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Doing Christ’s Work in the World

Shining Examples
New York Catholics in Service to the Community

Priesthood Now Hospital Chaplains
Where We Came From, Where We’re Going
Crisis of the Faithful: Rebuilding Trust

Saying Yes to Christ Why So Many Feast Days for Mary?
Becoming Catholic as an Adult Must-Attend Events Around the Archdiocese
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle

very year around the start of the faithful might move forward. You
November we turn the clocks will also find plentiful evidence that the
back by an hour and, all of a Church remains a mighty instrument of
sudden, it seems as if we are plunged Christ’s mercy and love in the world.
into darkness. Night intrudes upon When I read in these pages about the
the day, and the people you pass on the teachers, chaplains, sisters, priests and
street look grim, gnawed by an aware- lay leaders who are so passionately and
ness of the frigid winter days ahead. selflessly engaged in ministries like feed-
Why then, a few weeks later, though ing the hungry, sheltering the homeless,
the winds are colder and the darkness comforting the afflicted and teaching
has only increased, are many smiling the Gospel, I realize that there is much
again? Because they know that the reason to be hopeful. I am inspired by
great feast celebrating the birth of the the faith with which you, the people of
“light of the world” is coming. the Church, are carrying on the work of
In some ways, the onset of winter Christ in service to our community. We
seems especially dark this year, after must make certain that this good work
months of news reports about past sex- redeem our sins and shine His light continues and is not cast into shadows.
ual abuse by Catholic clergy and past upon the world. We humbly pray for “You are the light of the world,” Jesus
cover-ups by Church leaders. Although Christ’s help and wisdom as we get on said. “Let your light shine before others,
the Church in 2002 put in place a strong with the hard work that needs to be that they may see your good deeds and
system for preventing victimization of done in order to set His Church back glorify your Father in heaven.” At times
children, it has become apparent that on its proper course. like this each of us can help bring His
there are still gaps and needed reforms. In this issue of Archways, you will light into our cities, towns and neighbor-
These reports confronted us once again find information on what happens hoods. The people in these pages shine a
with the shame of past actions and have when someone approaches the Arch- light for all to see.
exacerbated the pain of those who suf- diocese of New York to report a claim So, be not afraid. Be of good cheer.
fered at the hands of clergy who betrayed of abuse, along with reflections on Have a peaceful and joyful Advent,
a sacred trust. how the crisis has affected everyone Christmas and New Year. Keep up the
So this year we are especially thank- from survivors to priests to the laity good work. And don’t hide your lamp
ful to God for sending His son to in general, and how the Church and under a bushel basket.

Faithfully in Christ,

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

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Archways † WINTER 2018–19

HEROES Our parishes and our communities
are better places because of Catholics
who devote their lives to service

Students from St. John Chrysostom’s School, Bronx,
at the Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon, 2017
Photo © Maria R. Bastone

2 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
Shining a Light
Parish priests from three generations
talk about their calling, their lives as 4 FORUM
clergy, and their thoughts on the future Answers and ideas

28 SAYING YES Responding to the abuse

TO CHRIST crisis; chaplaincy training;
what’s so important about
Al Smith; our teen reporter
The stories of three people who have
files from New York Catholic
elected to become Catholic this Easter Youth Day; gifts for readers

Faith-based happenings
around the archdiocese

OFFICE: 1011 1st Avenue,
New York, NY 10022
archnewyork ny_arch

archnewyork archny

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 3

Why are there three separate holy days of obligation
devoted to Mary, and why is one of them on New Year’s Day?
The feasts of the Blessed Virgin to the liturgical calendar. In particular,
Mary occupy a special place in the the date chosen for the Solemnity of Mary,
liturgical year. Not only is Mary a Mother of God, has an interesting history.
model of virtue, as is every saint, In ancient Rome, January 1 was a day
but through her holy life, she played dedicated to the god Janus, who is often
an essential role in the saving works depicted as facing simultaneously in
of Christ. She conceived and gave two directions: toward the old year
birth to Jesus, shared in His life and and the new. His day was marked by
ministry, remained by the foot of the feasting and riotous celebrations. To
cross, witnessed to His resurrection contrast with these pagan festivities,
and received the gift of the Holy Spirit the early Christian church observed
along with the apostles at Pentecost. January 1 with fasting and penance.
She was assumed into heaven body Writing to Christians in the early
and soul and continues to be a part of fifth century, Saint Augustine said,
her Son’s saving work by interceding “Let them give new year’s gifts; you
for us, praying that we may each grow should give alms! Let them sing
in holiness and one day join her and boisterous songs; you should open
her Son in heaven. your hearts to the word of God! Let
We honor Mary and pray to her them rush to the theater; you should
throughout the year, but we do so rush to the church!” It is hardly a
in a special way on these three days: surprise, however, to learn that many
January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, people were more drawn to feasting
Mother of God; August 15, the than fasting. After the Council of
Assumption of Mary; and December Ephesus, therefore, the Church
8, the Immaculate Conception. These decided to step back from the day of
days focus on three of the most penance and instead redirect the new
significant aspects of Mary’s holy year’s celebratory spirit toward a more
life: her role as the Mother of God, noble purpose: a feast in honor of
her assumption into heaven, and her Mary, the Mother of God.
preservation from all stain of original For centuries, Christians have
sin (that with which we are born as a sought ways to honor Mary as a
result of Adam and Eve’s rebellion in model of virtue and to ask for her
Eden). Each offers us an opportunity intercession. The liturgical year is
to reflect on her sanctity and virtues, a powerful means by which we can
as well as her agency in bringing all of enter more deeply into the Paschal
God’s people closer to her Son, Jesus. Mystery of Christ by recalling the
These holy days of obligation trace their unique role of Mary in her Son’s life
origins to the year 431 and the Council and in our lives every day.
of Ephesus, which officially recognized
Mary as Theotokos (“Mother of God”). Fr. Matthew Ernest
Following that pronouncement, many Director, Office of Liturgy
feast days dedicated to Mary were added Archdiocese of New York

4 Archways
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WINTER 2018–19
What are the steps for an adult to become
a member of the Catholic Church?
The path to becoming Catholic is the which you receive instruction about
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the Catholic faith. It begins with the
or RCIA. It is made up of several stages, Rite of Acceptance into the Order of
each with its own initiation rites. Catechumens, at which participants
The RCIA’s focus is on preparing (called catechumens if unbaptized and
unbaptized adults to enter the candidates if baptized) are welcomed into a bit like a wedding and reception all

Photo © Mary DiBiase Blaich
Church, but the same program, their new congregation at a Mass. Like in one. The honeymoon is the period
with modifications, provides for the inquiry period, the catechumenate of mystagogy, when you continue
the initiation into the faith of non- lasts as long as you need it to. to meet with the people who have
Catholic Christians and adults who Then you get engaged, so to speak, accompanied you through this
were baptized as Catholics but never entering what is called the period process, receiving further catechesis
completed their sacraments. of purification and enlightenment, and deepening your understanding of
It’s like a relationship. First, you meet which coincides with Lent. It begins what you have received.
and you want to get to know each other. with the Rite of Election, where you This is the way our Church welcomes
That is the period of inquiry. For most, are presented to a bishop at a service and blesses, forms and informs those
this begins with a meeting with the in the cathedral and he calls you to seeking to share our life.
pastor or the head of the RCIA program the sacraments at Easter.
Fr. Donald Baker, Pastor
at the parish you would like to join, and At the Easter Vigil, catechumens are
Parish of St. Monica /
may continue with subsequent meetings baptized, then make first communion St. Elizabeth of Hungary /
and discussions to ensure that this is an and are confirmed. Candidates, who, St. Stephen of Hungary, New York
appropriate path for you. This period as we said, have been baptized
lasts for as long as you need it to. previously, do not need to be baptized For more about RCIA in the
Then you “go steady.” That is the again, but they do receive communion Archdiocese of New York, see
period of the catechumenate, during and confirmation. This celebration is “Saying Yes to Christ,” page 28.

