Council Notes from Louisville (April 2017)

The April meeting of the Louisville began with the introduction of the new director of Catholic Charities.

– A presentation was given by the Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer for the Archdiocese. He spoke about the positive experiences of encounter citing the examples of Pope Francis’ visits to Egypt, Sweden, etc. He quoted from the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification with Lutherans and spoke of the common ground among religious denominations.

– Archbishop Kurtz spoke about the upcoming Presbyteral Assembly as an opportunity to welcome priests who are new to the Archdiocese. He also encouraged members to think about possible topics for the August Overnight meeting.

– The Chancellor spoke to members about the:

– Parish Discernment Process

– Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual

– Informed members about the positive meeting he had with Catholic High School Principals

– Drew attention to the Dominican priest who will serve as full-time Campus Ministry Chaplain at the University of Louisville

– Informed members that the Archdiocesan attorney will be at the Presbyteral Assembly to discuss legal matters impacting priests.

– The Vicar for Priests met recently with priest ordained five years or less. He spoke of their desire to be effective priests and asked members to offer them encouragement and support

– In Minutes from Region 3, examples were given of how ecumenism and interreligious dialogue plays out at the parish level, i.e., amount of preaching about Christian unity; worship in mixed marriages, etc.

– Minutes from Region 9 note a discussion regarding whether International Priests are being fairly compensated for the extra costs of being in the US, i.e., auto insurance, immigration costs, paperwork. Also, whether there is a plan for a House of Discernment that might be used by International priests to have a space for their day off.

– Finally, there was a brief discussion about how a permanent deacon at a parish can provide continuity at a parish when a pastor is changed or is overseeing more than one parish.

Council Notes from Monterey (May 30, 2017)

Bishop Garcia announced that two Scalabrini priests will arrive in summer to minister in the diocese.

– Bishop requested that pastors give notice of their vacation schedule to parishioners by posting a notice in the parish bulletin

– Bishop headed a group from the diocese to the July 1-4 Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando.

– Three ordinations to the priesthood took place on June 9.

–  The Chief Financial Officer announced he is resigning to take a new position. He will not leave until the new CFO is hired.

– Solar energy implementation projects were listed.

– Plans were discussed for the diocese’s Golden Jubilee to take place in December.

– Plans for the May 2018 Priests’ Summit were discussed. Minutes note Filipino priests requested representation on the Priests’ Summit Committee. The next meeting to take place prior to the Priests’ Retreat in October.

– Minutes note a discussion will be scheduled with the Clergy Personnel Board concerning possibility of inviting a priest from the Institute of the Good Shepherd.

– Council meetings for the next fiscal year were listed.

Priesthood is the  “greatest friendship”

In an address to participants in a course on the formation of priests organized by the Congregation for Clergy, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the congregation’s prefect said, “The priesthood is about ‘friendship, the greatest there, from which all others stem … are transformed, are filled with greater meaning.’”

He stressed the primacy of God and the necessity to “put one’s relationship with Him above all.”.

Cardinal Stella went on to say, “We are in need of priests that do not put anything before the relationship of friendship with the Lord. Who have with Him bonds of ‘flesh and blood’ capable of involving them totally, of involving them body and soul, spirit and heart; so that their bonds with Him and their service are never subordinated to other bonds, darkened by disordered affective dependencies, bowed to interests of power and career or polluted by logics contrary to the Gospel . . . In brief, priests and Pastors interiorly free and consecrated full time to the cause of the Gospel”

For the entire summary, courtesy of Zenit News Agency, click here.

Robert A. Destro appointed director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies

Robert A. Destro. Photo courtesy of The Catholic University of America

Catholic University of America president, John Garvey has announced the appointment of Robert A. Destro, professor of CUA’s Columbus School of Law as director of the university’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies (IPR). He succeeds Stephen Schneck who retired in April.

According to a posting on the IPR website, Professor Destro has served as an IPR fellow since 2011, was nominated by the institute’s Executive Board, which comprises the chairs of the departments of anthropology, education, politics, psychology, and sociology.

For the entire IPR posting, click here.

For a Crux (May 31, 2017) summary on Stephen Schneck, click here.

Canon Law Society of America’s 79th annual Convention

The Canon Law Society of America will host its 79th annual Convention from October 16-19, 2018 at the Westin Indianapolis Hotel in Indianapolis, IN. The theme for the assembly is Mercy, Justice, and the Law: In the Spirit of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. He keynote presentation will be delivered Jesuit Father Robert Geisinger, Promoter of Justice for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Other speakers include Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University, and a panel presentation will review the practical implementation of motu proprii Mitis Iudex and Mitis et Misericors Iesus, as well as the processus brevior.  A variety of seminars on pertinent topics will take place during the convention. For more information and to register contact, CLSA, 415 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 101, Washington, DC 20017-4502. Tel: (202) 832-2350. Fax: (202) 832-2331. E-mail: [email protected]. Website:

