Participating in the March for Life? There’s an indulgence for that

(Photo: Pixabay)

JANUARY 7, 2018 – The Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington have announced that Catholics participating in the 45th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. on January 19 will be able to receive a plenary indulgence for doing so.

A letter singed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington on December 20 states that an indulgence could be awarded to those who “take part in the sacred celebrations, along with the great assembly of people, throughout the whole course of the annual event that
is called ‘March for Life.”

The March for Life is an annual rally held by pro-life groups to mark the Supreme Court’s January 22, 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. It is the most prominent rally held in the U.S. by anti-abortion groups to mark the Roe v. Wade decision and is usually accompanied by smaller protests nationwide.

For more information via the Catholic News Agency, click here.

Why some priests leave

(Photo: Pixabay)

This article by Msgr. Stephen Rossetti offers insightful commentary on the important issue of priest resignation:

DECEMBER 18, 2017 – Dean Hoge’s 2002 study The First Five Years of the Priesthood: A Study of Newly Ordained Catholic Priests found that young priests were not leaving the priesthood in exceptionally large numbers, despite rumors. Rossetti, who published his own study in 2009 (Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests), found that in that year only 3.1% of priests were considering leaving the priesthood. This represented a decline compared to Rossetti’s similar study in 2004.

However, Hoge compared those priests who did leave within the first 10 years of their ministry to those who did not, and drew the lesson that those priests who quit did so because they felt “lonely or unappreciated.” A feeling of disconnect, not necessarily tied to celibacy, but to a difficulty in adapting to the personal challenges of the priesthood, lay at the heart of their decision to leave.

Hoge’s study found that the vast majority of resigned and active priests (90%) enjoyed their religious ministry, but those who resigned cited personal problems as a main factor.

Rossetti suggests that exploring ways to build relationship skills in seminary formation could prove useful, as could more in-depth psychological evaluations of potential seminarians.

While personal satisfaction among priests remains high, a small minority every year are plagued by challenges and opt to resign. The numbers suggest the current system may be sound, but it could always use improvement.

For the full article in The Priest Magazine, click here.

Youth Ministries in Action

Two recent articles highlight youth ministry programs at work in their respective dioceses, each reliant on the power of relationships. Kari Janisse is the coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Ministries at Our Lady of Peace Parish in the Diocese of Camden, and she remarks in the Catholic Star Herald that “Youth ministry is a relational ministry.”

It is true that youth ministry is a program that necessitates personal interaction and the investment of time in building bonds with young parishioners.

It is a point stressed by Callie Kowalski, Coordinator of Confirmation and Youth Ministry at St. Bernard Parish in the Diocese of Green Bay. In an article for Green Bay’s diocesan newspaper The Compass, Kowalski said that “It’s really all about relationships…If you don’t have relationships with kids and parents, you won’t have a successful youth ministry.”

Both articles highlight the work of each ministry, and speak to the programs carried out by the respective parishes.

For the article on the youth ministry in Camden, click here.

For the article on the youth ministry in Green Bay, click here.

A New Year Begins by Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski

Fr. Dennis Lewandowski

In this first newsletter of 2018, we have received an essay from Fr. Dennis Lewandowski of Naperville, Illinois. In it, he writes about New Year’s resolutions and planning. Click on the link below to view a PDF of his essay.

A New Year Begins – Father Dennis Lewandowski

FEMA to allow aid for religious groups

JANUARY 3, 2018: In a reversal of earlier rulings, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on Tuesday (January 2, 2018) that houses of worship will be eligible to receive federal disaster relief funds that were previously limited to private non-profit organizations with no religious affiliation.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long wrote to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, stating that “Effective for any major disaster declared on or after August 23, 2017, private nonprofit organizations operating a house of worship are now eligible under the FEMA Public Assistance Program.”

Three Texas churches had filed a lawsuit against FEMA in September 2017 after being denied federal relief funds in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, arguing that their eligibility for disaster relief could not be denied solely because of their religious status due to the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Hurricane Harvey dealt tens of billions of dollars of damage to Texas and Florida in late August 2017.

As the Catholic News Agency reports, “Now, FEMA will permit houses of worship damaged during the hurricane to retroactively apply for aid, and any other church damaged in a storm in the future will also be eligible for these funds.”

