Friday, September 30, 2011

Death of an Archbishop

Archbishop Philip M. Hannan spanned two centuries. He died earlier this week at the age of 98. The Catholic News Service [CNS] offered a brief video homage to him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

400 Years in Canada

The Society of Jesus [Jesuits] has been present in Canada for four centuries. The 16 September 2011 editorial of the Catholic Register: Canada's Catholic News Source noted that the "Jesuits are a key part of our history."
Four hundred years ago a pair of brave, but no doubt anxious, French Jesuit missionaries landed at Port Royal in Acadia on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. In 1611 the small fort was a gateway to the vast, unexplored territory called New France.
The Catholic Register has made its 36-page homage to the Jesuits available electronically via a document reader.
Wiki-image of a flag-map of Canada is in the public domain.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Two Reviews of Papal Trip

Reuter's FaithWorld reporter, Tom Heneghan, offered this review of Pope Benedict's trip: the pope disappointed.

John Thavis of Catholic News Service led his analysis differently: the pope's trip was a "test case for 'new evangelization.'"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday word, 25 September 2011

26th Sunday of the Year A (25 Sep 2011)

Ez 18. 25-28; Ps 25; Phil 2. 1-11; Mt 21. 28-32

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Choosing Divine Life

The prophet Ezekiel preached a revolutionary message that marked an evolutionary change in a belief, which the people Israel had long held. God through Prophet Ezekiel challenged it: the word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, what is the meaning of this proverb that you recite in the land of Israel: “Fathers have eaten green grapes, thus their children’s teeth are on edge?”1 People used that proverb to claim that they were being punished for their ancestors’ sins rather than for their own. God challenged that, and the prophet preached a message of personal responsibility, and he received resistance to his message: If my parents were godly, then I deserve their blessings even if I live in ungodly ways. If bad things befall good people, they get what they deserve because of their ancestors’ sins.

We can understand the selection we heard from the Book of Ezekiel as our first reading when we know that. Without knowing that, we can only wonder why people cried, “The Lord’s way is not fair!”

The personal responsibility of our Jewish-Christian heritage has nothing to do with our national rugged individualism. Rugged individualism is a “belief that all individuals, or nearly all individuals, can succeed on their own and that government-help for people should be minimal.”2 In our Jewish-Christian heritage each of us is responsible to sanctify the world, that is, to impart by our actions traces of God’s presence. We don’t succeed on our own when we do that. We cooperate with God’s grace, we ally ourselves with God’s life, which God lavishes on us regardless of our circumstances.

Allying ourselves with the divine life pulsing within us is our choice. We can choose not to ally ourselves with divine life, not to cooperate with God’s grace. No one here hasn’t refused to cooperate with God’s grace from time to time. All of us have made new choices to ally ourselves with God’s life and begin again.

Just as we are free not to cooperate with God’s grace, we are free to change our minds and ally ourselves with God’s life, which God always extends. Jesus’ parable of the man [who] had two sons illustrates that. Entering the parable, the parent stands for God, and we are God’s children, who sometimes are one with God’s desires for us; sometimes are not; and at other times choose to reconcile ourselves with God and God’s desires.

Jesus’ parable also pointed to the destiny of Jesus and Israel, namely Jesus’ rejection by leaders and the transfer of God’s kingdom to others. The parable is transparent: the hearts of the chief priests and the elders of the people were hardened; and the tax collectors and the prostitutes—scripture-labels for all who reject God’s life and seek to live strictly on their terms—were truly repentant.

Some of us are here to remember and celebrate God’s life has redirected and completes ours. Some of us are here to reconcile yet again with our God and seek the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus. Some of us are to let Jesus nourish and increase our resolve to follow him more closely. Some of us are here because strength in numbers exists in common worship: communal worship informs personal praying.

All of us are here to rediscover how Jesus is inviting us to be his agents of the kingdom, his agents to make the kingdom more accessible to others. Each sabbath we convene to remember Jesus has risen, rises in us and transforms us. Our transformation includes an always new and revolutionary attitude: welcoming God’s life to influence, redirect and guide our living moment by moment. How we live affects the world.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week

  • Place yourselves in the company of the Trinity, who create you each moment and impart their life to you.
  • Ask Mary and your patron saint to present you to Jesus.
  • Speak to him and implore Jesus to refashion you to be like the parable’s son, who changed his mind.
  • Praise Jesus for his attitude and desire the same attitude that is also his.
  • Close your time with Jesus and slowly say the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus gave us to help us to have his attitude daily and to live by his way.

