Vol. 17 No. 21
October 14 - 27, 2013
Catholic Charities faces challengesfrom government shutdown
WASHINGTON D.C., Oct. 10,2013—As the U.S. government
shutdown continues, nonprot
aid groups such as CatholicCharities are feeling an addedstrain on their work at the na-tional and local levels.“While some may wonderwhat effect political disagree-ments in Washington, D.C.,could have on people in needacross our country,” explainedFather Larry Snyder, presidentof Catholic Charities USA, “thetruth of the matter is that uncer-tainty, furloughs, and limitedresources at federal agenciesdirectly hinder the vital workCatholic Charities agencies doevery day.”“The impact of this shutdownis being felt in communitiesacross the nation,” he explainedin an Oct. 4 blog post.The government shutdownbegan on Oct. 1, when federallawmakers failed to agree onspending authorization bills for
the new scal year.
This stalemate prompted ashutdown of government ser-vices deemed “non-essential,”including education programs
for at-risk preschoolers, scientic
research, and grants to charitableorganizations.As a result, federal workersworking for “non-essential ser-vices” have been furloughed,placed on unpaid leave, untillegislators can agree on spend-ing bills.The shutdown’s impact on aidprograms—such as food stampsand the Women, Infants andChildren supplemental nutri-tion program—has been mixed.Some programs are protectedfrom the effects of the shutdown,while others are subject to afreeze in federal administrationfunding.Across the country, Fr. Sny-der said, furloughed workersare relying upon Catholic Char-ities to help feed their familieswhile they are not receivingpay due to the shutdown. Atthe same time, funding forprograms such as Meals onWheels, initiatives to help at-risk youth, and other activitiesthat rely upon federal grantsare on hold.“Our agencies are being forcedto choose between shutting thedoors to much-needed programsor opening them at a severe losswhile waiting for governmentreimbursement that may ormay not ever come,” Fr. Snyderexplained.“The longer this stalematecontinues, the wider the ripplesof Congress’ failure to compro-mise will spread.”The shutdown is also affect-
ing Catholic Charities afliates
throughout the country. Many of
these afliates have been forced
to go without government fund-ing during the shutdown, whileat the same time seeing increasedneed in their community due tofurloughed workers.Michael Burrus, executivedirector of Catholic Charities inthe Diocese of Wichita, told theWichita Star when the shutdownstarted that the organizationwould try its best to continuerunning its programs.However, he said, “ if thegovernment is out of business,Catholic Charities cannot expectto continue to receive funds tosupport these programs or topay staff to run them.”Catholic Charities in Wash-ington, D.C., is also facing chal-lenges to its programs, a situa-tion which is compounded bythe city’s close relationship tothe federal government.“Due to the unique ways thatD.C. is funded, we’re runninginto a lot of problems or fund-ing delays that no other states orCatholic Charities are encounter-ing,” communications directorErik Salmi told CNA.Because the budget of thenation’s capital requires con-gressional authorization, manyof its programs and servicesare placed on hold during theshutdown.Catholic Charities in Wash-ington, D.C. is “in the midst ofassessing our situation,” Salmicontinued, adding that the orga-nization has the capacity “for ashort while to continue provid-ing services.”
