Sunday, December 9, 2018

No 12 Noon Weekday Mass Dec 10

There will be no 12:00 noon weekday Mass on Monday, December 10. Instead, we will offer a 12:00 noon Funeral Mass for Fernando Carozza. 

Funeral Mass - Fernando Carozza

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Fernando Carozza on Monday, December 10 at 12:00 noon. Please pray for him and for his family.

Prepare the Way of the Lord


Think of Christmas – Baby Jesus, Santa, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph
2nd Sunday of Advent – Meet unusual figure of John the Baptist
Sure can’t find him in Walmart!
But he says -  Prepare the way of the Lord.

You  are very involved in preparing - Presents – cards – decorating
Putting up the Christmas Tree

Think about – strange thing – cutting down a tree – bring it inside – hang stuff on it
Jesus – very connected with trees  -  carpenter – manger – boat - cross

Christmas Trees thanks to our German friends
Something about evergreen – stays green in winter – sign of eternal life.
One day, Martin Luther walking through woods – sees star light through trees – idea of candles – sure it did not go over big with fire departments   better with electric
Put angel or star on top
Angel – Glory to God   Star – star of Bethlehem

For a long while a Prot thing  -  Took a while for Catholics to embrace it -  John Paul II brought Christmas tree to Vatican 1982

The Largest Christmas tree in the world - Gubbio
Popes have blessed the tree.  3 Wishes:

1)     Looking at tree – not just look at bottom - not look just to material things  -  but causes us to gaze up – toward heaven – toward God
Wish that this Christmas   – look upward to God
Remember Baptist  -   he must increase – I must decreased  - I am not worthy to untie his sandals.

2) A light shown on the shepherds  - we too need that light – a light to show us the path of light amid darkness, fears and worries      who is our light?  – baby born is a stable – John the Baptist said -   Look, the Lamb of God.

3) Tree is made up of many lights -  Would look strange to see just 1 light   Wish is that we step out of selfishness makes us think only of ourselves  to  become lights for others 
JB  light of truth, justice & love

God of all creation,
we praise you for our Christmas trees
which brings beauty and memories and the
promise of life to our homes.
May your blessing be upon all who gather
around our trees,
all who keep the Christmas festival by its lights.
We wait for the coming of the Christ,
the days of everlasting justice and peace.
You are our God, living and reigning, for ever
and ever.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Advent


I see the English have discovered Black Friday. Police called out all over the country. Assaults, broken bones, arrests. You think they would know better.
Different way to prepare for Christmas – Church invites us to consider Advent!
Adventus – “coming”   who is Coming? - Christ

3 Comings
in Bethlehem – history
each day – mystery
end of time – majesty

1)     History
Emperor Hadrian very famous for building 126 AD the Pantheon in Rome– also in 135 built a Temple in Bethlehem – for this we are grateful = marked the spot of the birth of Christ! – Constantine 327 - Church of Nativity- present church 6th century   oldest surviving church in holy land
Used to have huge door – made small because would ride horses in  -  have to bow. Then you go down steps – see the making on floor – and there you are
Believe that Messiah was born here  -  changed the history of the human race – why we celebrate Christmas

2)     Mystery
Tragedy of first Christmas – so few recognized what happened.  
Even today – so few recognize that Jesus is STILL with us.
1)     Word  -  2) Sacrament: Eucharist, words of forgiveness, pouring with water, anointing with oil  -  3) distressing disguise of the poor.
Pay attention  to the Presence of Christ

3)     Majesty
“As we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior”

When – we don’t know, stopped trying to figure that out a long time ago.
 But – he will come   -   be ready

“Sub specie aeternitatis”
“View everything under the aspect of eternity”
-         is this action going to help me get to heaven, or is it going to hurt my chances?
-         How will this appear on the day of judgment?

History – Mystery – Majesty  -
The coming of Christ.
Let us use this Advent well -  to prepare our hearts!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Christ The King


George Orwell  -Animal Farm & 1984 -  “I thought of a rather cruel trick I once played on a wasp. He was sucking jam on my plate, and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him. It is the same with modern man. The thing that has been cut away is his soul, and there was a period - during which he did not notice it."

A man who lost his soul.
Pontius Pilate – 5th Roman Governor of Judea.  Appointed by Tiberius to serve from 26 to 36.
His job - Keep law & order and send taxes to Rome.

Along comes this Jesus – whom some are calling the king of the Jews.
In time he realizes he is no threat to Rome – after all, he said - my kingdom is not of this world.
But he is torn. What to do with this man?
One hand – wife had a dream – have nothing to do with this innocent man.
Other – what was politically correct thing to do, to keep the peace?

