Cardinal Bernard Law dead at 86

Cardinal Bernard Law pictured in 2014. Photo courtesy of Crux.

Cardinal Bernard Law, who headed the Archdiocese of Boston from 1984 to 2002 died in Rome on Wednesday on Dec. 20 at the age of 86.

According to the Catholic News Service (Dec. 20, 2017), his legacy was marred by the clergy sexual abuse crisis, which forced his resignation in December 2002.

He had been considered one of the leading church spokesmen on issues ranging from civil rights to international justice, from abortion to poverty, from Catholic-Jewish relations and ecumenism to war and peace.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, of Boston said in a statement, “As archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Law served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities.”

Born in Torreon, Mexico where his father was a career Air Force officer, Cardinal Law attended schools in New York, Florida, Georgia, and Barranquilla, Colombia, and graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

The CNS report notes he graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before entering St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana in 1953. He later studied at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio.

Ordained for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson (now Jackson) in1961, he was noted for his civil rights activism. As editor of the diocesan newspaper, the Mississippi Register, he received death threats for his strong editorial positions on civil rights.

He was named bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in 1973 and archbishop of Boston in 1984.

According to media reports a funeral Mass will take place in the afternoon on Dec. 21, at St. Peter’s Basilica with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinal’s as the principal celebrant and Pope Francis, as is customary, presiding at the final commendation.

For the CNS report, click here.

For the National Catholic Reporter (Dec. 20, 2017) summary, click here.

For Rocco Palmo’s Whispers in the Loggia blog report, click here.


Father Jim Hewes reviews “The Good Catholic”

 A movie was released late last summer titled “The Good Catholic.” The New York Times and Catholic News Service (Sept. 7, 2017) reviewed it. And so did Father Jim Hewes, a priest of the Diocese of Rochester.

The movie is about a young priest who struggles with his vocation. Fr. Hewes reviews the film for our readers and subscribers and shares his insights, especially what the filmmakers could have done to make the movie more realistic. It stars Zachary Spicer as Father Daniel, the earnest young cleric; Danny Glover as Father Victor, the pastor; John C. McGinley as Father Ollie, a Franciscan associate; and Wrenn Schmidt as Jane, the friend.

For those who or may be interested in seeing “The Good Catholic,” it is available in streaming format on Amazon [link below].

Fr. Jim wrote an essay for NFPC This Week titled Priest as Hero in 2015. Click here for the essay.

Click here for Fr. Hewes’ review in PDF

For the CNS review, click here.

For the Amazon link, click here.

Washington auxiliary bishop named to head Richmond diocese

Bishop Barry Knestout. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Washington

Pope Francis appointed Washington, DC Auxiliary Bishop Barry Knestout as bishop if Richmond, VA. He replaces Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo who died on August 17 at the age of 75.

Bishop Knestout, 55, a native of Cheverly, MD, was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington in 1989. He attended Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1988 and a Master of Arts degree in 1989. He is currently vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese.

He has held a variety of pastoral and administrative positions including executive director, Archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry, (2001-2003); priest secretary to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (2003-2004); pastor, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Silver Spring (2004-2006); and the Archdiocesan Secretary for Pastoral Life and Social Concerns (2006-2008).

In addition to the above, bishop Knestout has been a member of the Administrative Board of the Maryland Catholic Conference and the Episcopal Moderator of the American Catholic Correctional Chaplains Association. He serves as the Regional IV representative on the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People as well as the Episcopal Liaison to the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference.

His installation is scheduled for January 12.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For the Catholic News Agency (Dec. 5, 2017) summary, click here.

Oratorian priest named auxiliary bishop of Brownsville

Bishop-elect Mario Alberto Aviles, CO. Photo courtesy of the Brownsville Herald.

Pope Francis appointed Father Mario Alberto Aviles, CO as auxiliary bishop of Brownsville, TX.

Bishop-elect Aviles, 48, was born in Mexico City. He was ordained a priest for the Confederation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in 1998. He first attended the Catholic Panamerican University in Mexico City, then transferred to Rome to study philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum University. He received a master’s of divinity at the Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn. in 2000. He also has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.

He was Dean of the Oratory Academy and Oratory Athenaeum in Pharr (TX) from 2005-2012 and a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council at Brownsville since 2011. He has been Procurator General of the Confederation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri since 2012 and speaks Spanish, English and Italian. He is currently pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Hidalgo, TX.

