24th of July 2019.
Wednesday of the 16th week in Ordinary Time
Liturgical colour: green    (more...)
The feast of Saint Sharbel Makhluf, hermit (Optional Memorial)
I
N THE CHURCH TODAY
M
ASS INTENTIONS
Today (Wednesday)10:00 amNo Intention
Tomorrow (Thursday)10:00 amNo Intention
R
ECENTLY DECEASED
We remember all those who have died recently:
Kathleen Murphy Funeral Notice...
Ray Merriman Funeral Notice...
James Prendergast Funeral Notice...
Mel Kennedy Funeral Notice...
John D. Cunningham Funeral Notice...
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha
TODAY'S READINGS
I
NTROIT
Dominus fortitudo plebis suaeListenFollow
F
IRST READING
Exodus 16:1-5,9-15
The Lord sends quails and manna from heaven
From Elim they set out, and the whole community of the sons of Israel reached the wilderness of Sin – between Elim and Sinai – on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt.

...Full Reading

From Elim they set out, and the whole community of the sons of Israel reached the wilderness of Sin – between Elim and Sinai – on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt. And the whole community of the sons of Israel began to complain against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and said to them, ‘Why did we not die at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we were able to sit down to pans of meat and could eat bread to our heart’s content! As it is, you have brought us to this wilderness to starve this whole company to death!’
  Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now I will rain down bread for you from the heavens. Each day the people are to go out and gather the day’s portion; I propose to test them in this way to see whether they will follow my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, this will be twice as much as the daily gathering.’
  Moses said to Aaron, ‘To the whole community of the sons of Israel say this, “Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your complaints.”’ As Aaron was speaking to the whole community of the sons of Israel, they turned towards the wilderness, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the form of a cloud. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel. Say this to them, “Between the two evenings you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have bread to your heart’s content. Then you will learn that I, the Lord, am your God.”’ And so it came about: quails flew up in the evening, and they covered the camp; in the morning there was a coating of dew all round the camp. When the coating of dew lifted, there on the surface of the desert was a thing delicate, powdery, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When they saw this, the sons of Israel said to one another, ‘What is that?’ not knowing what it was. ‘That’ said Moses to them ‘is the bread the Lord gives you to eat.’

...Show Summary

R
ESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 77(78):18-19,23-28
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
In their heart they put God to the test
  by demanding the food they craved.
They even spoke against God.
  They said: ‘Is it possible for God
  to prepare a table in the desert?’
...Full Responsorial Psalm
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
In their heart they put God to the test
  by demanding the food they craved.
They even spoke against God.
  They said: ‘Is it possible for God
  to prepare a table in the desert?’
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Yet he commanded the clouds above
  and opened the gates of heaven.
He rained down manna for their food,
  and gave them bread from heaven.
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Mere men ate the bread of angels.
  He sent them abundance of food;
he made the east wind blow from heaven
  and roused the south wind by his might.
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

He rained food on them like dust,
  winged fowl like the sands of the sea.
He let it fall in the midst of their camp
  and all around their tents.
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

...Show Summary

G
OSPEL ACCLAMATION
Ps118:3629
Alleluia, alleluia!
Bend my heart to your will, O Lord,
and teach me your law.
Alleluia!
...Alternative Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia!
Bend my heart to your will, O Lord,
and teach me your law.
Alleluia!
O
R
Alleluia, alleluia!
The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;
whoever finds this seed will remain for ever.
Alleluia!

...Show First

G
RADUAL
Convertere Domine aliquantulumFollow
A
LLELUIA
In te Domine speraviFollow
G
OSPEL
Matthew 13:1-9
A sower went out to sow
Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.
  He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up.
...Full Gospel
Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.
  He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’
...Show Summary
O
FFERTORY
Perfice gressus meosFollow
C
OMMUNION
Circuibo et immolaboListenFollow
L
ISTEN TO TODAY'S READINGS

(New American Bible.)

GOSPEL REFLECTION

When Jesus saw the farmer going out to sow seeds, it reminded him of the way God was at work in his ministry. Jesus noticed that the farmer scattered the seed with abandon, almost recklessly, not knowing what kind of soil it would fall on. Inevitably, a great deal of the seed that was scattered was lost; it never germinated. Yet some of the seed fell on good soil and produced an extraordinary harvest. ...Full Reflection

When Jesus saw the farmer going out to sow seeds, it reminded him of the way God was at work in his ministry. Jesus noticed that the farmer scattered the seed with abandon, almost recklessly, not knowing what kind of soil it would fall on. Inevitably, a great deal of the seed that was scattered was lost; it never germinated. Yet some of the seed fell on good soil and produced an extraordinary harvest. In what way would this scene have spoken to Jesus about his ministry? God was scattering the seed of his life-giving word through Jesus’ ministry. Through Jesus, God wanted to touch the lives of everyone, regardless of how they were perceived by others or even by themselves. God gave the most unlikely places the opportunity of receiving the life-giving seed of his word. There was nothing selective about Jesus’ company. Jesus once spoke of God as making his sun to rise on the evil and on the good. This was the God that Jesus revealed in his own ministry. As with the farmer in the parable, much of what Jesus scattered was lost; it met with little or no response. Indeed, his gracious word often met with hostility. Yet Jesus knew that some people were receiving the seed of his word.

...Show Summary

TODAY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Old Calendar: St. Christina, virgin and martyr

St. Sharbel was a Lebanese monk, born in a small mountain village and ordained in 1858. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he spent the last twenty-three years of his life as a hermit. Despite temptations to wealth and comfort, Saint Sharbel taught the value of poverty, self-sacrifice and prayer by the way he lived his life.

...Full Version


Old Calendar: St. Christina, virgin and martyr

St. Sharbel was a Lebanese monk, born in a small mountain village and ordained in 1858. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he spent the last twenty-three years of his life as a hermit. Despite temptations to wealth and comfort, Saint Sharbel taught the value of poverty, self-sacrifice and prayer by the way he lived his life. This optional memorial is new to the USA liturgical calendar and was inscribed on July 24, 2004.

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Christina who was martyred at Bolsena in Italy, probably under Diocletian (c. 307). She has been greatly venerated since at least the 6th century.

...Show Summary


St. Sharbel (Charbel) Makhloof
Joseph Makhlouf was born in 1828 at Beqa-Kafra, Lebanon. His peasant family lived a strong faith, were attentive to the Divine Liturgy, and had a great devotion to the Mother of God.

...Full Version


St. Sharbel (Charbel) Makhloof
Joseph Makhlouf was born in 1828 at Beqa-Kafra, Lebanon. His peasant family lived a strong faith, were attentive to the Divine Liturgy, and had a great devotion to the Mother of God.

At the age of 23, Charbel (the name he chose when entering Novitiate) left his closely knit family to enter the Lebanese-Maronite Monastery called Notre-Dame de Mayfouk. Following studies and profession at St. Cyprian de Kfifane Monastery, he was ordained in 1859.

For the next seven years, Charbel lived in the mountainous community of Anaya. After that he spent the next twenty-three years in complete solitude at Sts. Peter and Paul Hermitage near Anaya. He died there on Christmas Eve, 1898.

Charbel had a reputation for his austerity, penances, obedience, and chastity. At times, Charbel was gifted with levitations during prayer, and he had great devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In all things, Charbel maintained perfect serenity. He was beatified in 1965 by Pope Paul VI and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1977.

