September 24, 2008

3-for-3:Third annual charity golf event may provide year’s tuition for three seminarians; $70K invested in fund for diocese's future priests

SAGINAW – Event organizers are scoring up another success in the wake of the third annual Bishop’s Charity Golf Classic to benefit seminarian education held September 17 and 18 at the Bay City Country Club and Swan Valley Golf Club in Saginaw.

“Although we cannot give a final figure yet, initial estimates indicate we have raised enough to pay the educational costs for at least two and possibly three seminarians this academic year,” said Colleen Rabine, diocesan director of community affairs. “We are immensely grateful to the many generous benefactors who recognize the importance of investing in the formation of our diocese’s future priests.”

The 2008 Golf Classic goal was to raise $94,000 to provide three one-year academic scholarships for the fall class of 23 diocesan seminarians, which includes five transitional deacons who are on track to be ordained as priests during the next year. Bishop Robert J. Carlson has ordained seven priests in the past two years.

“Our diocese is blessed to have many men with the courage to discern the Lord’s call to the vocation to the priesthood,” Bishop Carlson said. “We are also blessed to have many people from across the diocese willing to invest in our future priests through their generous prayers and financial contributions. Thank you to all those who take the time to raise up our future priests.”

In addition to the immediate tuition dollars raised through the annual Golf Classic’s banquet, silent auction and golf scramble, a special Ordinary Club luncheon was added to the 2008 events to provide for future investments. The Ordinary Club raised $70,000 for the diocese’s Seminarian Education Endowment Fund, which is invested through the Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan to benefit future seminarian education efforts.

The 2008 Golf Classic champions were the team of Jim Fabiano, Mike McGee, Dave Shooltz and Mark Serra, who returned to the clubhouse with a score of 13 under par. Individual contest winners included Jim Hammis and Vicki White with the men and women’s longest drive and Bishop Carlson and Margaret Lynch with the men and women’s longest putt.

Four lucky folks also were randomly selected to take a swing at the $1 million dollar hole-in-one prize. Peter Govorchin, Randy Groom, Fr. Pat O'Connor and Tom Rezier each drove four well placed shots, but no one aced the $1 million chance.

The fourth annual Golf Classic is set for September 16 and 17, 2009.

The diocese will continue to collect donations made to the 2008 Golf Classic through December. For more information on how to support seminarian education, contact Colleen Rabine at (989) 797-6684.

September 12, 2008

Bishop Carlson marks 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae with reflections on marriage, contraception

SAGINAW – Calling the faithful of his diocese into a deeper understanding of God’s love as it is revealed through marriage, Bishop Robert J. Carlson has released “Body and Soul: A reflection for couples called to the vocation of marriage on the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae.”

“I believe that many people, including people who have every intention of living as good and faithful Catholics, are acting in a way that is contrary to the faith, and at odds with what is humanly good, by using contraception,” Bishop Carlson wrote.

“Whether knowingly or unknowingly, they are using their bodies in a way that contradicts God’s love for them as well as their love for each other. I believe that the consequences of this contradiction are gravely harmful to marriages and to society.”

Bishop Carlson’s reflection is now available for download at the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw website ( and will soon be released in print as a resource booklet for couples preparing for the sacrament of marriage.

“Many couples have never heard this teaching, or never heard it explained in a way that made sense to them,” he wrote.” Therefore, I want to mark the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae by re-stating the Church’s teaching, and explaining why contraception is contrary to God’s plan for married life, and contrary to the true meaning of married love.”

Released on July 25, 1968, Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), subtitled “On the Regulation of Birth,” was the eighth and final encyclical published by Pope Paul VI (1963-1978). It is regarded as a pivotal document in the continued re-affirmation the Church’s teachings regarding contraception, abortion, and other issues pertaining to human life.

Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) later expanded on the themes of Humanae Vitae is his book Theology of the Body (1997), which is a compilation of weekly lectures from 1979 to 1984 to married couples about the deep meaning of human love and sexuality.

Earlier this year, Pope Benedict told participants in the International Congress on the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, “What was true yesterday is true also today. The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change; on the contrary, precisely in the light of the new scientific discoveries, its teaching becomes more timely and elicits reflection on the intrinsic value it possesses.”

In his reflection, Bishop Carlson calls the faithful to consider the difference between what is true and what is false.

“The broader problem, of course, is that the falsehood of contraception has become part of the native language of our culture,” he wrote. “It is one of many ways that we have learned to speak a language that degrades the true meaning of the body. The consequences of this degradation are evident in how the body is treated in newspapers, on television, and all over the Internet. Our culture is in serious crisis when it comes to the meaning of the body!

That meaning, Bishop Carlson wrote, is revealed in some of the earliest chapters of the Bible: “God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him, male and female he created them” (Genesis. 1:27). It is a truth that witnessed in the Gospels and proclaimed in the teachings of the Church.

“We need to return to the true meaning and dignity of the body as revealed by Jesus,” he wrote. “If we do that, we can distinguish between speaking the truth and speaking falsehood with our bodies. Then we can build our marriages — and our culture — on a sure foundation.”

Bishop Carlson wrote that it is imperative that one’s faith is expressed in both beliefs and actions.

“Our faith (or lack of faith) is not only expressed in what we believe and don’t believe with our minds, it is also expressed in what we do and don’t do with our bodies,” he wrote. “What we believe in our faith and what we do with our bodies should be consistent with each other. This is a simple matter of integrity: just as we should speak in a way that is consistent with our faith, so also we should act in a way that is consistent with our faith.”