Have a question for a priest (or deacon or nun)? Send it to and we just might answer it in our next issue!


The Catholic Planner vs. Alexa
It’s Jesus’ birthday, and once again He’s not asking for any That’s where the Catholic Planner comes in. Day-Timer
gifts for Himself. Still, while none of the packages under the traditionalists will love its sumptuous leather binding;
tree have His name on them, in a sense they are all given the pages inside have something for everyone: scripture
in His name – so why not err on the side of the saints? readings, facts about saints, a calendar of feast days, a
First-person shooter game? Maybe not. High-speed gaming Path to Sainthood goal-setting tool and a Weekly Retreat
computer? Dubious. Amazon Echo, aka Alexa? Hmm... with space to record personal prayers. Taken together,
To be clear, we’re not saying there’s anything inherently the Catholic Planner is an invitation to keep spiritual
wrong with Alexa or Google Home or other networked goals in focus when planning the activities of daily life
gadgets, and there’s no denying that the technology behind (
them is amazing. Like everything connected to the Internet, Once that’s taken care of, Alexa can help you out with
however, they must be used wisely, or they can lead us into reminders and check your schedule for conflicts. Just don’t
questionable choices. God is not part of their algorithms. ask, “Alexa, what would Jesus do?”

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2018–19 5

Photo © Maria R. Bastone
Cardinal Dolan with Judge Barbara Jones.

In September, Cardinal Dolan held
a press conference at which he an-
nounced the appointment of Judge
Barbara Jones as Special Counsel and
Independent Reviewer for the Arch-
diocese of New York, and asked her to
do an exhaustive study of archdioce-
san policies, procedures and protocols
regarding allegations of clerical abuse
of young persons. The cardinal also
ISSUE detailed many of the archdiocese’s ex-
isting policies, among them “report-
ing all cases to the DA, [commission-

CRISIS OF THE FAITHFUL ing of] outside investigations, referral
to our independent lay review board,
and ‘zero tolerance’ of guilty priests,

I n the summer of 2018, a flood of me-
dia reports appeared concerning sex-
ual abuse of minors and young people
period of deep soul-searching. Many
feel grief-stricken and want a clear
demonstration from Church leaders
with their names published.” He in-
dicated that Jones would be working
beyond the issue of abuse of minors to
by Catholic clergy in the United States. that meaningful steps are being taken “enhance and strengthen our proto-
Almost all of these reports concerned to right wrongs, prevent future abuse cols for accusations of inappropriate
assaults that occurred before 2002, when and rethink the relationship between behavior by anyone abusing his or
the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops the Church and the faithful. her position of authority.” (The full
(USCCB) issued the Charter for the Pro- On the following pages, we ask Fr. text of the cardinal’s remarks, along
tection of Children and Young People Daniel Kearney, pastor of Manhattan’s with a detailed overview of the arch-
(also called the Dallas Charter). Nev- Church of the Ascension, to give us diocese’s response to this issue since
ertheless, some deeply troubling new a parish priest’s perspective, and Sr. 1993, is available at
details emerged concerning cover-ups Eileen Clifford, the victim assistance index.php/category/blog.)
and lack of accountability as well as in- coordinator for the Archdiocese of New Jones’s investigation is expected to
formation about abuse of seminarians. York, to explain what happens when an extend into 2019.
American Catholics have entered a abuse survivor makes a report.

6 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
REBUILDING TRUST An interview with Fr. Daniel Kearney
Archways: In 2002, the Dallas Charter – if we’re trying to live the Gospel this extra layer of accountability, that
laid out new practices to end the plague seriously, that’s a high calling. could be really positive as we move
of clerical abuse of minors. Why are we into the future.
having a second crisis? Archways: What have we learned from
the errors of the past? Archways: Many Catholics are engaged
Fr. Kearney: By and large, the focus of in critically important work – running
the current scandal is that there were Fr. Kearney: Obviously we haven’t shelters, food pantries, health-care
still people in leadership positions learned as much as we should have facilities ... the list is very long. What do
who continued the secrecy and the or we wouldn’t be in the position we lose if a lot of good people walk away?
cover-ups of pre-2002 cases – and in a

“There has to be another level of transparency,
few instances, post-2002 cases – after
the Dallas Charter came out. This
should never have happened.
and it has to include lay people.”
Archways: Priests today must feel like
they are under a microscope. Is there we’re in right now. Parishioners are Fr. Kearney: I have parishioners who
any way to get past this? saying to me, “The bishops have tell me that the reason they belong to
lost their moral authority. The only Ascension is because we have so many
Fr. Kearney: It’s frustrating, it’s way they’re going to get it back is by outreach programs for the vulnerable.
difficult, it’s almost humiliating, looking at themselves honestly and For those parishioners, that’s the
because so many of the problems saying, ‘Where have we failed? What Gospel message, to care for those who
that have come up in recent months do we do to regain the people’s trust?’” are the least among us, and they’re
were created by leadership. No one’s What I’m hearing from people is that going to keep doing it, regardless of
perfect. Priests, cardinals, bishops the secrecy must end. There has to be what a bishop is saying or not saying.
have done horrible things. And I pray transparency. We will lose some members if things
that this will never be repeated. But don’t change. But the people doing
we also need to live in the present Archways: Looking ahead from the the volunteering are the ones who
moment. We need to move forward. present moment, what will be the state get that this is what being a person
of the Church one, two, five years from of faith is all about, and I don’t think
Archways: Was there too much today? If we achieve a good outcome, they’re going anywhere. This is what
deference accorded to priests in the past? what will we have done to get there? we do. We feed the poor, we house the
homeless, we shelter people.
Fr. Kearney: There absolutely was Fr. Kearney: I can’t envision how
and there still is, even after all that we could allow ourselves to move Archways: What would you say to
has happened. Clericalism – holding forward without some kind of change. Catholics who are considering leaving
priests up above others – has been A couple of the bishops from the the Church?
one of the great sins of the Church. USCCB have talked about the need to
You know, I’m no different than have a lay supervisory board over the Fr. Kearney: I completely get why
you. When I walk out of church on bishops – concerning overall Church some would consider that. I can’t say
Sunday morning I want people to be governance, not just sexual abuse. My there haven’t been times I’ve thought
respectful, but it’s the same respect parishioners are saying this as well: the same thing. But if someone gets
that I’m giving to them. I would hold that there has to be another level of food poisoning, they don’t stop eating
myself equal to my people rather than transparency, oversight. And it has to food. The reason to remain in the
being above them. We all received include lay people, and it has to include Church is to be present with Christ in
a high calling at baptism, and we’re women. I do believe that God’s spirit the communal setting and to receive
all trying to live up to that. Doesn’t is very much present in the world the Eucharist. Priests and bishops
matter if you’re a priest, doctor, and in the Church, and if His spirit come and go. What remains the same
candlestick maker, whatever you are can move the bishops to be open to is Christ’s message of love.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 7


SUPPORTING SURVIVORS An interview with Sr. Eileen Clifford
Archways: What happens when read and discuss the reports and Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal;
someone reports abuse of a minor to then make a recommendation to the it comes from a long-term loan
the archdiocese? cardinal. If the charges are credible leveraging archdiocesan assets.

