June 18, 2009

Bishops approve text, inclusion of Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life, Spanish Lectionary; other liturgy votes inconclusive

SAN ANTONIO (USCCB) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), meeting in their spring general assembly, approved the text of the Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life and its U.S. adaptation to the Roman Missal. It was approved with 183 Latin rite bishops voting yes, 3 voting no and 3 abstaining. Its adaptation was approved with 179 bishops voting yes, 1 voting no and 1 abstaining.

The Spanish-language Lectionary, or Leccionario, was approved by a vote of 182 to 1. Approval on all liturgical items required two-thirds of the Latin bishops, or 163 votes.

Other liturgical action items on Masses and Prayer for Various Needs and Intentions, Votive Masses and Masses for the Dead, Ritual Masses, and Order of the Mass II produced inconclusive votes, failing to achieve 163 votes for or against. These items will be sent to the bishops absent from the San Antonio meeting for a mail vote. These items were part of the ongoing adaptation of a new English translation of the Roman Missal

Catholic Conference Offers Support for Embryo Research Transparency Legislation

LANSING (MCC) – Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long offered the Conference's support for a bipartisan package of bills introduced today that promotes transparency in human embryo research:

"The voters of Michigan spoke last November in support of Proposal 2, and from the Conference's perspective nothing in this package of bills affects the will of the people. The bills do, however, provide much needed transparency in the area of human embryo destruction in Michigan. A key component of the package mirrors an acceptable provision in recently proposed federal guidelines pertaining to human embryo research, specifically that which ensures human embryos cannot be created solely for the purpose of destruction.

"Prohibiting the trafficking of cloned human embryos into Michigan, prohibiting the creation of human-animal chimeric embryos, and requiring researchers to report how many human embryos are retained in storage, further represent common sense measures that should be widely supported in the legislature and the general public. That both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate have already offered their support for these measures, combined with the fact that nothing in this package of bills reverses the outcome of Proposal 2, should allow for Michigan to take its first step toward transparency in human embryo research."

Senate Bills 647-652 were introduced today and referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. Identical legislation is expected to be introduced in the House of Representatives.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

Cardinal George, U.S. Bishops ask President Obama, Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform before end of 2009

SAN ANTONIO (USCCB) — Cardinal Francis George of Chicago called on President Barack Obama and Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform before the end of 2009,

He called for this action June 18, at the Spring meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in San Antonio, Texas.

The statement follows.

JUNE 18, 2009

On behalf of the United States Catholic Bishops, gathered in San Antonio, Texas, at our annual spring meeting, I would ask President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties to work together to fashion and enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the end of the year.

It has been clear for years that the United States immigration system requires repair and that reform legislation should not be delayed.

We urge respect and observance of all just laws, and we do not approve or encourage the illegal entry of anyone into our country. From a humanitarian perspective, however, our fellow human beings, who migrate to support their families, continue to suffer at the hands of immigration policies that separate them from family members and drive them into remote parts of the American desert, sometimes to their deaths. This suffering should not continue.

Now is the time to address this pressing humanitarian issue which affects so many lives and undermines basic human dignity. Our society should no longer tolerate a status quo that perpetuates a permanent underclass of persons and benefits from their labor without offering them legal protections. As a moral matter, we must resolve the legal status of those who are here without proper documentation so that they can fully contribute their talents to our nation’s economic, social and spiritual well being.

Only through comprehensive reform can we restore the rule of law to our nation’s immigration system.

We urge President Obama and congressional leaders to meet as soon as possible to discuss and draft comprehensive immigration reform legislation, with the goal of making it law by the end of 2009. The Catholic bishops of our country stand ready to assist in this effort.

Pope sends Year for Priests letter to world's clergy

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - The Pope has sent a letter to the priests of the world for the occasion of the Year for Priests, which has been called to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney.

Tomorrow, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and day of prayer for the sanctification of the clergy, Benedict XVI will inaugurate this Jubilee Year for Priests during Vespers in the Vatican Basilica.

The Letter has been published in Italian, French, Spanish, English, German, Polish and Portuguese. Click here for the complete text of the English language version.

June 17, 2009

Obituary for Fr. Theodore E. LaMarre

SAGINAW – Father Theodore E. LaMarre, 89, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, died Tuesday morning, June 16, 2009 at St. Francis Home, Shields.

Father LaMarre was born on April 4, 1920, son of Peter and Evilda (Robinette) LaMarre, in Alpena, where he grew up attending St. Anne parish and school.

