of the Hawaii Catholic Herald, the Honolulu diocesan newspaper posted a detailed year-end stewardship report. What sets the report apart is it not only reports numbers, but office directors tell stories about what they do and how their particular office fits into the whole of diocesan operations.

Of particular interest to NFPC This Week readers, the Diocesan Finance Officer tells about the how the Priests’ Pension Plan and Postretirement Health Plans are funded, the amount of the parish assessment, other funding sources, and where the funds are held in trust. Included are a Summary of Benefit Obligations and Funded Status as of June 15, 2015 with a graph of Actuarial Liability and Fair Value of Plan Assets.

The Finance Officer also shares the story of two priests who died in 2014 and willed a total of $350,000 to the clergy pension plan.

For the entire report stewardship report with the Diocesan Finance Report on Priests’ Pensions, scroll to page 14 in the link below.

Keywords: Stewardship, priests’ benefits, priests’ retirement


Pope to seminarians: seeking the “normal” life is “mediocre or worse” 

In remarks on Jan. 25 to a group of seminarians from Rome’s Sts. Ambrose and Charles Pontifical Seminary, a seminary that trains priests for the Lombardy region of Italy, he told the seminarians not to settle for what is so-called “normal.”

He said,  “Instead, ‘normalcy’ for us is pastoral holiness, giving one’s life,” Pope Francis said. “If a priest chooses to be just a regular person, he will be a priest who is mediocre or worse.”

Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan, metropolitan of Lombardy, also attended the private audience.

A priest who is tempted to live the way most people live today “begins to settle for getting some attention, judges his ministry on the basis of his achievements and eases into seeking what he likes––becoming lukewarm and without any real concern for others,” he said.

The pope also urged the seminarians to be close to their bishop when they become priests. “It is essential to maintain contact and closeness with the bishop,” he said.

“A priest who does not maintain a close relationship with his bishop is slowly isolated from the diocesan group and his fruitfulness diminishes, precisely because he does not participate in dialogue with the Father of the Diocese”.

For the Catholic News Service (Jan. 25, 2016) report, click here.

For the Vatican Information Service (July 25, 2016) report, click here.

For Pope Francis’s entire address, courtesy of Zenit News Agency (Jan. 25, 2016,) to the seminarians, click here.

Keywords: Pope Francis, priestly formation, priests, seminarians, Vatican