1)      He washes his hands. How often have we done that – should have said something, done something, but did nothing?  Should have spoken – did not
A German theologian, Martin Niemoller, reflected on what happened in WWII:
 They came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not object
Then they came for the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist so I did not object.
Then they came for the Poles, but I was not a Pole, so I did not object.
Then they came for me. And there was no one left to object.

2)      Sent Jesus to his death to satisfy constituents.  What was politically correct?
Politician – I am personally opposed but  .   the polls say.
No longer interested in the truth.

Famous – Man for all Seasons
St. Thomas More vs. King Henry VIII
Henry – How is it you cannot see. Everyone else does.
More – They why does thy grace need my poor support.
Henry – Because you are honest. What’s more to the purpose, you’re known to be honest . . . there are those like Norfolk who follow me because I wear a crown, and there are those like Master Cromwell who follow me because they are jackals with sharp teeth and I am their lion, and there is a mass that follows me because it follows anything that moves – and there is you.

In the last moments of his life – he uttered those famous words – I am the good king’s servant – but God’s first!
What profit to gain whole world and lose soul.
All kingdoms have come and gone.
One kingdom has lasted forever.  Our King and Our Lord, Jesus Christ

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanksgiving

Eucharist means Thanksgiving! Join us for Thanksgiving Day Mass at 8:00 a.m. We wish all of our parishioners a Happy Thanksgiving!

Note - On Thursday & Friday our offices will be closed and the Adoration Chapel will be closed.

Behold, I Stand At The Gates


Kurt Vonnegut called it  the greatest American short story  of all time – An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge.
Peyton has been sentenced to death by Union soldiers. A board has been placed on the bridge and the condemned man is made to walk out over the water. His thoughts are of his wife and children, then he hears the ticking of a watch, his watch.  A rope is placed around his neck and, he waits.
A command is given and Peyton plunges down. But the rope breaks and he lands in the water. He begins to swim for his life. He notices a branch in the water and the beauty of the leaves. He sees a spider spinning a web and he is amazed by the intricacy. He feels the wetness of the water and sees the blue of the sky. It  never felt so beautiful.
Suddenly he hears gun fire and he swims and swims. He lands on shore and sees a flower. He smells it.  Then, he starts running – he comes to the house with the white fence and his wife comes running out to greet him.
Just as they embrace – the scene shifts back to Owl Creek Bridge – and there he is - dead.  The escape didn’t happen at all. He imagined that he had got a second chance at life – a life he saw in a new way with new eyes.  
Life – such a precious gift   “How Long Have  I been alive for?”
I have been alive for 23,325 days – 559,814 hours – over 2 billion seconds.
I don’t remember most of them. But the time will come when they will end – and I will have to stand before Christ and account for them.  For every moment, for everything I have done or failed to do, for every decision or indecision, for every choice for and against love, for every opportunity taken or missed  – I will have to give an account – without excuses.
I am afraid that at my judgment, I will see that, far too often, I settled for something less. I know that Christ is merciful, but, at this point in my life, I must take the opportunities given to me.
1)      Recommit to living out my faith as a child of God – pray, fast from sin, and serve others.
2)      Keep asking for the grace to remove anything from my life that is unworthy of my Christian dignity.
3)      Must re-order my life around the commandments to love God and love my neighbor
The gospel today  reminds us – the moment will come when we meet Jesus at the end of life. Unlike the man at Owl Creek Bridge, we have a second chance to prepare – right now.   Will I finally begin to love as Jesus loved. Will I finally begin to serve as Jesus served?

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veteran's Day (Observed)

Monday, November 12 is Veteran's Day (observed). Morning Mass is at 7:00 a.m. Our parish offices will be closed and the Adoration Chapel will be closed. May God bless all of our Veteran's!

The Widow's Mite!


Nov 11, 1918 – 100 years ago tomorrow (today) – WWI ended – the ‘war to end all wars.”  Our President, Woodrow Wilson, hoped to prevent another war by creating a “League of Nations.” He had to get the backing of the American people, so he set out on a train trip across the country.

One day the train stopped at Billings Montana. Two little boys got through security and stood right in front of the President & Mrs. Wilson. One boy was waving a flag, and presented it to the President. The other  boy realized he had no gift to give, so he reached into his pocket and pulled out a dime (a lot of money). The president thanked him warmly.

Five years later, after the President died, Mrs. Wilson opened up his wallet. Tucked inside, neatly wrapped, was the dime. He never forgot the generosity of a young boy!

Today we meet a widow -  word means “unable to speak”
In that culture the husband always spoke for wife -  husband dies, she has 2 choices – to marry his brother or to go back to her father’s home -   often neither wanted her – then she was on her own.
Remember – no welfare system, no social security -  she had nothing but charitable support.

She approaches the temple -  “Court of Women”
Thirteen containers   shape of trumpets   little signs
She drops in 2 copper coins – hear a clang -   and Jesus noticed.