As a seminarian, Father LaMarre received his priestly formation at St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids, Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 22, 1945 by Bishop William F. Murphy at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

Father LaMarre’s parish assignments included ministering as assistant pastor at St. Joseph, Saginaw; and as pastor at St. Catherine, Nicholson Hill; St. Joseph, Saginaw, Our Lady of the Visitation, Bay City; Sacred Heart, Birch Run; Visitation, Detroit (Co-Pastor); Sacred Heart, Saginaw; St. Roch and St. Felix of Valois, Caseville and Pinnebog; and St. Elizabeth, Marlette. He also served as the director of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the Alpena Deanery and a member of Saginaw’s Urban Task Force. In addition, he was a charter member of the Human Relations Commission in the City of Saginaw and the Civil Rights Commission for the State of Michigan.

He was honored by the American GI Forum for his years of service as a priest and an advocate for the minorities of Saginaw. Father LaMarre also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bridge Center for Racial Harmony. He had a great heart for the poor and a passion for justice. Father LaMarre was granted senior priest status (retired) in 1993.

Father LaMarre is survived by his brothers and sisters: Armand (A.J.) LaMarre of Roscommon, Madeline Lucas of Alpena, Imogene Manion of Rochester, and Virgil (Gladys) LaMarre of Alpena; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his brothers: Albert (Dorothy) LaMarre, Henry LaMarre and Richard (Kathelen) LaMarre; sisters, Rena LaMarre and Sr. Mary Thea LaMarre; and a sister-in-law, Dorothy LaMarre.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 20, 2009 at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt Ave., Saginaw. Committal and burial will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery in Alpena at 1 p.m. on Monday, June 22, 2009.

Visitation will take place at the Deisler Funeral Home, 2233 Hemmeter Rd., Saginaw, from 2 to 8 p.m. on on Friday, June 19, 2009, with a vigil service at 4:30 p.m. and from 9 a.m. until the time of the funeral on Saturday at the Cathedral.

Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Saginaw, or the Saginaw Area Loan Assistance Program. Share your thoughts and memories about Father LaMarre at the funeral home, church or online at www.deislerfuneralhome.com.

Cyril &Methodius: perennial example of inculturation

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - Sts. Cyril and Methodius, apostles of the Slavs and co-patrons of Europe, were the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis during his general audience, which was held this morning in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope sketched a brief biography of the saints explaining how Cyril, born in Salonika around the year 826, received a careful education and was ordained a priest at an early age. Soon afterwards his older brother Methodius, born about the year 815, abandoned his own administrative career and retired to a monastery on Mount Olympus in Bithynia where he was subsequently joined by Cyril.

Some years later the imperial government entrusted Cyril with a mission to the peoples living around the Sea of Azov who had asked to be sent "a man of letters capable of discussing with Jews and Saracens". On his return to Constantinople, the emperor Michael III, who had been a school friend of Cyril, sent the two brothers to Moravia where Prince Ratislav had requested "a teacher capable of explaining the true faith to us in our own language.

"Their mission", the Pope added, "soon met with unexpected success. By translating the liturgy into Slavic the two brothers earned great affection among the people. This, however, also aroused the hostility of the Frankish clergy who had arrived in Moravia earlier and considered the territory as part of their own ecclesial jurisdiction". Travelling to Rome to justify their actions, the brothers stopped in Venice where they opposed the "so-called trilingual heresy, ... which sustained that there were only three languages in which God could legitimately be praised: Hebrew, Greek and Latin".

The brothers eventually reached Rome to request the support of Pope Hadrian II. That Pontiff "understood the great importance of their exceptional mission" because he thought "the Slavic peoples could act as a bridge between East and West, helping to maintain the unity of Christians on both sides of the empire. Thus he did not hesitate to approve the brothers' mission in Great Moravia, accepting the use of the Slavic Language in the liturgy".

While in Rome Cyril fell seriously ill and died on 14 February 869. Methodius returned to Moravia and Pannonia in 870 "where he worked actively in organising the Church and in forming a group of disciples". He died on 6 April 885.

"To give a brief spiritual profile of the two brothers", the Holy Father continued, "we must first note the passion with which Cyril studied the writings of St. Gregory of Nazianzus from whom he learnt the importance of language in transmitting the Revelation". In this context, Benedict XVI recalled how, even before their mission to Moravia, Cyril and Methodius "were working on a plan to gather Christian dogmas into books written in Slavic. This entailed the need for new graphic symbols, closer to the spoken language, and from here arose the Glagolitic alphabet which, subsequently modified, became known as 'Cyrillic' in honour of the person who inspired it".