Link to this homily's Spiritual Exercise


  1. Ezekiel 18.2.
  2. Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, 3d Edition, 2002.
Wiki-image by © Guillaume Piolle is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Wiki-image by Pere López of a door of Betlem church is used according Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


National Punctuation Day is commemorated on September 24. Links to blogs relating to it are here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Winning Back

Reuter's reporter, Tom Heneghan, noted in a headline to his story today that "Pope Benedict wins over German Muslims in first meeting since Regensburg speech."
That speech contained a quotation that angered Muslims, and the pope did not intend that. It was different with his meeting with Muslim leaders this week, reported Mr. Heneghan.
[Muslims] praised the pope for confirming through the meeting that Islam was now a part of German society and pointing towards new and expanded cooperation between Catholics and Muslims. But they said their loyalty to the [German] constitution, a main point in his speech, was never in question.
Read the entire post to learn how the pope expressed his thoughts about the constitution and for more context from Mr. Heneghan.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bee For Benedict

The Catholic Church in Italy, each 01 September, celebrates that "day for the safeguarding of Creation." Worldwide Watch continued: Italian "Catholic congregations share the celebration with the Greek Orthodox Church, which in 1990 declared its Ecclesiastical New Year, September 1, a day dedicated to celebration and protection of the environment."

On the occasion this year, reported that "Italy's largest farming association gave Benedict XVI eight beehives containing more than 500,000 bees last Sunday."

Read the entire Zenit post to learn how many hives the bees will occupy and how much honey they will produce on the Castel Gandolfo farm.
Wiki-image by Trajan 117 is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

St. Matthew: Feast & Video has a series, Six Weeks With the Bible. It offered this 3.5 minute video introduction to the Gospel of Matthew on his annual feast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Society of Jesus Makes Environment Priority

On Monday Jesuit Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, General Superior of the Society of Jesus, named its "commitment to the defense and protection of nature and the environment," which flowed from its most recent General Congregation (the legislating body of the worldwide religious order). This concern was not new with that congregation. Thirteen years earlier the previous general congregation noted it and began to study the issue.

Uta Sievers, sent the official note from the Curia Press Office, linking to the letter of Fr. Nadal, calling on the entire Society of Jesus to make commitments toward protection of the environment.
On 16 September, Father General has sent a letter to the whole Society on the question of ecology. It encourages the Society to make a commitment to the sustainability of the planet and invites Jesuits to review personal, communal and institutional lifestyles and practices in accordance with this mission of reconciliation with creation. It also stresses the need for a change of heart, that manifests our gratitude to God, to acquire a consistent commitment to its care.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday word, 18 September 2011

25th Sunday of the Year A (18Sep2008)

Is 55. 6-9; Ps 145; Phil 1. 20c-24,27a; Mt 20. 1-16a

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

More Generous and Attentive

A shorthand way to summarize the scriptures before the time of Jesus is this. They tell parallel stories: of God’s loving fidelity to people by means of God’s covenant, and people’s not-always-faithful response to God.

When things go well and when our lives are not interrupted by crises, people have an easier time of attending to God and God’s desires. At least they are comfortable when they do. However, when our lives are lacerated by pain or upended by unexpected happenings, attending to God and God’s desires is not as easy or comfortable.

We can appreciate Isaiah’s words, Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked his thoughts, if we at least sympathize with those whom the prophet addressed. God’s people had been exiled and lived captive in a foreign land with alien deities. Their exile had grown long. Some may have grown accustomed to life in Babylon; some may have ignored Prophet Isaiah’s message. Others may have forsaken the covenant with the God of Abraham. In their grief still others may have found God’s desire of renewal after exile too difficult to believe: God’s thoughts are not [human] thoughts, to use Isaiah’s language.

In one way or other, God calling people through Isaiah’s language, suggests that some, if not many, exiles may have found other patrons for their lives and abandoned the Lord who had commanded Moses, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.”1 To live in God’s image is to walk each moment with a sense of God as Giver and Patron of our lives.

The image of God by which we live and operate is crucial. The memory of Jesus in the early church knew this as fact. It remembered that it in first-century Palestine—and we in our 21st-century sophistication—could reject or accept Jesus’ description of God as a lavishly generous Mediterranean Patron. The early church—and we—could welcome a lavishly generous, patient and seeking-for-us God, or go through life straightjacketing ourselves with an image of God as an accounts-reckoning employer, trying with all our might to limit God in a contract of our making.

Isaiah’s words focus us on generosity of the landowner of Jesus’ parable. The landowner is God, and we are those in his parable’s marketplace, standing there. Not every contemporary Catholic is standing idle, yet my American upbringing moves me first to take stock of my efforts. God’s efforts are far more important than my most accomplished ones. If not our efforts, then what? God’s desire to intervene and come to our aid.