Sr. Eileen Clifford: When someone
contacts the archdiocese to report “There are consequences to abuse,
not only for the victim-survivor, but also
that they were sexually abused by
a member of the clergy, they may
contact the office by phone, email
or postal mail, but I always respond for their parents, spouses, children and
immediately and try to speak with
them directly. I listen to their story
other loved ones, that can play out for
and I offer to meet with them. decades after the abuse has ended.”
We ask the victim-survivor for a
signed statement of what happened. and substantiated, the accused will be Archways: Is this problem ever going to
That’s difficult for them. It’s hard removed from ministry. In addition, get better?
enough for them to contact us in the district attorney may pursue a
the first place because it means they criminal prosecution. Sr. Eileen Clifford: I’ve been doing
have to go back and remember what this work since 2002, when the United
happened to them, which many times Archways: What support does the States Conference of Catholic Bishops
a person will have worked hard not to archdiocese offer to the survivor and adopted the Charter for the Protection
think about for years. their families? of Children and Young People. Since
then, I have sadly received a great
Archways: Who investigates the Sr. Eileen Clifford: There are number of reports of abuse from 2002
allegations? consequences to abuse, not only for and earlier, but thankfully allegations
the victim-survivor, but also for their of clerical abuse occurring in the
Sr. Eileen Clifford: We ask the victim- parents, spouses, children and other archdiocese after the adoption of the
survivor to call the district attorney loved ones, that can play out for decades charter have been extremely rare.
in the jurisdiction where the abuse after the abuse has ended. Many This does not alleviate the deep pain
took place – I provide them with the terrible things can happen: substance and outrage caused by the terrible
name and telephone number. At the abuse, marital problems, even suicide. abuse that occurred prior to that time,
same time, we let them know that the We offer referrals to outside counseling but it does signal that, if we remain
archdiocese always informs the DA of services and pastoral services to help watchful, we can effectively eliminate
any allegations of clerical abuse of a survivors and their families deal this evil and keep children safe now
minor in their jurisdiction. with the emotional and psychological and in the future.
repercussions of what occurred, and
When the office of the DA has completed the archdiocese pays for the treatment.
its investigation, the archdiocese then To report sexual abuse by a priest,
starts its own inquiry. For impartiality, While money can never right these bishop or deacon, please contact Sr.
we use a third-party service, whose wrongs or make the pain go away, Eileen Clifford at 646-794-2949, or by
investigators are mostly former FBI many victim-survivors are also emailing
agents, to interview the victim- eligible for a financial settlement Complaints may also be submitted
survivor and conduct a follow-up from the Independent Reconciliation online at or via U.S. mail
to Victims Assistance Coordinator,
investigation. We do an in-house and Compensation Program. For the
1011 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10022,
inquiry as well. The results of these record, the money for this program
in a sealed envelope clearly marked
investigations go to the members doesn’t come out of your charitable CONFIDENTIAL.
of the Advisory Review Board, who contributions to your parish or the

8 Archways † WINTER 2018–19

A HEALING With patients at White Plains Hospital: Fr. Thomas Chellan

SPIRIT Joseph (left photo) and Fr. John Devaney (above).

A human being can only handle so
much. You’re stuck in the hospi-
tal. You or your loved one has just re-
which now has 22 chaplains serving
27 hospitals and visiting with more
than 100,000 patients a year – and
allows them to connect more deeply
with patients and play a more integral
role in their overall spiritual and sacra-
ceived a diagnosis, undergone an oper- the creation of standards and train- mental care and physical healing. CPE,
ation, suffered a setback. You feel lost ing and support programs for chap- in the words of one chaplain, “teaches
and alone. lains, parish priests and lay ministers. me to bring myself to that mission and
At some point in our lives, the majori- At the heart of the training is a reg- help the person through whatever they
ty of us will have an experience like this. imen called clinical pastoral educa- are experiencing.”
The doctors have done what they can, tion (CPE), which provides training In addition to priests, lay volunteers
and now we need God’s help. Thanks to in the essential skills and knowledge can receive training. A significant part
ArchCare, the health-care ministry of required to minister to patients and of the chaplaincy mission is carried out
the Archdiocese of New York, there is a their families in the hospital setting. by Eucharistic ministers, who bring the
corps of priests serving the hospitals of “The chaplain-patient interaction sacrament – and the Church – to the pa-
the archdiocese and trained to guide us is about lending a compassionate tients they visit. And now ArchCare is
through such crises. ear, understanding what patients are developing a five-year plan to offer this
In 2016, Cardinal Dolan approached going through and helping them in training more widely to EMS workers
Fr. John Anderson, vice president their journey. It is a skilled encoun- and other non clerical caregivers.
for mission integration at ArchCare ter,” says John Schultz, director of “These are rich opportunities for
and a board-certified chaplain, about the archdiocesan chaplaincy and a evangelization,” Fr. Anderson says. “A
strengthening the hospital chaplaincy board-certified chaplain. These inter- time when people are reminded of the
program in the archdiocese. “Is the ser- actions are important moments where presence of God in the moment and
vice adequate?” Cardinal Dolan asked. the Church is meeting people where can come closer to a sense of peace
“Can everyone who wants sacraments they are and when they need it most. and wholeness.”
get them? And beyond the sacraments, They are transformative experiences For more information on the ArchCare
are we serving people’s spiritual needs?” for both the patient and the priest. Chaplaincy program or to make a contri-
The result was the development of The enriched training and other sup- bution, contact Minnie Shin at mshin@
ArchCare’s Chaplaincy Apostolate – port the priests receive under ArchCare or 646-335-4146.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 9


C hances are you’ve heard of the
Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foun-
dation Dinner, where political, media
and business leaders gather once a
year to share a meal and raise funds to
help needy New Yorkers. Every fourth
year, the event makes headlines in a
particularly big way as one of the last
pre-election meetings of the two ma-
jor-party presidential candidates, who

Smith was heavily involved with Catholic Charities, alongside his friend Patrick Cardinal Hayes.

ket for $12 a week to help support his giving charity,” he said in 1933, “has
family. He never graduated from high a spiritual value … that this country
school, yet he went on to become one cannot afford to lose.” Together with
of the most important political leaders his lifelong friend Patrick Cardinal
in New York history. He served four Hayes, Smith helped build Catholic
terms as governor and in 1928 became Charities of the Archdiocese of New
the first Catholic to run for president York into the powerhouse of compas-
as the nominee of a major party. sionate action that it remains today,
Smith was known throughout his and the Alfred E. Smith Memorial
life as a champion of the poor, the Foundation, in large part through
immigrant and the working class. that famous annual dinner, continues
He came to prominence as a young to raise millions of dollars annually
state legislator in the aftermath of the for needy children and families.
tragic 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory
fire, spearheading the enactment of 38
Smith served four terms as governor of new state labor laws that became the
New York and ran for president in 1928. model for national labor regulations.
In 1928, his presidential campaign
exchange good-natured jibes for an unwillingly cast a spotlight on viru-
evening in support of a worthy cause. lent anti-Catholic prejudice through-
At this year’s dinner – on the 90th an- out the country, as Smith battled the
niversary of Smith’s historic run for Ku Klux Klan and many others who
the presidency – guests were treated challenged his ability to lead the Unit-
to a celebration of his life of faith and ed States as a Catholic. Though he
service to the people of New York. lost the race, his proud stance against
Al Smith was born and lived most religious bigotry inspired many and
of his life on Manhattan’s Lower blazed a trail for later Catholic leaders.
East Side. When his father died, Al Smith’s most lasting legacy may be
dropped out of St. James School and his impact on the culture of chari- Al and Katie Smith at a presidential
went to work at the Fulton Fish Mar- table giving. “The voluntary act of campaign stop in 1928.

