NFPC This Week, #756 April 15 – April 21, 2018

News from the NFPC:

  • NFPC will be celebrating the 50th Annual Convocation here in Chicago at the Millenium Knickerbocker from Monday, April 23, 2018 – through Friday, April 27, 2018.  Our offices will be closed during this time period.
  • There is still time left to register for the 50th Annual Convocation, but if you are unable to join the celebration in person, we ask you to please be with us in spirit and prayer.
  • NFPC’s This Week Newsletter WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED ON SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2018.  The publication will be resumed on Sunday, May 6, 2018.

  • We want to hear from you.  Please share your ideas on articles of interest, seminars, workshops scheduled in your part of the country.  Read a good book lately????  Share your thoughts on it with your brothers through the NFPC e-letter.

National/International News:

Other News:

As a follow-up to two articles posted in last week’s newsletter, we’re sharing the following:


Arts and Entertainment:







Top Five Takeaways from ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’

America Magazine published Fr. James Martin’s reflections on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Encyclical “Call to Holiness.”  Fr. Martin begins his commentary with Pope Francis’ opening text – “Rejoice and be glad!”  “Why should we ‘rejoice and be glad? Because God, as Francis reminds us, calls us all to be saints. But how can we respond to that call?”

Fr. Martin touches on five points to ponder in our “call to holiness” based on Pope Francis’ “new and very practical exhortation:”

  1. Holiness means being yourself
  2. Everyday life can lead to holiness
  3. Two tendencies to avoid:  Gnosticism and Pelagianism
  4. Be Kind
  5. The Beatitudes are a roadmap for holiness

Please click here to review Fr. Martin’s reflection in its entirety, published in America Magazine.

Cubans, US Exiles Connect To Help Rebuild Cuba’s Catholic Church

For the first time in the lives of most Cubans, a man whose surname is not Castro will lead the Communist-controlled nation.  Cuba’s National Assembly announced on Thursday, April 19, 2018, that First Vice President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, 57, will replace Raul Castro as the head of the Cuban government.

Many residents of the island nation are optimistic that this change in government will usher in major societal changes in Cuba. Yet, optimism is not so strong among others because Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, is still the First Secretary of the Communist Party and as such, will probably continue to exert a great deal of influence over decisions affecting Cuba’s future.

Nevertheless, a recent article in the National Catholic Reporter states: “real changes are quietly being made by the second-largest institution after the government in Cuba: the Catholic Church. Connections forged with Cuban-Americans are strengthening parishes, shoring up social services and extending beyond the Cuban church by offering business and entrepreneurship training to help rebuild civil society.”

During an interview Miami’s Archbishop, Thomas Wenski stated that the “key to the revitalization of the Cuban church is reconciliation, not only between Cuban-Americans and Cubans but among Cubans themselves.”  Other rebuilding challenges faced by the Cuban Catholic Church are a shortage of Priests and laypersons to staff parishes, as well as building or rebuilding churches that have been neglected for over six decades.

Please click here to review the complete article on rebuilding Cuba’s Catholic Church published in the National Catholic Reporter.

Click here to review “Encuentro Ecclesial Event Unites Cuban Catholics, Bridges US-Cuba Division” also published by the National Catholic Reporter.



Commentary on BBC Series “Broken”

In sharing his reflections on the BBC television series “Broken,” Fr. Joel Warden,  commented: “What makes a good priest?  Is it who he is, or more what he does?  Thomas Aquinas held that we are what we do and we do what we are.  Perhaps that is a bit circular, and surely for the parish priest, like for anyone in any vocation, it makes it much easier to handle such circularity if there is a model who demonstrates what goodness might mean in action.”

Although based on a fictional character, such a role model for Fr. Warden is portrayed in “Broken” depicting the life of a parish priest, Fr. Michael Kerrigan, assigned to a small city in Northern Ireland whose residents are experiencing a myriad of socio-economic problems.  Fr. Warden stated: “Sean Bean (Kerrigan) gets the life of a parish priest right.  Personally, I like his approach.  It is practical and……provides a way for Kerrigan to handle his own spiritual need to be grounded.”  Fr. Warden continues:  “The dialogue and actions presented are accurate to the inner landscape of a priest and to the details of his pastoral tasks.”

Click here to read Fr. Warden’s complete review of “Broken” in America Magazine.


Fr. Jim Hewes Re: Pastoral Transitions

Fr. Jim Hewes, a Priest in the Diocese of Rochester, is a frequent contributor to the NFPC This Week E-letter.  This week Fr. Hewes is offering a study conducted by the Alban Institute in Washington, based on pastoral changes in Protestant Congregations.  The study may be helpful to Catholic Parishes that are undergoing difficult leadership transitions, i.e., a new pastor following a long-term pastor, or new leadership in a Parish following the Canonical removal of a Priest who was experiencing personal challenges.

