Tag Archives: priest

Father Brian W. Monnerat, RIP

Fr Monnerat.jpgPlease keep in your prayers the repose of the soul of the Reverend Father Brian W. Monnerat, 60, priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford, who died, July 14, 2010, while on vacation with his family. He was ordained a priest in 1988, when I first met him. This is a sad time for the archdiocese.

Father Brian was the pastor of Saint Matthew Church, Forrestville, CT.
A special prayer for priests, and for those who struggle with their weight and have cardiac problems.
Come Holy Spirit. Come through Mary.

Saint Joseph Cafasso: patron for prisoners and spiritual directors

St Joseph Cafasso.jpg

The Pope’s weekly general audience address today was
dedicated to Saint Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860), a member of the “St Francis of
Assisi Institute,” a priest (ordained in 1833) who died 150 years ago. He is
most known as Saint John Bosco’s spiritual father (director) from 1835 to 1860.
Cafasso died in 1860; Pius XII canonized in him 1947. In 1948, Pope Pius XII named him the patron of Italian
prisons and, in 1950, proposed him “as a model for priests involved in
Confession and spiritual direction.” His uncle is Blessed Joseph Allamano. Saint Joseph Cafasso’s feast day is June 23.

I never heard of Saint Joseph Cafasso
until today, partly because I am not well attuned to the life of Saint John
Bosco of which he seems to be most connected. According to the Benedict, Joseph
Cafasso’s ministry helped to form “the true pastor with a rich interior life
and a profound zeal for pastoral care: faithful in prayer, committed to
preaching and catechesis, dedicated to the Sacraments of the Eucharist and
Confession, in keeping with the model incarnated by St. Charles Borromeo and
St. Francis of Sales, and promoted by the Council of Trent. St. Joseph Cafasso
sought to establish this model in the formation of young priests so that, in
their turn, they too could become formators to other priests, religious and lay
people, thus creating a unique and effective chain.” AND how could anyone NOT take Saint Joseph Cafasso as a paradigm for Christian life?

A theme that I am picking
up these days from some of the Pope’s addresses is the constant need to stay in
the “state of grace.” You might say, “no Kidding, Paul! Really?” Mock if you want, but there is an increasing distancing from God, especially staying close to God by means of staying in
a state of grace through the sacrament of confession. We know that the pure of heart are the ones who inherit the kingdom of God. One of the things we know
of Saint John Vianney is that he devoted himself to confessional. Cafasso, the
Pope said, “loved the Lord totally, he was animated by a well-rooted faith and
supported by profound and prolonged prayer, he showed sincere charity to
everyone. He knew moral theology but was equally well aware of the condition of
people’s hearts for which, like the good shepherd, he took responsibility.”

XVI explained that that Saint John Bosco never copied his master. Not an
insignificant point: we need to take under consideration those who guide us but
we also need to assert our independence from a “master teacher” in order for
grace to flourish.  Otherwise we
merely parrot the other in an unthinking manner. The Pope said, “He
imitated him in the human and priestly virtues – defining him as a ‘model of
priestly life’ – but maintained his own attitudes and his own specific
vocation. … This is a precious lesson for those involved in the formation and
education of the young generations.”

What may be interesting for us to
know is that Saint Joseph Cafasso was renown for his “concern for the lowest, especially for prisoners
… who lived in inhuman and dehumanizing conditions.” Characteristic of Cafasso’s
work with prisoners is remembered today as he “often delivered great sermons
that came to involve almost the entire prison population, with the passage of
time he came to favor individual catechesis, made up of conversations and
personal meetings. While respecting the individual situation of each
individual, he tackled the great themes of Christian life, speaking of trust in
God, adherence to His will, the utility of prayer and the Sacraments, the
culmination of which is Confession, the meeting with God Who, for us, becomes
infinite mercy.”

Priesthood: “First of all, authentically human,” Fr Carron suggests

Father Julián Carrón, published the following commentary on priesthood in the  L’Osservatore Romano (June 9, 2010), at conclusion of the Year of Priest.