On May 8, 1828 in a mountain village of Beka'kafra, the highest village in the near-east, Charbel was born to a poor Maronite family. From childhood his life revealed a calling to "bear fruit as a noble Cedar of Lebanon". Charbel "grew in age and wisdom before God and men." At 23 years old he entered the monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouk (north of Byblos) where he became a novice. After two years of novitiate, in 1853, he was sent to St. Maron monastery where he pronounced the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Charbel was then transferred to the monastery of Kfeifan where he studied philosophy and theology. His ordination to the priesthood took place in 1859, after which he was sent back to St. Maron monastery. His teachers provided him with good education and nurtured within him a deep love for monastic life.

During his 19 years at St. Maron monastery, Charbel performed his priestly ministry and his monastic duties in an edifying way. He totally dedicated himself to Christ with undivided heart to live in silence before Nameless One. In 1875 Charbel was granted permission to live as a hermit nearby the monastery at St. Peter and Paul hermitage. His 23 years of solitary life were lived in a spirit of total abandonment to God.

Charbel's companions in the hermitage were the Sons of God, as encountered in the Scriptures and in the Eucharist, and the Blessed Mother. The Eucharist became the center of his life. He consumed the Bread of his Life and was consumed by it. Though this hermit did not have a place in the world, the world had a great place in his heart. Through prayer and penance he offered himself as a sacrifice so that the world would return to God. It is in this light that one sees the importance of the following Eucharistic prayer in his life:

On December 16, 1898 while reciting the "Father of Truth" prayer at the Holy Liturgy Charbel suffered a stroke. He died on Christmas Eve at the age of 70. Through faith this hermit received the Word of God and through love he continued the Ministry of Incarnation.

On the evening of his funeral, his superior wrote: "Because of what he will do after his death, I need not talk about his behavior". A few months after his death a bright light was seen surrounding his tomb. The superiors opened it to find his body still intact. Since that day a blood-like liquid flows from his body. Experts and doctors are unable to give medical explanations for the incorruptibility and flexibility. In the years 1950 and 1952 his tomb was opened and his body still had the appearance of a living one.

The spirit of Charbel still lives in many people. His miracles include numerous healings of the body and of the spirit. Thomas Merton, the American Hermit, wrote in his journal: "Charbel lived as a hermit in Lebanon—he was a Maronite. He died. Everyone forgot about him. Fifty years later, his body was discovered incorrupt and in short time he worked over 600 miracles. He is my new companion. My road has taken a new turning. It seems to me that I have been asleep for 9 years—and before that I was dead."

At the closing of the Second Vatican Council, on December 5, 1965 Charbel was beatified by Pope Paul VI who said:

On October 9, 1977 during the World Synod of Bishops, Pope Paul VI canonized Blessed Charbel among the ranks of the Saints.

Taken from Opus Libani

Things to Do:

  • Make a virtual visit to Our Lady of Lebanon Shrine.

  • Visit this site dedicated to St. Charbel and read another biography.

  • Listen to an Arabic prayer for God's Mercy from the Great Paraklesis (Supplicatory Prayer) to the Most Holy Theotokos. Notice the frescoes in the video of the praying saints which are from an obscure ancient Byzantine church in Maad, Lebanon, named after St. Charbel the old.

  • Learn more about the Maronites.

...Show Summary


St. Christina of Bolsena
Saint Christina was the daughter of a rich and powerful magistrate named Urban. Her father, who was deep in the practices of paganism, had a number of golden idols. His young daughter broke them, then distributed the pieces among the poor.

...Full Version


St. Christina of Bolsena
Saint Christina was the daughter of a rich and powerful magistrate named Urban. Her father, who was deep in the practices of paganism, had a number of golden idols. His young daughter broke them, then distributed the pieces among the poor. Infuriated by this act, Urban became the persecutor of his own daughter. He had her whipped with rods and thrown into a dungeon. Christina remained unshaken in her faith. Her tormentor brought her forth to have her body torn by iron hooks, then fastened to a rack beneath which a fire was kindled. But God watched over His servant and turned the flames back toward the onlookers, several of whom perished.

The torments to which this young girl was subjected would seem as difficult to devise as to imagine; but God was beside her at all times. After a heavy stone was attached to her neck, Saint Christina was thrown into the lake of Bolsena, but was rescued by an Angel and seen wearing a stole and walking on the water, accompanied by several Angels. Her father, hearing she was still alive, died suddenly amid atrocious sufferings. A new judge succeeded him, a cruel pagan experienced in persecuting the Christians. He tried to win her by reminding her of her nobility, suggesting she was in serious error. Her reply infuriated him: “Christ, whom you despise, will tear me out of your hands!” Then Saint Christina suffered the most inhuman torments. The second judge also was struck down by divine justice. A third one named Julian, succeeded him. “Magician!” he cried, “adore the gods, or I will put you to death!” She survived a raging furnace, after remaining in it for five days. Serpents and vipers thrown into her prison did not touch her, but killed the magician who had brought them there. She sent them away in the name of Christ, after restoring the unfortunate magician to life; he was converted and thanked the God of Christina and the Saint. Then her tongue was cut out.

The Saint prayed to be allowed to finish her course. When she was pierced with arrows, she gained the martyr’s crown at Tyro, a city which formerly stood on an island in the lake of Bolsena in Italy, but has since been swallowed up by the waters. Her relics are now at Palermo in Sicily. Her tomb was discovered in the 19th century at Bolsena, marked with an inscription dating from the 10th century.

Excerpted from Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9.

...Show Summary


UPCOMING EVENTS

First Sunday of Advent

1st December 2019All Day
Info and Directions

Immaculate Conception (abrogated)

8th December 2019All Day
Info and Directions

Epiphany

6th January 2020All Day
Info and Directions

Candlemas Day

2nd February 2020All Day
Info and Directions

St. Blaise

3rd February 2020All Day
Info and Directions

LATEST PARISH NEWS

Catechism Workshop: Churchtown

There will be an information evening held by Marian Ni Shuilleabhain in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Churchtown in regards a workshop on Catechism of the Catholic Church including an introduction to YOUCAT and YOUCAT for Kids. The date is yet to be confirmed but believed to start in September. If you would be interested in attending this workshop please contact the Parish Office
 » Read more:

jason
Best You Can Be: Ballyroan

Best You Can Be Parishioners from Ballyroan, Churchtown and Rathfarnham parishes are invited to take part in a reflective day entitled Best You Can Be on Saturday 21st September 2019 in The Ruah Pastoral Centre, Ballyroan. Best You Can Be is an introduction to developing adult faith. It aims to explore the nature of adult faith in keeping with Pope Francis’ vision that Christians would
 » Read more:

jason
This weekends collection: Peters Pence

Each year throughout the entire Church, on the Sunday nearest the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, a collection is held for the charitable work of the Pope. It is interestingly one of the oldest collections in the Church. It was first mentioned in history as far back as 1031 and in Ireland it dates back to Norman times. Its a gesture of solidarity with
 » Read more:

jason
Catechism Workshop: Churchtown

There will be an information evening held by Marian Ni Shuilleabhain in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Churchtown in regards a workshop on Catechism of the Catholic Church including an introduction to YOUCAT and YOUCAT for Kids. The date is yet to be confirmed but believed to start in September. If you would be interested in attending this workshop please contact the Parish Office
 » Read more:

jason
BCR Magazine Summer edition

The latest edition of the BCR magazine is now printed and will be delivered to homes over the coming week. If by next weekend you have not received your copy please let us know and we can give you a copy from the Sacristy or the Parish Office. Or read it here
 » Read more:

jason
Stained Glass Window talk

If you missed the Stained Glass Window talk by Dr. Richard Kimball we have the full video of the talk on our website. The video is approximately one hour long and well worth your time if you are interested in finding out more about our beautiful windows.
 » Read more:

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LATEST WORLD NEWS

See more in the Catholic World section. News, Opinion, Reviews, Catholic Teaching, Living the Life.
Jul. 24 Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of St. Sharbel (Charbel) Makhloof, priest, Opt. Mem.
St. Sharbel was a Lebanese monk, born in a small mountain village and ordained in 1858. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he spent the last twenty-three years of his life as a hermit. Despite temptations to wealth and comfort, Saint Sharbel taught the value of poverty, self-sacrifice and prayer by the way he lived his life. This optional memorial is new to the USA liturgical calendar and was inscribed on July 24, 2004.
Sri Lankan church re-consecrated, cardinal challenges government
Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jul 23, 2019 / 08:01 pm (CNA).- One of the churches in Sri Lanka damaged in attacks on Easter was re-consecrated Sunday. During the ceremony, the Archbishop of Colombo criticized the government's investigation of the attacks. St. Sebastian's parish in Negombo, nearly 25 miles north of Colombo, was re-consecrated July 21 by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. The church was one of several targeted in bombings across Sri Lanka April 21. The attacks killed more than 250, and wounded another 500. During his homily, the cardinal encouraged Catholics and Muslims to work together to stem the spread of terrorism. He also challenged Sri Lankan officials to reconsider their political agenda, charging that there has been a failure in the investigation of the attacks. “The executive and the legislature were locked in a power struggle. They did not care about the international conspiracy against the country,” Ranjith stated. He said that “the selfish power hungry leaders did not worry about ordinary people... The leaders did not heed intelligence warnings... the security council did not meet since October because of the power struggle.” Ranjith said that “the current leaders have failed. They have no backbone. They must leave the government and go home.” “I have no faith in any of these committees and commissions of inquiry. These are election gimmicks. The leadership must allow someone else to run the country.” He expressed fear the investigation “will be brushed under the carpet,” and complained that the government “had been informed about the attacks more than three times” by Indian officials. At the re-consecration a monument inscribed with the names of 114 victims killed in the attack was unveiled. The Sri Lankan navy helped to rebuild St. Sebastian's. The government has blamed the attacks on the jiihadist group National Thowheeth Jama'ath, whom the police say was responsible for the attacks. The Islamic State has also claimed responsibility, saying the local jihadists had pledged loyalty to the group.
Six months after terror attack, Philippines cathedral packed at rededication
Jolo, Philippines, Jul 23, 2019 / 06:58 pm (CNA).- Despite the fresh memory of a deadly terrorist attack in January, the rededication Mass of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, an island in the Philippines, was packed with Catholics, an aid worker said. “Security was really tight - police and soldiers locked down an entire block of the city...Yet the cathedral was packed. The dedication was attended by hundreds. It was inspiring to see the families of the victims and the survivors of the blasts there,” Jonathan Luciano, national director of the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in the Philippines, said in a report from the group. The cathedral rededication was celebrated by Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, along with Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Archbishop Emeritus of Cotabato, which, like Jola, is a Muslim-majority area in the country. On January 27 of this year, two bombs exploded during Sunday Mass at the cathedral, killing at least 20 people and injuring at least 111 others. The Philippines bishops' conference condemned the attack as an “act of terrorism.” ISIS, which has ties to the local Muslim insurgent group Abu Sayyaf, claimed responsibility for the attack. Attacks by Abu Sayyaf against Catholics in the region are not uncommon. Jolo is a part of a group of islands called Mindanao. According to the New York Times, the attack happened just days after a referendum was held in Mindanao to establish a “Muslim autonomous region” in the area, an attempt at creating peace that was ratified by voters everywhere except in Jolo. At the rededication Mass, Cardinal Orlando “described how inspiring the people of Jolo were because of their faith and resilience despite constant persecution,” Luciano said. “At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Caccia assured people that the Church of Christ and the Christian community [are] with them...They are not forgotten or neglected. This is not only manifested with financial assistance, but through the solidarity of prayer all over the world,” he added. In the ACN report, Luciano said that ACN was the first aid group to offer the cathedral their assistance after the bombings, which included financial assistance for the “costly repairs.” He said the goal of their response was to “rebuild the Christian community first then rebuild the actual church.” The Governor of Jolo, Benjamin Loong, a Muslim, also spoke at the rededication ceremony. Luciano said he “spoke of the partnership between Christians and Muslims. With this rebuilding and this re-consecration, dialogue can restart.” Luciano said he hopes that ACN’s mission partners and benefactors will be interested in helping persecuted Christians in the Philippines after hearing about what happened in Jolo. “We have to reinforce the relationship between Christians and Muslims,” he said. “We can live harmoniously together.”  
Catholic groups installing 5,000 solar panels in DC
Washington D.C., Jul 23, 2019 / 04:32 pm (CNA).- Catholic organizations are installing 5,000 solar panels in a five-acre space in Washington, D.C., in what will become the largest ground array of solar panels in the city. The project is being led by Catholic Energies, which is a nonprofit organization that is part of the Catholic Climate Covenant. Catholic Energies is working with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington to design and create the solar panel field. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington owns the field, which is next to a retirement home and convent. “Catholic Energies was born as a way of providing the time, the expertise, and probably more importantly, the resources,” for creating renewable energy projects in Catholic-owned-and-operated buildings, Page Gravely, the executive vice president for client services at Catholic Energies, told CNA. These resources are primarily financial, as energy efficiency projects are typically expensive. Catholic Energies will team up with renewable energy companies, who act as investors and work with contractors to make the projects come to life. In return, the investors receive a federal tax credit, and other financial incentives. In this project, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington will not pay anything for the solar panels. In this project, IGS Solar is the investing company. Washington, D.C., has the highest solar tax credit in the country. Gravely explained that Catholic Energies’ COO Dan Last kept being asked, “How do we actually put into action...Laudato Si? What can we do here at a parish or at a church?” Initially, the group worked with LED retrofitting. LED lights are more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs. The company shifted focus to solar after receiving numerous inquiries from potential clients about solar panels. “I think really from the standpoint that there was familiarity with it,” said Gravely. “Folks that both could use it at home, or they just knew about solar and you know the growth in the solar market has been well-publicized, but also it was a larger impact,” he said. Compared to an LED retrofit, solar panels are also far more visible and tangible. “So we pivoted,” he said. The field in D.C. is Catholic Energies’ second project in the area. In June, they coordinated the installation of 440 solar panels at Immaculate Conception Church in Hampton, VA. The panels will account for the entirety of the parish’s energy usage. The project in Washington received some concerns and pushback from those who live near the site, who were concerned about the environmental impact of the panel installation. Gravely told CNA that these concerns were considered, and there will be 100 trees planted in the field to create a screening effect for the panels, as well as to help beautify the area. Additionally, there will be flowers planted to help rebuild the bee, bird, and butterfly populations. Catholic Energies worked with the city to ensure that stormwater runoff would not be impacted. “There’s still gonna always be a handful of the neighbors not happy with it, but we can only do so much. And we've done a lot,” said Gravely. The panels are scheduled to be operating by March of 2020. The energy produced by the solar panels will be returned to the D.C. power grid, and the energy credits will be enough to cover the energy cost of 12 buildings owned by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.