The text of Humanae Vitae can be found online in the Papal Archives section of the Vatican website ( or in most Catholic bookstores.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw includes 106 parish communities across Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac and Tuscola counties.

September 11, 2008

Meet the 2008-2009 NET team for the Diocese of Saginaw

SAGINAW - A team from NET Ministries will find our diocese to be a home away from home during the coming months as its members work to proclaim the Gospel to local teens.

These trained young men and women will be in the diocese to facilitate retreats, talks and assist at diocesan youth functions from September through May.

The Great Lakes NET Team includes (pictured above): [back row, left to right] Maria Cherniawski, 18, of Mason, Mich.; Eric Shields, 19, of Turlock, Calif.; Ali Hoffman, 18, of Carrollton, Texas; Brad Norleen, 19, of Modesto, Calif; Megan Scardina, 22, of Denham Spring, La.; Andy Troiano, 19, of Marion, Ohio; and Rita West, 18, of Ponchatoula, La.; and [front row, left to right] Jeanette Shields, 19, of Carneys Point, N.J.; Steven Richardson, 25, of La Puente, Calif.; Katie Dretsch, 23, of Frazee, Minn.; and Derek Ellen, 19, of Chico, Calif.

NET Ministries is is an international youth ministry organization based in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minn. Its mission is to challenge young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church. To learn more about NET, visit

For more information about NET retreats and other activities in the Diocese of Saginaw, contact your local youth minister or Mark Graveline, diocesan director of youth ministry.

September 3, 2008

New resources shows how Church teaching regarding abortion has remained constant through centuries

WASHINGTON (USCCB) — To help end confusion caused by recent misrepresentations of Catholic Church teaching on abortion, the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued a two-page fact sheet called "Respect for Unborn Human Life: The Church’s Constant Teaching."

Public debate on the topic was prompted by misleading remarks by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, August 24 in an interview on Meet the Press. On August 26, Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of their Committee on Doctrine, issued a statement to correct her remarks. Other Catholic bishops released similar statements.

"This well documented fact sheet will help Catholics and others form their consciences in accordance with the Church’s unchanging teaching in defense of unborn human life," said Deirdre McQuade, Assistant Director for Policy and Communications at the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

Among other points, the fact sheet states that "modern science has not changed the Church’s constant teaching against abortion, but has underscored how important and reasonable it is, by confirming that the life of each individual of the human species begins with the earliest embryo."

The full text of "Respect for Unborn Human Life: The Church’s Constant Teaching" is available online at

The August 26 statement by Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Lori may be found at

Annual Respect Life program packets now available from USCCB

WASHINGTON (USCCB) — The 2008-09 Respect Life Program is now available in preparation for Respect Life Sunday, October 5. This year’s theme —"Hope and Trust in Life!"— comes from Pope Benedict XVI’s homily last December 31, in which he described a lack of hope and trust in life as "the ‘obscure’ evil of modern Western society."

The theme complements key messages of the Holy Father during his historic visit to the United States in April. The Respect Life flyer emphasizes Pope Benedict’s call to U.S. Catholics "to proclaim the gift of life, to serve life, and to promote a culture of life. … the message of hope we are called to proclaim and embody …" that is at the heart of the new evangelization.

Topics addressed in this year’s Respect Life Program reflect the diversity of pro-life concerns:
• the role of conscience in voting
• advances in stem cell research: where the real hope for cures lies
• pornography
• the African American community and the culture of life
• "living wills" and persons with disabilities
• male grief and trauma following abortion

Condensed versions of the articles are available in both printed pamphlet format and full-length electronic versions on an accompanying CD and on the Secretariat’s Website. The CD, included in each packet, contains all these materials, a liturgy guide, program models, memorable pro-life quotations and more, in both English and Spanish.

In addition to materials for Respect Life Sunday, this year’s liturgy guide offers Intercessions for Life, suggested preaching reflections for Respect Life Sunday and January 22, Stations of the Cross for Life and various Blessings and Prayers for vulnerable human beings–unborn children, those with disabilities, the elderly, the dying, and those condemned to die.

Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program brings Church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public. The program combines education, prayer, service and advocacy. Respect Life Sunday is observed in virtually all of the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States.

NOTE: The Respect Life packets may be ordered from the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities by calling toll-free (866) 582-0943, or by faxing orders to (301) 779-8596. Downloadable copies of Respect Life materials from 1996 onward are posted in English and Spanish on the Secretariat’s Website at

U.S. dioceses gear up for November election by promoting conscience formation, political participation

WASHINGTON (USCCB) — As the November election approaches, Catholic dioceses around the country are stepping up efforts to help Catholics understand Church social teaching and get them out to vote with a well-formed conscience.

Efforts revolve around Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the bishops’ document approved last November, and related materials that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has made available.

Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for September

VATICAN CITY, (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for September is: "That those who, because of wars or oppressive regimes, are forced to leave their homes and country may be supported by Christians in the defence and protection of their rights."

His mission intention is: "That, faithful to the sacrament of matrimony, every Christian family may cultivate the values of love and communion in order to be a small evangelising community, sensitive and open to the material and spiritual needs of its brothers."

Monthly diocesan newsletter available online

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw Monthly Newsletter for September 2008 is available online.
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