Reactions of Jesus:

1)      There might have been Anger –  is this widow being taken advantage of?  God help anyone who takes advantage of our elderly. Would often see my dad with a stack of requests for donations. – but no – he would always want to help others and so did she.
2)      She had forgiven God – her husband was gone, but she was grateful for the time she had with him. She realized each day was a blessing – and you can’t count on tomorrow.
3)      ) Amazed at generosity  -   poor widow had very little – gave her all.
He was about to give his “all”  on the cross.  This is Love!

Someone has enumerated four different types of giving.
1)      Grudge giving. I hate to part with this twenty dollar bill but I will.
2)      Shame giving. I must match whatever the others are giving.
3)      Calculated giving. We part with our money with what is called, a "lively sense of favors to come." Bingos, Las Vegas nights, and raffle tickets fit in very nicely in this category.
4)      Thanksgiving. I share my funds precisely because God has been generous to me. I realize that all I am and all I have is ultimately a gift – what return can I make to the Lord???   To live in that Spirit of Thanksgiving changes how we look and life and how we behave toward others.

Another President - Lincoln
A young lawyer – approached by a man – I want to retain you – a man owes me $2.50  a lot of money at the time – my retainer fee is $10.00  -  OK  -   Lincoln receives the $10.00  -   goes to the other man, gives him $5.00   now go repay what you owe.
What we do with money tells much about us and what we value!

Monday, November 5, 2018

PARISH MISSION

Our Parish Mission will be held November 5-6-7 - Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday. Our Preacher is Father Tom Garrott of the Dominican Order.

Our Schedule:

Morning Mission Mass at 9:00 a.m,
Mission Rosary at 7:10 p.m.
Parish Mission at 7:30 p.m.

All Welcome!!!

Note - Adoration Chapel will close each evening at 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

All Souls Day

November 2 is All Souls Day. While not a Holy Day of Obligation, it is an opportunity to pray in a special way for our beloved departed. Masses will be offered on November 2 at 7:00 a.m., 12:00 noon and at 7:30 p.m.

All Saints Day

November 1 is the Solemnity of All Saints. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. Masses will be offered on October 31 at 5:30 pm, and on November 1 at 7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and at 7:30 p.m.

37th Anniversary of Ordination


Pastors get letters – some – not so good – others – wonderful. Here’s one:
Preface – we invited Father Tom Berg from Dunwoodie to speak to our parishioners about what has been happening in the church.

“I attended the talk with Father Berg the other night and while it was painful to hear about all that has happened in the church, I commend you and the parish council for providing a venue for people to vent their frustration and pain. 

At the very end, I raised my hand, not to ask a question but just to say that as horrible as all of this is, I’m still proud to be a Catholic.  Of course, I’m appalled by the scandals but I’m deliberately choosing to focus on the goodness of Christ that continues to manifest itself in the church and which has done so continuously for 2000 years!  I see that goodness daily in you, Father Connolly, Monsignor Thompson and the wonderful nuns that serve our parish, as well as in all who continue to come to church, my fellow parishioners. 

My prayer is that I can be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.  By praying for the Pope, praying for the Bishops, and praying for the healing of all victims, most especially those directly affected, but equally important to pray for those who have fallen away from the church because of this, those who are in the seminary, and for the good Priests like yourself who have remained faithful to their vows and yet at times have to suffer the cloud of suspicion surrounding all clergy.  Not by all but by some and I'm sorry for all good Priests that have to endure that. 

I guess it's a small thing but whenever I see a veteran, or a first responder, I thank them for their service, and the Lord has put it on my heart to say the same to Priests...Thank you for the gift and sacrifices of your Priesthood and for remaining faithful to your vows. “

I know that this is one of the reasons I remain a priest – the faith community – the support and love of so many people – how we journey together in the midst of all the brokenness – and all the baptisms, funerals, weddings, anointings, first communions, confirmations - because we have our eyes fixed on Jesus – who took it all, who continues to take it all upon himself.

I remain a priest because – when the towers were hit in NYC – and people were running out – the firefighters were running IN – despite all her brokenness I love the church because that is where Christ is.

I remain a priest – because someone must continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. There seems to be so much hopelessness – never have I done more funerals from drug overdoses and suicides. Who will bring the light of Christ into a darkened world?

I remain a priest – because somehow, despite my own imperfections and sinfulness – Christ wants to use me to make himself present – This Is My Body, this is my blood.

I remain a priest – because there is nothing like the ability to say – I absolve you from your sins – your are really and truly forgiven. It is such a joy to extend God’s mercy.

I remain a priest – because I have been called – and I remember the words of my mother – you took a Sacrament. That God will give me all the grace I need.