Christian baker asks for dismissal of lawsuit over cake signifying gender transition
Denver, Colo., Jul 23, 2019 / 02:01 pm (CNA).- Attorneys for Denver-area cake artist Jack Phillips filed a motion Monday to dismiss a third lawsuit seeking to force him to create a cake that expresses a message contrary to his religious beliefs. Colorado lawyer Autumn Scardina, who filed an unsuccessful complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2017, is seeking $100,000 in monetary damages plus legal fees in the third lawsuit Phillips has faced in seven years. Phillips, a Christian, is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, a Denver suburb. He has operated his shop since 1993 and has focused his talents on artistic cakes. “Phillips wants to peacefully live out his faith as a cake artist by serving all people while declining to express messages that violate his beliefs,” the July 22 motion to dismiss, filed by attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom, reads. “After losing in court, the state [of Colorado] was content to leave Phillips alone to do just that. But Scardina won’t allow it.” “Phillips requests that the court dismiss the complaint so that he can return to the life he had before the state and Scardina targeted him for his faith,” the motion concludes. Phillips has said in the past that he not only has declined same-sex union cakes, but he also declines other types of cakes that go against his beliefs, including cakes for Halloween, bachelor parties, divorce, cakes with alcohol in the ingredients, and cakes with atheist messages. Phillips in 2018 won a six year legal battle that led all the way up to the Supreme Court, whose ruling upheld Phillips’ religious freedom and freedom of expression in his declining to make a cake in 2012 that would have celebrated a same-sex union. Phillips said that particular kind of cake would violate his religious beliefs, but that he would create other kinds of cakes for the couple. Colorado law did not recognize same-sex unions as marriages at the time. Three months after winning the Supreme Court case, Scardina, who identifies as a transgender woman, sued Phillips for his refusal to make Scardina a gender transition cake – pink on the inside and blue on the outside. Phillips then countersued the state of Colorado, claiming that he was being persecuted for his religious beliefs. The case was dropped in March 2019 “after the discovery phase demonstrated that the state was displaying ‘anti-religious hostility’ by continuing to pursue Phillips,’” the National Review reported. Scardina on June 5 of this year sued Phillips for a second time, claiming that he refused to make Scardina a birthday cake. According to the complaint, filed with the District Court for the city and county of Denver, Scardina called Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a “birthday cake – one in a simple design that Defendants admit they would make for any other customer.” The complaint noted that Phillips has said previously that he would be happy to make other kinds of cakes for LGBT individuals, as long as they expressed messages that did not violate his religious beliefs. In the call, Scardina requested from Masterpiece Cakeshop a birthday cake for 6-8 people, with pink cake and blue frosting. A Masterpiece Cakeshop employee confirmed to Scardina that they could make such a cake. “Ms. Scardina then informed Masterpiece Cakeshop that the requested design had personal significance for her because it reflects her status as a transgender female,” the complaint states. It was at this point that Masterpiece Cakeshop told Scardina that they “did not make cakes for ‘sex changes.’” Scardina reconfirmed that it was a birthday cake, but Masterpiece Cakeshop declined to take the order and ended the call, according to the complaint. Scardina called Masterpiece Cakeshop again, in case the previous call had been unintentionally disconnected, the complaint states. Scardina spoke to a different Masterpiece Cakeshop employee about the same order, and that employee also declined the order, saying that making such a cake would violate their religious beliefs. “Masterpiece Cakeshop, at the direction of Phillips, refused to sell a birthday cake to Ms. Scardina because of her status as a transgender woman,” the complaint states. The cake Scardina mentions in the new complaint is notably similar to the gender transition cake Scardina requested from Masterpiece Cakeshop in 2017, which was also requested to be made with pink cake and blue frosting. ADF reported that Scardina had also asked Phillips to create a custom cake depicting satanic themes and images.
Discerning in, and discerning out: What happens when seminarians leave?
Denver, Colo., Jul 23, 2019 / 12:15 pm (CNA).- Catholic journalists know that discernment stories are popular because they give readers hope. And they often follow a pattern: They usually include a “God moment” in which the subject, through a dramatic circumstance, hears the word of God and finds with sparkling clarity,  the call to become a cleric or religious. They end with ordination or follow final vows. Jacob Hubbard’s discernment story isn’t like that. Hubbard had multiple “God moments,” and he entered seminary because of them. But in seminary Hubbard realized that ordination wasn’t his calling. In November 2018, he discerned out of seminary. “By our baptism, we're all called to be priests, prophets, and kings,” Hubbard told CNA. “So although I won't be an ordained priest, I'll be living out my calling by being the priest of my family- the bridge between them and God, offering them Christ as much as I possibly can and relying on His Strength to do so.” It could be easy to see Hubbard’s discernment out of seminary as a failure. In fact, many seminarians who discern out of seminary face a kind of stigma from their friends and family, and even from themselves. But that stigma is based on a misunderstanding of seminary’s purpose, Hubbard told CNA. As Hubbard said, “The stigma today is that when people see seminarians, they don't see them as discerning individuals, they see them as mini-priests.” Seminary is a “house of discernment,” he said, “not a house of mini-priests,” adding that if a man leaves seminary, it’s often a positive sign of his ongoing vocational discernment. Fr. Phillip Brown, President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, agreed. “As a seminary faculty and as a rector, when a seminarian discerns out, and we're satisfied that it was an authentic, good, discernment, we don't consider that a failure. We consider that a success,” Brown explained. “What I say to the seminarians is that in the end, the objective here is not to become a priest, but to be what God has made you to be,” Fr. Brown said.  Discerning with openness to God’s call According to Fr. James Wehner, rector of Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, only about 30% of men who originally enter seminary are ordained. “It's not a failure,” Fr. Wehner said. “We think it's a very healthy process of discernment where he and the Church recognize that he's not called to priesthood.” “But we want to give the guys an opportunity to discern and to form, and if they're not called, they will leave here stronger, healthier, Christian men because they were totally open to the formation experience, so it's a win-win situation.” Even if a man leaves before ordination, Hubbard told CNA, “you can walk out a better man if you do seminary right. You could really figure out the areas you have believed lies your entire life. And then you can accept God's love there instead.”  The difficulties and the fruits of seminary life There are many gifts that come with entering seminary, but they come alongside trials, Hubbard said. When he entered Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas, Hubbard found himself face-to-face with a slew of challenges. A strict schedule and constant obligations kept him busy, even without the additional work a full-time student must face at the school next door, the University of Dallas. “You need structure to build your life on, and that structure needs to include self-love, so doing things that you personally love, and then of course prayer where you receive love from God,” he said regarding structure. The routine of seminary taught Hubbard that “it's impossible to earn God's love by your own measures. But the routine can open you up to being able to receive it more.”  Discerning into seminary Hubbard said he had long considered the priesthood, with encouragement from his family, and reflected on it while journaling about his prayer life while in high school, and through retreats and mission trips. After several invitations to visitation weekends at HTS, he attended one, and after a “God moment,” he chose to apply to the seminary, entering as a sophomore in college.  