USCCB Urges Concrete Actions to Address Scourge of Gun Violence

In the wake of the gun-related deaths of seventeen students on Ash Wednesday at a Florida high school, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement on March 5, 2018, calling U S Lawmakers to “an honest and practical dialogue around a series of concrete proposals—not partisanship and overheated rhetoric.”  The USCCB statement was developed by Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; and Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., Chairman, Committee on Catholic Education.

For a number of years, the USCCB has been a strong supporter of sensible gun policies, including a “federal ban on assault weapons, limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines, further criminalizing gun trafficking, certain limitations on the purchase of handguns…”  Their position was reconfirmed in the March 5 release stating: “We also continue our decades-long advocacy for common-sense gun measures as part of a comprehensive approach to the reduction of violence in society and the protection of life.”

In addition, the statement responded to a Presidential proposal to arm classroom teachers by concluding:  “The idea of arming teachers seems to raise more concerns than it addresses.”

Bishops Dewane and Murry also called for increased resources and “earlier intervention” for mentally ill individuals who may be at risk for committing violent crimes.

Click here to review the full text of the March 5 USCCB statement:


Vatican Announces a New Marian Feast Day

Pope Francis has issued a decree adding the feast of “The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church” to the Catholic church’s liturgical calendar. The new feast day will be celebrated annually as a “memorial” on Monday following Pentecost.

The decree was released on Saturday, March 3, 2018 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  Cardinal Robert Sarah, its Prefect, added to his announcement of the new decree that the Holy Father wishes to promote this devotion in order to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety”.

The Gospel reading for the new feast day is John 19:25-31 where Jesus, from the cross, entrusted his Mother’s care to his disciple.

Please click here to review the full report in Vatican News.


Book Review “Revolutionary Saint – The Theological Legacy of Oscar Romero” (Orbis Press)

Price US$27.00

A window into the soul of an ordinary man who was an extraordinary witness to the mercy of God in a merciless world.”—Daniel G. Groody, University of Notre Dame

Many years after his death in 1980, the world is still absorbing the witness of Óscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, martyred for his commitment to the poor and social justice. In this work, Michael E. Lee offers a profound reflection on the theological implications of Romero’s life and ministry.

Drawing on Romero’s biography as well as his homilies and other writings, Lee considers specifically how Romero’s witness challenges Christians in the U.S. to reimagine a robust Christian spirituality that is at once a mystical encounter with God and a prophetic engagement in the struggle for justice. In light of Romero’s beatification and pending canonization, Lee reflects on the implications of the archbishop’s recognition as a martyr and on the model of holiness he offers for the wider church today.

Michael E. Lee is associate professor of theology at Fordham University. He is the editor of Ignacio Ellacuría: Essays on History, Liberation, and Salvation (Orbis 2013), and author of Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría (Crossroad).

Available from Orbis Press – Click here

Pope Francis clears way for Archbishop Romeo’s Canonization

Pope Francis issued a decree on March 6, 2018 recognizing a second miracle attributed to the intercession of slain Salvadoran Archbishop, Blessed Oscar Arnolfo Romero Galdamez.  Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, made the announcement on behalf of the Vatican on Wednesday, March 7.

Approval of the second miracle clears the way for the canonization of the martyred Bishop. No official date has been announced but there is speculation that the Pope will set a joint canonization for both Blessed Romero and Blessed Pope Paul VI later this year at the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops.

Blessed Romero, an outspoken critic of government killings and kidnappings in El Salvador, and a champion of human rights, was celebrating Mass on the evening of March 24, 1980 when a gunman emerged from a vehicle and shot him, his body slumping over the altar.

Romero’s cause for canonization was opened in 1993 and reached the Vatican in 1997 where it lingered for nearly two decades. Neither Pope John Paul II nor Benedict XVI took any action to move Romero’s cause ahead. In February 2015, two years after his election, Pope Francis advanced Romero’s cause issuing a formal decree that Romero was assassinated as a martyr for the Catholic faith. Three months later, the Pontiff authorized Romero’s beatification, the last step before sainthood.  In a portion of Pope Francis’s letter, which was read at the beatification ceremony, he characterized Romero as one who “knew how to lead, defend and protect his flock.”