Dominican Priest - Lacordaire

To live in the midst of the world
without wishing its pleasures;
To be a member of each family,
yet belonging to none;
To share all suffering;
to penetrate all secrets;
To heal all wounds;
to go from men to God
and offer Him their prayers;
To return from God to men
to bring pardon and hope;
To have a heart of fire for Charity,
and a heart of bronze for Chastity
To teach and to pardon,
console and bless always.
My God, what a life;
and it is yours,
O priest of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for coming to share this moment with my class as we celebrate 37 years of priesthood – pray for us!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

To Be A Servant


The boy has been coming home late from school
He has no good reason, and no discussion seems to help.
Finally, his  Father sat him down
Next time you are late  -  you are getting bread and water for dinner & nothing else!
Do you understand? Boy said he understood.

This lasted, of course, a few days, but it happened – he was late.
His Mother met him at the door – she said nothing.
His Father came home, said nothing.

They sat down at table and There it was:
One slice of bread – one glass of water.
And here He was – very hungry.

His Father waited for the impact to settle in.
Then, took his boy’s plate and put it in front of himself.
He took his own plate and put it in front of the boy.

You see – the Father took upon himself the punishment of the boy. Isn’t that what Jesus did for us?
The Boy said: “All my life I’ve known what God is like - by what my father did that night.”

God did this for us –the apostles are arguing about who is the greatest – who sits and the right & left of Jesus.   No – instead – thank God – live in Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Funeral Mass - Victoria Casale

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Victoria Casale on Saturday, October 20 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Funeral Mass - Vikki Grencer

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Vikki Grencer on Monday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

What Must I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?


Michael Buble has announced he is quitting the music industry. His son’s cancer battle has given him a new perspective on life. “How stupid I’ve been to worry about these unimportant things. I was embarrassed by my ego.”  “I will never read a review again and never use social media again.” Wow. You wonder if something similar happened to this man who ran up to Jesus: – good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? What a question! He is asking a very important question – a serious question. He is really thinking about the important things in life!!!

Jesus said - how about the commandments? Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth. For this we can thank his family and especially his parents.

I’m sure his parents did not begin with reciting the commandments – but rather, teaching him Virtues.

Virtues: Inner and consistent disposition toward the good.
And how do we develop Virtues – habits!

Example:
My dad loved baseball, and he wanted me to enjoy it too. He brought me a mitt and a ball, and we would play catch. Then, to a baseball field – a gorgeous field. Here’s a bat – let me show you how to hit. And he would pitch and pitch to me.   Now, you have to learn how to field.    After all that – now here is how you play the game. . . rules

I learned – I could not play any way I wanted.  Had to really learn to hit, field and throw.  And I had to work at it. Lots of practice. It became a habit.

Just as with life. My parents wanted me to love God, to live rightly, to seek the good.   To respect others, to speak correctly, to be willing to help as needed. And I had to practice these virtues. In time, they became habits. It helped that they tried to live them, and they pointed me to good examples, especially the saints.

Young man – I have kept all these commandments since my youth – Jesus looked upon him with love – could see his potential – the possibilities for his future.

One more thing – let go of all these material things. They are becoming your focus. You are forgetting about what is most important.

Part of the process is accepting correction. Listening to Aaron Boone, Yankee manager. He went through a list of ways his team needs to do to improve. Can they accept correction? Are they willing to change?  

This, of course, is an important role of parents – to lovingly, yet firmly, correct children. No correction, no growth in children.

Sadly, the young man would not accept correction. And, he went away sad.

What about us? Are we asking the rights questions? What must I do to inherit eternal life? Am I on the right path? Do I have good habits? Am I developing bad habits. Do I need to change? Am I willing to change?  The answer could mean Eternal Life!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Funeral Mass - Mark Trabakino

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Mark Trabakino (brother of Sharon Senno, our 2nd grade teacher) on Tuesday, October 9 at 10:00 a.m. Please  pray for him and for his family.

The Four Loves


Jesus caught in debate about marriage.
Genesis said – “let no one separate what God has joined” but Moses saw certain circumstances where divorce should be allowed.
Their understanding of divorce was much different then ours.
-          A very male oriented society. A woman could not seek a divorce
-          Some leaders – only when wife is unfaithful
-          Others – any reason, including a poorly cooked meal!
Jesus does not take the bait – he wants to point them back to the ideals of marriage taught in Genesis.
God – “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We are meant to be together. And so God gave us the gift of love. Paul – faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. Love is at the heart of Jesus teachings.
But Dictionary – love is - “an intense feeling of deep affection.”  Really?
Now, we are limited by the English word love – love you, love my dog, love work, love Alaska – all have different meanings.
Ancient Greeks had 4 words for love:
Storge  (stor-gay) – familial love – the bong we have in our families, with persons and even with animals. A love that is constant, a love that is often taken for granted. Took a ride with my brother – loves to ride with open Jeep – just  great to be with him & talk.
Philia – love or friends or relationships often based on compatibility and mutual interests. Often get together with priests, people I went to school with, or friends I  golf with.
Eros – a passionate love, which includes wonder, appreciation and desire for beauty. Summer I explored a lake – I saw no one else, just beauty of nature – mountains, beavers, egrets and eagles.
Agape  - this is the emptying out  of self in the service of the other, with no expectation of a reward.  Jesus – “love one another as I love you.”   And how did he love?   Crucifix.  Poured out. The meaning of true love “willing the good of the other” STA.
God put man into deep sleep – took out rib. Point is co-equality with Adam – bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. They become ONE.  Seems to me this ideal marriage has all 4 at work.
Storge - Family love, especially for children,  Philia – friends, share many things together,  Eros – a passion for one another,  and Agape     No longer about me – but about you and our children.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Health Update