Head of Comboni Missionary Sisters urges renewal
ROME, Italy, Oct. 13, 2013—Ten years afterthe canonization of Saint Daniel Comboni,the head of the Comboni Missionary Sistershas exhorted the congregation’s members todeepen their focus on Christ as they pursuetheir founder’s work.Sister Luzia Premoli, the missionary sis-ters’ general superior, in an Oct. 5 letter tothe congregation, encouraged the sisters tocontinue to become “women of the Gospel,mothers and sisters of humanity in order toregenerate life and life in abundance.”“I am convinced that we live in a pre-cious time, which invites us to reviveour hope, a time in which our thirst forauthenticity can be abundantly satisfied,if we allow ourselves to be guided by theRisen Lord, by the holiness of our founderand father, by the words and gestures ofPope Francis.”St. Daniel Comboni, an Italian-born 19th
century missionary, was the rst bishop of
Central Africa—what is now the Archdioceseof Khartoum. He founded the Comboni Mis-sionaries in 1867, and the Comboni Mission-ary Sisters in 1872.The saint encouraged African Christiansto participate in the evangelization of theircontinent and fought for the abolition ofslavery. He was canonized by Pope JohnPaul II on Oct. 5, 2003.Sr. Premoli said that the canonization hasbeen a “great gift” from the Church to the
order. She encouraged the sisters to reect
on what the canonization has meant in theirlives, and in the life of their congregation.“Where are we in the journey towards liv-ing holiness in our daily lives as a responseto the Word of God and of Comboni?”“Without a doubt, there is a crisis of hu-man and spiritual values which does notspare religious life,” she continued, criticiz-ing egoistic and self-referential attitudes.She said that many commentators havesaid that religious life needs a “qualitativeleap” and must be “converted,” in order to be“re-centered on Christ and on his word.” Thecongregation feels the need to return to “thesources of our charism in order to incarnateit in history today,” she said.Sr. Premoli said the missionary sisters“need to pay deeper attention to our spiri-tual life.” She encouraged them to become“docile and open” to the words of St. DanielComboni and to the signs that God is show-ing them in the world.The general superior encouraged thesisters to live the virtues of obedience andhumility.Obedience includes “listening to the cryof the poor, of suffering humanity and al-lowing this cry to call into question my, our,lifestyle,” she explained. In the context of acongregation, it means adherence to “a com-mon vision” and the availability for ongoingcommunity discernment.Humility is an “attitude of the heart”learned from Jesus, she said. It follows theVirgin Mary’s declaration, “I am the hand-maid of the lord.”“Humility is a virtue of those who are
strong, who keep their eyes xed on Jesus,
the suffering servant. Humility sustains thefaith and the trusting abandonment in God
who is Love,” Sr. Premoli reected. Humility
allows its practitioners to “grow in trust andmutual respect” while recognizing their owngifts and putting them to best use.“Humility enables us to accept our ownweaknesses and sinfulness and to learnto trust in the mercy and pardon of Godwho makes us compassionate and mercifultowards all,” the general superior added.She said this virtue is necessary to face “the
inevitable conicts of community and mis
-sionary life.”Sr. Premoli prayed that through the inter-cession of St. Daniel Comboni, God will givethe congregation “the grace of a renewedcommitment to live in holiness our conse-cration to God and to his mission, forever.”There are over 4,000 men and women inthe Comboni missionary congregations.The Comboni Missionary Sisters will holdtheir inter-chapter assembly this Novemberat their mother house in Verona, Italy.
Curia vision will be one of ‘service’ to Pope, localChurches
After the conclusion of their meetings, two cardinals fromPope Francis’ group of eight reveal that curia reform willlargely focus on service to Pope Francis and the universalChurch in its various areas. “We want to change the look– that the curia be at the service of the Pope, and also at theservice of the local Churches, the universal Church, and theepiscopal conferences,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay,India told CNA on Oct. 7. Cardinal Gracias was appointed byPope Francis to be among the eight members to the council ofcardinals instituted by the pontiff in April to advise him onmatters regarding church reform and governance. “The visionof the Pope is an open and merciful Church,” Cardinal Graciassaid, also touching on the upcoming Synod of Bishops slatedto take place in October of 2014.
Real prayer is always insistent, courageous, PopeFrancis notes
During his daily Mass homily, Pope Francis reected that au
-thentic prayer involves knocking “at the heart” of God with astrong, unwavering faith that he will respond. “Do we pray…out of habit, piously but unbothered, or do we put ourselvesforward with courage before the Lord to ask for the grace, toask for what we’re praying for?” he asked during the liturgy atSt. Martha’s residence Oct. 10. Prayer “that is not courageousis not a real prayer,” Pope Francis emphasized. “The Lordsays: ‘For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks,
nds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.’”
“But you have to ask, seek, and knock.”
Interaction, dialogue needed to end religious violence,
In a recent interview, theology professor Fr. Bryan Lobo urgedthat dialogue itself is not enough to end religious violence, andstressed the importance of coming together as a communityto resolve tensions. “Today dialogue has become a repeatedword, so I would like to call it ‘interreligious interaction,’”the theologian explained in a Sept. 27 interview with CNA.“It’s not just asking questions about each other’s religions andconcepts, but it’s working with each other, helping each otherfor world peace and harmony to a better world.” Fr. BryanLobo S.J., originally from India, is the Dean of Faculty at the
Pontical Gregorian University in Rome, and has just begun
a new course on the theology of religions.
