Archives for February 2017

NFPC This Week, #699 – 2/19-2/25/2017

Of Note This Week –

“Early Bird” registration of $450.00 for the 2017 NFPC Convocation in Anaheim, CA expires on March 1. Afterwards it will be $500.00. Please take advantage of this reduced rate, which includes all presentations and meals. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Anaheim. Click here to register.

Council Notes from Green Bay (January 2017)

– Council members were informed that Holy Name Retreat House on Chambers Island in Door County was sold. The diocese was holding on to 26 of the 70-acre property.

– A motion was made, seconded, and unanimously passed to recommend a 2.5 percent salary increase for the upcoming fiscal year. The current business mileage rate was also approved. The term fiscal will now be in front of year.

– Members discussed the principle training/education project for the diocese.  Discipleship is the main focus and is being rolled out in two phases. Minutes note by 2020 all major stakeholders will have gone though the process.

– Discussion continued about the retired priest independent living facility at Grellinger Hall [see Council Notes, June 2016]. A survey was sent to priests 65 and older. Results showed an interest in using it as an assisted living facility. Minutes note there are currently six assisted living facilities in the diocese.

– The Parish Survey developed by a research group at St. Norbert College garnered a 50 percent response rate. Three points surfaced during Council discussion:

Ÿ Distinguish between priests and other job groups

Ÿ Extent to which council members and other priests in the field are in agreement or not

Ÿ Percent of responses that were from those between the ages of 18 and 24.

– In reference to the discussion, Bishop Ricken mentioned a book by Gary Keller, “The One Thing.” The take-away – How can leadership best serve parishes? More data will be forthcoming from the open-ended questions

– Member discussed forming a Liturgical Commission. It would have a mix of 10 to 12 members both lay and clergy.

– Finally, a member suggested a better wellness plan.

What a priest learned from ministering in hospice

Father Michael Griffin, a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Fall, SD and editor of The Bishop’s Bulletin, the diocesan monthly publication, shares some piercing reflections of those he has ministered to in hospice. He writes those who have a short time left to live their lives have a powerful insight into what really matters. They have a lesson to teach.

There are five regrets that hospice patients often mention as “I wish I had …..”

The first regret is: “I wish I had let myself be happier.”

The second is: “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

The third is: “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

The fourth is: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

And the fifth regret is: “I wish I had the courage to live my life, instead of the one others expected of me.”

For Father Griffin, he finds the fifth regret the saddest, and on a personal level asks, “Whose life are we living anyway?”

For Fr. Griffin’s column in the January 2017 edition of The Bishop’s Bulletin, click here.

Bishop McElroy calls on leaders to “see, judge, and act” – “disrupt and rebuild”

Bp_McElroyIn an impassioned presentation to the US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements held in Modesto, Calif. from Feb. 17-19, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy reminded the social justice activists, some of who were not Catholic, of Pope St. John XXIII words from his 1961 encyclical Mater et Magistra to “see, judge, and act” when reading the “signs of he times.”

Specifically referring to threats of the current administration in Washington “to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families” to take away medical care, food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children, Bishop McElroy said now we must become “disruptors.” He went on to say, “We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God.”

And Bishop McElroy said we also need to be rebuilders, “We cannot merely be disruptors, we have to be rebuilders. We have to rebuild this nation so that we place at its heart the service to the dignity of the human person and assert what that flag behinds us asserts is our heritage: Every man, woman and child is equal in this nation and called to be equal. We must rebuild a nation in solidarity, what Catholic teaching calls the sense that all of us are the children of the one God, there are no children of a lesser god in our midst.”

The meeting was organized by PICO National Network, the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Vatican’s office for Promoting Integral Human Development. 700 activists attended the event.

Bishop McElroy will give an address at the NFPC annual Convocation on Thursday, April 27 on the Pastoral Theology of Pope Francis.

For Bishop McElroy’s entire presentation, click here.

For a Commonweal commentary by John Gehring, click here.

For the Catholic News Agency (Feb. 22, 2017) report, click here.

Pope Francis comes down hard on Catholics who live a double life

In his homily at the Thursday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis denounced Catholics who go to mass and participate in Church associations, yet don’t pay fair wages to employees or are involved in money laundering. He labeled it living a “double life.”

“It is a double life, a double life. A totally double life: ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this association and that one; but my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my workers a just wage, I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money…’ A double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others,” the Pope said.

He also talked about scandal and tied it to leading a double life. According to the pope, Jesus says in the Gospel that those who are the cause of scandal- “without using the word ‘scandal,’ but it’s understood”- will knock on the doors of heaven and introduce themselves to God, saying, “Don’t you remember me? I went to Church, I was close to you … Don’t you remember all the offerings I gave?”

To these, Francis argued, on judgment day God will say: “Yes, I remember those: All dirty. All stolen from the poor. I don’t know you.”

This, the pontiff insisted, will be the response Jesus will give to Catholics who lead a double life.