Dear Parishioners,
Thanks for all your prayers! I am recovering from foot surgery. The pathology report from Vassar Hospital indicates that a 2nd neuroma has been removed from my foot. Is this the final step? - only time will tell. The wound is healing nicely and the stitches will be taken out on October 2. Beginning on Tuesday, September 25, I will be allowed to begin to put weight on the foot. In time, I hope to gradually increase my physical activity. Depending on how it feels, I may offer public Mass the weekend of September 30 - we will see. Thanks for your patience!
Father Michael

From Cardinal Dolan - About the Abuse Crisis

From Father Michael - Make sure to click his link! It details specifics about Archdiocesan initiatives.



September 20, 2018
by Cardinal Timothy Dolan
September 20, 2018

Dear Family of the Archdiocese of New York:

Over this difficult summer, I’ve done a lot of listening. Many of you have told me that you are upset, angry, bewildered, and frustrated about the ongoing crisis of sexual abuse in the Church. I am not afraid to say that so am I. This has been a painful period for all Catholics. Some of you may have heard me talk about my own mother, now 90 years old and in assisted living, telling me that she’s embarrassed, as a Catholic, to go into the dining room with her fellow residents.

Most stinging, though, is hearing, “Cardinal Dolan, we are beginning to lose trust in you bishops.” And without that trust, I don’t have a lot left.

Yes, since 2002, the Church has made great strides in combating the crime and sin of sexual abuse of minors, especially by “zero tolerance” of any guilty priest, deacon, or bishop, and by reaching out to victim-survivors, who must remain our first concern. I will be announcing some new initiatives today on how to enhance our efforts to protect children as well as vulnerable adults. I will be putting my statement on my blog at  www.cardinaldolan.org, and I hope you take the time to learn about what we’re doing, and that this becomes a good first step in strengthening that trust. But this brief letter is not meant to defend our record or provide a comprehensive list of programs and abuse prevention efforts. There will be time for that later.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that, as your archbishop, I am with you, and I am committed to  transparency, accountability, and action. That’s what I’ve heard you request.

Last week, I had the sad duty of celebrating the funeral Mass of a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, who died way-too-soon at the age of 49. There were several dozen priests present, and, as you would probably expect, the Church’s current crisis was a major topic of discussion.

As the procession made its way down the center aisle at the start of Mass, I was moved and inspired by the huge number of people who were there to pray for the repose of the soul of a man they knew to be a good and faithful priest, and to thank God for the gift of his priesthood. The congregation even stood in a prolonged ovation for him at the end of Mass. “Cardinal Dolan,” the pastor said to me, “The people here loved Father Charlie. They love their faith and their priests. They just want to know that the bishops understand the problem and are acting correctly.”

A good reminder.

Might I ask for your prayers -- first and foremost for the victim-survivors of abuse, but also for all of our good and faithful priests and deacons who are suffering, and, finally, for me as your archbishop that the Holy Spirit will guide me as, together, we face this current crisis.
 
Faithfully in Christ,

+Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

Funeral Mass - Grace Geremino

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Grace Geremino on Saturday, September 22 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wedding - Christopher Butting & Kimberly Foutain

The Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony will be exchanged by Christopher Butting and Kimberly Foutain on Friday, September 21 at 4:00 p.m. Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Wedding - Joseph Chiappalone & Victoria White

The Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony will be exchanged by Joseph Chiappalone and Victoria White on Sunday, September 16 at 3:00 p.m. Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Wedding - Christopher Hayes & Karen Narewski

The Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony will be exchanged by Christopher Hayes and Karen Narewski on Saturday, September 15 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Kateri (due to Community Day). Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Funeral Mass - Frank DiMaggio

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Frank DiMaggio on Friday, September 14 at 9:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Abuse Crisis


This will be printed in the September 16 Bulletin 

From Father Michael
At our Parish Council last Monday, we had an open discussion about the recent events in the Catholic Church. All expressed sadness that so many lives have been affected and that so many people have been hurt. The question was asked – what can we do as a parish?  I ask your patience for just a little while as I recuperate from surgery. In October, we plan to offer opportunities for parishioners to come together in discussion and in prayer. In the meantime, these resources were mentioned as helpful to Council members:
-         The recent CARA study can be found on “1964,” a research blog published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The post appeared, with updates, beginning on August 28. The study was also published in America Magazine.
-         Bishop Robert Barron can be found on YouTube. Watch “Bishop Barron Q & A about the Sexual Abuse Crisis” and “Why Remain Catholic with So Much Scandal?”
-         A recommended book is “Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics” by Father Thomas Berg (well known to parishioners as he served at St. Columba).