Vatican to issue collector coin marking Pope Francis’
The Vatican has announced that an ofcial, commemorativecoin marking the rst year of Pope Francis’ ponticate was
released on Oct. 8. Collectors will be able to purchase the coin,which on one side bears the image of Pope Francis giving ablessing and smiling with the Latin words, “Franciscus Pont.Max An. I.,” inscribed above. The coin’s other side containsthe Holy Father’s personal motto, “vidit ergo Jesus publica-num et quia miserando atque eligendo vidit, ait illi: ‘sequereme,’” which translates to “Jesus therefore sees the tax collec-tor, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, hesays to him, ‘follow me.’” Near the text, this side of the coinvisually depicts the Gospel scene from the book of Matthew,
when Jesus rst calls the disciple to follow him. Designed by
Mariangela Crisciotti, the coin is available in gold, silver, andbronze.
Vatican takes another step in promoting fnancial
With the adoption of a detailed new law on nancial trans
-parency, vigilance and information, the Vatican has almost
completely revamped its nance laws in less than three years,
the Vatican spokesman said. Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, thespokesman, released a statement Oct. 9 on the 58-page text ofa new Vatican City State law incorporating, but also broadlyexpanding retired Pope Benedict XVI’s December 2010 docu-ment establishing the Vatican’s Financial Intelligence Author-
ity to monitor Vatican nancial operations and make sure they
meet international norms against money-laundering and the
nancing of terrorism. The text of the new law, approved by
the commission governing Vatican City State, said the revamp-
ing was necessary because nancial crimes “threaten the in
-tegrity and stability” of economic activity, “not to mention the
reputation” of those who work in the nancial sector.
Muslim leader says pope is model of what religiousleader should be
Pope Francis, like Islam’s Su mystic theologians and poets,
“is trying to do good for the sake of the Good One, motivatedby love and compassion,” said the president of the Islamic Af-fairs Council of Maryland. Mohamad Bashar Arafat, a Syrianwho has lived in the United States for more than 20 years,was visiting the Vatican and speaking to groups in Rome inearly October as a guest of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy Seeas part of the U.S. State Department’s international speakersprogram. In an interview with Catholic News Service, Arafatsaid he sees Pope Francis acting as all truly religious leadersshould: reaching out with respect for the human person andopen to dialogue.
Cardinal Dolan, in Rome, lauds pope’s ‘new strategy’of evangelization
Pope Francis’ recent warning against overemphasizing moralteachings against abortion, same-sex marriage and contracep-tion means that U.S. bishops should emulate his positive ap-proach to evangelization, not shift the priorities of their publicpolicy agenda, said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York.“What he’s saying is that if the perception of the church is of ascold who’s always nagging and always negative and alwaysfearful, we’re not going to make many converts, because no-body wants to join the church out of fear or (join a) a paranoidgroup,” the cardinal told Catholic News Service Oct. 8. “Ifwe emphasize the positive, the gracious, the embracing, thewarm, inviting side of the church, then we’re going to attractpeople,” he said. “And that of course is what Pope Francis issaying and doing on steroids.”
Pope meets Rome Jews, commemorates deportationsto Auschwitz
At a meeting with members of Rome’s Jewish community,Pope Francis denounced anti-Semitism and recalled the 1943deportation of more than 1,000 of the city’s Jews to the mostnotorious Nazi death camp — an incident that has provena major source of tension between the papacy and Jewishleaders. “It’s a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic,his roots are in part Jewish,” the pope said Oct 11. “May anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and the life of everyman and woman.” Pope Francis gave a delegation led byRabbi Riccardo Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome, a messagecommemorating the 70th anniversary of the deportation ofRome’s Jews Oct. 16, 1943. Of the more than 1,000 peoplesent to Auschwitz by the German occupiers that day, just16 eventually returned.
