Archives for March 2016

Apostolic exhortation on the family to be released on April 8

Several Catholic media outlets announced that Pope Francis’s widely anticipated document on the Catholic family will be released on Friday, April 8.

The document, titled, Amoris laetitia, On Love in the Family, or as translated in English, “The Joy of Love” will be presented by Cardinals Christoph Schönborn and Lorenzo Baldisseri, according to the National Catholic Reporter (March 31, 2016). The press conference will be streamed live on the Vatican Radio site [en.radiovaticana.va].

The document is expected to sum up the conclusions from two tumultuous synods of Catholic bishops from around the world pertaining to the family held in October 2014 and October 2015.

According to the NCR, the document may be 200 pages in length. The report goes on to note that Pope Francis signed the document on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, the third anniversary of his inauguration.

For the NCR report, click here.

For the Catholic News Service (March 31, 2016) summary, click here.

For the Crux (March 31, 2016) analysis by John Allen, Jr., click here.

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CARA to receive 2016 Mandatum Award

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The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University will receive the 2016 National Federation of Priests’ Councils Mandatum Award.

The award is presented annually to “an individual or organization whose service in the Gospel of Jesus Christ exemplifies the purpose and goals of the Federation.

“In particular, the leadership of this individual or organization enhances the ministry of presbyteral councils, seeks to expound on the issues and concerns of priests, and champions NFPC’s mission and goals in the public square.”

Jesuit Father Thomas P. Gaunt and Mary Gautier, executive director and senior research associate respectively will receive the award at a banquet on April 20 during NFPC’s annual Convocation in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Founded under the inspiration of Cardinal Richard Cushing and other bishops and Church leaders in 1964, CARA defines three dimensions of its mission:

  1. To increase the Church’s self-understanding
  2. To serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers
  3. To advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism.

CARA has conducted hundreds of research studies over the fifty years of its existence. In 1995 it began its priest projection program on the basis of actual demographic information on priests in the United States. Projections have been completed for a majority of US dioceses and many religious communities.

For NFPC in particular, CARA conducted research on priests in 2011 that continued a “trends study” commissioned by NFPC in 1970 and lead by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The 2011 study culminated in a book published in 2012 by Liturgical Press titled, Same Call Different Men: The Evolution of the Priesthood Since Vatican II.

For more on the history of CARA, click here.

Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, dead at 92

Photo courtesy of the National Catholic Register

Photo courtesy of the National Catholic Register

Mother Angelica, who in 1981 founded one of the largest and most successful Catholic media outlets in the world, died at her religious order’s monastery in Hanceville, Alabama on Easter Sunday, March 27.  She was 92. Mother Angelica had suffered the effects of a stroke she had in 2001.

Born in Canton, Ohio on April 23, 1923, Mother Angelica, whose secular name was Rita Rizzo, lived in poverty in her early years after her parents divorced.

In 1944 at the age of 21 she entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland.

In 1961, after various medical problems and potential roadblocks, Rome granted Sister Mary Angelica permission for the Alabama foundation, Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Ala. At the time, the Catholic population of the region was only 2%.

In 1981, Mother Angelica launched Eternal Word Television Network, which today transmits 24-hour-a-day programming to more than 264 million homes in 144 countries. What began with approximately 20 employees has now grown to nearly 400. The religious network broadcasts terrestrial and shortwave radio around the world, operates a religious goods catalog and publishes the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency, among other publishing ventures.

For the National Catholic Register (March 28, 2016) report, click here.

For the Catholic News Service (March 28, 2016), click here.

For Bishop Robert Barron’s reflection on Mother Angelica life and legacy from the Catholic World Report (March 28, 2016), click here.

NFPC This Week, #654 – 3/20-3/26/2016

Of Note This Week –

Easter_2016May the joy, blessings and peace of the Risen Lord remain in your heart throughout the year. Your friends at NFPC

2015_Tax_CovNFPC’s Income Tax Guide for Clergy – Tax Year 2015 is now available. The 2015 Guide has specific and comprehensive tax information relevant to clergy. This publication is available as a PDF download. The PDF will arrive as a separate e-mail. To place a PDF order, please click on “Add to Cart”. If you are interested in a paper copy(ies), please call NFPC at 1 (312) 442-9700 during business hours [8:30 am-4:30 pm CST). Click here to order PDF

Council Notes from Sioux City (February 2016)

After the opening prayer, roll call, approval of minutes for the January meeting, and treasurer’s report, members of the Sioux City Council discussed a new format for applying for continuing education funds. Minutes note that budgeting for the 2016-2017 fiscal year will be taken up at the March meeting.