Longing to See Your Face: Preaching in a Secular Age

A new homily help titled, Longing to See Your Face: Preaching in a Secular Age, by Fr. Thomas J. Scirghi, SJ has just been published. In the “Introduction,” Fr. Scirghi writes, “Preaching is a most important work of the priest.” He begins with a discussion of the purpose of preaching and offers a theological sounding on proclamation, taking up several descriptions of the role of the preacher in relation to the congregation. He also addresses current theological issues for the contemporary preacher. The second part of the book discusses the practical matter of preparing to preach and proposes a method of preparation by following a pattern of reflection, research, writing, and rehearsing. The third part focuses on two specific sacramental celebrations: funerals and weddings. Available for $14.95 (also available in e-book edition) 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:

Incarnation: A New Evolutionary Threshold

Incarnation: A New Evolutionary Threshold, by Diarmuid O’Murchu is essentially about adult faith formation. Harkening to the cultural (and political) divisions of our time, O’Murchu reveals how the notion of separateness – of “others” and “borders” and the earth as an object to exploit – endangers everyone and everything. O’Murchu expands the Christian idea of Incarnation to reveal a universal embodiment of Spirit. He shows how all forms of embodiment – from bacteria to the stars, from our children to strangers – evidence a God who loves bodies, and chooses the corporeal form in every initiative of co-creation.  Available for $25.00 from Orbis Books, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545. Tel: (800) 258-5838. Fax: (914) 941-7005. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

National Diocesan Survey: Salary and Benefits for Priests and Lay Personnel – 2017

The National Diocesan Survey: Salary and Benefits for Priests and Lay Personnel – 2017 is now available through the NFPC Bookstore tab on the NFPC website. The Survey is being sold as PDF by the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators [NACPA]. An option is available to order a print copy.

The National Diocesan Survey encompasses three previous studies, the National Diocesan Salary Survey and the National Church Employee Benefits Survey by NACPA and The Laborer Is Worthy of His Hire by NFPC. The survey was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) during the winter of 2017.

176 dioceses and archdioceses in the United States were invited to participate in the gathering information for the Survey. In the end 80 usable responses resulted, a rate of 46 percent.

Both NACPA and NFPC are confident that the information in survey is key to helping diocesan leaders provide a more just and equitable work environment for both priest and lay personnel.

The data in this Survey is organized by region, size of Catholic population in the arch / diocese, staff size of the arch / diocese, and the estimated operating budget of central offices, excluding Catholic Charities.

To order, click here.

Vatican congregation releases document about ways to ensure validity of Eucharist  

The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments issued a circular letter on July 8 sent to all diocesan bishops titled, “On the bread and wine for the Eucharist.” The letter was sent at the request of Pope Francis. It was signed by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect and Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary, on June 15, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

The letter contains recommendations to ensure the validity and worthiness of the bread and wine used for the celebration of the Eucharist.

According to the Catholic News Service (July 10, 2017), because bread and wine for the Eucharist are no longer supplied just by religious communities, but “are also sold in supermarkets and other stores and even over the internet,” bishops should set up guidelines, an oversight body and/or even a form of certification to help “remove any doubt about the validity of the matter for the Eucharist.”

The letter goes on to note that every bishop “is bound to remind priests, especially parish priests and rectors of churches, of their responsibility to verify those who provide the bread and wine for the celebration and the worthiness of the material.”

Bishops must also provide information to the producers of the bread and wine for the Eucharist and to remind them of the absolute respect that is due to the norms,” the letter stated. Producers “must be aware that their work is directed toward the eucharistic sacrifice and that this demands their honesty, responsibility and competence,” it added.

For the CNS report, click here.

For the Vatican Radio report and link to the circular letter, click here.

A report on the 12th National Black Catholic Congress

The key message for participants at the 12th National Black Catholic Congress held in Orlando, Fla. from July 6-9 was twofold – that Black Catholics must work harder to bridge the racial divide in communities, the nation and within the church, while the Catholic Church needs to be a stronger force in confronting the systemic racism at the root of mass incarceration and economic inequality. A summary of the meeting was posted on the National Catholic Reporter (July 10, website.

The event held every five years, attracted over 2,200 participants from across the US to learn from each other and draw inspiration from speakers such as Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, author of the pastoral letter and study guide “The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015.”

In his address to the delegates, Bishop Braxton reminded them that they could all do something to own their own history and to be engaged in the community. He talked about the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC and how his visit to the edifice impressed him. And although he recognized the museum as an outstanding achievement, he lamented the lack of references there to leading African-American Catholics such as Father Augustus Tolton, the Sisters of the Holy Family, Sister Henriette Delille, Father Pierre Toussaint, Mother Mary Lange, or Sister Thea Bowman.

Bishop Braxton went on to encourage attendees to exercise their rights to vote, participate in public life, run for public life, use resources that develop discussion about the racial divide, and inspire young people to become involved.

“I give you these imperatives: Listen, learn, think, act and pray,” he said. “African-American Catholics need to get into real conversations with others in the community about this history so we can grow by means of knowledge.”

The theme for the 12th NBCC was “The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me: act justly, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God.” It was held amidst a backdrop of an increase in racial violence, a polarizing presidential election and a nation ripped open by a series of killings of unarmed blacks by police.

For the entire NCR summary, click here.

For a summary of Bishop Braxton’s remarks from the Catholic News Service (July 12, 2017), click here.