Tag Archives: bishop

Pope ordains 5 new bishops

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The Holy Father ordained 5 priests to the episcopacy today on the liturgical memorial of Saint
Agatha at the Vatican Basilica. The priests are:

Father Savio Hon Tai-Fai, 61,
a Salesian of Saint John Bosco, elected titular archbishop of Sila and
nominated Secretary of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples.

Marcello Bartolucci, 67, a priest of the Diocese of Assisi-Nocera Umbria-Gualdo
Tadino, elected titular archbishop of Bevagna and nominated Secretary of the
Congregation of the Causes of Saints.

Father Celso Morga Iruzubieta, 63,  a priest of the Diocese of Calahorra y
La Calzada-Logroño, elected titular archbishop of Alba Marittima and nominated
Secretary of the Congregation of the Clergy.

Father Antonio Guido Filipazzi,
48, a priest of the Diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo, elected titular archbishop
of Sutri and nominated Apostolic Nuncio.

Father Edgar Peña Parra, 51, a priest
of the Archdiocese of Maracaibo, elected titular archbishop of Telepte and
nominated Apostolic Nuncio in Pakistan.

May the saints intercede for these men.

Philip Hannan needs prayers

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Archbishop Philip Matthew Hannan, 97, the highly revered archbishop emeritus of New Orleans, is failing in health but taking treatment at home.
The Archbishop was born in Washington, DC in 1913, ordained priest for Baltimore-Washington in 1939. In 1956, Hannan was ordained a bishop and appointed an auxiliary bishop of Washington before being elected the Archbishop of New Orleans in 1965 serving until 1988. He attended 4 sessions of the Second Vatican Council.
He needs to be sustained with our prayers.
Read the story

Has the Catholic Church in Turkey been too neglected by us?

Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini, OFM Cap. of Izmir,
Turkey, and Administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia and President
of the Turkish Episcopal Conference, gave the following intervention today. The
point of noting the Archbishop’s intervention here is that I believe we have to be concerned with
the reality of the Catholic faithful in places outside our neighborhood. Catholics can’t simply concerned with matters that are near. The June murder of Capuchin Bishop Luigi Padovese‘s death has remained a key point in my prayer, interest
in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, the missionary aspect of the Church’s
preaching program and the extent to which one would lay down his life for the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is Luigi Padovese a martyr? Franceschini has been clear that Padovese’s death was premeditated by Islamic radicals with a hatred toward Christianity while the Turkish authorities insist the murder was personal and not politically or religiously motivated. I am not sure as I didn’t know the state of his soul or his true relationship with Christ. The designation of a person as a martyr is a matter for Mother Church to make, but I might be persuaded to think in that direction. Christians comprise less than one percent of the Turkish nation.

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“The little Church of Turkey, at times ignored,
had her sad moment of fame with the brutal murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese
O.F.M. Cap., president of the Turkish Episcopal Conference. In a few words I
would like to close this unpleasant episode by erasing the intolerable slander
circulated by the very organisers of the crime. It was premeditated murder, by
those same obscure powers that poor Luigi had just a few months earlier
identified as being responsible for the killing of Fr. Andrea Santoro, the
Armenian journalist Dink and four Protestants of Malatya. It is a murky story
of complicity between ultra-nationalists and religious fanatics, experts in the
‘strategia della tensione’. The pastoral and administrative situation in the
vicariate of Anatolia is serious. … What do we ask of the Church? We simply
ask what we are lacking: a pastor, someone to help him, the means to do so, and
all of this with reasonable urgency. … The survival of the Church of Anatolia
is at risk. … Nonetheless, I wish to reassure neighbouring Churches –
especially those that are suffering persecution and seeing their faithful
become refugees – that the Turkish Episcopal Conference will continue to
welcome them and offer fraternal assistance, even beyond our abilities. In the
same way, we are open to pastoral co-operation with our sister Churches and
with positive lay Muslims, for the good of Christians living in Turkey, and for
the good of the poor and of the many refugees who live in Turkey”.