God does not change our circumstances as the prosperity preachers of today would have us believe. Rather, God accompanies us, even when we distance ourselves from God. When we do distance ourselves from God, God seeks us and desires to stand with us as we are. That is the image of God Jesus continues to offer us, the divine image Jesus invites us to be our operative image of our God, who renews us and offers us what the world cannot give us.

Take 15 minutes with Jesus this week, and

  • Pause and rest in the creative love with which the Trinity embraces you.
  • Ask those whostood in the marketplace, waiting for someone to show interest in them, to present you toJesus.
  • Speak to Jesus as you are—whether confident or timid; advantaged or bereft; closed-handed or open-handed—and name your greatest need.
  • Praise Jesus for choosing to give his life for you and for modeling greater confidence in his Father and ours.
  • Close by saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Each time we say it, it helps us conduct []ourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of our crucified and risen Messiah, and transforms us into his more generous and attentive disciples today.


1. Leviticus 19.2.

Link to this homily's spiritual exercise


Wiki-image by Ecelan of a statue depicting a worker in the vineyard is used according to Creative Commons Attirbution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic license.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Numbers, Catholics, Social Media

The Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis will hold a Communications Day on 13 October 2011. In advance of it, the archdiocese published some numbers about Catholics' uses of social communications media. Some of the numbers may surprise.

Review them here.
[Source: Tweet from Catholic Spirit, the archdiocesan paper]

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday reflection, 11 September 2011

Jesuit Fr. James Martin was in New York City on 11 September 2001. For its 10th anniversary he again stood at and near Ground Zero and reflected on that day from a religious perspective.

[His complete, printed reflection, which appeared in America Magazine, is available here.]

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Before the Interruption

"Nine individuals told All Things Considered where they were on Sept. 10. They talked about some of their serendipitous experiences, near misses or devastating turn of events of that day — the day before America was interrupted."

The nine include former First Lady Laura Bush as well as citizens going to or already in the cities, whose names together form a memorial etched in the consciousness of citizens of the United States and throughout the world.

In addition to the printed version of memories that were broadcast, the extended audio of each person's recollection is available at the link to the program.

Lesser-Known Memorials

Memorials of 9/11 at the sites of New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, have received more publicity than others around the country and the world.

The Christian Science Monitor photogallery of 07 September 2011 highlighted 18: from the targeted sites as well as other memorials.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Missal After the Passage of Time

Thinking Faith: The Online Journal of the British Jesuits, offers broad and learned insight, reflection and educational articles as well as reviews (books and film). Writers examine the tradition of the church as well as our contemporary world to uncover God working in all things.

In the recent issue Frances Novillo "takes an extended look at the new translation [of the Roman Missal being implemented now through catechesis in parishes], placing it in its historical context, explaining the principles that informed the translators and reviewing the changes that have been made to the text."

Her first part reviews well the "historical context." Well known is the fact that
the changes to the words of the liturgy have generated strong reactions. The concerns raised demonstrate a commendable interest in the text. If these changes were received without comment, it would signify that what is said and heard at Mass is of no importance and that would be regrettable. Even the most vehement opponent of the new translation is witnessing powerfully to the importance of the Mass. However, is a particular word or phrase lost or found really the pearl of great price?
The author also noted that the document, which had set the principles of translation for the missal used since 1974 to the present, "recognises the necessary task of future translators, saying: ‘Above all, after sufficient experiment and passage of time, all translations will need review.'"

Another note well made is that the years of exposure to more scripture texts at mass can allow people to recognize scriptural allusions in the new translation. Of course, those allusions were in the Latin texts for the mass; the revised translations will allow English-speakers to hear them again.

Catholics in their 40s have known only the current missal. Catholics over 40 survived the steeper shift from Latin to vernacular. The elder Catholics can encourage younger Catholics that they, too, will survive and more.

Read Frances Novillo's first part of her essay for a good appreciation of the context of the latest edition of the Roman Missal. Continue with its second part for a look at her review of changes Catholics will be hearing soon---on the First Sunday of Advent.
Image of cover of soon-to-be-released Roman Missal, 3d edition, at USCCB site.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Tenth Anniversary

. . .of 9/11

Catholic Charities USA led its email to subscribers last week with its tribute to those who died because of that tragedy as well as those who continue to serve all in need.
[Source: Catholic Charities USA]
* * *

Catholic Charities Remembers 9/11

Catholic Charities USA, in conjunction with Catholic Charities New York and member agencies across the country, will be honoring the 10th Anniversary of September 11th in numerous ways. Join us as we pay tribute to those who lost their lives and to those who continue to serve people in need.