Australian bishop warns of problems for rural population
SYDNEY, Australia, Oct. 10,2013—Addiction problems area major issue, particularly thoserelated to pornography, warnedthe bishop of Bunbury, in West-ern Australia, Gerard Holohan,in a pastoral letter he publishedat the end of SeptemberBunbury is a primarily ruraldiocese and he said that the“Rural Financial CounselingService” has advised that thereis a growing number of ruralpeople in Western Australiawho are struggling with Internetpornography addiction, druguse and depression.The letter was limited to deal-ing with the issue of Internetpornography. It is far from beinga local problem, he noted. In fact,he said, Internet pornography ad-diction is cited as a factor in halfof divorces in the United States.Bishop Holohan offered sug-gestions as to how Christ couldhelp those who suffer fromthis and other addictions. Hecommented that in his publicministry Christ cure the sick andhelped those in need.“By his miracles, Jesus wasshowing his power to be greaterthan the kingdom of Satan,” hesaid.Those who commit sin areslaves to sin, but through hisdeath on the Cross Jesus hasredeemed us from sin, BishopHolohan explained.“As we relate personally with Jesus as Savior, our relationshipwith God is healed. Jesus’ poweralso strengthens our souls’ spiri-tual faculties so that inner har-mony and harmony with othersis restored,” he added.The pastoral letter went onto explain the problems relatedto pornography addiction, in-cluding the effects it has on thehuman brain. In the long termsuch an addiction leads to a lossof personal freedom, depres-
sion and leads to difculties in
personal relationships.“God shows mercy to all whoseek to return to God,” the letteremphasized.We are invited to repent andbelieve in the Good News, Bish-op Holohan said. Yet we alsoneed to have faith in Our Lord.“The person addicted to internetpornography needs to striveto keep deepening his or herpersonal relationship with JesusChrist,” he said.Addictions can be reversed,he commented, although it is noteasy and it may be that a personwill suffer relapses, which iswhy people need support andhelp from others.Personal prayer, the Sacra-ments, and meditation on theScriptures are also essentialmeans to help people changetheir behavior.“We need too to encourageaddicted people to seek the helpof Christ, the Savior,” the letterconcluded.We also need to prevent suchproblems occurring and to urgegovernments to take steps toprotect people from such a harm-ful product, he said.
Mongolia catechists refect on God ‘Father and Creator’
ULAANBAATAR, Oct. 12, 2013—Under-standing that God is “Father and Creator,”understanding what Catholics believe andwhat they want to proclaim to the world andwhat original sin is. These are the themes ofthe last meeting for Mongol catechists thattook place in early October in Ulaanbaatar,the capital of Mongolia. The meetings aremonthly and are used to form lay people ofthe small community of Catholics Mongolswho then will go to the various parishes toeducate catechumens of all ages.The October lesson was opened as usualby Msgr. Wenceslao Padilla, Apostolic Ad-ministrator of the young Mongolian Church,and conducted by Sister Clara Lee SPC. Thenun pointed out that “since the originalsin committed by Adam and Eve, God hassent the world patriarchs, prophets, and inthe end even His son to redeem mankind.”“This—she added—is the Good News thatwe proclaim to the world.”According to the latest estimates, Chris-tians of all denominations represent slightlymore than 2 per cent of theMongolian population, whichis largely Buddhist with sha-manistic beliefs. It also has ahigh number of non-religiouspeople, almost 40 per cent ofthe total. Few Mongolians areCatholic (835 in 2012) but thenumber of baptised has nowtopped 900. At the same time,Catholics have set up facili-ties for orphans, the destituteand elderly, medical clinics ina country with a poor healthinfrastructure, as well as vari-ous educational and technicalschools.
In 1992, when the rst for
-eign missionaries (especially Filipinos) ar-rived, including the future Msgr. WenceslaoPadilla of the Congregation of the Immacu-late Heart of Mary, there were no parishes.A few months ago, there were four in thecapital; now there are six, a sign of growth.In his pastoral letter marking 20 years of theChurch in Mongolia, the apostolic prefectnoted that, at present, there are 81 missionar-ies from 22 different countries. He also wrote
that Mongolia’s rst two native seminarians
were training for the priesthood in Daejeon,South Korea.
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