Confidence – Do You Have Enough?

In Fr. Dennis Lewandowski’s search for new methods to motivate both himself and his parish staff, he found an article that prompted self-analysis.  Fr. Dennis commented: The article was about self-confidence. It started with a couple of stirring questions: How self-confident do you feel? Are you full of it, or do you wish you had more of it?

Fr. Dennis  provides a few guidelines to conduct a personal  assessment of your self confidence and self-motivation.  Use the link below to download Fr. Lewandowski’s article.

D Lewandowski for NFPC Newsletter -March 15 – 2018 (1)



Fr. Thomas Berg: “Welcoming the Wounded”

“To those who have been hurt by the Church, we must acknowledge their pain and be a witness to Christ’s tenderness,” Father Thomas Berg wrote in a recent article published in The Priest Magazine. Fr. Berg is a Priest in the Archdiocese of New York, and Vice-Rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.  He is also the author of “Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics,” which he wrote “as a guide to healing for those who have been hurt in the church, and an examination of conscience for the rest of us.”

The reasons why Catholics (especially young adults) become disaffected with their faith might be attributed to multiple, complicated issues, many of which have been well documented in the past including: discomfort with organized, institutional religion; loss of faith; the perception that faith is incompatible with our scientific culture; the clergy sex abuse scandal and traumatic life events.

Fr. Berg’s article however, calls attention to another reason Catholics leave the faith  – a hurtful experience in the church.  Fr. Berg commented:  “Personal experience leads me to believe that this portion of the Catholic population is much larger than we would care to imagine.” He continued: “the sad reality is that there has been plenty of hurt to go around in our parishes, schools, chancery offices and ministries.  And we need to acknowledge the ugly truth that the hurts – and the consequent disaffection with the church – are more frequent that we might want to admit. To recognize this and call a spade a spade is not to be judgmental; it’s just to be honest.”

There is no “quick-fix” technique to return disaffected Catholics to the faith. However, Fr. Berg suggests possible long-term solutions parish leadership and the laity can undertake to welcome our “wounded” sisters and brothers home.  Included in his suggestions is Pope Francis’ concept of our local churches acting as “field hospitals,” ready to heal the wounded.

Click here to review Fr. Berg’s full article in The Priest – published by Our Sunday Visitor


Dear regular Mass-goers: the seats at the end of the pew aren’t for you.

Jesuit Father Jack Bentz knows the drill: “I was raised Catholic. I know the strategy. The first-class seats are at the end of the pew.”

Fr. Bentz is the Campus Minister for St. Paul Catholic Student Center at Boise State University. Last year his work required extensive travel and stated he often found himself attending Sunday Mass at a different Parish each week. Fr. Bentz observed that regular Mass-goers who sit at the end of the pew might be undermining well-planned, official greetings designed to create a warm and welcoming parish environment. Greeters are available at the entrance; visitors are acknowledged from the pulpit; and some parishes present small gifts to newcomers, ranging from cups or pens engraved with the Parish name.  Fr. Bentz commented: “That was nice. I was being welcomed. But it was not working. Why? I think it is because I had to climb over people to get into a pew.”

Fr. Bentz continued by sharing his thoughts on the negative effect “end sitting” may have on people seeking a new church home:  “Every weekend, in every Catholic Church in the United States, new people arrive hungry for a community to call home…. If they cannot find a place to sit, they will not be back. And we will never have a chance to speak the saving Word to them, because, in spite of the official welcome, they understood this was not going to be their church. It was already taken by the guardians at the end of the pew.”

Click here to review full details in America – The Jesuit Review

Priest who served Brooklyn parishes found murdered in Colombia

Father Dagoberto Noguera, 68, who served at a number of parishes in Brooklyn before his retirement, was murdered at his residence in Mamatoco, Columbia on March 10, 2018.

Fr. Noguera was born in Ecuador and educated in Colombia where he was ordained in 1985. He came to the Brooklyn Diocese in 1990 and was formally accepted as a priest of the diocese in 2002. He served at several Brooklyn parishes before retiring for medical reasons in 2014 and returning to Colombia.  His health situation caused him to rely on a wheelchair.

