Father David Brinkmoeller Retired Priest: “I’m Just Being Present”

Fr. David Brinkmoeller, a retired priest residing at the Transfiguration Spiritual Center in West Milton, Ohio, recently spoke with a reporter from the Catholic Telegraph. In the conversation, Fr. David reflected on his forty-five years as a priest and post-retirement volunteer opportunities, particularly with the Living Water Community in Trinidad.

Living Water’s ministry is deeply rooted in the Corporal Works of Mercy and Fr. Brinkmoeller traveled there to assist the community “with many ministries, any way I can.” He added: “This new chapter in my life is a chance to meet people who are much poorer than I’ve known. I want to learn what poor people experience about life and love.”

Click here for complete details in the Catholic Telegraph

Transition of Catholic Leadership in the Democratic Republic of Congo

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the Vatican announced the appointment of Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu as the new coadjutor bishop for the Archdiocese of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Besungu’s appointment by Pope Francis appears to be in anticipation that the current Archbishop, 78-year old Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, will soon step down.  As coadjutor Besungu has the automatic right of succession when this occurs.

For decades Cardinal Monsengwo has been a powerful voice against the violence that has plagued the DRC, including civil wars that killed millions of people. He is also one of the nine advisers on the Pope’s Council of Cardinals, created by Pope Francis shortly after his election in 2013.

Archbishop Besungu was appointed bishop of Bokungu-Ikela in 2005, and became Archbishop of Mbandka-Bikoro in 2016. Academically, he is a former university professor with a strong background in moral theology.

Click here to review the Crux article with additional details.


The ‘Dreamer’ Who Grew Up to be a Priest

Rev. Felipe Gonzalez is a priest at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon, Florida. He is also one of the 800,000 “Dreamers” whose immigration status is now in jeopardy following the Trump Administration’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in March 2018.

Felipe’s mother brought him to the United States from Colombia at age eleven.  After graduating from high school he enrolled at St. John Vianney Seminary School.  From the age of five, Fr. Felipe knew he wanted to be a priest and was “conditionally” accepted at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, hoping his immigration status would be resolved.

In June 2012, President Obama signed DACA into law and Fr. Felipe was “elated.” He was ordained on May 21, 2016 at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. Fr. Felipe stated, “It was because of DACA that I was able to be ordained a priest and work in a parish.”

With his immigration status once again uncertain, Fr. Felipe remains optimistic…”I pray and hope that something will come out for us to be okay”…. “I have this great faith that somehow we will be able to get through this.”

Review the full story in the Tampa Bay Times – click here.

Philadelphia’s Archbishop Chaput on “Charity, Clarity and their Opposite.”

In a recent column in Catholic Philly, Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM, shared his views on the institution of a Catholic blessing rite for same-sex couples who are civilly married or seeking civil marriage.

Click here to review the complete text of Archbishop Chaput’s reflections published in Zenit


Fr. Joel Konzen New Auxiliary Bishop in Atlanta

Fr. Joel Konzen, S. M., has been appointed as a new auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia.  Fr. Konzen, a Marist Priest, was ordained in 1979 in New Orleans. He is currently serving as the Principal of Marist School in Atlanta.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, announced Fr. Konzen’s appointment in Washington, D. C. on February 5, 2018.

Please click here to review the complete statement issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Please click here for additional news on Bishop-Elect Konzen in the Catholic News Agency.



Hispanic Bishops’ Visit to the Holy Land

Auxiliary Bishop Jose Cepeda

Ten Bishops participated in the  January 18-27 Hispanic Bishops’ Pilgrimage for Peace in the Holy Land sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The theme for their visit was “Bridges, Not Walls.”  Their pilgrimage was planned to help connect the bishops’ experiences on walls along the U. S. border to the reality of walls in the Holy Land.

Bishop José Arturo Cepeda, Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit, was among the Bishops participating in the pilgrimage.  He is also scheduled to address the National Federation of Priests’ Council’s Convocation which will convene in Chicago from April 23-26, 2018.

Click here to review the Catholic News Service coverage of this trip.


Pope Will Send Delegate to Investigate Bishop Barros Accusations in Chile

In a statement issued on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta as the delegate to investigate the allegations against Chilean Bishop Barros.  According to the statement, Pope Francis has asked Archbishop Scicluna to travel to Santiago, Chile, “to listen to those who have expressed the desire to submit items in their possession.”

Click here to review news of this appointment as reported in the National Catholic Register.


7 Steps to Support the Newly Ordained

(Photo: Pixabay)

Msgr. Stephen Rossetti has written a new article in The Priest magazine. It is summarized as follows:

Young priests may leave the priesthood for a variety of reasons, but to help the newly ordained find their way, support systems from other clergy can be helpful. Msgr. Rossetti identifies seven articles that can help young priests, and benefit older ones as well.

Msgr. Rossetti’s list (abbreviated for brevity and available in its entirety by clicking here) includes:

  • Mentoring
  • Private prayer
  • Attendance at gatherings
  • Support groups
  • Developing relationship skills
  • Establishing a separate personal space
  • Outpatient psychotherapy

There is a strong need to act quickly when priests are feeling burned out, and to apply ministerial adjustments or healing resources as needed. Action needs to be taken before the priest goes to declare his intent to leave the priesthood. Mentorship between older priests and the newly ordained could be crucial in guiding new priests through difficult years.

While priests are generally happy and satisfied in their work, sometimes extra support is needed. This support is useful not just to new priests, but to all who share the vocation.

For the full article in The Priest magazine, click here.

“Proud to be Catholic: a groundbreaking America survey asks women about their lives in the Church” – A reflection by Fr. Jim Hewes

We have received a submission from Father Jim Hewes of the Diocese of Rochester. He has written a reflection on the recent survey of American Catholic women conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) and America Media (the publishers behind America, the American Jesuits’ publication). Father Hewes offers commentary on the study and on the concerns of American Catholic political life.

For a 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, has given workshops in the Diocese of Rochester on the Catholic Social Teachings and on the Jesus’ non-violent teachings, 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.

Chicago priest pledges hunger strike to support ‘Dreamers’

St Procopius Church in Chicago (Photo: St. Procopius/Providence of God Parish)

CHICAGO – As of January 25, Father Gary Graf hasn’t had solid food in 10 days. He has committed to a hunger strike in support of the “Dreamers,” the several hundred thousand illegal immigrants granted protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Based out of St. Procopius Church in the city’s traditionally Hispanic neighborhood of Pilsen, Father Graf plans to continue his strike until a deal is reached to keep the “Dreamers” secure. He plans to live off of water, protein powder, and the Eucharist until at least March 5, the White House’s deadline to end the DACA program.

Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich has offered support, and has asked the members of his Presbyteral Council to consider fasting one day per week in solidarity.

Father Graf’s strike underlines his deep sympathy for Mexican and other immigrants, immigrants who form a crucial part of his parish community.

“As a priest, I’m very well aware every single day of my life that parents — all parents — sacrifice their lives for their children,” Graf said. “I don’t have my own children, and as my spiritual children, this is my opportunity to also be in solidarity with them.”

For the full article in the Chicago Tribune, click here.