Archives for April 2016

NFPC This Week #658 – 4/24-4/30/2016

Of Note This Week –

ConvocEditor’s Note: We will have a press release available early next week from the NFPC annual Convocation, “Keeping up with Pope Francis: Bringing the Message to Parish Life,” held in Indianapolis April 18-21. We are also in the process of editing video from the main Convocation presentations. The videos will be available in our website,

St. Augustine diocese mourns slaying of beloved priest

Father Rene Wayne Robert. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of St. Augustine.

Father Rene Wayne Robert. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of St. Augustine.

During NFPC’s annual Convocation in Indianapolis last week, prayers and reflections were offered for murdered St. Augustine priest, Father Rene Wayne Robert, 71. Father Jason Trull and Father Rafael LaVilla, who represented the province of Miami at the Convocation, made an announcement.

Father Robert disappeared on April 10. His remains were found on April 18 in an area of rural Georgia south of Augusta. Police officials were led to the site by a suspect in the slaying, Steven Murray, 28. According to the National Catholic Register (April 21, 2016), Murray was recently released from prison was receiving help from Fr. Robert.

For the entire NC Register report, click here.

For a reflection on the priestly life of Fr. Robert from the St. Augustine diocesan website, go to.

St. Louis auxiliary bishop named to head Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese

Bishop Edward M. Rice. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of St. Louis via the National Catholic Register

Bishop Edward M. Rice. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of St. Louis via the National Catholic Register

On Tuesday, April 26, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Edward M. Rice, auxiliary bishop of St. Louis as bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO. He replaces Bishop James V. Johnston who was appointed bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Sept. 15, 2015.

Bishop Rice, 55, a native of St. Louis was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1987.

He attended the Archdiocese of St. Louis’s Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. Bishop Rice served in a variety of pastoral and administrative assignments including director at Cardinal Glennon College Seminary, which is a position he held until his appointment as pastor at St. John the Baptist in 2000. In 2008, he was named St. Louis’ director of vocations and continued in the role until Benedict XVI named him auxiliary bishop of the diocese in 2010.

Bishop Rice has also overseen various ministries of the Archdiocese including those of consecrated life, vocations, priest personnel, youth protection, intercultural and interreligious affairs and the St. Charles Lwanga Center.

His installation is scheduled for June 1 at St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, MO.

Fort the USCCB News Release, click here.

For the National Catholic Register (April 26, 2016) summary, click here.

Church management skills in demand

National Catholic Reporter’s Field Hospital blog has several pertinent topics in its current edition. One offering by Beth Gibson of Catholic News Service is titled “How to make a parish a well-run operation.” It focuses on Villanova University’s Center for Church Management and Business Ethics at the Villanova School of Business founded in 2004 by Charles Zech.

The center’s 30-credit master of science in church management degree begins with a weeklong residency at Villanova and includes courses in organizational ethics, Catholic social thought, church teaching and belief, information technology, stewardship and development, financial reporting and controls, organizational management, human resource management in a ministry setting, civil and church law for church administrators, and pastoral strategic planning.

Right now there are 59 students in the program including 31 from the Archdiocese of New York.

“Overall, most of the church management master’s degree students are laypeople and many already serve as parish business managers, he said. The $28,000 tuition “sticker price is pricey,” Zech said, but there are discounts for church employees, and dioceses that commit to sending five or more students each year get an additional discount. The Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, has five students in the program now.

For a link to the posting on the website, click here.

For more offerings from the Field Hospital blog, click here.

NCDVD report on Hispanic vocation workshop

NCDVDThe National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors hosted a workshop on April 20-21 focusing on Hispanic vocations to the priesthood. The workshop, the third in a series, took place at Saint Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.

The keynote speakers included Bishop John Noonan of Orlando, Florida, Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, Dr. Hosffman Ospino of Boston College and vocation directors Father Jorge Torres and Father Carlos Suarez.

Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski gave a moving homily to the group on Thursday, April 21. A link to the homily is provided below.

For a report on the NCDVD Hispanic vocation meeting, click here.

For a full text of Archbishops Wenski’s homily, click here.

Statistics on the ordination class of 2016


The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the annual statistical data for the current priesthood ordination class. Called “The Class of 2016: Survey of Ordinands to Priesthood,” the survey is conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University and commissioned by the US bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. Of the 548 ordinands (down slightly from 595 in 2015), 440 or 80 percent responded to the survey. Of the 440, 352 are ordinands for diocesan priesthood from 140 different (arch) dioceses. 88 are from men’s religious institutes.

The survey found that seven in 10 men (70 percent) said they were encouraged to become a priest by a parish priest. Other people who prompted the ordinands were friends (48 percent), parishioners (46 percent), and mothers (42 percent).