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Funeral Mass - Rachel Githhaiga

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Rachel Githaiga on Friday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family. NOTE - This Mass will be offered in Swahili by Father Frederick.

Funeral Mass - Donald Johnson

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Donald Johnson on Monday, September 10 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family. The celebrant will be Father Emil from Graymoor.

Wedding - Randy Werkmeister & Mary McGovern

Randy Werkmeister and Mary McGovern will exchange the Sacred Vows of Holy Matrimony on Sunday, September 9 at 3:00 p.m. Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Presentation Sisters Jubilee - Sept 8, 2018


Your Excellency Bishop Chappetto, Father Jeff, Dear Sisters of the Presentation and Jubilarians, and dear friends.
I am delighted to be with you today. As some may know, I was educated by Presentation Sisters at St. John & Mary in Chappaqua. When I was the Pastor of Sacred Heart in Highland Falls from1996-2002, I worked together with Sister Carol, who is being honored today
This summer, I had the opportunity to journey on the Way of St. Paul in Greece and Turkey. One stop was in Ephesus, the site of the famous riot of the silversmiths. But it also has a connection to Mary and St. John. At the foot of the cross, Jesus said to Mary – Behold, thy son. And to John – Behold, thy Mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his care. For a period, she actually lived with him in Ephesus – called Mary’s House. Years later, in Ephesus, she received the title Mother of God. Her constant Yes to the Father teaches us how to be sons and daughters of God.
Today I am reminded of a wonderful daughter of God - the Venerable Nano Nagle, from the Nagle Mountains in County Cork. She lived in difficult times. As a child, her classroom was among the bushes and trees. The Penal Laws were in force, and it was against the law to educate Catholics. When she reached age 10, her parents decided to secretly send her to France to get a good education. There, Nano had a good life. But one day, she was in a carriage with friends. She passed a group of poor people huddled in the cold waiting for the church to open for Mass. It would change her life. How would she say Yes to God now?
After her dad died she returned home and saw the same terrible poverty. Eventually she would found a small school for poor children – then another. After school, she did not stop, she would visit the poor, sick and elderly. She became – The Lady With The Lantern.  Her moto was “Not words but deeds” a constant yes!
Without any doubt, this can be said to be the motto of the Jubilarians here today:
Sister Clare Roche, who worked in poor Missions in Houma Louisiana & Henry Street in NYC
Sister Mary Lusk, who imitated Nano Nagle’s love for children and taught them.
Sister Julia Ciccolini, who reached out to those suffering with AIDS
Sister Ann Daly, who loved to watch her students grow, and now cares for the dying in Hospice
Sister Joan Dombrowski, who now works in a Safe House for trafficked women.
Sister Christine Liegey, who now trains people in the Ministry of Consolation and volunteers at a funeral home, comforting those who have lost loved ones.
Sister Dale McDonald, who was President of the Community for 2 terms and taught countless children and adults.
Sister Carol Melsopp, who used the Workshop Way to teach God’s special and personal love for each student.
Sister Margaret Murphy, who gave her life to teaching children and leading Catholic schools
Sister Kathleen Treanor, who also taught countless children and was a dedicated leader of Catholic schools
Sister Patricia Morrison who was told recently by a former student – you influenced my integrity, fairness and sense of justice more than anyone else in the world.
Don’t you agree – Nano Nagle would be so proud of these her daughters! They are a shining example to each of us! Daughters of God - Ladies with the Lantern – bearing the light of Christ to all. They said Yes!
I am reminded of the writer, John Ruskin. It was back in the days before electricity. Lamps in town were powered by gas. It was the job of the lamp lighter to light the lamps each evening.
Well, John Ruskin was sitting on his porch with a friend. They had a beautiful view of the valley. As evening came on, the lamplighter appeared. One by one he lit his lamps. After a while, you could no longer see the lamplighter, only the lights.  John Ruskin turned to his friend – "There’s a good illustration of a Christian. People may never have known him, they may never have met him, they may never even have seen him, but they know he passed through their world by the trail of lights he left behind him."
Well, we have been honored to know them, we have met them, we have seen them, and yes, they have left a trail of lights!!! God bless you for all you have done and who you are – Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ad Multos Annos!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