– The Lenten day of Reflection took place Feb. 18. Benedictine Father Brendan Moss, Rector of Conception Abbey Seminary and former homiletics professor at St. Meinrad’s led the reflection day.

– Details are now being finalized for the Pastoral Planning process.

– The 3-Mass rule was discussed as well as exceptions to it. The purpose of the rule is to protect the health of priests and to discourage “Masses of convenience” with empty churches.

– The Priests’ Compensation Plan, which was approved for a multiple year period in 2014, included a $1,500 increase for the next fiscal year. A newly approved 401K option is now available.

– The Jubilee Mass is scheduled for May 2 and will include the celebration of Bishop Nickless’s 10th anniversary of ordination as a bishop.

– A draft of the new Facilities Use Policy was circulated for members’ review. It was suggested that other facilities such as Knights of Columbus Halls be included in the document’s effect.

– The vicar general requested pastors notify him of parish events for the Year of Mercy so they can be posted.

Finally, it was suggested that the director of the Diocesan Administration and Finance department develop proposals to deal with the financial shortfall stemming from the discontinuance of annulment processing fees.

Archbishop Hebda appointed to head the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese

Archbishop Bernard Hebda. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Archbishop Bernard Hebda. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

In a highly unusual move, Pope Francis on Holy Thursday appointed Archbishop Bernard Hebda as Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He replaces Archbishop John Nienstedt who resigned in June 2015 in the wake of a six-count indictment against the archdiocesan corporation, citing its lax response to reports of abuse priests. On June 15, 2015 Pope Francis named Archbishop Hebda apostolic administrator of the archdiocese.

Archbishop-designate Hebda, 56, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1989. After is ordination he served in a variety of pastoral and administrative assignments including the Canonical Advisory Council, the Priests’ Council, and the Priests’ Personnel Board.

In 1996 he was appointed to work in Rome at the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, served as adjunct spiritual director at the North American College and as a confessor for the postulants of the Missionaries of Charity (founded by Blessed Mother Teresa) and for the Sisters of that community working at a home for unwed mothers.

In 2009 he was appointed Bishop of Gaylord, Mich. and in 2013 Pope Francis named Bishop Hebda Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark.

His episcopal installation is scheduled for Friday, May 13.

For Archbishop Hebda’s Letter to the Faithful of the archdiocese, click here.

For the News Release from the archdiocese, click here.

For Archbishop Hebda’s bio, click here.

For the National Catholic Reporter (March 24, 2016) summary, click here.

Pope to priests: “Mercy restores everything” … “it is infinite and indescribable”  

In his homily to priests at the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, Pope Francis called on them to follow the example of Jesus’ ever-increasing mercy. Recalling the parable of the Prodigal son, the pope aid that the encounter serves as a reminder to “not be fearful of exaggerating our gratitude” to God. “Mercy restores everything; it restores dignity to each person.”

The second area where God exceeds in mercy is in his forgiveness, which enables Christians to “move directly from the most shameful disgrace to the highest dignity.”

As ministers of God’s overabundant mercy, Pope Francis reminded the priests, bishops and cardinals present that growing in this humbling dignity can help them understand their true calling.

“It is people who are poor, hungry, prisoners of war, without a future, cast to one side and rejected, that the Lord transforms into a priestly people,” the pope said.

For the Catholic News Service (March 24, 2016) report, click here.

For Pope Francis’s Holy Thursday Chrism Mass homily, courtesy of Zenit News Agency (March 24, 2016), click here.

 

Pope to new bishops: Never be too busy for your priests

In a homily at the episcopal ordination of Monsignor Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixit, MCCJ, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Monsignor Peter Wells, apostolic nuncio to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia, Pope Francis exhorted the new bishops never be too busy for their priests. “Love like a father and a brother those that God places in your care, especially presbyters and deacons.”

“It makes one weep to hear that a priest has asked to speak with his bishop and the secretary tells him, ‘He has many commitments, for the next three months he cannot receive you.’”

The ordinations took place on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day. Archbishop Ayuso Guixit is a member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus. Archbishop Wells was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Tulsa, OK in 1991.

For the Zenit News Agency (March 21, 2016) report, click here.

Pope addresses course on “Internal Forum”

In an address on March 4 to participants who take an annual course on the internal forum organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, Pope Francis said that confessors should be a “channel of joy.” Quoting scripture, the pope went on to say,  “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7)

He told those gathered that if for some absolution cannot be given, then the confessor should say: “Listen, I cannot [absolve] you for this, but I can assure you that God loves you, that God waits for you! Let us pray together to Our Lady, to protect you; and come, come back, because I will wait for you as God waits for you,” and give the blessing.

For Pope Francis’s entire address courtesy of Zenit News Agency (March 4, 2016), click here.