For complete details in the National Catholic Register – please click here

A review of “Revolutionary Saint – The Theological Legacy of Oscar Romero” is also included in This Week

March 8 – International Women’s Day Celebration

Malala Yousafzai – Youngest Recipient in Nobel Prize History – Photo Courtesy of Nobel Prize Website

International Women’s Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

On March 8, 2018 the Nobel Prize website honored women who have been awarded the Nobel Prize (in various categories). Please use this link to review the video


Celibacy Revisited – Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s Reflections

Celibacy Revisited, is Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s personal “testimony” on his lifetime commitment to celibacy.  He remarks at the onset: “Writing in the first person is always a risk, but the subject matter of this column is best done, I feel, through personal testimony.  In a world where chastity and celibacy are seen as naive and to be pitied and where there’s a general skepticism that anyone is actually living them out, personal testimony is perhaps the most effective protest.”

Fr. Ron also shared his thoughts on the many ways celibacy has enriched his life: “Looking back on [my] own life and my commitment to celibacy I can say….celibacy has made for some tough seasons and remains, as Thomas Merton once put it, the deep anguish within chastity.  But celibacy has also provided me with a life rich in friendship, rich in community, rich in companionship, rich in family of every kind and rich in opportunity to be present to others.“

Fr. Ron Rolheiser is a Catholic priest and member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He was ordained in 1972 and has served in several religious capacities in Canada and the US.  Since August 2005, Fr. Ron has been President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio,Texas. In addition to his cleric responsibilities, he is a frequent lecturer, author of a weekly column that is syndicated in more than fifty newspapers, and has published a number of books, the most recent of which is The Passion and the Cross (2015).

Please click here to review Fr. Ron’s full reflection published in The Angelus

Catholic Second Wind Guild – Great Opportunities for Retired Priests

Father Ron Knott, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville and founder of the Catholic Second Wind Guild, a ministry to help bishops and priests in the Caribbean islands of the Grenadines and Barbados, is looking for priests who would consider a “mission vacation” in the Caribbean.

Catholic Second Wind Guild is a partnership of the local bishop, retired U.S. priests, retired/active executive level business leaders and their associates who want to share their time, talents, resources and connections doing shared ministry in creative new ways that are both life-giving for them in their retirement years and beneficial to the mission of the Church by tackling targeted mission needs and projects.

Click here for current “mission vacation” opportunity – a priest to substitute in the Archdiocese of Castries (Saint Lucia) from mid-April to end of August 2018.

To find out more about a “mission vacation,” click here for a PDF.  Or contact Fr. Ron at (502) 303-4571 [email protected]

Vatican confirms canonization of Paul VI set for Late October

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, announced on Tuesday that the Canonization Rite for Blessed Pope Paul VI is set for the end of October. Although a “definite” October date was not included in Parolin’s announcement, he indicated that the service would be held at the close of the Synod of Bishops in October. The Synod of Bishops was established by Pope Paul VI in September 1965.

During his years as Pope from 1963 to 1978, Pope Paul VI steered the Catholic Church through the closing of the Second Vatican Council and the significant ecclesiastical changes that followed.

Pope Paul VI was beatified in 2014 after a first miracle was attributed to him. On February 6, 2018, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the second miracle needed for his canonization. He will be the third Pope canonized by Pope Francis since his election, including St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II in 2014.

Please click here to review article in Crux now.

Bishop Pepe of Las Vegas retires; Bishop Thomas to succeed him

Bishop George Thomas

Bishop George L. Thomas has been appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas, following the resignation of 75-year old Bishop Joseph A. Pepe.  Christopher Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States announced the change in diocesan leadership on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.

Bishop Pepe served as Bishop of Las Vegas for seventeen years.    Bishop Thomas has served as Bishop of the Western Montana Diocese since 2004.  Responding to his new appointment in Las Vegas, Bishop Thomas stated: “It is difficult to leave Montana… But, Pope Francis requests that each bishop possess a generous missionary spirit. In light of the Holy Father’s request and with humble thanks for the confidence he places in me, I joyfully accept this appointment.” Bishop Thomas’ episcopal ordination and installation will be celebrated in Las Vegas on May 15, 2018.

The Diocese of Las Vegas was established by Pope John Paul II on March 21, 1995.  Prior to that Las Vegas was part of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada.

Review additional details in Catholic News – click here


Mr. Graham Goes to Washington: First Pastor Honored in US Capitol

On Thursday, February 28, 2018, the late Rev. Billy Graham became the first private citizen to lie in repose at the nation’s capitol since Ms. Rosa Parks.  The late evangelist, who became known over the years as “America’s Pastor,” was also the first religious figure to receive this honor.

The public was invited to pay their respects at the Capitol Rotunda through March 1, after which Rev. Graham’s body was returned to Charlotte, North Carolina for a private funeral service on March 2 at the Billy Graham Library.  His plain pine casket was built by inmates at the Louisiana State Prison in Angola.  

Additional details are available in Christianity Today – use this link