I will never forget the impact of a question at a spiritual retreat with some priests in Latin America. I had just finished saying that often our faith lacks the human, when a priest approached me and said that when he was in seminary, they taught him that it was better to hide his concrete humanity, not to have it in sight “because it disturbed the journey of faith.” This episode made me more aware of how Christianity can be reduced and of the state of confusion in which we are called to live our priestly vocation. Once someone asked Fr. Giussani his advice for a young priest, “That he be above all a man,” he answered, to the surprise of those present. We find ourselves at the polar opposite of the advice given the seminarian: on the one hand, to look away from one’s humanity, and on the other, a gaze full of fondness for oneself.


So then, what is decisive for our faith and our vocation? What do we need? Fr. Giussani repeatedly indicated that “the forgetfulness of the ‘I’,” the absence of authentic interest for one’s own person is the “supreme obstacle to our human journey” (Alla ricerca del volto umano, Rizzoli, Milano 1995, p. 9). Instead, true love for oneself, true affection for oneself is what leads us to rediscover our constituent exigencies, our original needs in their nakedness and vastness, so as to see ourselves as relationship with the Mystery, entreaty for the
infinite, structural expectant awaiting. Only people so “wounded” by reality, so seriously engaged with their own humanity can open themselves totally to the encounter with the Lord. Fr. Giussani affirms, “In fact, Christ offers Himself as the answer to what “I” am and only an attentive and also tender and passionate awareness of myself can throw me wide open and dispose me to acknowledge, admire, thank, and live Christ. Without this awareness, even that of Jesus Christ becomes a mere name” (At the Origin of the Christian Claim, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal 1998, p. 4).

“There is no response more absurd than that to a question one hasn’t asked” wrote Reinhold Niebuhr. This also applies to us when we uncritically submit to the influence of the culture in which we are immersed, which seems to favor the reduction of humanity to our biological, psychological and sociological antecedents. But if humanity is truly reduced to this, what is our task as priests? What use are we? What is the sense of our vocation? How can we resist a flight from reality, taking refuge in spiritualism or formalism, seeking alternatives that make life bearable? Or wouldn’t it be better, obeying the cultural climate, to become social assistants, psychologists, cultural operators or politicians? As Benedict XVI reminded us in Lisbon, “Often we are anxiously preoccupied with the social, cultural and political consequences of the faith, taking for granted that faith is present, which unfortunately is less and less realistic. Perhaps we have placed an excessive trust in ecclesial structures and programs, in the distribution of powers and functions; but what will happen if salt loses its flavor?” (Homily at Holy Mass at Terriero do Paco of Lisbon, May 11, 2010).


Therefore, everything depends on the perception, first of all for us, of what humanity is and what truly corresponds to our infinite desire. The decision with which we live our vocation therefore derives from the decision with which we live our being men. Only within an authentically human vibration can we know Christ and let ourselves be fascinated by Him, to the point of giving Him our lives to make Him known to others. “Why does the faith still absolutely have a chance of success?” then Cardinal Ratzinger asked himself, and answered, “I would say because it finds correspondence in the nature of man. […]  In man there is an inextinguishable nostalgic aspiration toward the infinite. None of the answers sought is sufficient; only the God who has made Himself finite, to lacerate our finiteness and lead it in the breadth of His infinity, is able to meet the questions of our being. Therefore today as well, Christian faith will return to find humanity” (Fede, Verità, Tolleranza [Faith, Truth, Tolerance] Cantagalli, Siena 2003, pp. 142-143).

This certainty that Benedict XVI testifies to continually even in the face of all the evil we bring upon ourselves or cause others – just think of the pedophilia issue – invites us on a journey to rediscover and deepen our understanding of the reasonableness of the faith: “Our faith is well-founded, but this faith needs to come alive in each of us […]: only Christ can fully satisfy the profound longing of every human heart and give answers to its most pressing questions about suffering, injustice and evil, concerning death and life hereafter” (Homily at Holy Mass at Terriero do Paco di Lisbon, May 11, 2010). Only if we experience the truth of Christ in our life will we have the courage to communicate it and the audacity to challenge the hearts of the people we meet. In this way, the priesthood will continue to be an adventure for each of us and thus the opportunity to testify to our fellow women and men the answer that only Christ is for the “mystery of our being” (G. Leopardi). Thank you.

