NFPC This Week, #703, 3/19-3/25/2017

Of Note This Week – 

NFPC Convocation hotel room block expires 11:59 pm March 27.

If you are attending the NFPC 2017 Convocation for Priests and have not made your room reservation for your stay at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel, the room rate of $139.00 per night (plus applicable taxes) can only be guaranteed through Monday, March 27Click here to go directly to the Anaheim Hilton Garden Hotel reservation site.

Registration for the Convocation itself continues. Click here to register for the NFPC 2017 Convocation

Council Notes from Louisville (January 2017) 

The chancellor circulated information on ways in which parishes could invest their savings in various saving products. He went on to say the Investment Subcommittee of the Archdiocesan Finance Council would be responsible for reviewing the designs of the alternatives offered screening them to ensure that are consistent with the Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines of the USCCB.

  • The chancellor updated members on finance issues during the first six months of the current fiscal year. Based on this, he presented three recommendations for the 2017-2018 fiscal year:
    • A reduction of 0.25% in the General Assessment,
    • A new goal for the Catholic Services Appeal,
    • A salary increase in the 2.0% to 2.5% range.
  • It was pointed out that perhaps a better way of talking about “obligations” of Catholics to their church is to frame it in terms of positive witness of active, responsible parishioners. Regions were encouraged to discuss the topic in greater depth.
  • Archbishop Kurtz talked about his upcoming trip to Vietnam, his recent pastoral letter that will lead tom discernment process in parishes, and the upcoming Synod on young people.
  • The chancellor discussed upcoming changes in location of some archdiocesan offices.
  • A new director of Youth Ministry will begin on April 1.
  • He gave an update on the V Encuentro process and added that over 50% of Catholics under the age 18 are Latino.
  • The vicar for priests introduced the assistant vicar, Father Matthew Hardesty.
  • Planning continues for the June 5-8 Presbyteral Assembly.
  • Consultation with parishes, which will be open-listed, is ongoing.
  • The vicar for priests expressed gratitude to a priest who took over as administrator of a parish and went on to thank all retired priests who continue to assist with many needs in the archdiocese.
  • The Transitional Diaconate ordination will take place on March 25. Ordination to the Priesthood happens on May 27.
  • The next Provincial Priests’ Council Meeting will be take place in Louisville, Nov. 28-29. Ways to encourage younger priests to attend was discussed. A concern was raised about the decrease in number of priests who attend the provincial meetings.
  • A concern was raised at the February Region 3 meeting in reference to decreasing options for dental and vision insurance upon retirement, just when those benefits are needed the most.
  • Minutes from the January Region 6 meeting included the following topics:
    • Funerals in funeral homes
    • Hispanic ministry
    • Matters before the State Legislature
    • How to motivate more priests to attend the provincial assembly.
  • The January Region 9 meeting took place at Gethsemane Family Retreat Center

Cardinal William Keeler dead at 86

Cardinal William Keeler, who headed the Archdiocese of Baltimore from 1989 to 2007 died on March 23 while under the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor at St. Martin’s House for the Aged in Arbutus, MD. He was 86.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1955 he quickly rose through the ranks of the Catholic Church. He earned a doctorate in canon law in 1961 and worked in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. Harrisburg Bishop George Leech invited him to accompany him to the Second Vatican Council.

He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Harrisburg in 1979 and named bishop of Harrisburg in 1984.

Cardinal Keeler was president of the then National Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1992-1995.

According to the Catholic News Service (March 23, 2017), Cardinal Keeler developed a reputation for effectively building interfaith bonds. He is particularly noted for his work in furthering Catholic-Jewish dialogue. He was appointed moderator of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the USCCB.

In addition, Cardinal Keeler was an ardent promoter of the Catholic Church’s teaching on the sanctity of all human life. He twice served as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities and testified at all levels of government on legislation ranging from abortion to euthanasia to capital punishment.

As of this writing, funeral arrangements are pending.

For the CNS report, click here.

For the Baltimore Sun (March 23, 2017) report, click here.


Notre Dame creates Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement of Religion

On Friday, March 17, Rafat and Zoreen Ansari, two medical doctors born in Pakistan, announced a $15 million gift to the University of Notre Dame to create the Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion.

The announcement was posted in the Wealth Matters section of The New York Times (March 18, 2017).

“We came as immigrants, and this country has given us so much,” Mrs. Ansari said in an interview ahead of the announcement. “We want to give something back to America, but also to humanity. We want to promote the idea of equality.