Sacred Duties, Episcopal Ministry: what’s wrong with the US Conference of Bishops

Few people in these parts (in the Eastern part of the USA) know the name Robert F. Vasa except ecclesial-philes like myself, but that’s because he’s on the other side of the country. Never mind. Who could say with honesty that there’s a genuine concern for knowing ecclesial affairs viz. from a person who has little name recognition such as Robert Vasa. That is, until now, who, with some excellent, even controversial ideas, is sure to anger the round heads. Only now Vasa’s thinking is gaining some currency. But let’s give him his just due respect. Robert F. Vasa, 59, is the Bishop of Baker, OR, a priest of the Lincoln Diocese who delivered an extraordinarily good address titled, “Sacred Duties, Episcopal Ministry” on September 16, 2010 at the 2010 InsideCatholic Partnership Award Dinner in Washington, DC, that has not received the attention it deserves.

The Bishop is taking a critical look at the contemporary ministry of the bishop, at least in the USA, as we’ve seen it unfold with the existence of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
I DON’T like the USCCB and would prefer to see it close, or at least downsize significantly. I find USCCB officials intrusive, their work open to misinterpretation, the bishops not doing what they are supposed to do for “needy bishops” –to give fraternal constructive correction to bishops not doing or incapable of doing their episcopal ministry as expected– and I find the USCCB documents compromised or agenda driven. In addition, I find the tax paid on each “Catholic head” in the dioceses to be excessive and it’s a genuine burden on many dioceses, particularly the Eastern Church dioceses who don’t have access to large amounts of money. One last word on the bishops’ documents: they are often not written by the bishops themselves (who would have the time?) but are produced by the staffers of the USCCB or outsiders and are vague and lack substance that would clearly address the issues at hand; when the documents are “committee documents” they are often ground for the lefty-loonies to manipulate for their own ends.
There are few instances where I think a conference of bishops in the USA is useful but not absolutely necessary. The usefulness of a conference of bishops would be seen in knowing the needs of the Church in North America, in the work done in the fields of the sacred Liturgy, certain questions on immigration, healthcare and pro-life and certain relief agencies like CRS. The translation of texts is labor intensive and it needs wider episcopal oversight and input that 10 bishops can give. BUT let’s be clear, the USCCB is not an alternative teaching body for the Church in America; it has no authority to teach or make laws over and above the Universal Church or the individual diocesan bishop; it does not speak for the Church’s bishops. Diocesan bishops can’t absolve themselves of the duty to rightly to teach, govern and sanctify the people entrusted to them personally by the Holy Spirit and for the Church in general. Episcopal ministry is exercised not with strategies and programs but by listening, praying and teaching when needed. 
Some people who are USCCB favorable will be dramatic by saying, “The USCCB said and demands thus and such….” AND the response you should give is, “SO what.”
Read, study and pray with Bishop Vasa’s address noted above. You may want to say a prayer for him, too. He’ll likely get hate mail for his attempt to teach what is true. In my mind this address is necessary reading for informed Catholics. The point here is not be disrespectful of the sacred duties and responsibilities of bishops. My point here is to live, to act and to think with the Church under the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. As Catholics we are to be total and radically centered on the person of Jesus Christ lived in the sacrament of the Church and under her magisterium. I follow Christ through the ministry of the Pope, the bishop of this diocese but not in a bureaucracy of bishops.

Bishop David O’Connell: God gives the grace

Here is the post-communion address of the newly ordained Bishop David O’Connell CM, coadjutor of Trenton, as prepared for delivery (the text does not include the ad lib remarks):

David M O'Connell arms.jpgI have been thinking a great deal in recent months about the role and ministry of bishops in the Church. You might think, sitting here in the Cathedral today in the midst of this beautifully moving ceremony, you had good reason for such reflection! And, while there is real truth to that reaction — at least since the Apostolic Nuncio first met with me on May 24 about coming to Trenton — I did have some other motivations. For the past twelve years, I was president of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C, a place that is known as the “bishops’ university.” I am grateful that so many of my colleagues and friends from Catholic University are here with us today, both in the pews and around the sanctuary. Throughout those twelve years, I had many occasions to get to know bishops from around the country either as university trustees or as visitors to campus. We spoke about many things: their dioceses, their experiences, their joys and their challenges. I came to admire them as good men, good priests and good leaders. Although they all differed from one another in many ways, they all had one thing in common: they loved their people.