Julian Carron with smile.jpg



Father Julián Carrón is a priest of the Archdiocese of Madrid and he is the President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation centered in Milan, Italy. He was appointed by Benedict XVI to be among the experts at the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God and he is a consultant on the Pontifical Council of the Laity.

4 new priests ordained for the Diocese of Bridgeport

4 new priests Dio of Bport 2010.jpgThe Most Reverend William E. Lori ordained four deacons to the holy priesthood of Jesus Christ today at Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Augustine, Bridgeport, CT. The newly ordained priests, Fathers Jeffrey Couture, Karol Ksiazek, Jaime Marin-Cardona and Michael Novajosky will serve in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Bishop Lori spoke eloquently about the need for the priest to be both disciple and shepherd of Jesus Christ. A “theme” of the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass, particularly Psalm 23, 1 Peter 5 and John 10.  I think one can argue that a failure to live with both dimensions of priesthood (the common & ministerial) constantly in heart and mind is a lack in understanding of the vocation given by the Lord which could lead to mistakes in the exercise of the priesthood. Sure, there may be times when the shepherd aspect of a priest’s life may be more evident but the sitting at the feet of the Lord is required of any good shepherd. That is, one can’t be a shepherd if one is not first a disciple! The bishop related a story from the experience of the late Cardinal James Hickey who quietly yet confidently tried to live his priesthood as both disciple of Jesus and to act as a good shepherd for the flock his was given to lead to heaven.
The bishop also exhorted the newly ordained and those present to practice what we say we believe. Integrity of life is so very needed for the witness to be credible. Those who despise the Church cannot assail the Church and her ministers (the faithful included) if how one lives is in accord with what one professes to be true.
One small and interesting item happened at the Litany Saints –when the Church kneels and those to be ordained lay prostrate on the floor in humility– asking the saints to intercede for us, the cantor invoked the intercession of Saint Oliver Plunkett, the sometime Primate of Ireland of the 17th century convicted of treason by England and killed for the faith at Tyburn. Plunkett was the last martyr to die in England; he was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975. And this is an example of something that can make you go “hmmmm” in the sacred Liturgy. Nevertheless, I was elated someone has a devotion to Plunkett!
At the conclusion of the Mass Bishop Lori announced to the congregation the assignments of the new priests:
Reverend Father Jeffrey W. Couture will be at the Saint Edward the Confessor, New Fairfield
Reverend Father Karol J. Ksiazek will be at Saint Therese, Trumbull
Reverend Father Jaime Marin-Cardona will be at Saint Joseph, South Norwalk
Reverend Father Michael P. Novajosky will be at Saint Jude for the summer before returning to Rome to complete his studies for the License in Sacred Theology (Patristics)

All in a day…with a new priest –Father Thomas A. Roslak

Tom Roslak with his Mom May 16 2010.jpgToday was a glorious day! Besides the picture perfect day it was a perfect day to celebrate Mass for the first time by the recently ordained.  A few seminarians and I had the privilege to be a part of the “First Mass festivities” of Father Thomas A. Roslak at the Church of the Holy Rosary, Staten Island, NY.

The new priest did a very good job celebrating the Mass, leading others in prayer: he’ll be a great priest.
Father Thomas’ family and friends came to pray and to spend time with each other on this special day. Twelve priests from the archdiocese assisted 

Tom Roslak with his Mom2 May 16 2010.jpg

at Mass. The host pastor, Father Robert Aufieri was a most gracious and delightful host to all of us.
Thomas Roslak, RJ Aufieri and seminarians May 16 2010.jpg
Fathers Aufieri & Roslak PAZ, Kareem Smith Robert Rodriquez and Richard Mirano
Dan Tuite with friends.jpg
Father Daniel Tuite with some friends.

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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