What a priest learned from ministering in hospice

Father Michael Griffin, a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Fall, SD and editor of The Bishop’s Bulletin, the diocesan monthly publication, shares some piercing reflections of those he has ministered to in hospice. He writes those who have a short time left to live their lives have a powerful insight into what really matters. They have a lesson to teach.

There are five regrets that hospice patients often mention as “I wish I had …..”

The first regret is: “I wish I had let myself be happier.”

The second is: “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”

The third is: “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

The fourth is: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

And the fifth regret is: “I wish I had the courage to live my life, instead of the one others expected of me.”

For Father Griffin, he finds the fifth regret the saddest, and on a personal level asks, “Whose life are we living anyway?”

For Fr. Griffin’s column in the January 2017 edition of The Bishop’s Bulletin, click here.

Biblical scholar Jesuit Father Joseph Fitzmyer dead at 96

Fr_FitzmyerLeading Catholic biblical scholar Father Joseph Fitzmyer, SJ died on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 in Philadelphia at the age of 96.

Born in Philadelphia in 1920 and ordained a Jesuit priest in 1951, Fr. Fitzmyer is probably best known for co-editing “The Jerome Biblical Commentary” and his contributions to the Anchor Bible Series.

An expert in the Aramaic language spoken by Christ and by many first-century Jews and Christians, the priest was noted for his work on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel of Luke. He did some of the initial work in the 1950s to prepare a concordance to the scrolls and was one of the first Americans to have direct access to the documents.

He founded the Institute on Sacred Scripture at Georgetown University, and he taught at a number of schools including the now-closed Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, the University of Chicago, Fordham University, Boston College and The Catholic University of America.

A funeral Mass took place on Jan. 5 at St. Matthias Church in Bala Cynwyd, just outside Philadelphia, followed by a burial at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville.

For more on Fr. Fitzmyer’s death, click here for the America magazine posting (Dec. 24, 2016).


Lexington bishop supports worker rights

Conventual Franciscan Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, KY wrote a message to State legislators in Kentucky in early January appealing them to vote against anti-union “right to work” legislation and using the tenets of Catholic social teaching to illuminate the issue before them.

Bishop Stowe stated in part, “Workers cannot be treated merely as a means for corporate profit and production, but must be seen as autonomous human beings who contribute to the common good through their work. “

Invoking Pope Leo XIII’s seminal encyclical on Catholic social teaching, Rerum Novarum, he noted that works have the rights to organize for their just rights which decent wages and safe working conditions.

“In Catholic teaching,” Bishop Stowe continued, “unions are described as an indispensable element of social life.  Unions are to promote solidarity among workers.  They are essential for economic justice and to protect the rights of workers.”

For Bishop Stowe’s entire statement, click here.

Two auxiliary bishops appointed for Milwaukee 

Bishops-elect Jeffrey Haines (left) James Schuerman. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Bishops-elect Jeffrey Haines (left) and James Schuerman. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Pope Francis named two Milwaukee archdiocesan priests as auxiliary bishops for the archdiocese – Fr. Jeffrey Haines and Fr. James Schuerman.

Bishop-elect Jeffrey Haines, 58, a native of Milwaukee, was ordained in 1985 after completing studies for his master of divinity degree at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in St. Francis, Wis. He also studied canon law at the Catholic University of America in 2002. After ordination he served in a variety of pastoral assignments and currently is Pastor/Rector of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. According to a news release form the archdiocese, Bishop- elect Haines was elected three times as moderator of the Council of Priests. Currently he serves as member of the College of Consultors.

Bishop-elect James Schuerman, 58, a native of Burlington, Wis. was ordained in 1986. He attended St. Francis de Sales Seminary where he earned a bachelor’s degree. He earned a master degree in theology from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, where he also continued his seminary studies at the Collegium Canisianum, Austria. He also holds a doctorate in ministry from the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, 1996.

From 1992-1996 was selected for missionary service at the archdiocesan sister parish, La Sagrada Familia in he Dominican Republic. He speaks German and is fluent in Spanish.

Like Bishop-elect Haines, he served in a variety of pastoral assignments and is currently pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church in Lake Geneva, Wis. Bishop-elect Schuerman also serves as adjunct spiritual director for St. Francis de Sales Seminary.

As of this writing, no date was announced for the bishops’-elect episcopal ordinations.

For the Communication from Archdiocese of Milwaukee, click here.

For the USCCB News Release (Jan. 25, 2017), click here.


San Antonio priest named auxiliary bishop

Bishop-elect Michael Boulette. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

Bishop-elect Michael Boulette. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

On Jan. 23, Pope Francis named Monsignor Michael J. Boulette as auxiliary bishop of San Antonio.

Bishop-elect Boulette, 66, a native of Hudson Falls, NY was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of San Antonio in 1976. Raised in Texas, he was formed through the Roman Catholic seminaries in the Archdiocese of San Antonio and completed his theological degrees and formation at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend where he received master’s degrees in Theology and Divinity in 1975. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Mary University in 1971 and a master’s degree in Psychology from Trinity University in 1972. He received his Doctorate of Ministry from the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1993.