Discerning out of seminary During Hubbard’s time in seminary, he worked hard to be engaged in the community and to take the opportunities presented to him. The summer before his senior year, his pastoral assignment was as a counselor at The Pines Catholic Camp, a summer camp in East Texas. There, Hubbard worked closely with other counselors to teach and take care of children at the camp. Hubbard told CNA that he was struck by some of the beautiful and inspiring marriages he saw the camp directors have, and the happiness he saw that came from their relationships with their wives and children. That summer he also participated in Trinity Cor, “a two-week backpacking journey to discover your heart,” Hubbard explained. “To really find your manly heart and discover your masculinity, and it was awesome.” “Coming back from that, I was really feeling like I had more grasp at my heart, and really had the question of discernment lodged in me from The Pines because I saw beautiful relationships there. That experience of The Pines mixed with deepening the discovery of my heart through Trinity-Core began the questioning of my discernment,” Hubbard said. He sought out counsel about his questions, and trusting his spiritual director to keep his best interests in mind, opened up to him about everything. One of the biggest moments for Hubbard was when his spiritual director asked Hubbard to consider marriage. His spiritual director asked Hubbard to imagine himself, in prayer, as a priest coming home from a good day of Confessions and Mass, and then to imagine, in prayer, being married and coming home to a wife and children. “I felt so much more deeply my heart belonged with a family,” Hubbard explained. “There's no way to really articulate it, except that I just felt myself more present, more human there. Even just painting the picture almost brought me to tears.” Hubbard left seminary in November of his senior year. “And I have not regretted it since,” he said. “It's been a beautiful journey. Seminary was a necessary step, and so I know that God has just continued to lead me along a path which I hope one day, He will use to help heal those hurting around me. I want to still give of myself to those around me."  Does “discerning out” mean failure? Although seminary was helpful for Hubbard in his discernment both for the priesthood and for the married life, he found that a lot of people misunderstood the reasons he had left, and some saw it as a failure on his part. “I think that a lot of people have the misconception that when you step out of seminary it's a failure of sorts. Their reactions are, ‘Oh, I'm sorry,’ or things like that. The negative stigma of discerning out needs to be eradicated so that seminarians who are torn don't have that fear that when they leave, their friends, their families, their priests back home will be disappointed.” “The stigma holds seminarians back from being able to healthily discern. I think that's something pretty unaddressed in today's world: the very healthy and good option of discerning out. People see it as something entirely negative, and they shouldn't,” Hubbard continued. After explaining his decision to his friends they understood and supported him, he told CNA, but the initial uncomfortable or negative feelings still felt like a stigma, or at least a misunderstanding, about what he considered to be a healthy discernment. “And I experienced that a bit with some of my friends and family, but I also had overwhelming support, especially from my father, and so it was okay,” he said. “I definitely felt supported in my decision.” Discerning into seminary at 18, his father told Hubbard that he “was proud of Hubbard no matter what.” At the time, Hubbard wondered why his dad didn’t seem more enthused about his entrance to seminary. “But that consistency was something that was actually beautiful in the long run, and that's what I think parents should strive for when their kids enter seminary,” he told CNA. “That's the exact same thing he said to me when I discerned out of seminary, and I knew that he supported me on either side and trusted my judgement, so it was incredible. It really was,” Hubbard said. Hubbard’s father, Brad, told CNA that his first and foremost step is to pray for his children, and says that he wanted to make sure his son was happy with the formation he was receiving while in seminary. “For me, it's just the importance of leaving the discernment to God. As a parent, I'm there to support and especially pray, and then God's will be done in regards to that.”  Hubbard’s Future Last May, Hubbard graduated from the University of Dallas with a degree in philosophy, and he now plans to attend the Augustine Institute for a graduate degree in theology. He believes he has had many blessings throughout his time in seminary and now working, and wants to have the opportunity to impact people through an occupation in ministry after he graduates. Hubbard finds that despite the magnitude of the decision, he does not question his choice. He told CNA that his relationship with God has grown since his departure from seminary. And in the pursuit of marriage, Hubbard has felt more confirmed in his choice. “If everything else were to fall apart in my life, if I questioned every other piece of discernment, that is what I could hold onto and know for a fact that I made the right decision because I have so deeply encountered God's love incarnationally in a way that I could not have in seminary,” he said.  
Foster moms ask Supreme Court to hear Philadelphia case
Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 23, 2019 / 12:08 pm (CNA).- Two foster moms are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the right of a Catholic foster agency in Philadelphia to contract with the city without being required to place children with same-sex couples. “As the City of Philadelphia attempts to shamelessly score political points, dozens of beds remain empty and children are suffering the consequences,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket, which is representing the moms and the Catholic foster agency. “It’s time for the Supreme Court to weigh in and allow faith-based agencies to continue doing what they do best: giving vulnerable children loving homes.” Sharonell Fulton, one of the plaintiffs in the case, has fostered more than 40 children through Catholic Social Services. “As a single mom and woman of color, I've known a thing or two about discrimination over the years. But I have never known vindictive religious discrimination like this, and I feel the fresh sting of bias watching my faith publicly derided by Philadelphia's politicians,” she wrote in an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer last year. Toni Simms-Busch, the other foster mother in the case, said in a statement that she valued the freedom of choosing the foster agency that she felt best suited her needs. “As a social worker I evaluated the quality of care provided by all of the foster agencies in Philadelphia. When I decided to become a foster parent myself, I chose to go through the agency that I trusted the most,” she said. “The consistency, integrity, and compassion of Catholic Social Services has made all the difference in my journey through the foster care process.” Last March, the City of Philadelphia announced that it was experiencing a shortage of foster families, in part due to the opioid crisis, and put out a call for 300 new families to help accept children. A few days later, the city announced that it would no longer refer foster children to agencies that would not place them with same-sex couples. One of those agencies was Catholic Social Services (CSS), an arm of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that has been working with foster children since its founding in 1917. CSS serves about 120 foster children in about 100 homes at any one time. City officials cited the group’s unwillingness to place foster children with same-sex couples due to its religious beliefs on traditional marriage, even though lawyers for Catholic Social Services argued that no same-sex couple had ever approached the agency asking for certification to accept foster children. Catholic Social Services filed a lawsuit seeking a renewal of its contract, arguing that the city’s decision violated their religious freedom under the constitution. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against CSS on April 22. “The City’s nondiscrimination policy is a neutral, generally applicable law, and the religious views of CSS do not entitle it to an exception from that policy,” Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro concluded. Catholic Social Services has never been the subject of discrimination complaints by same-sex couples. The agency says that it assists all children in need, regardless of a child’s race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. “CSS will only certify foster parents who are either married or single; it will not certify cohabitating unmarried couples, and it considers all same-sex couples to be unmarried. So far as the record reflects, no same-sex couples have approached CSS seeking to become foster parents,” Judge Ambro wrote. Despite this, Ambro concluded that the City of Philadelphia “stands on firm ground in requiring its contractors to abide by its non-discrimination policies when administering public services,” and that the record demonstrates, in his view, the “City’s good faith in its effort to enforce its laws against discrimination” rather than an anti-religious bias. The U.S. Supreme Court in August 2018 declined to grant an injunction that would require the city to continue its foster-care placement with the agency during litigation over the matter. Philadelphia is not the only city to refuse to work with a Catholic organization on the issue of foster care and adoption placement. In Buffalo, Catholic Charities recently ceased adoption and foster care work due to rules that would have forced the organization to violate their religious beliefs. Catholic Charities had done work with adoption in Buffalo for nearly a century before the rule change. In recent years, faith-based child welfare providers in multiple states including in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia, have also been forced to shut down their adoption and foster care services because of beliefs that children should be placed with a married mother and father.