For the USCCB News Release, click here

For the Catholic News Agency (Dec. 4, 2017) report, click here


Pope Francis appoints bishops for Jefferson City and Nashville

Bishop-elect W. Shawn McKnight. Photo courtesy of Catholic News Service

Pope Francis named Father W. Shawn McKnight, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita as Bishop of Jefferson City. He succeeds Bishop John Gaydos whose resignation was accepted by the pope.

Bishop-elect McKnight, 49 was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wichita in 1994. He earned a master of arts degree and a master of divinity degree from the Pontifical College Josephinum (1993-1994) and later earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome in 1999. In 2001, he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology also from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm.

He served in a wide variety of pastoral and administrative assignments including service on the Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors in Wichita. From 2010 to 2015 Fr. McKnight served as executive director of the US bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations. In addition, he has held numerous academic, professional and academic society positions among them serving as director of Liturgy and director of Formation at the Pontifical College Josephinum.


Bishop-elect J. Mark Spalding. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Louisville

Pope Francis named Father J. Mark Spalding, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, as Bishop of Nashville. He succeeds Bishop David Choby who died on June 3 at the age of 70.


Bishop-elect Spalding, 52, a native of Kentucky’s “Catholic Holy Land” was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville in 1991. He attended St. Meinrad College Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana where he studied philosophy. He later attended the American College at Louvain in Belgium (1991) where he earned a degree in theology. He later attended the Catholic University of Louvain, where he earned a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1992.

He served in a variety of pastoral and administrative assignments including judicial vicar from 1998-2011 and is currently vicar general for the Archdiocese, 2011-present.

His episcopal ordination and installation is scheduled for Feb.2.

For the USCCB News Release (Nov. 21, 2017), click here.

For a message from Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, click here.

For a message from Wichita Bishop Carl Kemme, click here.

Advent: Time for Renewal

As we approach the season of Advent we want to share a reflection we received from Father Gene Hemrick. Fr.  Gene is founder of the National Institure for the Renewal of the Priesthood – . He received NFPC’s Touchstone award in 2009.

There’s no better time than Advent for putting our house in order.

The house of which we speak is our disposition that is being bombarded by a topsy-turvy world threatening the beauty of the season.

Years ago, the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World identified the threats to society and the common good: “Feelings of hostility, contempt and distrust, as well as racial hatred and unbending ideologies, continue to divide men.”

Today, violence, character assassination, dishonesty, animosity and combative ideologies are strangling our ability to live a kind and well-disposed existence.

Advent is a sacred time to celebrate Christ becoming incarnate and living among us — a time to increase our efforts to live his love within ourselves and with those among us.

Recently, a friend threw out his back and cried it had stopped him from going on with business as usual. Many people among us are in the same situation lacking a healthy life due to physical or mental handicaps.

Advent is a time to befriend the destitute through our caring. As Christ befriended us, we reach out to others. We seldom think of its power, but when care is heartfelt, it contains the potential for creating a calming peace in those whose life is seriously disrupted.

No doubt many of us know people who are perpetually glum. Advent is a time to flash a cheerful smile in hopes of uplifting their hearts with a sunny moment.

These days, our air is filled with negativity. In Advent, we direct our conversations away from the negativity to the optimistic side of life, in gratitude for the many God-given gifts we enjoy.

I often listen to a news station that ends on a heartwarming note. Unfortunately, most news and many of our movies are about vicious violence. Advent stops us and allows us to focus on wholesome events of the day. It is especially a time to read the Gospels with an eye on Christ’s heartwarming humanness as he walked among us.

Truth applies to our most important relationships: friendship, collaboration, love, marriage, the family. Advent is a time to counter an atmosphere of untruthfulness by “telling it as it is” and thereby increasing our loyalty to truthfulness.

The above examples are but a few of how to celebrate Advent through the cultivation of the disposition of kindness within ourselves, our homes and those among us

Capuchin Franciscan Father Solanus Casey to be beatified this weekend

Photo Courtesy of the Capuchin Franciscan Order of St. Joseph in Detroit via Catholic News Agency

Venerable Father Solanus Casey, OFM Cap. will be beatified on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Ford Field in Detroit. The stadium holds 60,000 people

Born in Wisconsin in 1870, the sixth of sixteen children to Irish immigrants, Fr. Solanus, known as Bernard then, led a life of powerful simplicity. He struggled in minor seminary and was eventually encouraged to become a priest through a religious order.

He still struggled, but in 1907 was ordained by the Capuchin’s Detroit province a “sacerdos simplex” – a priest who can say Mass, but not publically preach or hear confessions.