10 Archways † WINTER 2018–19

The Westchester County Center was onated with me the most. I still haven’t
vibrating with energy on October 20. stopped thinking about it.
The buzz was not about a basketball I’m really glad that I attended New
game or a professional wrestling match York Catholic Youth Day. The event Naia Charland of St. Charles Borromeo, Harlem.
or a car show; it was the unmistakable definitely encouraged me to “be bold”
electricity generated when 1,000 teen- about my faith and helped me under-
agers and youth ministers gather to stand that, when others were my age,
pray, share joys and struggles and per- they too struggled with finding God.
form charity work. I know now that I’m not alone.
We asked 14-year-old Naia Charland,
a ninth grader and aspiring writer at
Hunter College High School and a parish-
ioner at St. Charles Borromeo in Harlem,
to give us her take on the event.

W hen I first heard about New
York Catholic Youth Day, which
our youth ministers urged us to attend Cardinal Dolan at New York Catholic Youth Day. Mass recessional at day’s end.
in preparation to be confirmed this
upcoming year, I have to admit that I
was less than thrilled. But the minute
I walked into the Westchester County CULTURE CORNER
Center, I could tell the day would be
nothing like what I had expected. In
keeping with the theme of the event, For gift-giving season, here is  Spain, gives a fascinating account
“Be Bold,” there were many activities an assortment of volumes for  of his struggle to surrender to
encouraging the youth in attendance a variety of readers. quietness in order to free his
to be unafraid and forthcoming about soul. Parallax Press; $14.95
their faith. The program included two God Is Young by Pope Francis, with
main sections for all the participants, a interviewer Thomas Leoncini. Pope The Year of Our Lord 1943:
break for lunch, and a Mass at the end Francis remains a powerful writer Christian Humanism in an Age of
of the day celebrated by Cardinal Tim- on subjects of faith and humanity. Crisis by Alan Jacobs. In the wan-
othy Dolan. I enjoyed all of it. Here, he shares his thoughts on ing days of World War II, some
During one of the sections, all the at- and for young people at a pivotal notable Christian writers, includ-
tendees took part in a service project. time for the Church and for hu- ing C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and W.H.
Working in shifts, we packed up more mankind. Random House; $26 Auden, warned that technocracy
than 71,000 meals to be delivered to was threatening to overwhelm
hungry people in the African nation One Goal: A Coach, a Team and faith and leave the world vulnera-
of Burkina Faso. It felt unreal that the the Game That Brought Together ble to amoral forces. Their per-
work we did in our three groups for a Divided Town by Amy Bass. spective can illuminate the new
just an hour each would be able to feed An influx of Somali Muslim ref- crossroads that we face today.
that many. It was truly inspiring. ugees in a Maine town creates Oxford University Press; $29.95
The other section consisted of sepa- an uneasy divide until a high
rate workshops for the young men and school soccer coach unites his Sacred Space: The Prayer Book
women about how to be bold in our team — and the town — around the 2019 by The Irish Priests. Scrip-
faith. The girls were directed to a the- beautiful game and values of love ture and theology readings for
ater upstairs, where a beautiful wom- and acceptance. Hachette; $28 every day of the year, curated and
an named Vanesa Zuleta talked to us interpreted by priests of the Irish
about finding God in her life, or rather Biography of Silence Province of the Society of Jesus.
how God found her during one of the by Pablo d’Ors. This Zen-influ- Yes, it’s available on the Internet;
hardest times in her life. I would have enced monograph by a Catholic this is for those who prefer to pray
to say that her presentation is what res- priest, a literary phenomenon in with a book. Loyola Press; $16.95

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 11
12 Archways † WINTER 2018–19

Our parishes and our communities are better places
because of Catholics who devote their lives to service

e are surrounded by people writing about health care in 2014: financial, for the ones who devote
in need. A mother and child “Forced to adapt to the new environ- themselves to the service of others.
are in need of shelter. A ment, many ... have said, ‘We can’t!’ We “You are the body of Christ. Each
child with a crippling neurological con- as Catholics say, ‘We can and we will!’” one of you is part of it,” Saint Paul
dition requires 24-hour care. A family Those whose stories and images wrote in his First Letter to the Cor-
can’t afford school supplies or enough appear in the following pages are inthians (12:27). “If one part suffers,
food to get through the week. A widow shining examples to us all. When they every part suffers with it. If one part
finds she just can’t get over the devas-
tating loss of her husband. A teenager is
depressed and suicidal.
The list goes on. An HIV patient “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on Earth
needs long-term care. A father learns but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion
that his daughter is addicted to opi-
oids. A man learns that his kidneys are on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good.
failing. A husband recovering from a Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world.”
failed marriage feels that his life is over.
It’s overwhelming – enough to make a – Saint Teresa of Avila
person give up, or turn a blind eye to the
suffering of strangers. read this, they will protest that they is honored, every part shares in its
In the face of such suffering, New don’t deserve to be singled out, that all joy” (12:26). Let us honor these
York’s Catholic faithful have stood honor belongs to Jesus and that many Catholics and share in their joy by
up again and again and said, “Let us others, Christian and non-Christian, supporting their efforts and letting
help.” Through their prayers, their are engaged in remarkable works. them inspire us to our own acts of
contributions and their service, they And, full disclosure: There is con- mercy and compassion in our com-
reflect the words of Cardinal Dolan, siderable positive return, though not munity and our world.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 13

n this country, 16 million children to dedicate their lives to fighting
go to bed hungry each night. Right hunger, who create and manage the
here in the Archdiocese of New pantries and kitchens, who evange-
York, more than two million families lize and pave the way for others to
live below the poverty line and cannot join in the work. At every level, these
afford adequate nourishment. Many workers, supporters and leaders are
of us help with donations of canned delivering something that business
goods or money. Some of us volun- and government cannot: along with
teer our time in food pantries or soup the sustenance of life, they offer the
kitchens. Then there are those called love and mercy of God.
Below: Paul and Linda Zalanowski manage the Deacon Jack Seymour Food Pantry in Newburgh,
distributing hundreds of meals a week to families in need and dozens of food-filled backpacks every
weekend to schoolchildren who might otherwise go hungry. Working out of a transformed warehouse, Above: Volunteers at the pantry unload truckloads
more than 100 volunteers pool their efforts to transport, receive, unpack and distribute an array of of food and begin to prepare them for distribution
nutritious foods every Friday and Saturday. (For more, see “Table of Plenty,” Archways Fall 2018.) to the families served.

14 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
Students and youth ministers at New York Catholic Youth Day 2018,
in White Plains, assembled and boxed for shipment more than
71,469 meals for hunger-plagued Burkina Faso.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 15

omelessness in New York has beds and blankets and a welcoming,
been rising steadily in recent safe space to people who have no other
years, and as winter begins, place to go. Clients may be facing a spec-
the needs of the homeless intensify. A trum of problems that shelter volunteers
real solution, if we can craft one, lies in cannot address: immigration issues,
compassionate public policymaking, physical and mental health challenges,
including a less porous economic family discord of various sorts. It’s a
safety net and a cultural commitment complex set of factors introduced into
to social justice. a setting designed to meet basic needs:
Meanwhile, on our streets, people a roof, a bed, a bit of food. What our
are suffering, and it is left to the more homeless brothers and sisters can get
fortunate to reach out with direct from us that they cannot get from a city
aid whenever and wherever possible. or county shelter are our prayers and the
This is a challenging mission: to provide mercy and grace of our Lord.
At Ascension – Holy Trinity Shelter on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, parishioners provide
a safe place to sleep plus supper and breakfast for up to 20 men each Saturday and Sunday
night. Shauna Vey (left) is one of several lay leaders of the ministry. More volunteers on the
night we visited in November (next page, left column, from top): The Fiaschetti family on
kitchen duty, Jim Sherwood setting up beds and Fiona Foley keeping things ship-shape.