There are rumors circulating that his murder was committed by Venezuelan immigrants, to whom Fr. Noguera had served food.  Although law enforcement officials have not confirmed this rumor, two suspects were videotaped on surveillance cameras at a store purchasing items with a credit card stolen from Fr. Noguera.

Residents in Mamatoco remembered Fr. Noguera “as kind; always caring for others; and dedicated to charity work with people in need.”  A Memorial Mass will be celebrated for him on March 23, 2018 at St. Anthony of Padua-St. Alphonsus Church in Brooklyn.

Please select this link to review further details in Crux

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]

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


Confession: Parish-Person-Priests/Pope Francis “Confessional is a place of forgiveness, not threats.”

Here are two reflections on Confession/Reconciliation:

The first offering is from Fr. Tom Sweetser, a Jesuit Priest, author, and founder/director of the Milwaukee-based Parish Evaluation Project (PEP).  In a recent PEP newsletter, Fr. Tom shared his reflections on the small number of parishioners who came for reconciliation at a suburban church, compared to the large number of people lined up for reconciliation at a parish in downtown Milwaukee. In his post Fr. Tom also offers suggestions to help churches encourage parishioners to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Click here to review Fr. Tom’s post in the PEP newsletter.

The second reflection is from Pope Francis’ Homily this past Sunday, February 27, 2018 in which he cautioned priests to “be mindful that the confessional is a place where people can find forgiveness and mercy, not threats and condemnation.”

The Pontiff continued “When we priests — in the Lord’s place — hear confessions, we also must have this attitude of goodness like the Lord, who says, ‘Come, let us talk, there is no problem, there is forgiveness,’ and not with a threat from the beginning.”

Click here for additional details in the National Catholic Register.






“I plan to get arrested Tuesday”

Photo courtesy of ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)

“I plan to get arrested Tuesday” were the sentiments expressed by Fr. Tom Reese, a Priest and political journalist, who contributes a regular column to the Religion News Service.  Fr. Reese will be participating in the National Catholic Day for Dreamers on Tuesday, February 27 and shared his views on  the peaceful act of civil disobedience that may occur as participants march on Capitol Hill.  Fr. Reese stated:  “At a time when Dreamers face arrest and deportation, getting arrested is a symbolic gesture of solidarity with threatened people who are part of our community. As a Jesuit, I feel this especially because thousands of these Dreamers have been our students and parishioners. They are our friends and colleagues.”

The February 27 National Catholic Day for Dreamers was organized by the PICO Network, in partnership with Faith in Public Life and members of the DC Catholic Coalition.  Activities include Mass at 8:30 am, followed by a press conference, a non-violent action in the Russell Building Rotunda, and a visit to Congressional offices on Capital Hill.

Former President Barack Obama appointed Fr. Reese to the U. S. Commission in International Religious Freedom in 2014.  This bipartisan Commission reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. He was reappointed to another two-year term in May 2016, and elected to a one-year term as chair of the commission in June 2016.

Please click here to review Fr. Reese’s column in the National Catholic Reporter

Bishop Robert Coyle returns to Long Island as Rockville Centre Auxiliary

On Tuesday, February 20, 2018, Bishop John Barres of Rockville Centre, New York announced the return of Bishop Robert Coyle to the Long Island diocese as an auxiliary.  Bishop Coyle will assume his new ministry on April 2, 2018.

Prior to his recent appointment, Bishop Coyle served as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese for the U. S. Military Services. Bishop Coyle had a long career in the U. S. Navy beginning with his commission as an Ensign in 1988.  In the news release Bishop Coyle commented: “I was originally ordained a priest here in 1991.  I am very grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Francis for appointing me to serve the Church on Long Island. I look forward to assisting Bishop John Barres, Bishop of Rockville Centre, in our pursuit of Dramatic Missionary Growth on Long Island.”

For further details click here to review the Catholic News Agency article.