"Cyril and Methodius were convinced that individual peoples could not claim to have fully received the Revelation until they had heard it in their own language and read it in the letters of their own alphabet". Thus they are, he went on, "a classic example of what today we call 'inculturation': each people must integrate the revealed message into their own culture and express the truths of salvation with their own language".

In this context, the Pope concluded, "the brother saints have left a testimony ... from which the Church today continues to draw inspiration and guidance".

June 16, 2009

Liturgical items will dominate U.S. Bishops’spring meeting agenda in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO (USCCB) — The Spring General Meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) starts June 17 in San Antonio, Texas.

In the agenda Wednesday afternoon are the report by the National Advisory Board and a presentation by Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan, Puerto Rico on the proceedings from the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Bishops Council (CELAM).

The action items will revolve around liturgical items including Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life, the Order of Mass, and Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions. The later portion of the afternoon will be dedicated to oral reports on the Pastoral Initiative on Marriage and the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage.

On Thursday, elections to Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) board as well as debate and vote on all the Divine Worship action items will be held. The later portion of the morning will be dedicated to economic issues such as funding the Causes and Context Study and debate and vote of the 2010 dioceses’ assessment.

June 15, 2009

Corpus Christi: Evidence that God is Love

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - At midday Sunday, before praying the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope dedicated some remarks to the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, which is being celebrated today in various countries and "in which the Sacrament of the Lord's Body is borne in solemn procession".

At the heart of this feast, the Pope explained, "is the sign of the bread, fruit of the earth and the heavens. Hence the Eucharistic bread is the visible sign of He in Whom heavens and earth, God and man, were joined and made one".

"The Solemnity of Corpus Christi is intimately associated with Easter and with Pentecost: its premise is the death and resurrection of Jesus and the effusion of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore it is directly linked to the Feast of the Blessed Trinity, which was celebrated last Sunday. Only because God Himself is a 'God of relation' is it possible to have a relationship with Him; and only because He is love can He love and be loved. Thus Corpus Christi is an expression of God, it is evidence that God is love. In a unique way this feast speaks to us of divine love, of what it is and what it does".

"Love transforms all things", said Benedict XVI, "and hence we can understand why, at the heart of today's Feast of Corpus Christi, lies the mystery of transubstantiation, the sign of Jesus-Charity that transforms the world. By looking at Him and adoring Him, we are saying: yes, love exists, and because it exists things can change for the better and we may hope.

"It is the hope that arises from the love of Christ that gives us the strength to live and to face up to difficulties", the Holy Father added. "That is why we sing as we carry the Blessed Sacrament in procession; we sing and we praise God Who revealed Himself by hiding Himself in the sign of the broken bread. We all need this Bread because the journey towards freedom, justice and peace is long and tiring".

He then called upon the faithful to imagine "with how much faith and love the Virgin must have received and adored the Blessed Eucharist in her heart. For her, each time was like reliving the entire mystery of her Son Jesus, from conception to resurrection". Then, after recalling how John Paul II had described Mary as "Eucharistic woman", Pope Benedict concluded by encouraging people to learn from her "to renew our communion with the Body of Christ, in order to love one another as He loved us".

June 8, 2009

Watch Wednesday's installation of Archbishop Carlson

Watch Wednesday's 2 p.m. installation of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson locally on EWTN or online at www.CatholicTV.com or http://www.archstl.org/.

Carlson will be installed as the 10th ordinary and 9th Archbishop of St. Louis. He served as the fifth Bishop from 2005 until his appointment to St. Louis on April 21.

Pope: Name of the Holy Trinity is engraved in the universe

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - In his remarks preceding the June 7 Angelus, the Holy Father spoke of the three Solemnities celebrated after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday which fell June 7, Corpus Christi on Thursday and the Feast of the Sacred Heart on Friday of next week.

"Each of these liturgical feasts", the Holy Father told the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, "focuses on an aspect that embraces the entire mystery of the Christian faith, respectively: the reality of the One Triune God, the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the divine-human centre of the Person of Christ. In truth, these are all aspects of the one mystery of salvation" and "comprehend the entire span of Jesus' revelation from incarnation to death and resurrection, unto His ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit".

Benedict XVI went on, we contemplate the Holy Trinity "just asJesus revealed it to us. He showed us that God is love 'not in the unity of a single person, but in the Trinity of a single substance'". Thus He is "Creator and merciful Father; only-begotten Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate Who died and rose again for us; and finally, Holy Spirit Who moves everything, universe and history, towards the final recapitulation.