16 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
Sanding (above) and staining (below) bunk-bed parts at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries
in Garrison.

very child deserves a bed. That’s tion to inform them about the issues
a basic tenet of the Capuchin faced by families for whom the beds are
Youth and Family Missions, being built. A week or so later, another
whose Family and Friends Service Re- team of volunteers delivers the beds and
treat every November brings together assembles them in the children’s homes.
dozens of volunteers, youth ministers “This mission provides comfortable
and Capuchin friars and interns to beds for children who previously had
make bunk beds for kids whose fami- none,” says CYFM Executive Director
lies can’t afford to buy them. Tom Brinkmann, “and an essential
At the CYFM retreat center in Gar- experience of service and Gospel
rison, amid the autumn colors on the community for the young people
banks of the Hudson, teenagers work who come together in behalf of needy
alongside parents to sand and stain bed kids. In the process, our teens begin
parts. In the evenings, they participate thinking of their faith as their own,
in prayer, discussions and a presenta- not just their parents’.”


Archways † WINTER 2018–19 17

or 40 years, the Terence Car- unteers who pitch in over the course dren’s songs to the kids, and once a
dinal Cooke (TCC) Health of each year as members or auxiliaries year a circus for the children and their
Care Center in Harlem has of the Order of Malta – a 900-year-old families. The TCC team works with the
been serving medically needy people Catholic lay religious order – helping volunteers to organize a band, balloon
who would otherwise have no place with Mass every Sunday morning by makers, games, clowns, musical chairs –
to turn. Managed by ArchCare, the getting worshippers to the chapel, dis- “or musical wheelchairs,” Kelleher says.
health care service of the Archdio- tributing communion, then getting “These children have severe dis-
cese of New York, the center houses a patients settled back into their rooms abilities,” he notes, “and they can’t
550-bed nursing home, a hospital for again. “It sounds a bit mechanical,” he necessarily show you their response.
children and young adults with severe says, “but in addition to pushing their But once in a while you can see a sparkle
developmental disabilities, special- wheelchairs or steadying the walkers, in the eye or another barely detectable
ized long-term care for people with you are bringing some social inter- reaction that makes it all worthwhile.”
HIV/AIDS, and a 48-bed unit for care action to people who can feel very To volunteer at Terence Cardinal
of people with Huntington’s and other isolated. You very quickly get to know Cooke Health Care Center, contact
neurodegenerative diseases. the residents. You’re happy to see them Tom McDonald (tmcdonald@arch-
In addition to a dedicated team of and they’re happy to see you.”; 212-360-1099). To learn more
health professionals, a platoon of vol- Volunteers also serve an early Thanks- about the Order of Malta or inquire
unteers helps make life better for the giving dinner and hold a Christmas about volunteering as an auxiliary
patients at TCC. Rory Kelleher is the party for residents. Once a month they member, contact Rory Kelleher (rory-
coordinator for a group of 60 or so vol- host a musical gathering singing chil-; 917-602-7885).

At Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center in Harlem. Left:
Volunteers with a patient at the annual circus for severely disabled
children. Above: Distributing communion during Mass. Below:
Order of Malta coordinator Rory Kelleher with a patient.

18 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
Jane Dunne at the Church of
St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan.

or a Catholic, the failure of a In Orange and Putnam counties,
marriage can carry not just a Helen Piltman has also led separated/di-
devastating sense of loss but also vorced groups for over 18 years. In 2017,
shame and guilt, compounded by the her pastor at St. Thomas of Canterbury
notion that they may no longer be / St. Joseph Parish in Cornwall-on-
allowed to take communion. “This Hudson asked her to start a bereavement
is not true,” says Jane Dunn, who group, so she went for training and led
started a support group for separated/ her first such group this past summer.
divorced people at St. Paul the Apostle “We became a little family after eight
on Manhattan’s West Side that is now weeks. They opened up in ways that
in its 20th year. “Jesus still loves them really touched my heart,” Piltman says.
and the Church still welcomes them. Meanwhile, Helen continues to min-
In the support group they learn that ister to the separated and divorced
they are not alone.” Catholics at St. John the Evangelist in
Dunn now leads support groups at Goshen. “So now both missions are
a second parish – St. Thomas More calling me,” she says. “After so many
on the East Side – while continuing to years, it would be very easy to say I don’t
lead the ministry at St. Paul. “I started need to do this anymore. But God calls.”
in this ministry because I believed I Training for bereavement and sepa-
could turn the pain of my own divorce rated / divorced ministries is provided by Helen Piltman leads a bereavement group
into the joy of helping. It’s a great way the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese at St. Thomas of Canterbury in Cornwall-on-
to transform and give meaning to of New York. For more information, visit Hudson and a separated/divorced group
your suffering.” their website at at St. John the Evangelist in Goshen.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 19

amilies are the heart of the appropriate sharing and conflicting and dads and caregivers get a break.
Church. Starting one is among expectations,” says Arielle. “It has “The parents learn they are not alone
the great joys of life, but there’s a made our own marriage stronger, too,” in their struggles. They actually learn
lot of effort involved – and inevitably Lorenz adds. as much from each other as they do
some heartache, too. Volunteers in the “A first-time mom is often ner- from the presenters,” Matranga says.
family ministry help to fill in the gap vous and afraid she’ll do everything Every December she leads the group
when a couple needs help. wrong,” says Denise Matranga, who in a service project to provide gifts for
Arielle and Lorenz Oberhauser are has been leading weekly sessions for children at Good Counsel Home, a
mainstays of the Archdiocese of New the Parenting Center of Our Lady of Bronx shelter for single mothers. “It’s
York’s marriage prep program, which the Assumption in the Bronx for 12 completely voluntary, but I’ve never
guides engaged couples to an under- years. “We have presentations about had a family that didn’t participate.
standing of the spiritual, emotional things like how to handle a tantrum, We buy the gifts and wrap them up
and financial issues that they can how to make sure your child is eating with the kids’ names on them. It’s
expect to face in their marriages. Sev- nutritiously – and the parenting group something that makes our families
eral times a year they lead daylong also works as a network for comparing feel great – and it moves them toward
Pre-Cana sessions for the Family Life notes and offering mutual support.” a life of service.”
Office. “It’s very satisfying to watch The group meets in the church base- For details about marriage prepa-
couples learning to talk to one an- ment, where kids are cared for in a ration or parent care, visit the Family
other about issues like mutual trust, separate play area while the moms Life Office website at

Above: Lorenz and Arielle Oberhauser at St. Malachy’s
The Actors Chapel, Manhattan. Right: Denise Matranga
guides parents and caretakers at the Parenting Center
at Our Lady of the Assumption, Bronx.

