Wishing each of you a very Blessed Easter.

“Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.”

“I Have A Dream” – Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Two posts to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the death of Dr. King:

Reprint of an editorial published 50 years ago by America Magazine.

Pastoral Reflection prepared by Most Rev. William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore

As the local union President in the city of Phoenix for AFSCME I was wondering if there was a labor friendly priest in this or a nearby diocese that we can contact? Someone who can come talk to our members and perhaps be a chaplain as well.
Thanks for any help you can give us.

Frank Piccioli
President AFSCME 2960


Alan Szafraniec

Alan Szafraniec
2018 Mandatum Award Recipient

The award is presented to an individual or organization whose service in the Gospel of Jesus Christ exemplifies the purpose and goals of the Federation. In particular, the leadership of this individual or organization enhances the ministry of presbyteral councils, seeks to expound on the issues and concerns of priests, and champions NFPC’s mission and goals in the public square. The award’s scriptural reference is: “I have given you a model to follow, so as I have done for you, you should do also.” [John 13:15]

Biography – Alan Szafraniec

Alan Szafraniec began his ministry with NFPC in January 1997, hired for a part-time position as a publications assistant by then Executive Director, Marianist Brother Bernie Stratman. Alan had graduated a year earlier from Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) and was in the process of discerning his future ministry. In 1998, Alan was asked to work full time at NFPC and he accepted this ministerial calling. Although his title has changed many times over his 20 plus years with NFPC, most recently Managing Director, he has served in whatever capacity was needed to promote NFPC’s mission.

Although his main responsibility became editing various print publications, including the Touchstone periodical and many of NFPC’s commissioned studies, Alan also became an important reference person to many dioceses and Catholic organizations. His developed connections with Catholic personalities across the U.S. became invaluable in NFPC’s ability to connect and support the U.S. presbyterate. In addition, in 2002, he began compiling and editing the weekly digital e-letter, NFPC This Week, and had produced over 700 by the time of his 2017 retirement.

Alan believes firmly in his IPS professor Dr. Ann O’Hara Graff’s definition that pastoral ministry is mainly about “making God accessible.” He sought to live that in his work in what he referred to as a “theology of presence – being present, being there to listen, help, and serve in whatever area we are called.” With an outstanding memory for names and places, and a heart for service, Alan became known as the “history and the heart of NFPC.”

Open letter calls on Vatican to rethink China deal, calling it a “regrettable mistake”

During the past week, several news stories have been circulating reporting that the Vatican has reached an agreement with the Chinese Communist government regarding the appointment of bishops for several dioceses in China. To date, there has been no official acknowledgement from the Vatican confirming such an accord.

In another development related to the proposed Vatican/China agreement, a Hong Kong group, consisting mostly of attorneys, human rights activists and scholars, published an open letter on February 12, 2018, addressed to the bishops’ conferences of the world.  Their letter requested the world’s bishops to appeal to the Vatican to “rethink the current agreement, and stop making an irreversible and regrettable mistake.”

On Sunday, February 11, Chinese Bishop Joseph Guo Xijin, stated his willingness to step down and respect any agreement worked out between the Vatican and China.  Guo is one of the two Chinese “underground” bishops recognized by the Catholic Church but not Chinese authorities.

Click here to review the Crux article on the open letter.

Click here for Crux report on Vatican/China agreement.


Bishop George Rassas, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Chicago

Bishop George Rassas, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Chicago

Main Celebrant and Homilist, Convocation Eucharist


  • Date of Priesthood Ordination: May 2, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois
  • Date of Episcopal Ordination: February 2, 2006, Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, Illinois

Academic Background

  • BA degree in philosophy, University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein
  • MA degree in counseling psychology, Loyola University, Chicago
  • Participant in Doctor of Ministry program, University of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein

Parish Appointments

  • Deacon: St. Thaddeus Parish, Chicago (1967-1968)
  • Associate Pastor: Queen of the Rosary Parish, Elk Grove Village (1968
    1974); St. Genevieve Parish, Chicago (1974-1983), St. Norbert’s Parish,
  • Northbrook (1983-1988); Sacred Heart Parish (1988-1990).
  • Pastor: St. Mary Parish, Lake Forest (1990-11/29/2004)

Archdiocesan Appointments

  • Archdiocesan Board of Consultors:  Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee
  • Board of Advisors, St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein
  • Episcopal Vicar for Vicariate I (2008 to present)

Previous Archdiocesan Appointments

  • Archdiocesan Board of Consultants
  • Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago (Nov. 30, 2004-Feb. 20, 2006)
  • Chairman of the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council (1999-2002),
  • Director of the Office of Family Ministries (1984-1990),
  • Assistant Director of the Catholic Family Consultation Service (1975-1984) and Associate Moderator of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (1976-1984)


  • National Pastoral Initiative on Strengthening Marriage Subcommittee
  • Laity, Marriage, Family & Youth Committee
  • Certification and Accreditation Committee

Cristo Rey – St. Martin de Porres High School – Waukegan

  • First Founder
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors

The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, S.L.D.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory

Presentation: “The One and the Many: Priests and the Local Presbyterate”

50 years after the establishment of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, you should rejoice and take some pride at the spirit of fraternity that Priests’ Councils have been able to help develop across the country. In addition to the ministerial collaboration that our councils have striven to establish with the local bishop, there is also the equally important strengthening of the bonds of fraternity that these bodies have created. I would like to reflect on 50 years of this development and to raise some of the challenges that we still face as bishops and priests working together for the mission of the Church and the development of closer unity among those who share the Ordained Priesthood of Jesus Christ in our local Churches.

Biography: The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, S.L.D.