For the Zenit News Agency (Feb. 23, 2017) report, click here.

For the Crux (Feb. 23, 2017), report click here.

Professional Development Webinar Series presents Praying, Reflecting, and Sharing the Faith with the Questions of Jesus, March 14

AMP_NewAve Maria Press in partnership with NFPC, NALM, NCCL, and NACFLM presents, Praying, Reflecting, and Sharing the Faith with the Questions of Jesus.

When  – Tuesday, March 14 – 3:00-4:00 pm, EDT

WrightPresenter – Allan F. Wright, author of Life-Changing Questions from the Gospels will discuss a few of the questions Jesus poses in the Gospels as a way to grow in faith and to share that faith with others.

For more information and to register, go to:

Professional Development Webinar Series presents Catechesis for Children with Special Needs, March 21

AMP_NewAve Maria Press in partnership with NFPC, NALM, NCCL, and NACFLM presents, Catechesis for Children with Special Needs

When – Tuesday – March 21 – 3:00-4:00 pm, EDT

DuctramPresenter – Peter Ductram, director, Office of Catechesis, Archdiocese of Miami will discuss the vision of the Church in the United States for catechesis with people with special needs and the effective implementation of that vision. He will share valuable resources to help start and build a more creative catechesis.

For more information and to register, go to:

Pope Francis – With the Smell of the Sheep: The Pope Speaks to Priests, Bishops, and Other Shepherds

Smell_Sheep-croppedPope Francis  – With the Smell of the Sheep: The Pope Speaks to Priests, Bishops, and Other Shepherds, with a Foreword by Bishop Robert Barron is a collection of texts by Pope Francis consisting of all his addresses to priests and bishops, where he shares his vision of the priesthood, ministry, and service to the People of God. In addition, the volume contains his addresses to seminarians, bishops, members of the curia and religious orders, where he also shares words of compassion with victims of clergy sexual abuse. The pope’s addresses and homilies are arranged according to the following headings:

Chrism Masses
Meetings with Priests
Priestly Formation
Meetings with Bishops
Christmas Greetings to the Roman Curia
Other Occasions

Highly recommended. Available for $18.00 from Orbis Books, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545. Tel: (800) 258-5838. Fax: (914) 941-7005. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

Fr. Tony interviewed for ‘In Person’ with Dina Marie Hale on Mater Dei Radio

Mater Dei Radio logoIn a conversational and informative hour long interview, Dina Marie Hale led Father Tony through a detailed discussion about his vocation journey, the rewards and struggles of priestly life, plus how the laity can support their priests and how the NFPC National Convocation of Priests plays a part in that support.

Fr. Tony discussed his life in the Catholic Church during his youth, his Navy service where he also worked as a lay minister and first felt God nudging him, and his work in Nashville after the Navy where he finally accepted the call in 1998. Although he admits his journey to the priesthood included saying “No” to his vocation several times, once he made the decision to enter the seminary, he wasn’t restless or searching anymore, it “just felt right.”

He attended seminary in his home diocese, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  Dina guided Fr. Tony through an interesting discussion on his time in the seminary and his discernment and development toward the priesthood, including the involvement of the Blessed Sacrament and Mary, as well as the response of his family and friends. Fr. Tony encouraged all listeners to not only pray for vocations, but to look out for young men 25 or 26 years old who seem restless and invite them to consider God’s call in their life and the possibility of the priesthood.

The talk moved into Fr. Tony’s serving as a professional consultant for St. John Vianney Center and the importance of retreats and time away for priests.  Fr. Tony is often called on to give talks at priestly diocesan retreats on various topics of interest.  Fr. Tony discussed how laity can help care for their priests.  “First and foremost.” says Fr. Tony, “always pray for your priests, every day.” And let them know they are being prayed for, it’s very encouraging. Priestly brotherhood is vitally important, and the laity need to assure the priest that it’s okay to leave the rectory, that they will take care of the parish and he can get away to be with brother priests.

Dina asked about the NFPC National Convocation of Priests, April 24-27 in Anaheim, CA.  Father Tony talked about the theme, the presenters and the practical topics designed so the priests will be able to take ideas back to their parishes. He stressed the importance of the priestly brotherhood at the Convocation and the warm welcome from priests across the country.  He was excited about a new addition to this year’s convocation: a panel discussion on topics of interest to priests, to share experiences and ideas and trade information.  The convocation is open to and for all Catholic priests and Fr. Tony welcomed all priests to come!

Fr. Tony closed with a prayer and a priestly blessing.

Healing Voices: an online resource for adult survivors of sexual abuse [Feb. 2017, Vol. 2, No. 1]

Heal_VoiceHealing Voices: an online resource for adult survivors of sexual abuse [Feb. 2017, Vol. 2, No. 1] is now available. This issue focuses on victim assistance and survivor ministry. For the PDF, go to: Heal_Voice_Feb_17.pdf