Other major findings:

  • Average age – 35
  • Median age – 32
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) report their race as Caucasian/European American/white
  • Asian or Pacific Islander (15 percent)
  • Hispanic/Latino (14 percent)
  • African/African American/black (4 percent)
  • Three in 10 (30 percent) reported being born outside the US, with the largest numbers coming from Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, and Vietnam.
  • On average those born outside the US have been in the country 13 years.

For the last ten years, between 20 and 30 percent of ordinands to the diocesan priesthood have been born outside the US.

• Prior military service – 5 percent.

Despite minor variances, these statistics mirror patterns established in recent years.

For the USCCB News Release (contains a link to the full report), click here.

Laudato Si’ – On the Care of Our Common Home

Laudato_Si-croppedLaudato Si’ – On the Care of Our Common Home. This volume joins the full text of Laudato Si’ with reflections by Sean McDonagh, SSC one of the foremost Catholic proponents of ecological awareness. Aside from reviewing the history of Catholic teaching and the environment, he elaborates on several of the specific themes in the encyclical—climate change, biodiversity, water scarcity, the threats to the ocean, and the crisis of food. He concludes with prescriptions about what must be done to turn the pope’s vision into a program of effective action. Available for $20.00 from Orbis Books, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545. Tel: (800) 258-5838. Fax: (914) 941-7005. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

Who may i contact regarding hosting meetings, conferences, board of director’s meetings and any other event that you would be holding in the Baltimore/Washington Corridor? We hosted a Board retreat a number of years ago and would love to have the opportunity again.
Bethe Brekke

Council Notes from Green Bay (April 2016)

The April meeting of the Green Bay council began with a discussion and then a vote to approve the updated guidelines for the Support and Benefit of Priests and Lay Leaders.

– Bishop Ricken led an extensive discussion of the Diocesan Vision, Mission, and Focus process. A process person was introduced to help lead development of three-pronged mission. Minutes note that discipleship is a key element in the rough draft that was presented to members.

The first few years will be devoted to internal and external leadership.

A seminar and small groups will be devoted to expanding a common language and understanding for discipleship.

            All agreed that discipleship is a key response to the effort.

– The Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry made a presentation about the Age of Confirmation. Three age groups were studied:

Restored order (before First Communion)

Middle school

Junior year.

– Minutes note from other dioceses consulted, a one-size-fits-all model doesn’t exist. A question by Bishop inquired: “Are we confirming real disciples?” Minutes note the quality of letters from confirmation students have improved over the last five years.

– A measure of the effectiveness of confirmation is Sunday Mass attendance and programs confirmandi have been a part. The discussion will continue.

–  Next on the agenda was a presentation by a representative of the Neocatechumenal Way. “The Way” is a Christian formation program for adults founded in Madrid in 1964. It’s primary focus is Word, Liturgy, and Community. The group helps form small communities within a parish.

Finally, after a discussion by the pastor and Diocesan Director of Facilities and Properties, a resolution to recommend the Reduction of a church building to Profane but not Sordid use was seconded and unanimously approved.

Council Notes from Kansas City-St. Joseph (March 2016)

The March meeting of the Kansas City- St. Joseph Council began with an introduction of the Diocesan Victims Services Coordinator. The Office of Child and Youth Protection exists to assist clergy too.  Participation by priests in the forthcoming lamentation service was encouraged. Other healing services are planned.

– The Diocesan Director of Stewardship was introduced. A report on the Annual Catholic Appeal was presented. Discussion centered on coordination of various stewardship campaigns so as not to conflict with one another.

– More catechesis on giving was discussed connecting it to a larger meaning of stewardship.

– A suggestion was made to reinstate workshops for parish development directors.

– An extensive discussion took place centering on Boy Scouts of America and Girls Scouts. Differences in governance of the two organizations were pointed out.

– Knights of Columbus involvement in Boy Scout operation were touched upon. Chartering as separate non-profits and insurance matters were also discussed. Questions were taken.

– Members heard an update on the Diaconate Office. A new diaconate leader was introduced. He suggested a new model of formation that will better prepare deacons for ministry. Formation will still take place at Conception Abbey. While ongoing formation of ordained deacons is important, deacon candidate formation is of critical importance. There are three deacons who assist the deacon-director.

– Bishop Johnston expressed gratitude to all who stepped forward to assist the Office of the Diaconate.

Important dates:

Diaconate Ordination – May 21

Priesthood Ordination – May 28

Priest Retreat – June 20-24

Priest Assembly Days – Oct. 3-6.

Provincial Assembly in June – Topics: Faithful Citizenship and immigration

– In the Priest personnel report a number of open listings were reported due to retirement or health problems.

Finally, Bishop Johnston reported that there are currently 8 or 9 men applying for seminary. 6 or 7 more have expressed serious consideration. Conception as well as other seminaries will continue to be used.