From CARA in America Magazine

This post originally appeared on Aug. 28 on 1964, a research blog published by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. It has since been updated with new information, as noted below.
As a survey researcher who has studied Catholic reactions to news of allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors since 2002, I have noticed that there is a detail about the crisis that seems to get distorted at times. In 2012, the last time we asked Catholics about the crisis in a national poll, 21 percent of adult Catholics could correctly identify that the abuse cases were more common before 1985 than since. The fact that any abuse occurred at all, regardless of when, is horrifying to me, and the victims deserve justice and anything that could help them with the damages that resulted from these criminal acts. Yet this detail is important in understanding the causes of the scandal, what legal actions are possible and the steps that can be taken to prevent any future abuse.
Only 21 percent of adult Catholics could correctly identify that the abuse cases were more common before 1985 than since.

The authors of the Pennsylvania grand jury report were careful to note, “We know that the bulk of the discussion in this report concerns events that occurred before the early 2000’s” (see Page 6). At the same time they correctly note that abuse “has not yet disappeared” and there are a couple of more recent allegations detailed in their findings.
The most common decade of birth for alleged abusers was the 1930s. (CARA)
As they note, “Many of the priests who we profile here are dead” (Page 12). Dates for birth, year of ordination and death are not available for all the accused in the report (some are seminarians or brothers and were never ordained). But 44 percent of the accused in the report are known to be dead (five were born in the 19th century). Their average age at death was 73. Among the accused who are still alive or presumed alive, the average age today is 71. Priests accused of abuse in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, on average, were born in 1933 and ordained as priests in 1961. Outside of Pennsylvania, allegations of abuse have also been levied recently against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He was similarly born in 1930 and ordained a priest in 1958.
There is something to this generational pattern, and this finding was first uncovered in the scientific study of the abuse crisis in 2004 by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. They noted in 2004, “The majority of men in this study were born between 1920 and 1950 and were ordained in their mid- to late-twenties.” The most common decade of birth for alleged abusers was the 1930s and the most common decade of ordination was the 1960s. This profile has not changed in allegations that emerged in the 14 years that have followed—including the recent grand jury report. No new wave of abuse has emerged in the United States.

The same scandal with new details

The clergy sex abuse scandal unfolding in the news today is the same public scandal that erupted with national media reports in 2002 (beginning in Boston). It is likely, but no one can be sure, that the cases in the grand jury report have already been present in existing allegation totals (reports to the John Jay researchers are cited as a source for information about allegations in the grand jury report). Just as then, the abuse in the headlines most often occurred in the 1960s through the 1980s.
What is new in the Pennsylvania grand jury report is a level of detail that previous investigations have not often included. The authors report on a “playbook” that church leaders allegedly used to handle allegations of clergy sex abuse in the state prior to 2002. “It seemed as if there was a script. Through the end of the 20th century, the dioceses developed consistent strategies for hiding child sex abuse” (Page 297). This strategy included the use of euphemisms in documentation that minimized abuse as conduct that was “inappropriate” or related to “boundary issues.” The dioceses’ investigations appeared to be deficient or biased, according to the grand jury. Many accused priests were sent for treatment in a clinical approach to the abuse rather than what should have occurred—criminal reporting. Once these treatments were considered complete, abusers were often returned to ministry in new assignments. The allegations were rarely, if ever, disclosed publicly. Victims rarely received the care they needed, let alone justice. The grand jury concludes, “The repeating pattern of the bishops’ behavior left us with no doubt that, even decades ago, the church understood that the problem was prevalent” (Page 300). Further, “The bishops weren’t just aware of what was going on; they were immersed in it. And they went to great lengths to keep it secret. The secrecy helped spread the disease” (Page 300).
“It seemed as if there was a script. Through the end of the 20th century, the dioceses developed consistent strategies for hiding child sex abuse.”

This strategy is not entirely dissimilar to the responses of other institutions when faced with any accusations of sexual abuse of minors, whether it has been scouting groupspublic schoolsprep schoolsuniversities or youth athletics. These types of institutions seem to attract sexual abusers of minors who seek positions of trust and respect with access to young people. The John Jay researchers noted in 2011: “Sexual victimization of children is a serious and pervasive issue in society. It is present in families, and it is not uncommon in institutions where adults form mentoring and nurturing relationships with adolescents, including schools and religious, sports, and social organizations” (Page 5).
The church failed in responding to accusations of abuse and more often chose to cover up the criminal activity than disclose and report it. The church in some cases sought nondisclosure agreements in civil settlements with victims—a practice that the grand jury believes should be abolished. What was often different in the church than elsewhere, especially prior to 2000, was the clinical response to abuse—sending abusers for treatment and allowing them to return to ministry after this was completed. These were grave errors in judgment. This allowed abusers the potential to return to work and continue to abuse. It also ignored the legal obligation to seek justice for crimes committed.
That playbook, to the degree it was used broadly, appears to have changed in 2002. The grand jury report’s authors note, “On the whole, the 2002 [Dallas] Charter did move things in the right direction” and that “external forces have also generated much of the change” (Page 302). They note with concern that the church’s 2002 Dallas Charter—officially called The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People—still leaves too much of the decision making to diocesan bishops. But the external changes brought by mandated abuse reporter laws, longer statutes of limitations and increased public awareness have created a new reality. They write, “Today we sense some progress is made” (p. 303), often by actors external to the church rather than from within it.

