Cardinal Cupich welcomes gifts of ‘new Magi’ at migration Mass

JANUARY 10, 2018 – To celebrate the start of National Migration Week (January 7-13), Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich celebrated a special multicultural Mass at the city’s Holy Name Cathedral.

The packed Mass was standing-room only, and began with a procession of people representing nearly 50 nations, with many in traditional garb. More than two dozen priests helped to celebrate the Mass which featured prayers in seven languages.

The Archdiocese’s Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity reported that their immigrant ministry “Pastoral Migratoria” was now active in roughly 50 parishes. The Archdiocese is also “working with other dioceses to start their own Pastoral Migratoria, with the Diocese of Stockton, California, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, scheduled to start their ministries this spring.”

For the full article in the Chicago Catholic click here.


Principles of clustering for a new Mass schedule by Father Jim Hewes

We have received a submission from Father Jim Hewes of the Diocese of Rochester. He has written a reflection on the process of parish clustering, a challenging topic to many parishes nationwide. His reflection includes a list of guidelines for this difficult process. We thank Father Hewes for providing his work to the NFPC and to the readers of This Week.

For the PDF of his work, click here.


Father Jim Hewes is a priest of the Diocese of Rochester. Ordained for over 43 years, Fr. Hewes has served in rural, suburban, and inner city parishes as well as serving as a campus minister and prison chaplain. He is a trained and certified mediator, and formerly served as director of Project Rachel for 18 years.


If you would like to submit an essay or article to This Week, we would be happy to publish it. Email [email protected] with any submissions or questions.

Aging in community: how elderly priests are cared for by their religious communities

Coat of arms of the U.S. Western Dominican province, Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Photo: Wikimedia)

JANUARY 8, 2018 – Dominican Father Paul Duffner spends each day at the Rosary Center of Holy Rosary Parish in Portland, Oregon. At 102, he is one of the oldest friars in the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Yet, he enjoys spending his time working: he diligently prepares bundles of rosaries and pamphlets for distribution around the world.

The Western Dominican Province has 144 friars with an average age of 57. In the ten western states covered by the province, the Dominicans have 15 communities where friars staff parishes, Newman Centers, and other special projects.

Dominican Father Vincent Kelber, pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, says that their community stresses involved participation, adding that “We all want to retire sometimes from the harder obligations, but no one wants to stop working as a priest.”

The Congregation of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit has also confronted the issue of aging and, with help from the National Religious Retirement Office, created a “philosophy of aging document” to govern the care of older priests and brothers.

Both the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit and the Dominicans stress the community focused aspects of their planning, and their desire to keep brothers involved and participating in daily activities.

For the fully story in the Catholic Sentinel (Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon), click here.

US bishops: End of protected status for Salvadorans is ‘heartbreaking’

(Photo: Wikimedia)

JANUARY 8, 2018 – The USCCB’s National Migration Week began this week with an ill-timed announcement from Washington that a program allowing 200,000 Salvadorans residency in the United States would be coming to an end.

Initially granted after a devastating earthquake in 2001, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) permits allowed citizens of El Salvador to reside in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security announced that the affected Salvadorans would have until September 2019 to leave the United States, find a new way to remain legally, or face deportation.

Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, Texas, and Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, called the decision “heartbreaking,” and Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles called for a path to permanent residency for those affected.

Several concerns were raised over the decision to revoke TPS status, including the economic costs of ending a system that allowed Salvadorans to send significant funds back to their families in El Salvador. Another point of concern is the future status of the estimated 192,000 U.S. citizen children born to the Salvadoran community, and the choice their parents will have to make in deciding whether to take their children back to El Salvador. Additionally, Catholic Relief Services issued a statement on Monday stating that “From our experience working with the Catholic Church and other local partners in El Salvador, the Salvadoran government does not have adequate humanitarian capacity to receive, protect, or integrate back into society safely this many people.”

For the full article 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.

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

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.

Father Donald Cozzens on clericalism

The Dec. 26, 2017 edition of US Catholic magazine posted an essay by Father Donald Cozzens titled “Don’t put priests on a pedestal.” In the article he contends that clericalism is a “cancer crippling the Catholic world—from local communities to Vatican offices—is so deeply embedded in our past and present church fabric that we need a careful presurgery examination. So pull on your surgical gloves and join me in the pre-op room.”

In 2004 Fr. Cozzens wrote A Faith that Dares to Speak, (Liturgical Press) in which he delves into the clerical culture.

Fr. Cozzens received NFPC’s Touchstone Award earlier this year.

For the entire US Catholic essay, click here.