Category Archives: Church (ecclesiology)

What does it mean to be a priest?

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The priest as a spiritual father is the compass leading the people to righteousness, to virtuous path to God. He protects the Christian identity in all its complexities by educating our religious sense as Fr Giussani teaches. The faith community is as strong, stable, and capable in mission,, vocation, and charitable activities as the leaders are willing to lead.  A “high ecclesiology,” if you will, shows us that the priest is gateway to the faith and he shows the way to salvation; but a priest can only be a gateway if he has the people who form the walls and is aware that Christ is the foundation. Too often these days the Catholic priest is not a man of prayer, learning, culture, good humor; many priests have lost a sense of heroic virtue.

How does the priest address the needs of the faithful today? Can the priest answer the questions being asked by the faithful and those seeking to know God,or at least willing to do the work needed to answer these questions? What type of witness needed today by the priest viz. the culture, media, and politics, so that we are happy, healthy and loving Christians? What are the concrete ways can we focus on God? How do Christians face nihilism with faith, hope and charity? What does it mean to be a person –and not merely an individual– realizing that the person is a part of a whole who glorifies God?

As you can tell, I am thinking about these things. What I am reading on this subject will make for another post, but I spent time listening to two presentations.

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Jesuit presence therefore influence in Rome

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A significant Jesuit presence in key places for the Church’s ministry of proclaiming and living the Gospel exists that few may not be aware of. Since the time of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the Society has done some remarkable things for the good of the Church. And every Pope since Paul III has relied on generosity of thinking and action of the Jesuits in Rome. Pope Francis has asked the Society to continue… Presence means influence. 


Interesting stats:

  • 12 Pontifical residences in Rome are staffed by Jesuits;
  • 3 Pontifical institutions for higher learning in Rome: The Gregorian University, the Oriental and Biblical Institutes;
  • 1 Radio center (Vatican Radio);
  • 1 journal (La Civiltà Cattolica);
  • 6 Jesuit cardinals: but only one of them participated in the 2013 conclave, Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina). The other Cardinal entitled to participate, Julius Riyadi Cardinal Darmaatmadja, Archbishop-emeritus of Jakarta (Indonesia), was unable to attend due to ill health;
  • The Pontifical Gregorian University indicates that there are 57 Cardinal alumni of Jesuit pontifical institutions in Rome, the Gregorian and the Biblicum (49.6% of all participants in the Conclave). Several of them were also professors at the Gregorian University: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, William Joseph Cardinal Levada, Velasio Cardinal DePaolis, CS, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, and Walter Cardinal Kasper (not an exhaustive list.);
  • And other works coordinated by the Jesuit Curia under the leadership of the Jesuit Superior General.

Pope Francis calls Archbishop Loris Capovilla

Keeping up appearances…by phone…with previous papal administrations. Pope Francis apparently is touching base with key people in history of the Church from the 20th century. He spoke with Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla, 97, one of the oldest prelates in the Church today. A priest (73 years) of Venice, he was ordained to the episcopacy in 1967 and served as the archbishop of Cheiti-Vasto and later he was the Prelate of the Shrine of Loreto. His Excellency is the former secretary of Blessed John XXIII. L’Osservatore Romano will run this story on April 3.


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A simple, moving gesture: last Monday, at 6:30 p.m., the telephone rang at Ca’ Maitino di Sotto il Monte, John XXIII’s summer residence, where today Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla lives and where the Suore Poverelle cherish memories of Pope John. As usual Capovilla answered himself. It was Pope Francis who was calling him because, among the many messages of good wishes, he had received directly an Easter message written in the light of the Second Vatican Council, edited by Pope Roncalli’s former Secretary, subtitled: “With Pope Francis we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris on 11 April 2013 and on 3 June 2013 of the passing of John XXIII:  a detailed agenda.  With the Bishop of Rome who greets the Secretary who was the companion at arms of the Pope of the Council and says to him “I see him with the eyes of my heart“, Capovilla told us. “It was a very great surprise and I like to consider this telephone call made to this place where John XXIII was born rather than to me myself: as a tribute to him and to his roots“. Capovilla, who will be ninety [-eight] in October, mentioned that the Pope had stressed certain parts of the message he had sent him: a few pages together with a few pictures (of Manzù’s medal for the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Francis on the Loggia the evening of his election; Francis and Benedict XVI from behind, kneeling in prayer together at Castel Gandolfo; a portrait of John XXIII by Hans-Jürgen Kallmann), and some very short texts  “as precious as a homily”, as Francis described them.  In their brief conversation the Pope asked Capovilla “to pray John XXIII to help the Pope and everyone to be better people”,  Archbishop Capovilla continued: “I also reminded him of my age and he remarked that the spirit counts more. I told him that I have both Christian and non-Christian friends and that to this day the Lord has accompanied me”. And he added that he had “humbly asked His Holiness for a blessing for the inhabitants of Sotto il Monte, for his parish community, for the relatives of the Pope of the  Council”, and for “all those who work with me together with the Bishop of Bergamo”.


Marco Roncalli

April 3, 2013

Conclave date set: for the good of the Universal Church, solum Deum prae oculis habentes.

George Alencherry.jpgThe Cardinals have determined that the Conclave will begin on 12 March 2013. The Votive Mass Pro Eligendo Pontifice (For the Election of the Pontiff) will be offered in the morning at Saint Peter’s Basilica by the Cardinal Dean and later that afternoon the cardinals will process from the Pauline Chapel to the Sistine praying the Litany of Saints.

The cardinals will follow rules set down in John Paul IIs 1996 Universi Dominicu Gregis with the amendments of Benedict XVI in his motu proprio, Normas Nonnullas; moreover, they will adhere to the norms of the Ordo Rituum Conclavis.
There are 115 cardinals voting, 77 of them need to agree on a single man. Mostly an European group of men with an average age of 72; Cardinal Kasper is the oldest at 80 (his birthday was March 5, after the sede vacnate) and the Cardinal Thottunka, the Syro-Malabar, the youngest at 53.
There are 67 created by the Pope-emeritus and 48 by Blessed John Paul; 19 were professed as religious; the majority are Italian trailed by the USA.
Saint Joseph, universal patron of the Church, pray for us, and the cardinals.
On the Roman liturgical calendar of Blessed John XXIII, March 12 is the feast of Saint Gregory the Great (+604).

It was love…

This article by Rebecca Hoeffner about the ordination to the episcopacy of Joseph Strickland for service as the bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, is a terrific testimony to grace at work. The whole article is worth reading for the last sentence. The whole of the ecclesiology is summed up in that one sentence, with that one word…  You can follow Bishop Strickland on his blog, FatherRunFather. Blessings on Bishop Joseph Strickland.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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