"Three Persons Who are one God", the Pope added, "because the Father is love, the Son is love and the Spirit is love. God is entirely and only love, pure love, infinite and eternal. He does not live in splendid solitude, rather He is the never-ending source of life Who incessantly gives and communicates Himself. We may get some idea of this by observing both the macro universe (our earth, the planets, the stars and galaxies) and the micro universe (cells, atoms, elementary particles). In a certain way the 'name' of the Holy Trinity is engraved on everything that exists, because all being, down to the smallest particle, exists in relation to others".

Thus we see the "God of relation", thus in the final instance we see "creative Love. Everything comes from love, tends towards love and moves impelled by love, though naturally with differing degrees of awareness and freedom".

"The strongest proof that we are made in the image and likeness of the Trinity is this: only love can make us happy, because we live in relation to others, we live to love and to be loved. Using an analogy taken from biology we could say that the human beings carry in their 'genomes' the profound traces of the Trinity, of God-Love", the Holy Father concluded.

June 5, 2009

Archbishop Carlson ordained three priests for the Diocese of Saginaw

SAGINAW -- Archbishop-elect Robert J. Carlson ordained three priests to serve the Diocese of Saginaw during a 1 p.m. Mass today at St. Stephen in Saginaw.

Carlson, who was appointed to lead the Diocese of Saginaw in December 2004, will be installed as Archbishop of Saint Louis, Mo., on June 10. With today's ordinations, he now leaves the Diocese of Saginaw 11 new priests -- nearly 20 percent of the active presbyterate.

The diocese newest priests include:

Father David Jenuwine, 47, (pictured second from right), is a Detroit native. He held careers as a researcher for General Motors and as a linguist for the U.S. Navy before he pursued God's call to the priesthood following a discernment retreat at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit in 2001. He holds electrical engineering degrees from General Motors Institute and Purdue University in addition to a Christian ministry and theology degree from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and a master's in divinity from St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. Father Jenuwine has been assigned as associate pastor at Sacred Heart, Mt. Pleasant, with residence at St. Mary University Parish, Mt. Pleasant, effective July 1.

Father Thai Hung Nguyen, 55, (pictured far right), is a native of Vietnam. In 1980, he fled his home country as one of the many "boat people" who escaped the Communist nation following the Vietnam War. After being rescued by a German freighter, he lived and worked as a refugee in Germany for 18 years. He left Germany for the United States after a 1997 pilgrimage to Medjugorie, Bosnia, rekindled the call to the priesthood he first felt when he was 10 years old. He has studied at Sacred Heart Seminary, spent a semester in Rome, and at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn. Father Nguyen has been assigned as chaplain at St. Mary’s of Michigan Hospital, Saginaw, and in-residence at Holy Family, Saginaw, effective July 1.

Father José Parra, 32, (pictured far left), is a native of Chiquinquira, Colombia. Although he has felt the Lord's call to the priesthood since he was 9 years old, Father José worked as a salesman and electrician before he enrolled in St. Joseph Seminary in Tunja, Colombia. He came to the Diocese of Saginaw in 2007 after meeting then-Bishop Carlson through the Messengers of Peace religious community, which the bishop founded in Colombia. He studied English at Saginaw Valley State University and earned his master's of divinity degree from St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa. Father José has been assigned as associate pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas, Saginaw, effective July 1.

The Diocese of Saginaw is home to an estimated 119,000 Catholics worshiping in 105 parish communities throughout Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties.

Bishop Cistone on TV 12

Bishop Cistone talked to WJRT TV-12 about the sexual abuse scandal and his commitment to protect children and young people.

Watch TV-12's the story at http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=6848711

June 3, 2009

Archbishop Carlson will serve as Apostolic Administrator

SAGINAW - Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Robert J. Carlson as Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw following his installation as Archbishop of Saint Louis on June 10 until the installation of Bishop Joseph R. Cistone as the sixth Bishop of Saginaw on July 28.

June 1, 2009

U.S. Bishops express 'profound regret' about shooting death of abortion doctor

WASHINGTON (USCCB) — Speaking on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, expressed profound regret upon learning of the shooting death of abortion doctor George Tiller.

"Our bishops' conference and all its members have repeatedly and publicly denounced all forms of violence in our society, including abortion as well as the misguided resort to violence by anyone opposed to abortion," Cardinal Rigali said.

"Such killing is the opposite of everything we stand for, and everything we want our culture to stand for: respect for the life of each and every human being from its beginning to its natural end. We pray for Dr. Tiller and his family."