20 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
Sr. Alice Marie Giordano with members
of the UN Connections club at the
Academy of St. Ursula, Bronx.

he next generation of Catho- of Christ and modeling loving Chris- them put their own lives in perspec-
lics will have to maintain and tian behavior. tive, offering a glimpse of a world filled
strengthen the faith against an We can all find inspiration in Sr. with poverty and injustice but also a
ever-intensifying onslaught of tech- Alice Marie Giordano. After more sense that they have the power to stand
nology and negative peer pressure. than five decades in education, she up and make a difference. Group dis-
They are going to need help. continues to inspire the girls of the cussions led by Sr. Alice Marie help the
Fortunately, there are dedicated Academy of St. Ursula in the Bronx students process the experience. “I will
teachers and youth ministers at par- as social justice minister. Once a year, never forget what I’ve learned at the
ishes and Catholic schools around the she takes the students in her UN Con- UN and in this club,” one of the stu-
archdiocese. Parish youth ministers nections group to the United Nations dents says. “It has given me confidence
and catechists (religious education for the International Day of the Girl to step up and speak out.”
teachers) devote themselves to leading and for the weeklong meeting of the For details about the Office of Youth
the children and teens of a parish Commission on the Status of Women, Ministry of the Archdiocese of New
toward service and spirituality and where they meet girls and young York, go to For information
away from materialism and self-indul- women from around the world. These about Catholic schools in the archdio-
gence by emphasizing the teachings are eye-opening gatherings that help cese, visit

At New York Catholic Youth Day, youth ministers from St. Charles Borromeo, Harlem (left) and the Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Center, Bronx (center).
Right: Tom Brinkmann, executive director of Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries, Garrison.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 21

Fr. Stephen Ries (left),
Msgr. James Sullivan (center),
Fr. Brian T. McSweeney (right)

For priests who are just trying to do what they feel they were
called to, the past year has been particularly difficult. We asked
three parish priests from three generations to tell us about their
calling, their lives as clergy and their thoughts on the future.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19
n a crisp November day, we sat down at the
Capuchin Youth Ministry retreat center in
Garrison with Msgr. James Sullivan, pastor of St.
Martin de Porres, Poughkeepsie; Fr. Brian T. McSweeney,
pastor of St. Augustine, Ossining; and Fr. Stephen Ries
of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish, Shrub Oak. Here is a
condensed transcript of what they had to say.

Msgr. Sullivan: When I graduated an MBA, so I went at night and got an
from eighth grade, in 1958, at St. An- MBA. Got my own place in Scarsdale
gela Merici School in the Bronx, there and had everything the world said
were 37 guys who graduated. Four was supposed to make you happy. I
thought about becoming priests and couldn’t figure out what was missing
two went on to be ordained. In those until I realized I had never thought
days, it was not unexpected that such about what God wanted me to do.
would happen at a Catholic elementa- And I started asking questions about
ry school. So it was very easy to think that. Talked to the vocation director
about becoming a priest. At least it of the archdiocese. I think I actually
was for me. talked to you [nods toward Msgr. Sulli-
van] around that time.
I grew up in a place where there were
lovely priests. There were just great Msgr. Sullivan: Yes.
priests at St. Angela, and I grew up
with the thought that I might want to Fr. McSweeney: And that’s when I re-
be like them. alized that what would make me ful-
filled was to go back to remembering “[I] had everything the world
My beginnings are, I think, very typical what God wanted me to do. I think said was supposed to make you
of a kid growing up in the south Bronx Msgr. Sullivan told me at the time to
who was impressed by priests, whom I write – I remember very clearly – to happy. I couldn’t figure out what
knew as an altar server. Certainly I grew write a note to myself about why I felt was missing until I realized I
up in an environment where I never felt called to the priesthood, and to seal
that it was anything but appropriate to it, and if I should ever doubt, open it
had never thought about what
think about being a priest. up. It’s still sealed in my desk, 30 years God wanted me to do.”
later. That’s my story.
Fr. McSweeney: I started think- I was with the brothers for eight years,
ing about it in third grade. Catholic Fr. Ries: I grew up in the 1980s and I got my degree, I taught, but as I was
grammar school – Sisters of Charity 1990s, without that sort of Catholic preparing for final vows, I felt more
and then the Dominican Sisters of culture. I went to Catholic grammar and more called to the priesthood.
Sparkill. Whenever we had the dis- school but I never had a religious sister So I discerned to leave the brother-
cussion about what you want to be or brother teaching me. I went to high hood, and I studied at Douglaston,
when you grow up, I always want- school with the Marianist Brothers at then Dunwoodie [Saint Joseph’s Sem-
ed to be the priest. That changed in Chaminade, on Long Island. It was inary], and was ordained in 2015.
high school, where the brothers were really their example of faithfulness, My parents were sort of hesitant yet
a great influence, but the focus was to their work with young people, their supportive, which I think is some-
do well so you could get into a good own dedication, their lives, that made thing that a lot of my younger friends
college. Nobody ever asked what do me begin to ask those bigger questions: in seminary related to, the idea that
you think God wants you to do. And What is my purpose in life, what does parents are not maybe as supportive
when I was in college everyone said God want for me? I had envisioned as they once were. Because it’s not so
you have to do well in college so you myself going off to college, probably much a part of the culture anymore.
can get a good job. So I graduated, I getting a degree in business – but I And I think like any parent, they ulti-
got a job, and they said you have to get ended up at 18 joining the Marianists. mately wanted their child to be happy.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 23

Fr. McSweeney: John the XXIII was become an opportunity for you to ap- unworthy of it, because you wonder,
asked a similar question once: How preciate how active God is in your life? what am I going to say, what am I go-
did he deal with all the challenges in And please: God is going to touch the ing to do? But it’s in those moments
the world? And he said, “Before I go life of that person who is coming to that I feel God’s grace probably the
to bed, I say, ‘God, it’s your Church, you with their own sadness. The mo- most, because he seems to work in
I’m going to bed.’” I think that’s how ment always presents the challenge to spite of my own frailties or my own
it is sometimes. appreciate that the presence of God is struggles. And so much of it is just to
made real, hopefully, by our presence. be there with the people. They just ap-
Msgr. Sullivan: And if each of us were preciate having a priest there, to pray
a doctor, lawyer or candlestick maker, Fr. Ries: They can teach you only so with them, to bring some comfort or
wouldn’t we be assisting people in much in the seminary, and until you sense of healing. But there is a sense
terms of their own sorrows, maybe ex- confront some of those great challeng- of unworthiness, a sense in which
pressing it somewhat differently than es – the loss of a child, or having to you just say, I have to leave it in God’s
they would to us? Doesn’t the sorrow be with someone at the hospital when hands and he has to help me through
that you’re dealing with in a person they’re dying – you feel in a sense it, because I can’t do it on my own.

“I think the greatest witness
we can give the world is to be
holy, faithful priests and build
up strong parishes. I think
that’s the greatest testimony.”

Msgr. Sullivan: At this part of my life,
soon to be 75, the great challenge is,
your friends are dying. I don’t want to
call it loneliness, but the realization
that you are being called into a time
of separation, in terms of human re-
lationships. And you begin to take a
look at your own fragility and frail-
ty – the arthritis in the legs and the
knees become a little more real – and
as you anoint people and call them to
a realization that there’s no moment
in their life that God is not with them,
you maybe begin to think a little bit
more about this yourself. And you ap-
preciate that now there is going to be

24 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
a movement away from being a pastor
at age 75, hopefully continuing on in a
parish as an associate, but with the re-
alization that – you don’t want to say
death is around the corner, but that
certainly becomes more and more a
focus of your attention. So each ep-
och has its own challenge. I see now
the appreciation of the time spent in
priesthood, with great gratitude for it.