Today, through the grace and mercy of God and the sacrament of ordination, I join their ranks as successors to the Apostles. Like them, I approached this day filled with joy and gratitude but also with a sense of humility and awe. Like them, I am profoundly aware of my flaws and limitations, that I am far from perfect.  Like them, I do not know what the future will hold but I am quite sure that the expectations are as many and as different as there are people in and outside of this Cathedral.

When the Apostolic Nuncio spoke with me that morning in late May, he shared much information about the Diocese of Trenton and the process involved in my appointment. But he said something to me that I will never forget: “Father, always remember that there are over 830,000 souls in your Diocese. And you will be responsible for all of them.” What has been very much on my mind since that conversation is simply this: how will I exercise that responsibility?

The other day, someone asked me how long it took to come up with my Episcopal motto, Ministrare non Ministrari — “to serve and not to be served” — to which I responded, “about two seconds.” When I was first ordained a Vincentian priest — and I am so happy to see so many of my confreres here — the Gospel reading for the ordination Mass contained those words of Jesus Christ in Mark’s Gospel. I was struck with the phrase then as being a perfect description of how to follow the Lord as a priest: “to serve and not to be served and to give my life as a ransom for the many.” This was how I wanted to live out my life as a priest. This is how I want to live out my life as a bishop and how I hope to exercise that responsibility.

According to the Second Vatican Council, “Christ gave the apostles and their successors the mandate and the power to teach all nations and to sanctify and shepherd their people in truth (Christus Dominus, 12).” To teach. To sanctify. To shepherd their people in truth. Christ gave this mandate to the successors to the Apostles. Christ gave this power. And with power like this comes great responsibility. Please pray for me.

“To serve and not to be served.” In my letter to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI accepting his appointment, I wrote to him of my choice of a motto. In his response to me read here today, he repeated them.

A bishop serves his people by teaching truth. The truth that comes through the Gospel, the truth that comes through the Church and all its teachings, the truth that lives among us a community of faith, for “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18: 20).” This is how a bishop serves, not by being served through compromise or taking the easy way out, not by being served saying only what people want to hear or what makes them comfortable, striving to be popular. As Pope John Paul II wrote, the truth that we teach “has its origin in God himself … (but) people can even run from the truth because they are afraid of its demands (Fides et ratio, 7; 28).” Christians cannot run from the truth for this reason. Nor can the bishop. This is how he serves.

A bishop also serves by sanctifying his people and by leading them to holiness. And there is only one way to holiness: Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with him, convinced in faith as we must be that he alone is “the way, the truth and the life (John 14: 6).” All three make us holy. Jesus Christ is the Risen Lord. He triumphed over death and every suffering and evil. The bishop is called, it is said, to be a servant of the empty tomb not of the status quo. He leads his people to holiness by bearing witness to what the empty tomb means: joy, hope, the promise of new life, remembering Jesus’ own words: “In the world you will have troubles but take courage: I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” This is how the bishop serves.

Finally, a bishop serves by leading, by guiding, by shepherding his people. This is, perhaps, the most difficult not only for those he governs as bishop but for the bishop himself, marked as he is by human weakness. But lead he must, by word and example. God gives the grace. And follow we must. God gives the grace. The answers that we may seek from him, the answers that we may want from him may sometimes not be what we seek or want. Sometimes the answer is no. “The gate is narrow and the road is long that leads to life (Matthew 7: 14).” This is how the bishop serves and this is where that service leads: to life.

To serve and not to be served. To teach. To sanctify. To shepherd. This is what a bishop does for God’s people and with God’s people: brother bishops, fellow priests, deacons, faithful religious women and men and all the baptized, one community of faith. With a grateful heart I thank you for being here today, too many to call by name. Please know that I care deeply for you all. With humble, faithful hearts, let us go forward, together, “to serve and not to be served.”

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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