Born December 7, 1947 in Chicago to Wilton Sr. and Ethel Duncan Gregory, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory attended St. Carthage Grammar School, where he converted to Catholicism. He attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, Niles College (now St. Joseph’s College Seminary) of Loyola University and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973. Three years after his ordination he began graduate studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (Sant’ Anselmo) in Rome. There he earned his doctorate in sacred liturgy in 1980.

After having served as an associate pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, IL as a member of the faculty of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein and as a master of ceremonies to Cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernardin, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop of Chicago on December 13, 1983. On February 10, 1994, he was installed as the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, IL where he served for the next eleven years. On December 9, 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Gregory as the sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was installed on January 17, 2005.

In the time since Archbishop Gregory’s arrival, the Archdiocese has:

  • Grown to approximately 1.2 million Catholics
  • Elevated nine parishes and established six missions resulting in 103 parishes and missions
  • Ordained 64 priests and 152 permanent deacons
  • Baptized nearly 150,000 infants, children, and adults; and brought over 16,000 people into full communion with the Catholic Church

BOOKS AND VIDEOS – Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.

The following books and videos by Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., are available through the on-line store of Salt and Light Television in Canada

You may order these items through Salt and Light website store. If you order significant copies, we offer special discounts for bishops, priests, parishes and dioceses.  Prices listed are in Canadian dollars. Cost will be different (less) in US dollars. Do not hesitate to write me direction with any questions, etc.  Thank you. Fr. Tom Rosica, CSB
Email:   [email protected]
Office:  (416) 971-5353 xt 2240

Words Made Flesh: Scripture Reflections for Year B

Year C and Year A will be available later this year.

The Seven Last Words of Christ – English

“Stay with us”…Encounters With The Risen Lord
Reflections by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB.
Forward by His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch-Emeritus of Jerusalem.

Where Jesus Walked
-an extensive biblical reflection on the image, written by Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B
-relevant prayers drawn from the Roman Missal
-excellent for group or individual reflection.

Father Thomas Rosica Biography

Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.

2018 NFPC Touchstone Award Recipient

The award is presented to a priest who in the view of the president and Board of Directors of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, is one whose service in the Gospel of Jesus Christ exemplifies the purpose and goals of the Federation. In particular, his leadership enhances the ministry of others and his words and deeds support the life and ministry of priests; thus he is, as it were, a touchstone for genuine, quality priesthood.

Biography – Father Thomas Rosica

Ordained a priest in the Congregation of St. Basil in 1986, Fr. Thomas Rosica, a native of Rochester, New York, and a dual citizen of the USA and Canada, holds advanced degrees in Theology and Sacred Scripture from Regis College in the University of Toronto, the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem.  Fr. Rosica has lectured in Sacred Scripture at Canadian Universities in Toronto, Windsor and London and served as Executive Director of the Newman Centre Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto from 1994-2000.

In June 1999, he was appointed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as the Chief Executive Officer and National Director of the World Youth Day and the Papal Visit of Pope John Paul II, that took place in Toronto during July 2002.  On July 1, 2003, Fr. Rosica became the founding Chief Executive Officer of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, Canada’s first national Catholic Television Network. Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 2009, Fr. Rosica also served as Media Attaché at four Synods of Bishops at the Vatican in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2015. He served as English language Media Attaché to the Holy See Press Office from 2008 – 2016.

Fr. Rosica has led retreats for bishops, priests and women religious throughout North America and in Ireland and has authored hundreds of articles on Scriptural and ecclesial themes over the years in numerous languages and is also author of several books on Scripture, Spirituality and the Saints. In his own religious congregation, he has served as rector and pastor of the Newman Centre at the University of Toronto, Master of Scholastics and member of the General Council of the Basilian Fathers from 2006-2010. He is currently Procurator General of the Congregation of Priests of St. Basil. He serves on the Boards of Trustees of St. John Fisher College in Rochesterm, the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas and the Collegium of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Ontario.

Click here for books and videos by Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.

Fr. Don Wolf

Father Don Wolf
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Cousin of Blessed Stanley Rother

Special Presentation on Blessed Stanley Rother

Biography: Father Don Wolf

Fr. Don Wolf is a native of Wheatland, Oklahoma. He graduated from Western Heights High School in 1973 and attended Oklahoma State University. In 1975, he entered St. Meinrad Seminary. He earned a BA in Philosophy in 1977 and an MDiv in Theology in 1980. In 1981, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City by Archbishop Charles Salatka.

His parish assignments have included St. Peter’s in Guymon and St. Francis Xavier in Enid as associate pastor. He has also been pastor at Sacred Heart in Mangum, Prince of Peace and missions in Altus, Holy Angels and Sacred Heart parishes in Oklahoma City, Assumption Parish and missions in Duncan, St. Benedict Parish and missions in Shawnee, and now at St. Eugene in Oklahoma City. Fr. Wolf was a National Board Member of the NFPC from 1988 to 1997. He was elected president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils and served in the national office in Chicago from 1997 to 2000.

During the years of his priesthood, Fr. Wolf has served in a variety of archdiocesan roles including many terms as a member of and Chairman of the Priests’ Council, fourteen years on the Vocations’ Board, as a member of the Board of Catholic Charities, three years as President of the Board, the Spiritual Moderator of the Cursillo Movement and as a founding member and Chairman of the Commission for Justice and Human Development. He served eight years on the Board of St. Gregory’s University, seven years as Chairman. He was named Director of Hispanic Ministry from 1992 to 1997. For seven years he hosted and produced a weekly radio program La Voz Católica. Fr. Wolf earned a Doctorate in Preaching in 2003 from Seabury-Western School of Theology at Northwestern University. He was also a member of the Princeton Center of Theological Reflection Pastor-Theologian Project from 2005 to 2007.

Currently Fr. Wolf serves on the Priests’ Continuing Education Committee and produces and hosts a weekly program on Catholic Radio, Living Catholic.