Bishop Wall introduces regular 'ad orientem' Mass at Gallup cathedral
Gallup, N.M., Jul 23, 2019 / 11:11 am (CNA).- Bishop James Wall of Gallup announced Monday that each Sunday a Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral will be said with the celebrant facing the same direction as the faithful, in order better to respect the Blessed Sacrament. Such worship, he said in a July 22 letter to the Diocese of Gallup, is “a very powerful reminder of what we are about at Mass: meeting Christ Who comes to meet us. Practically speaking, this means that things will look a bit different, for at such Masses the Priest faces the same direction as the Assembly when he is at the altar.” “More specifically, when addressing God, such as during the orations and Eucharistic Prayer, he faces the same direction as the people, that is, toward God (ad Deum). He does so literally, to use a phrase dear to St. Augustine, by 'turning toward the Lord' present in the Blessed Sacrament. In contrast, when addressing the people, he turns to face them (versus populum).” The bishop wrote that “since the recent solemnity of Corpus Christi, the 11:00am Sunday Mass will henceforth be celebrated ad orientem at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Gallup.” Bishop Wall opened by reflecting on Benedict XVI's recent letter in which he noted a certain laxity in how the Eucharist is approached. “We would do well to remember,” Bishop Wall wrote, “that the Eucharist is not simply a nice 'sign' or 'symbol' of communion with God, but rather truly is communion with God.” He said the emeritus pope's letter “provides an opportunity for us to reflect on how better to respect the Most Blessed Sacrament,” noting arriving early for Mass to pray; remaining afterward to offer thanksgiving; dressing appropriately; keeping the Eucharistic fast; regular, even monthly confession; and reverent reception of the Eucharist. “There is, however, one particular practice that I would like to highlight here,” said Bishop Wall. “It is about exercising the option to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass facing 'toward the East' (ad orientem) or 'toward God' (ad Deum) as distinct from 'toward the people' (versus populum).” He acknowledged that such celebration can be “contentious” and that “to make changes to the way we pray can be difficult,” adding that “by explaining and advocating for this, I am in no way trying to disrupt the way the people of this Diocese pray.” “Rather, I am trying to open the treasury of the Church’s patrimony, so that, together, we can all experience one of the most ancient ways that the Church has always prayed, starting with Jesus and reaching even to our own day, and thereby learn from the 'ever ancient, ever new' wisdom of the Church.” The bishop wrote that “celebrating Mass ad orientem is one of the most ancient and most consistent practices in the life of the Church.” However, he said that “celebration of Mass ad orientem is not a form of antiquarianism, i.e. choosing to do something because it is old, but rather choosing to do something that has always been.” “This also means, in turn, that versus populum worship is extremely new in the life of the Church, and, while a valid liturgical option today, it still must be considered novel when it comes to the celebration of Mass,” he noted. In ad orientem worship the main point, the bishop said, is that it “shows, even in its literal orientation, that the priest and the people are united together as one in worshipping God, even physically with their bodies.” He added that describing such Masses as ones in which “the priest has his back to the people,” while technically true, “largely misses” this main point, which is “much grander and more beautiful.” “Celebrating Mass ad orientem, then, is meant to remind us … that the Mass is not first and foremost about us, but rather about God and His glory—about worshipping Him as He desires and not as we think best. It is His work after all, not ours, and we are simply entering into it by His gracious will,” Bishop Wall reflected. He also pointed out that a “common objection or at least misunderstanding is that this particular way of celebrating Mass was disallowed at or after the Second Vatican Council. This is not accurate, as none of the conciliar documents even mention this.” In fact, “a close reading of the rubrics of the Roman Missal will still show today that ad orientem is assumed to be the normal posture at Mass: they often describe the priest 'turning to face the people,' which implies he is facing the altar before and after doing so.” Bishop Wall also addressed the idea of “preference,” and the principle that “when it comes to taste, there is no room for dispute.” “To a point, that is true,” he said. “Nobody can fault anybody for liking chocolate chip ice cream more than mint, or Chevrolet more than Ford. When it comes to the ways in which we worship God, however, nothing is simply a matter of taste.” He quoted from a 2016 writing by Msgr. Charles Pope, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, who said that “Preferences should be rooted in solid liturgical principles. […] People matter, and they should be nourished and intelligently engaged in the Sacred Liturgy—but not in a way that forgets that the ultimate work of the Liturgy is not merely to please or enrich us but to be focused on and worship the Lord”. The decision to provide one ad orientem Mass at the cathedral each Sunday “provides the faithful with the opportunity to attend the Mass in this way … which is still approved and generously allowed by the Church,” he said. Bishop Wall added that he would like to encourage the practice throughout the diocese as an option for priests. In his letter, Bishop Wall referenced Fr. Uwe Michael Lang's Turning Towards the Lord, as well the works of Benedict XVI on the liturgy. Bishop Wall's decision echoes an appeal made several years ago by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship. In July 2016, the prefect had said during an address that “I believe that it is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – Eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes, in those parts of the liturgical rites when we are addressing God.” Cardinal Sarah's encouragement to priests to say Mass ad orientem was part of an address on how the Second Vatican Council's document on the liturgy can be more faithfully implemented.
Archbishop Kurtz resigns as religious liberty chair during cancer treatment
Louisville, Ky., Jul 23, 2019 / 10:01 am (CNA).- Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville has stepped down from leading the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ religious liberty committee as he undergoes treatment for bladder cancer. Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts, has been appointed as his replacement and will serve as acting chair of the committee until the November 2019 General Assembly meeting. “We are praying for Archbishop Kurtz, especially as he undergoes an intense treatment plan at Duke Cancer Institute over these next several weeks and months,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in a July 23 statement released by the conference. “I very much appreciate Bishop McManus’s agreeing to step into this chairmanship role and lead the important work of the Committee for Religious Liberty,” he added. Previously, McManus was chairman of the Subcommittee on Health Care Issues from 2012 until 2018, and also was the chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education from 2005 until 2008. He is a member of the Committee on Doctrine and was a former member of the Pro-Life Activities Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee. He is a native of Providence, Rhode Island and was a priest in the Diocese of Providence before becoming a bishop. Kurtz announced on July 10 that he had been diagnosed with urothelial carcinoma, the most common form of bladder cancer. He will be undergoing treatment at Duke University, and is expected to receive 12 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove his bladder and prostate. Kurtz, who formerly served as president of the bishops’ conference, said he had “good cause for optimism” and will be staying in North Carolina for the duration of his treatment.  
Brennan appointment hailed as 'new day' after Bransfield scandals in West Virginia