For the article via Catholic News Agency, click here.

Catholic parishes assist after Bronx fire

JANUARY 3, 2018: Two Catholic parishes have been at the forefront of New York City’s charitable response to the fire which killed 12 people in the Bronx on December 28. Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Martin of Tours parishes helped organize a food/clothing drive for victims of the fire. While originally slated to last three days, the drive was called off after only one due to the tremendous outpouring of support. On January 2nd, Father Jonathan Morris, pastor of Mount Carmel, led an interfaith service in conjunction with neighborhood denominational leaders. At St. Martin of Tours, Father Cosme Fernandes paid special tribute to a former parishioner and Army National Guard soldier who died helping others escape the fire.

Additionally, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan visited the scene of the fire on December 31st and ate lunch with the firemen who responded to the blaze. He went on to praise the first responders for their “solidarity, support and charity.”

For the Crux story, click here.

Bishop Curlin laid to rest in Charlotte

Bishop William G. Curlin of the Diocese of Charlotte was 90 (Photo: Diocese of Charlotte)

JANUARY 3, 2018: William G. Curlin, Bishop of Charlotte from 1994 to 2002 and who passed away on December 23, 2017, was laid to rest on January 3, 2018. Over 600 people attended Bishop Curlin’s funeral Mass in Charlotte’s St. Gabriel Church presided over by Baltimore Archbishop William Lori. Curlin served 60 years with the Church, and died at the age of 90. He was buried at Belmont Abbey, just west of Charlotte.

For the Crux story on the bishop’s funeral, click here.

For the National Catholic Reporter story on his death, click here.

Jesuits issue letter to defend Honduran priest

Father Moreno at a protest in 2016. (Photo: America and Radio Progreso)

JANUARY 2, 2018: The Jesuit provincials in Latin America and the Caribbean have issued an open letter denouncing threats against Father Ismael Moreno, S.J. Father Moreno, or “Padre Melo” as he is popularly known, is a Honduran Jesuit who is the director of Radio Progreso, a national radio station with an audience of 1.5 million listeners. He also oversees the Reflection, Investigation and Communication Team – “a Jesuit social action and analysis center.”

On November 26, 2017, Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández was reelected in a contentious vote that resulted in protests and at least 30 fatalities. Padre Melo’s radio station has been critical of the election and of the protests. A recent flyer circulating on social media accuses him and eight other regional leaders of connections to criminals, drug cartels, and violence. While no explicit threat was made, Jesuit officials worry about the implied threats against the priest. The Society of Jesus vowed to hold the government “responsible for the safety and physical and moral well-being” of Father Moreno.

For the America article, click here.

Priests Make Use of Social Media

National Catholic Register article from December 30, 2017 highlights three priests and how they have used social media to connect and engage with their communities. Of note is Father Leo Patalinghug, who reaches thousands through his Facebook and Twitter accounts, and appeals to Catholics/non-Catholics alike with his cooking advice. He advises that “every priest needs to understand the importance of social media” as both a benefit and an inhibitor to our society. Click here to view the article. 

NFPC welcomes Dan Snow

NFPC is happy to announce a new member of its team.  Dan Snow, a native Chicagoan joins us to be the new Project & Research Assistant and Editor of NFPC This Week.  Dan’s bio is below. Please join us in welcoming him:

My name is Dan Snow, and I am excited to be assisting the National Federation of Priest’s Councils. I am a lifelong Chicagoan from the city’s Northwest Side and a member of St. Juliana’s Parish. I am a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago where I received my BA and MA, both in History. I primarily studied American urban history with a focus on immigration and religion in the industrial North, with special emphasis on Catholicism. My primary study was a look at French-American Catholics in Chicago during the latter 1800s and early 1900s.

I am grateful to the NFPC for giving me the opportunity to work with them, and am especially thankful for the assistance of Alan in welcoming me to the organization. I have been impressed by his commitment and his knowledge, and hope that I will be able to continue his work with the same dedication. My goal is to ensure a smooth transition for This Week as Alan ends his 21 years of service and to set up the newsletter for continued success moving forward. If you have any ideas, comments, or questions for me, do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at [email protected].

Thank you!