Ways to Remember 9/11 with Fellow CC Members:

  1. Visit the new Catholic Charities commemorative website, generously created by CC New York, which contains comprehensive information on 9/11 memorial events, articles, prayers, and other resources.
    Go to:

  2. Share your personal stories on the Catholic Charities 9/11 Facebook Page.

  3. Visit Rev. Larry Snyder’s blog and engage in the comment thread prompted by his recent post: Reflection on Nine Eleven.

  4. Visit the USCCB website, which contains extensive reflections, remembrances, videos, bishops’ statements, and liturgical resources.

  5. Download a special 9/11 Prayer Service that we’ve created—to be used by anyone, anywhere.

  6. Learn about the MyGoodDeed/HandsOn Network 9/11 Tribute Movement.
We at CCUSA wish to bring together Catholic Charities members from across the country—whether virtually, in person, or in prayer—on this important day of remembrance.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day History

Archbishop Timothy Dolan (New York) reflects on "an incident from the history of the Church in our beloved country," in his his Labor Day Message for this year.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Sunday word, 04 September 2011

23d Sunday of the Year A (04Sep2011)

Ezk 33. 7-9; Ps 95; Rm 13. 8-10; Mt 18. 15-20

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Need and Fruit

When it is our turn to watch—someone or something—you may feel, as I do, responsibility. It may be lighthearted as in a game such as Capture the Flag. It may be formal as in baby-sitting; or loving as in helping younger brothers and sisters. It may be serious as in a roadway flagger letting traffic flow alternately on a one-way road along which workers are aloft on power-lines or enduring searing heat radiating from its asphalt surface. When we are vigilant, responsibility describes us.

Prophet Ezekiel was aware that God had given him the responsibility, the mission, to watch for the house of Israel. Ezekiel was responsible to announce to them what would deepen their love and quicken their response to the God of the covenant. If the prophet announced and warned and others paid no attention, God would call them to account. If the prophet shirked his responsibility, God would hold the prophet accountable for the people’s failing.

This mission of the prophet gave believers in the God of Abraham new insight into personal responsibility. It helped them appreciate their vocation as God’s people was prophetic: to attract and lead others to God. Jesus sharpened this prophetic vocation. He formed and sent his disciples to continue his work of announcing the reign of God, which continues dawning in our world. Jesus deepened and personalized this responsibility: Jesus established the norm of negotiations and reconciliations to be personal before they became communal or bureaucratic.

If [a member of the community] sins against you, go and discuss the fault between the two of you. If [the person] listens to you, you have won over your brother [or sister].

Jesus had said earlier in his ministry that reconciliation was a matter of the heart before it was bureaucratic.

...if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother [or sister in faith] has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother [or sister in faith], and then come and offer your gift. 1

Jesus’ words apply to disciples in each age. The church is a community of humans, giving the personal pride of place. Put another way, the church as institution desires the good of each person before itself.

In practice that means that to point out a fault does not seek to make the one who points better than the other, or to make the other feel all bad on account of one fault. The purpose of pointing out a fault was and is to lead people more deeply into the heart of Jesus and of his community of faith, the church. That includes the one who does the pointing! If entering more deeply into the heart of Jesus is not the result, then it is something other than Christian reconciliation.

Jesus cast this teaching to and for the church as personal: where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Together his first and second teaching bookend his words about our mission of reconciliation. I call the first bookend the need for reconciliation; I call the second the fruit of reconciliation. When someone sins against you reveals the ongoing need for reconciling; when we do reconcile, its fruit is that we are more humane and human at the altar and everywhere.

The prophetic goal of both is to live ever more deeply in the heart of Jesus and as the heart of Jesus for the sake of our world. It is each Christian’s prophetic responsibility, one that is a life-giving joy. By it we embody Jesus’ attitude and help others to feel his attitude and embody it themselves.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week

  • Pause in the presence of the Trinity, aware of the Trinity creating you in reconciling love.
  • Ask the disciples listening to Jesus to welcome you in their circle so you may hear Jesus clearly.
  • Praise Jesus for teaching you.
  • Speak to Jesus in your words about how you have been reconciled or about how you reconcile. Hold nothing back from Jesus as you speak to him.
  • Close by saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. It keeps us vigilant and prophetic as it reminds us that God forgives us as we forgive others.


1. Matthew 5. 23-24.


Wiki-images of a statue of Ezekiel and of a woodcut of Jesus teaching are in the public domain.