Fr. McSweeney: In light of the reve-
lations of the summer: I remember as
a newly ordained priest, probably just
three years in, I was in Poughkeepsie
when a priest was arrested for abus-
ing a young boy. And I remember the
challenge when the kids in the parish
asked you to go someplace. For in-
stance, I remember a boy was having
a karate exhibition at mid-Hudson
Civic Center right after the papers an-
nounced the arrest, and here you are
going to go to one of your kids’ events,
and walking down the street as a
priest. It was a challenge. You realized
who you are, not just as an individual,
but what you represent because you
wear the Roman collar. That was one At the moment it didn’t seem to have
of the early challenges, to realize that an impact. But when you throw it into
“We all struggle with our
there are imperfect priests out there, the context of what we’re all experi-
and we have to do the best that we can encing today ... It’s ultimately a crisis relationship with the Lord
and continue to do what we are sup- in holiness: that we don’t recognize and its improvement. We say
posed to be doing even though that and realize what we are called to be
can be challenging. in terms of our own relationship with it, we preach it, but if we don’t
Jesus, how it’s constantly a challenge work at it, guess what?”
Msgr. Sullivan: There was a tradition to recognize our weakness and our
at the seminary when I was a student, sinfulness but also find the strength emerges. I haven’t had any sort of any
on Thursday night, amateur night, to overcome that which may be weak hostility, but every once in a while if
faculty would get up and give a little and sinful. Jim’s reflection with us I’m out running an errand, I’ll have
chitchat for half an hour. I guess it was that night about “There is only one a quick conversation with somebody,
1967, and [amid the social upheavals hero, and his name is Jesus” has meant and they’ll sort of – they’re sort of sur-
of the 1960s] some priests were just more and more to me as the years prised by the whole thing, that some-
beginning to leave the Church. We have gone on. We all struggle with body young would be a priest, or why
certainly knew some of them. Some our relationship with the Lord and its would you want to enter? You have
of them were our heroes. And Fr. improvement. We say it, we preach it, to wonder what are they thinking. I
Jim Connolly, the liturgy prof, got up but if we don’t work at it, guess what? think in everything we do now there’s
and he gave a talk about “Who is the a little bit of a reflection. Something
hero?” He talked about the humanity Fr. Ries: I entered religious life in as simple as, you’re having a ministry
of the priesthood, and ultimately said, 2003, a year after Boston [the Boston meeting with kids, it’d probably be a
“If the pope were to leave tonight, Globe clergy sex abuse exposé] broke. good idea to have another adult pres-
would that destroy my faith? If it does, So that was always a reality for me as ent. It has changed the way that we
then my faith is in the wrong person.” a priest. I think for the guys who are minister and the way we see our role
And he just kept drawing us back to: studying or discerning, it’s always in as pastors or shepherds. I think the
“It is in Jesus, it is with Jesus, and it is the back of your mind at this point. greatest witness we can give the world
because of Jesus.” And if there’s any- It seems like every time we get a step is to be holy, faithful priests and build
thing I remember from Seminary, in a ahead, there’s another headline or up strong parishes. I think that’s the
sense, it’s that Thursday night speech. another article or something that greatest testimony.

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 25

ON THE JOYS OF BEING A PRIEST “I’ve been blessed by knowing
Msgr. Sullivan: I’ve been blessed over alone at a rectory far from any other that I have the opportunity
the years in most of the assignments priests – that without the challenge
that I’ve been in, to enjoy living with and support of living in community, to live in community with
other priests. Whether it was at the we become the lone rangers and we my brother priests. We pray
schools where I’ve taught – Farrell, can lose ourselves in ourselves. Priests
Spellman, Neumann – or in the house are not going to always agree, we have
with one another. We console
now up at St. Martin’s in Poughkeep- different ideologies, but that never takes one another. We support one
sie, I’ve been blessed by knowing that away from the common bond of what we another.”
I have the opportunity to live in com- do as the priests in a parish, celebrating
munity with my brother priests. We the goodness of God in our lives touch- we share the priesthood. It’s not ours,
pray with one another. We console ing the lives of other people. it’s the priesthood of Christ. As the
one another. We support one another. Bible says, it’s not good for a man to
I’ve been blessed by being able to live Fr. Ries: I would agree with that 100 be alone. I think it’s true for a priest
in that kind of community. percent. I think one of the sad effects as well. I don’t think it’s beneficial to
of the vocation crisis is that most of have guys isolated.
Without that, without the challenge my peers envision that at some point
and support of living together, I wor- we might be alone at a rectory. It is But getting back to the joy: Before
ry. This is not so much about myself, a great worry. Because we are not I was ordained, a former student of
but the younger priests, who are much called to be the Lone Ranger. There’s mine entered the seminary. I didn’t
more isolated and might end up living a great bond in our vocation, because know he was entering, and I was just

26 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
about to be ordained. And we caught lenging things is to teach morality to passing on life in terms of our phys-
up and he said, “You probably don’t 16-year-olds. But one of my former ical genes – but maybe our “spiritual
remember that you said this in fresh- students, right after high school, en- genes” are going to touch the life of
man year religion, but I never forgot.” tered the convent. And – not that you somebody to make them think about
And this just showed – wow – not only take any credit for it – but helping not a vocation.
was someone actually paying atten- only to educate them through class
tion in class, but that God can work but also to spiritually direct some of And one of our great fears is: Is the
through me and bring about some- the students … there’s a lot of joy there media now so impacting the message
thing very powerful. Someone comes to know that they got it. She’s been a that it can’t even be heard? That what
up after a sacrament and says thank sister now for over 25 years, and I re- we’re saying about ourselves or about
you for bringing me to the church, member when she was a freshman in what we perceive to be the goodness
thank you for hearing my confession, high school. There’s a lot of joy there. and the joy of the priesthood doesn’t
or somebody says, “Father, I’ve always seem to even get through? If there’s a
struggled with that Gospel reading Msgr. Sullivan: My biggest joy, no sin – and there are many of them, in
and you explained it to me in your matter what I did, was, to use a Pope terms of the epoch that we’re experi-
homily.” To see people get it – to begin Francis word, to accompany guys in encing now and the issues that some
to understand, start to comprehend terms of their journey to the priest- of our brothers have brought us to –
– that always is very powerful, when hood. And I’ve been lucky because I’ve you wonder if it’s that it’s given the
you can see God working and God’s been in positions as vocation director enemies the opportunity to put up
insight coming to someone else. to be able to do that, and maybe a lit- that sound screen, so that the young
tle bit to continue doing it with some person who is contemplating any as-
Fr. McSweeney: I would echo that of the seminarians in the summer. As pect of discipleship is beginning to
sentiment. I taught five years of high somebody said, as priests we’re not go- wonder, “Well, are they all frauds, is
school, and one of the most chal- ing to be biologically transcendent by this whole thing a fraud?”