Wheeling, W.V., Jul 23, 2019 / 09:55 am (CNA).- Bishop Mark Brennan will be installed as the ninth Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston next month, as West Virginia’s sole diocese looks to move forward from the scandals of its previous leader, Bishop Michael Bransfield. “It will be my highest priority to work with you on true reform and to open our hearts and minds to the healing power of Christ’s unconditional love,” Brennan said at the July 23 press conference announcing his appointment. Officials in the diocese also emphasized healing and reform. “Today is a new day in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,” Bryan Minor, Delegate of Administrative Affairs for the diocese said at the start of Tuesday’s press conference. Brennan’s appointment comes after “many trials” in the 11-month period since Bransfield’s resignation was accepted by Pope Francis, Minor added. Brennan’s appointment was announced earlier in the day by Pope Francis. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-names-mark-brennan-to-follow-bransfield-at-west-virginia-diocese-54200 “We seek to pivot from the past to the promise of the future,” said Minor. For his part, Brennan began his own pivot to West Virginia early. During the press conference, he quoted extensively from “Country Roads,” John Denver’s ode to the Applachian mountain state. Brennan’s appointment follows recent revelations about the malfeasance of Bransfield, who is alleged have committed sexual assault and sexual harassment of adults, and abused diocesan funds to support a lifestyle that reportedly included drugs, private jets, and large cash gifts to Church officials. Brennan did not mince words when discussing Bransfield, saying that “I want you to know how acutely aware I am of the deep disappointment and pain” the diocese has felt over the last year. There is “no adequate excuse” for Bransfield’s conduct, added Brennan, which has “harmed this community of faith. After he is formally installed Aug. 22, he will work to “remove some obstacles, reducing others, and beginning the arduous work on reform, so we can move forward together as a local Church to honor, serve, and proclaim Jesus Christ,” the bishop said. Minor praised Brennan for his “simple lifestyle” and for his attention and interest in the pastoral needs of his parishioners. As bishop, Brennan will not live in the mansion previously occupied by Bransfield. Brennan, who has been an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Baltimore for the past two and a half years, was previously a priest for 40 years in the Archdiocese of Washington. Brennan’s appointment came as a surprise to some observers, given the bishop’s age. Brennan is 72, and, like all bishops, will be required to submit his resignation to the pope at age 75. The bishop said the while he prayed the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston would find a good leader, he “never thought it would be me.” Brennan’s archbishop in Baltimore, Archbishop William Lori, was the apostolic administrator over the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston during the search for a new bishop. Lori also led the investigation into Bransfield’s financial and personal misconduct, and, in March, banned Bransfield from public ministry in the diocese and archdiocese.  During the press conference, Brennan was asked to elaborate on how Bransfield will be censured for his misconduct. On July 19, the Vatican announced sanctions on Bransfield, and forbade him from living in the diocese, celebrating Mass in public, and requiring him to “make amends,” as decided by his successor. Brennan was asked to clarify what “amends” might consist of. The bishop said that he would have to discuss the matter with the Holy See, and consult with Catholics in West Virginia. He said he would pursue a just remedy “to the extent that’s possible.” Brennan also defended the fact that Bransfield was not laicized and removed from the clerical state, as was former archbishop Theodore McCarrick, because, he said, the Church is still able to exert some sort of control over the bishop. McCarrick was also found guilty of sexual misconduct. “Not being thrown out, he is still subject to the authority of the Church,” said Brennan. “I’m hopeful that will be enough to get him to cooperate.” Emphasizing a move forward, Brennan said it is necessary for the Church in West Virginia to “put our trust in God and recommit ourselves to the fundamental mission of his Church.”  
Work done by stay-at-home parent worth a wage of €44,000
Nine in ten Irish people underestimate the monetary value of a stay-at-home parent which has been estimated at nearly €44,000. This is one of the primary findings of a recent survey from protection specialist Royal London, which found the average salary value people would place on the role of a stay-at-home mother or father was €27,500, while wage figure estimates suggest the actual amount could be nearly €44,000. Royal London considered the duties of a stay-at-home parent and researched the cost of replacing the jobs they do for the family and in the home. They included some of the ‘top jobs’ parents carry out on a weekly basis such as cooking, cleaning, driving children to their various activities and so on, and the average work-place costs associated with these duties. Royal London’s calculations reveal that the cost to employ someone to do the household jobs normally done by a stay-at-home parent would be an estimated €43,934. Ms. Murphy spoke of the contrast between perception and reality when it comes to remuneration for the myriad of jobs carried out by a stay-at-home parent: “The average expected salary of €27,500 is significantly lower than the €43,934 we estimate as the economic cost of a stay-at-home parent, and lower again than the €47,596 reported by the CSO as the average earnings of a person in full time employment during 2018.”
BBC ‘grossly exaggerated’ number of women directly ordering abortion pills
The BBC grossly exaggerated the actual number of women in the UK who had ordered illegal abortion pills online from overseas according to data released as a result of a Freedom Of Information request by Right To Life UK. BBC coverage from 2017 implied that increasingly large numbers of individual women were directly ordering abortion pills from website overseas. This in turn suggested that there had been an increased demand from individual women for illegal abortion pills over a number of years. However, the BBC’s presentation of the facts was extremely misleading. They disclosed the total number of abortion pills that have been seized each year since 2013, but failed to disclose that only one or two parcels of abortion pills had actually been seized each year. So, instead of the hundreds of individuals apparently illegally ordering abortion pills online, the Freedom of Information request showed only a handful of individuals had ordered parcels containing abortion pills.
Westminster casts final vote to force abortion and marriage redefinition on Northern Ireland
The British parliament has voted to force the UK Government to radically liberalise access to abortion and permit same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland if devolution is not restored by October 21. The landmark legislation passed through its final stage at Westminster yesterday. The changes were passed as part of measures aimed at keeping Northern Ireland public services running, two and a half years after devolved powersharing collapsed. In Northern Ireland, the votes were welcomed by the Alliance party and the SDLP, but rejected by the more pro-life Unionists. Nigel Dodds, the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) leader in Westminster, warned before the votes that they would drive “a coach and horses through the principle of devolution”. The votes could also affect efforts to revive the executive and assembly at Stormont. While Naomi Long, the Alliance leader, said they could unlock the talks, others speculated that Sinn Féin, which supports social liberalisation, now has an incentive to delay the restoration of devolution to let the amendments take effect.
Bishop encourages priests to celebrate Mass ad orientem
Bishop James S. Wall also announced a weekly ad orientem Mass at his cathedral
UK High Court to hear case on medical treatment of Tafida Raqeeb
Italian doctors have agreed to care for her, but UK doctors want to turn off her life support
Bishop Brennan named as successor to disgraced Bishop Bransfield
Bishop Mark E. Brennan is currently auxiliary of Baltimore
Pope Francis names Bp Mark Brennan to follow Bransfield at West Virginia diocese