During the same interview, Notre Dame president, Father John I. Jenkins, CSC, said, “Whenever you get a gift of this size, it’s tremendous, but particularly to have this named for the Ansari family, who is Muslim, is tremendously meaningful to us. We believe religion is very important in our world. It can have a negative impact, but it should be possible to study the ways religion can be a force for human development and peace.”

Father Jenkins said the institute would look at religion not through a sociological or political lens, but through one focused on the religions themselves.

For the entire NY Times posting, click here.

Neocatechumenal Way under review in Guam archdiocese

Co-adjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes of Agana, Guam has asked members of the island’s Neocatechumenal Way to stop forming new communities for a year, in the interest of healing divisions in the archdiocese, according to a report on the Catholic News Agency (March 18, 2017) web site.

The Neocatechumenal Way is a new ecclesial movement that focuses on post-baptismal adult formation in small parish-based groups. It is estimated that the movement contains about 1 million members, in some 40,000 parish-based communities around the world.

In October 2016, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Byrnes as co-adjutor to replace Archbishop Anthony Apuron, OFM Cap. amid allegations that he had sexually abused minors. He was relieved of his administrative authority in June of 2016.

In a March 15 pastoral letter to his flock, Archbishop Byrnes cited “a growing sense of distress about the multiplication of small communities in some parishes and about some of the differences in the way the Mass is celebrated among the small communities of the Neocatechumenal Way.”

The movement must celebrate Mass at a consecrated altar and members of the congregation who receive the Blessed Sacrament must consume it as soon as they receive it, he stated.

For the entire CNA report, click here.


Especially in this day, priests need to care for themselves

St. Luke Institute president, Father David Songy, OFM Cap. writes in this day of widespread self-centeredness and mindful of the steadily decreasing clergy/parishioner ratio — many priests today would consider a serious reflection on self-care to be overly indulgent.

In an essay, appearing in OSV Newsweekly (Dec. 1, 2016) Fr. Songy, a clinical psychologist, cites Jesus as the “exemplar par excellence of self-denial, dedication, humility and Christian virtue, also taught by example the importance of healthy self-care.”

In addition to teaching the disciples the importance of prayer, Jesus also told them to rest after they had returned from a journey of announcing the Gospel: “The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat” (Mk 6:30-31).

Fr. Songy goes on to offer suggestions on managing stress and puts forward a self-care inventory that examines six areas helpful to leading a healthy ministerial priesthood, i.e. physical health, emotional health, social support, ministerial environment, spiritual health and leisure.

For the entire essay, click here.


The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation

In The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, writer Rod Dreher, a believing Christian and committed conservative, argues that others who believe as he does must “develop creative, communal solutions to help us hold on to our faith and our values in a world growing ever more hostile to them.” For readers who are unfamiliar with the term, the Benedict Option was created by philosopher Alasdair McIntyre in a book titled, After Virtue (University of Notre Dame Press, 3rd ed., March 2007). It is an umbrella term for Christians who accept McIntyre’s critique of modernity, and who also recognize that forming Christians who live out Christianity according to Great Tradition requires embedding within communities and institutions dedicated to that formation. It refers to Christians in the contemporary West who cease to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of American empire, and who therefore are keen to construct local forms of community as loci of Christian resistance against what the empire represents. Available for $25.00 from Sentinel Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014. To order online, click here. –

NFPC This Week , #702 – 3/12-3/18/2017

Of Note This Week –

South Dakota priest named bishop of Cheyenne

Bishop-elect Steven Biegler. Photo courtesy of the USCCB

Pope Francis appointed Father Steven Biegler, a priest of the Diocese of Rapid City, SD, as bishop of Cheyenne. He replaces Archbishop Paul Etienne, who was appointed Archbishop of Anchorage in late 2016.

Bishop-elect Biegler, 57, a South Dakota native was ordained in 1993. He attended the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minnesota. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Sacred Theology degree (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and a licentiate of sacred theology (S.T. L., Scripture) from the Pontifical University

He has served in a wide variety of pastoral and administrative assignments and is currently vicar general. He was diocesan administrator in 2010-2011.

His episcopal ordination is scheduled for June 5.

For the USCCB Press Release, click here.

For the Catholic News Agency (March 16, 2017) report, click here.

For a report from Rocco Palmo’s (March 16, 2017) blog, click here.

Update on the Catholic Second Wind Guild

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.

We wrote about the Catholic Second Wind Guild in NFPC This Week, #675 – 8/28-9/3/2016 [].

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