It didn’t matter because he was very close to the sick and was highly sought-after throughout his life, in part because of the many physical healings attributed to his blessings and intercession. He was also a co-founder of Detroit’s Capuchin Soup Kitchen in 1929.

For 21 years he was porter at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit.

Fr. Casey died of a skin affliction in 1957 at the age of 87.

For the National Catholic Reporter (Nov. 16, 2017) summary,click here.

For the Catholic News Agency (Nov. 8, 2017) report, click here.

For the NCR (Nov. 13, 2017) summary of Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Vatican nuncio to the US’s remarks on Fr. Solanus and Blessed Fr. Stanley Rother, click here.

Transitions  – A Pastor’s Life – Part 2, by Father Dennis Lewandowski

In this week’s e-letter we are posting part 2 of Fr. Dennis Lewandowski’s essay on priests’ transitions. Part 1 appeared in NFPC This Week, #728, 10/1-10/7/2017. For the entire essay in PDF, click here.

Father Clete Kiley conducts special blessing in response to hotel workers’ request

Fr. Clete Kiley. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Chicago

In the Oct. 26, 2017 edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Michael Sneed writes about the special blessing conducted recently by Fr. Clete Kiley of the area in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas where a sniper shot and killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 more at a nearby concert on Oct. 5.

Fr. Kiley, director for Immigration Policy for Unite Here and founder of the Priest-Labor Initiative, spoke of his experience, stating, in part that he felt surrounded by the mystery of evil. He went on to say: “Then, I noticed the absolutely most stunning hotel room view you could imagine. I found there was no way to hold any of this together rationally. I kept saying this is just evil, raw evil.

“So I blessed the water according to the Roman ritual and then began to bless my companion and me, and then each and every corner of the suite.

“I blessed each bullet and room going back down the hall. I used the prayer for the blessing of a house and extended the prayer with an invocation to the Holy Spirit to descend in this place with light, joy, peace, hope and life.”

The special blessing was requested by the leadership of the Culinary Worker’s Union, many of whose members were traumatized by the carnage.

For Michael Sneed’s entire column, click here.

Episcopal appointments – 

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Joliet


Pope Francis has named Joliet, Illinois Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Siegel as Bishop of Evansville, Indiana. He succeeds Archbishop Charles Thompson who was appointed Archbishop of Indianapolis in June.

Bishop Siegel, 54, a native of Lockport Township, IL was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Joliet in 1988. He attended St. Meinrad Seminary where he completed his college education.  He was then sent to the North American College in Rome (1984-1988), attending the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities. In 1988 he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL

He served a wide variety pastoral and administrative assignments including member and chairman of the Presbyteral Council and the Diocesan Board of Consultors. He also served as director of Continuing Formation for Priests, a member of the Diocesan Vocation Board, the Priest Personnel Board and Dean of Eastern Will County.

In 2009 Pope Benedict named Fr. Siegel auxiliary bishop of Joliet.

He serves on the Bishops’ Respect Life Advisory Board, as is a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

His installation is scheduled for Dec. 15.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For the Catholic News Agency report, click here.

For The Herald – Dubois County – (Oct. 18, 2013) report, click here.

Bishop-elect Enrique Delgado. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Miami


On Oct. 12, Pope Francis named Father Enrique Delgado as auxiliary bishop of Miami.

Bishop-elect Delgado, 62, a native of Lima, Peru was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami in 1996.

He earned a master’s degree in economics with a concentration in finance and accounting from the University of Lima in Peru. He worked for several years managing a company before immigrating to the United States. In addition, he finished his doctoral studies in practical theology on December 19, 2015 from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Bishop-elect Delgado served in a variety of pastoral assignments including pastor of   St. Katharine Drexel Church, Weston, Florida, 2014-present.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

Bishop-elect Thanh Thai Nguyen. Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Orange


On Oct. 6, Pope Francis named Father Thanh Thai Nguyen as auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Orange, California. Father Nguyen is a priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine where he currently serves as pastor of St. Joseph Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

Bishop-elect Nguyen, 64, is a native of Nha Trang, Vietnam. In 1979, he escaped Vietnam by boat with his family and spent 10 months in a refugee camp in the Philippines before arriving in the United States in 1980.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts and a master of divinity degree from Weston School of Theology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Father Nguyen entered the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette in 1984 and served as a priest of that congregation for eight years. He was ordained a priest on May 11, 1991. He was incardinated in the Diocese of St. Augustine, June 29, 1999.

For the USCCB News Release, click here.

For the Diocese of Orange report, click here.