Since his ordination, Bishop-elect Boulette served in a variety of pastoral appointments. In 2004 he was commissioned to begin a new ministry for the archdiocese, St. Peter Upon the Water Center for Spiritual Direction were he has also served as director since its founding.

His episcopal ordination is scheduled for March 20 at a site in San Antonio to be determined.

For the Communication from the Archdiocese of San Antonio, click here.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.


Pope appoints Cardinal O’Malley to CDF post

Pope Francis appointed Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap. a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The appointment was announced in a Vatican communiqué on Jan. 14.

The cardinal is already a member of the pope’s Council of Cardinals and president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

For the Catholic News Agency (Jan. 14, 2017), click here.

For the Vatican communiqué, click here.

First Filipino bishop tapped to head Salt Lake City diocese

Bishop Oscar A. Solis. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Bishop Oscar A. Solis. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Pope Francis appointed Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis as the bishop of Salt Lake City. He replaces Archbishop John C. Wester who was appointed to be Archbishop of Santa Fe in April 2015.

The Filipino-born bishop, 63, was ordained to the priesthood in 1979 after attending Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytag City in the Philippines and Theology University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

According to Rocco Palmo’s blog, Whispers in the Loggia, then Fr. Solis migrated to the US, “amid a call for pastoral workers to serve a rapidly-growing Filipino diaspora, first heading to Newark before eventually settling in southern Lousiana’s Houma-Thibodaux diocese.” In late 2003 he was named auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles. In 2009 he was named auxiliary bishop for the San Pedro Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which includes five pastoral regions that cover Long Beach and Southern Los Angeles County.

His installation is scheduled for March 7 at Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For the Diocese of Salt lake City press release, click here.

For the Whispers in the Loggia blog, click here.

San Antonio Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Flores dead at 87

Archbishop Patricio Flores, who headed the Archdiocese of San Antonio from 1979 to 2004 died on Jan. 9 of pneumonia and congestive heart failure at Padua Place, a residence for retired priests in San Antonio. He was 87.

Born the sixth of nine children in the Texas Coastal Plains farming town of Ganado, he was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in 1956.

According to the Archdiocese of San Antonio web site, he served as director of the diocesan Christian Family Movement and as director of the Bishop’s Committee for the Spanish-Speaking.

In a sense Archbishop Emeritus Flores was a trailblazer. He was active in the Cursillo movement and a co-founder of PADRES, [Padres Asociados para Derechos Religiosos, Educativos, y Sociales]–Priests Associated for Religious, Education, and Social Rights–Both were controversial Hispanic movements at the time.  He was also instrumental in founding the Mexican American Cultural Center, now Mexican American Catholic College.

In 1970 thinking he was summoned to Washington by the Vatican’s then Apostolate Delegate, Archbishop Luigi Raimondi to be reprimanded, instead he received a promotion.

At the age of 40 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio. In 1978 he was appointed Bishop of El Paso and fifteen months later named Archbishop of San Antonio.

The Funeral Mass is scheduled for 1:00 pm, Tuesday, Jan. 17 in San Fernando Cathedral.

For more on Archbishop Flores’death from the Archdiocese of San Antonio, click here.

Cardinal Wuerl reflects on 50 years of priesthood

In a talk to 75 seminarians from the Archdiocese of Washington and other dioceses throughout the country on Dec. 17, Cardinal Donald Wuerl said: “This day has a very special meaning for me. There’s no place I’d rather be for this Mass, than with all of you, who represent the next generation of Christ’s priests.”

According to a report on the Crux website, the cardinal was ordained to the priesthood exactly 50 years earlier in Rome, on Dec. 17, 1966 by Bishop Francis Reh, then rector of the North American College.

The Mass with seminarians took place at St. John Paul II Seminary, which the cardinal founded in 2011.

“Priesthood unfolds day by day doing the ordinary things that priests do, and the primary thing that a priest does is celebrate Mass with his people, with his community, with his congregation, with his flock,” he said in an interview with the Catholic Standard newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.

“So what I did was, I celebrated Mass at the cathedral. That seemed like the appropriate place to be, because that’s my church,” he said. “We gathered for just the ordinary Sunday Mass. We had the opportunity to do what every priest does – preach, celebrate Mass and then be there with his flock. That for me made this all the more special.”

For the Crux report, click here.

Pope accepts Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon’s resignation

On Dec. 28, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Richard Lennon, the Diocese of Cleveland’s bishop since 2006.

Catholic News Service report (Dec. 28, 2016), noted that during a news conference at diocesan offices Bishop Lennon, 69, said he, “had developed vascular dementia, leading to his decision to submit his resignation for health reasons to the pope in November.”

The pope also named Bishop Daniel E. Thomas of Toledo as apostolic administrator until the appointment of a new bishop.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For the CNS report, click here.