Vatican City, Jul 23, 2019 / 04:01 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Tuesday named Bishop Mark Brennan the Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia following financial corruption and alleged sexual assault by the former bishop of the diocese, Michael J. Bransfield. Brennan, 72, is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, where he has served since his appointment in 2016. "I eagerly look forward to being a part of this local Church in West Virginia, to working with the good people, enjoying their interests and most especially, gaining their trust as their brother and servant,” Brennan told Baltimore's The Catholic Review July 23. Brennan said that he hopes to share in the joys and sorrows of the people in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as he works to face the diocese's challenges and need for healing. "Can I personally bring healing? I don’t know – and I believe God’s the one who brings healing – but can I be an instrument in doing that? I hope and pray I can," he said. The West Virginia episcopal appointment follows a Vatican communique July 19 stating that the bishop emeritus of Wheeling-Charleston Michael J. Bransfield will no longer be allowed to participate in public Masses or live within his former diocese. Bransfield is reported to have sexually harassed, assaulted, and coerced seminarians, priests, and other adults during his time as Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston. He was also found to have given large cash gifts to high-ranking Church leaders, using diocesan funds. Archbishop William E. Lori has served as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston since Pope Francis accepted Bransfield’s resignation on Sept. 13, 2018, five days after he reached the retirement age of 75. Lori subsequently barred Bransfield from public ministry in both Wheeling-Charleston and Baltimore following an investigation, authorized by Pope Francis, found credible the accusations of serious financial misconduct and an established pattern of sexual malfeasance. Lori also announced that the Holy See would be conducting an additional evaluation of the investigation. Bishop Mark Brennan will assume leadership in Wheeling-Charleston, a diocese of 77,874 Catholics following months of scandal as details of his predecessor’s financial corruption over his 13-year-long tenure became public. Archbishop Lori said in that Archdiocese of Baltimore was blessed by Brennan's gifts during the two years he served as an auxiliary bishop for the diocese. "I have witnessed his pastoral love for the people of God, who have accepted and embraced him for his kindness, humility and joyful witness to the faith," Lori said July 23. "These gifts and so many others will bring healing and hope to the Church in West Virginia, which deserves a shepherd who bears so many of the qualities possessed by Bishop Brennan," he said. Brennan was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington May 15, 1976. He obtained a bachelor’s degree at Brown University and attended Christ the King Seminary in New York and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he received a bachelor’s and master’s in theology. He spent a year in the Dominican Republic doing “Hispanic Immersion Studies” in the 1980s, and served as a pastor at several parishes, providing pastoral ministry to the Hispanic community at St. Bartholomew parish from 1988-1989. The bishop previously held the position of director of priestly vocations and priestly programs for the Archdiocese of Washington and has been a member of the Priests’ Council and the College of Consultors. He was Vicar Forane of “Northwest Deanery West” from 2002-2005 and Advocate of the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2006. In 2005 Brennan was given the title of Monsignor. In addition to English, he speaks Spanish and knows French and Italian. Brennan said that he wants to prioritize poverty alleviation in the West Virginia diocese. “A primary focus will be on the poverty that those in the rural areas of the state face. I will depend on those who are working to alleviate their suffering and to determine how we can increase the Church’s outreach and impact – particularly for those who have fallen victim to opioid addiction,” Brennan said. “Although there is great need across the state, there are also tremendous assets. It will be my priority to harness the resources of the diocese to serve the considerable needs while also bringing about a new era of renewal of our faith,” he said.
Records on life of Father Flanagan, founder of Boys Town, presented at Vatican
Vatican City, Jul 23, 2019 / 03:01 am (CNA).- The cause for canonization of Servant of God Edward Flanagan, the priest who founded Nebraska's Boys Town community for orphans and other boys, advanced Monday with the presentation of a summary of records on his life. The positio, which summarizes the records collected by the Archdiocese of Omaha, was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints July 22, along with a letter of support from Archbishop George Lucas. The positio argues that Flanagan demonstrated heroic virtue. “It has been a privilege to offer my support for the cause of Father Edward Flanagan at each stage of this process,” Archbishop Lucas said. “I was able to share with Cardinal Becciu the encouragement offered to all of us in the Church during this challenging time by the virtuous life and work of Father Flanagan.” The Omaha archbishop had met with Cardinal Becciu, the prefect of the congregation, in January. Father Flanagan helped at least 10,000 boys at Boys Town in his lifetime, and his influence extended around the world. The priest was born in Ireland’s County Roscommon July 13, 1886. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1904 and was ordained a priest in 1912. He was assigned to what was then the Diocese of Omaha. After working with homeless men in Omaha, he founded a boarding house for all boys, regardless of their race or religion. He soon moved his work to Overlook Farm on the outskirts of Omaha, where he cared for hundreds. The home became known as the Village of Boys Town, growing to include a school, dormitories, and administration buildings. The boys elected their own government to run the community, which became an official village in the state of Nebraska in 1936. Father Flanagan’s work inspired 80 other Boys Towns around the world. The original Boys Town now serves about 80,000 kids and families each year. After World War II, the priest helped care for orphans and displaced children in Japan, Germany, and Austria at the request of US president Harry Truman. Flanagan also worked to reform the criminal justice system’s treatment of minor offenders. The priest rose to national and international prominence for his work. Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for his portrayal of Fr. Flanagan in the 1938 movie “Boys Town.” Father Flanagan died in Berlin of a heart attack May 15, 1948. His corpse is interred in a memorial chapel at Boys Town. Flanagan's cause was opened in the Archdiocese of Omaha in 2012, and the diocesan phase was concluded in June 2015. At that time, documents produced by the diocesan tribunal were signed and sealed, and then sent to the Vatican. An official of the Omaha archdiocese told CNA that since 2015, the local Church has continue to investigate Flanagan's life, and possible miracles attributed to his intercession. In January 2017, the then-prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Angelo Amato, signed a decree affirming the validity of the diocesan phase of Flanagan's cause. The positio will now be reviewed by historical consultants at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, then theological consultants, and finally the members of the congregation. If all three groups agree, the congregation would then recommend that Pope Francis declare Flanagan “Venerable”, the next stage in the process of canonization. Omar Gutierrez, who served as notary for the tribunal that investigated Flanagan's life, told CNA in 2015 that the priest “was a man driven by his love for Jesus Christ to care for children who were forgotten and abused. He is a great model for the priesthood and for what Catholic social teaching looks like in the real world.” Steven Wolf, president of the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion and vice-postulator of his cause, said he thinks there is abundant evidence of the priest’s heroic virtue. “He completely immersed his life in the gospel, and lived it,” Wolf told CNA. “He completely poured his life into saving these kids nobody else wanted to deal with.” Father Flanagan integrated young boys, “built a society around them, and put love, God’s love, in the middle of their circumstances and helped them to become whole and complete people.” “He could see the face of Christ in every child, and he wanted to help every child, not just be successful citizens, but also be saints.” Wolf added, “We need people to look into this man’s life, look into this man’s motivation, and look at his example and live that example. Pray that we can make our culture a better place through the way that he lived the gospel in his life.” In 2015, Gutierrez said that two alleged miracles attributed to Flanagan's intercession were being investigated.
Thought Of The Day – July 23rd
Thought of the day for July 23rd
Jul. 23 Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of St. Bridget, religious, Opt. Mem.
Patron saint of Sweden, Bridget married a young prince and lived happily with him for 28 years, bearing him eight children. St. Catherine of Sweden was their daughter. After her husband died, Bridget founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior, erecting at Vadstena a double monastery for monks and nuns. Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, she later went to Rome, where she worked for the return of the Popes from Avignon. She died of natural causes in 1373, at the age of seventy-one. This Scandinavian mystic is famous for her Revelations concerning the sufferings of our Redeemer.