In his summation of the study, Fr. Hewes commented: “The study recommended that congregations hire INTENTIONAL interim pastors for a year or more, after long-term or problem pastorates to address the issues the congregation needed to look at. Then the next pastor has a chance to start out fresh. I saw this situation a number of times with priests that followed long-term or problem pastorates in our diocese…So, these ideas emerged, which was not original [to] me but came from these other sources….I share them in the hopes that they ………be of some help.”

To view, the Alban study on Transitional Administrator click here

To view the Alban study on Transitional Process for Priests click here

After the Pope’s Extraordinary Apology for Chilean Abuse Case, What Comes Next?

In a recent commentary published in the National Catholic Register, Fr. Raymond J. de Souza wrote:  “After the Pope’s Extraordinary Apology for Chilean Abuse Case, What Comes Next?” Fr. de Souza, editor-in-chief of Convivium, a Canadian online journal,  contends that Francis’ admission of serious errors in judgment “will have major consequences for Chile’s own Church leaders,” and also asks: “What, then, can be expected after the most extraordinary papal letter, which has been initially well-received in Chile?”

In two very rare moves, Francis has invited Chile’s entire episcopate to Rome in May to discuss the “short, medium and long-term steps” that must follow.  Additionally, the Holy Father will meet with the principal Karadim victims to extend his personal apology.  Beyond those two actions, de Souza raises questions on other “curative” steps Pope Francis might take in Chile and a possible agenda for the May meeting in Rome.

Still unresolved are the “church” futures of Barros, who is at the core of the sexual abuse cover-up, and two other Bishops who were in the “sphere” of Fr. Karadima.  Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, the Apostolic Nuncio in Chile discussed removal of all three several years ago.  As to the Apostolic Nuncio himself, de Souza asserts: “A principal duty of an apostolic nuncio is to keep the Holy See well-informed. The papal letter to Chile is a public admission that the nuncio in Santiago…failed to do that.   Such a public vote of no confidence from the Pope himself makes it impossible for the archbishop to continue in Chile.”

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago, the senior Chilean Archbishop, is past retirement age.  Is there a new Archbishop on tap who can rebuild trust and confidence among Chilean Catholics?

To review Fr. de Souza’s commentary in its entirety, please click here.

EARTH DAY – 2018

Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970, which helped raise consciousness about humankind’s misuse of our precious planet and its resources.  Actually, inhabitants of “Planet Earth” received their first wake up call regarding the dangers facing our environment with the publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962. Publication of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si raised the urgency of immediate action by everyone to “care for our common home.”

For the 2018 Earth Day celebration, the Earth Day Network is sponsoring a challenge to reduce plastic consumption/pollution.  Click here to visit their website for additional information.

NFPC This Week, #755 April 8 – April 14, 2018

News from the NFPC

News from the Vatican –

National/International News

Priests in the News

Book Review

Other Literary News

Vatican Releases Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation – “Call to Holiness”

“Call to Holiness” is Pope Francis’ third Apostolic Exhortation, following  Evangelii Gaudium (‘The Joy of the Gospel’) in 2013, and Amoris Laetitia  (“The Joy of Love’) in 2016.

Francis opens “Call to Holiness” (which he addresses to all Christians and not just Catholics) with a passage from Matthew (5:-12): “Rejoice and Be Glad – Jesus tells those persecuted or humiliated for his sake.  The Lord ask everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created.  He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence.” The Pontiff continues:  “What follows is not meant to be a treatise on holiness, containing definitions and distinctions helpful for understanding this important subject, or a discussion of the various means of sanctification. My modest goal is to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities.”

As you can imagine, the media was filled with analyses of Pope Francis’ exhortation from the moment of its release on April 9, 2018.  Here are just a couple:

Click here for “Pope Francis: Being holy means loving people, not being boring,” prepared by the Catholic News Service

Click here to review Fr. Louis J. Cameli’s reflection: ” Pope Francis: Pathways for holiness today” – Courtesy of Chicago Catholic

Click here for the full text of Pope Francis’ “Call to Holiness” published by the Vatican.

Ave Maria Press Announces New “Parish Book Program”

Ave Maria Press has launched a new program which will allow parishes to purchase bestselling books at one-time bulk prices as gifts for parishioners.  The initial offering is the book Rebuilt:  Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, Making Church Matter by Rev. Michael White and Tom Corcoran.

For additional information on the bulk purchasing program, Click here.