New allegations of abuse

Have new allegations of abuse declined as a result? The John Jay researchers aggregated the number of allegations of clergy sexual abuse of minors from 1950 to 2002. Their study included allegations made by 10,667 individuals. CARA has collected the numbers of new allegations of sexual abuse by clergy since 2004. CARA’s studies, through 2017, include 8,694 allegations. The distribution of cases reported to CARA are nearly identical to the distribution of cases, over time, in John Jay’s results. We know the year that each alleged abuse began for 8,206 cases. For 488, this is not known. The chart below left shows the cases where we can place these in time.
New abuse allegations have not disappeared, but they have become far less common.
New abuse allegations have not disappeared. In the last three years, 22 allegations of abuse occurring during 2015-2017 have been made. This is an average of about seven per year nationwide in the church. That is far too many. Nothing is acceptable other than zero. At the same time, to put those reports in some context, 42 teachers in the state of Pennsylvania, where the grand jury reported from, lost their licenses to educate for sexual misconduct in 2017. As recently as 2015, 65 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (L.A.U.S.D.) were in “teacher jail” for accusations of sexual abuse or harassment in that county alone. The current wave of educator sexual misconduct has yet to receive the same aggregation and attention that clergy sexual abuse has by the media (although The Washington Post has rung a warning bell and Carol Shakeshaft has written extensively on it in academic work). As the John Jay researchers note, “No other institution has undertaken a public study of sexual abuse and, as a result, there are no comparable data to those collected and reported by the Catholic Church” (Page 5).
The current wave of educator sexual misconduct has yet to receive the same aggregation and attention that clergy sexual abuse has by the media.

“It is happening in other institutions” is by no means any sort of excuse and that is not what is intended by referring to these realities. Instead, these other cases provide a context, which becomes important when someone who reads news of abuse occurring decades ago in churches in Pennsylvania decides to attack a priest today in Indiana or when a parent feels their children will be less safe in a Catholic school than a public school. It also points to the dangers of thinking that incidents of sexual abuse are unique to Catholic institutions.
As the grand jury report authors note, the church has changed in the last 15 years. But you cannot “fix” the past nor can it be erased. This won’t all fade away. It’s nothing that can ever be outrun. You have to deal with it. The church did not sufficiently do so in 2002 and the years that followed. Creating new policies to prevent future abuse are not a sufficient response to the legacy of what happened. Now, in 2018, it is time to lift the veil of any secrecy that remains. If not, the same cases will emerge again and again as if these were a wound that scabs but never heals. Every time that scab is removed it will bleed again and again. As painful as it is now, it is the time to deal with this great injury the church brought upon itself. If anything, the re-emergence of these cases again and again should reveal that this wound has potentially deadly consequences if it is not dealt with completely once and for all.
Update (Aug. 29): Some reactions to this post have asked about the impact of known delays in reporting by victims. There has been no substantial shifting forward in time of the alleged abuse trend between 2002 and 2017. The accusations continue to fit the historical pattern. We would expect the trend to move forward in the last 15 years if reporting delays were evident, but this has not been the case. No new wave of allegations similar to the past has occurred to date. It is also likely that most, if not all, the Pennsylvania cases are already in existing reported accusation totals.
Though there was a spike in the early 1990s of allegations about past sexual abuse, most reports have been made after 2002, regardless of when the abuse was said to have occurred. (CARA)
Update (Aug. 30): We continue to hear feedback about the delays in reporting related to the age of the victim. The data regarding accusations in the Catholic Church specifically appear to be much more event-driven than age-driven. Rather than victims reaching a certain age and coming forward, it has more often been the case that abuse being in the news has led victims to come forward in large numbers. The chart at left is from the John Jay research (Page 9) and shows when allegations were reported up to 2002. One can see the spike in the 1990s, after a series of cases in the news and again in a larger magnitude in 2002 in the wake of news of abuse cases in Boston. Since 2004, new allegations have averaged 618 per year (438 in 2017). Regardless of when reports are made, the accusations often fit the existing pattern described above for when the abuse occurred. Four allegations of abuse occurring in 2017 were made in 2017.