Fr. McSweeney: I was at a dinner last Fr. Ries: In spite of all the problems
week with the Knights of Colum- that we mentioned, I’m a very hope-
bus for Westchester-Putnam, raising ful person, and I believe it’s Christ’s
money for the seminary. Fr. Cleary, church, and He’s going to continue
who teaches scripture at the seminary, to see us through. And if there is this
gave a talk, and he mentioned how re- period of storm and difficulty, God
markable it is to see young men today, willing, good is going to come from
with all that’s going on, still coming it, whether in the form of vocations or
to be priests. He told us about a nun people coming back to the Church.
who came to speak at the seminary re-
cently and reminded them of 9/11. She Msgr. Sullivan: And maybe when
said that when the nation was under we think that He’s gone to sleep,
attack and everybody was fleeing the it’s just a reminder to us to wake up
World Trade Center, there were those more. I’m with you. My own guess is
who went in to help, to save lives. She that, rising up among us, there are
said “The Church is under attack, and men and women who are going to be
you’re the guys who are going in.” And able to say to themselves, “I believe,
for me it was beautiful imagery of how and I believe that God is going to
heroic it must be for young men today, use me to allow His light and love to
with all of the challenges that our na- become a reality in my generation.”
tion and our church are going through, If we don’t believe that, then we’ve
to say they’re going to go ahead and do thrown out more than the baby with “There’s a great bond in our
it, because that’s where lives have to the bathwater. I think we have to vocation, because we share
be saved, that’s where souls have to be hold on to that tenaciously.
saved, that’s where God’s calling me to
the priesthood. It’s not ours,
go. I give them a lot of credit. it’s the priesthood of Christ.”

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 27

The stories of three
people who have
elected to become
Catholic this Easter

Photo © Stephanie Massaro Photography

The Rite of Acceptance into the Order of
Catechumens at St. Francis de Sales, Manhattan.

28 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
or most Catholics, the word bap- called to the faith as adults, and when this ocese who are on the path toward
tism evokes the image of a baby happens, the Church and its parish com- initiation as Catholics. Each of them
cradled in its mother’s arms be- munities welcome them through the Rite has passed through the inquiry phase,
side the baptismal font. First commu- of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). during which they discern their call-
nion calls to mind seven- and eight- Many Catholics have witnessed RCIA ing to the Church, and all are now in
year-olds lined up in suits and white ceremonies during mass: the Rite of Ac- the period known as the catechume-
dresses, receiving the Eucharist as ceptance, usually in autumn, when the nate, receiving intensive instruction.
cameras flash. And confirmation con- Catholics-to-be are introduced to their (For a more detailed description of the
jures those same children as teenag- congregations and all pledge to support RCIA process, see Forum, page 5.) Their
ers, filing forward in their best attire them in their journey; and the receiv- stories are a reminder to all Catholics
to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. ing of the sacraments at the Easter vigil, that our faith remains a beacon to the
Not all Catholics, however, receive when they are fully initiated. These are world and that, when we stand togeth-
baptism as babies, first communion as occasions of joy for a parish. er in love, we have the power to spread
grade-schoolers and confirmation as This year, Archways is following the peace and joy and give support to our
teens. For a variety of reasons, some are progress of three adults in the archdi- sisters and brothers.

St. Francis de Sales, Manhattan
Jayne Porcelli, RCIA Coordinator | Michelle Lai, catechumen
“I was raised without religion,” says “When my family came to visit me
Michelle Lai, a medical student in in New York, I brought them to the
Manhattan. “My parents grew up in church, and they loved it.”
China during the Cultural Revolution, Though very busy with her studies,
during a time when the government Michelle looks forward to living out
made it illegal for people to practice the teachings of Jesus in her future
religion. When they came to this coun- career. “Once I’m finished my course
try, there was a local Christian family work, I will do a residency and choose
that helped them a lot, so I was raised my specialty – perhaps pediatrics,” she
with good values, but we did not be- says. “Clearly my chosen profession,
long to a faith. It was a part that was medicine, is about helping people, and
always missing.” I want to bring faith to that. In med
Several years ago, before moving to school a lot of my peers are cynical and
New York for medical school, Michelle don’t have a faith, which makes med-
started dating a Catholic man and icine very dehumanizing. Coming to
saw how compassionate the commu- this Church and talking to people who
nity was. “I have loving people in my are devoted to service, I’ve been able to
life now who are Catholic,” she says. rehumanize the science of medicine.”

“In a troubled time in the
Church, I want to bring the
Coordinator Jayne Porcelli (right) discussing the RCIA message, so people can see
process with a catechumen at St. Francis de Sales.
someone who wants to join.”
Archways † WINTER 2018–19 29

Our Lady of Pity, Staten Island
Vincent Violetta, RCIA Coordinator | Patricia Moyse, catechumen
“I had no religion,” says Patricia Moyse about it was just appealing to me.” She “We read the Bible and discuss the
of Staten Island. “My family is Catholic, also attended Mass with a cousin from readings. We’ve done readings about
but I did not receive baptism or the other time to time, and it was this cousin family, about relationships, about
sacraments. My parents were not big on who eventually urged her to join. “I’ve self-improvement, and the discus-
it, and they gave me the choice.” gone to the parish for years, just not sions have been very good. I can un-
Patricia was interested in the Church, as a member of the Church.” Now she derstand the Mass now to get to a spir-
even drawn to it, but didn’t actively says she is “easing into the member- itual connection with God.”
pursue it. “I used to attend Mass with a ship and the community. I do feel a “I don’t really know how to talk
friend who was making her sacraments,” growing connection with the people.” about religion yet,” she says. “I have
she recalls. “I used to go to keep her “What I find satisfying about RCIA not been a very religious person. But
company and also because something is the conversations,” Patricia says. I’m becoming one.”

“I see my life being
changed quite a bit.
I’m seeing more good
come out of myself
by helping others.”

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Newburgh
Sandy Corsetti, RCIA Coordinator | James Irvin, candidate
“I’m looking for that spiritual con- be where I’m at today,” he says. One of RCIA. “Sandy said we can get married
nection,” says James Irvin of New the tenets of the Twelve Step philoso- in the Church, which we did. Before we
Windsor. “That’s what’s been missing phy is that the alcoholic cannot hope to got married I got involved in the RCIA,
in my life. I wasn’t receiving it in the stay sober without the help of a higher and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Protestant church, to the point where power. “I’ve been searching for it, and Because he was baptized as a Pres-
I wasn’t really going to church. But now I believe I’ve found it.” byterian, James will not receive the
with RCIA class I’m learning to get In 2016, James became engaged to sacrament of baptism. At the Easter
more in touch with Christ.” Mirna Ferreris Cruz, a devout practic- Vigil Mass, he will make a profession
James, a building engineer at the ing Catholic. They thought that they of faith and receive Eucharist and
Castle Point VA hospital, served in would have to be wed by a justice of the confirmation, and thus be fully initi-
the Navy from 1974 to 1976. He sub- peace until Father Bejoy Thomas, paro- ated into the Church. “I see my life be-
sequently struggled with alcoholism chial vicar at Sacred Heart Church in ing changed quite a bit,” he says. “I’m
but found Alcoholics Anonymous in Newburgh, suggested they talk to Sandy seeing more good come out of myself
2006. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t Corsetti, coordinator of the parish by helping others.”

30 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
Teresa of Calcutta parish, Newburgh; Patricia Moyse,
a catechumen at Our Lady of Pity on Staten Island, with
RCIA coordinator Vincent Violetta; leading a discussion
at St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta parish; RCIA coordinator
Sandy Corsetti with candidate James Irvin.

Photo © Mary DiBiase Blaich

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 31
All Masses listed take place at St. Patrick’s February / March 2019 | Staten Island
Enlighten: Shed light on your faith Cathedral. For more information, visit facebook. Sr. Virginia Joy will give a talk on the beauty
through online courses! com/hispanicministryny, email hispanic.ministry@ of the feminine heart and the distinct attributes
Classes start Tuesday, January 22 or call 212-371-1000 ext. 2981. of women. Time and place to be announced at:
A joint program of the archdiocese and Fordham
University’s Graduate School of Religion and Las Tradicionales Mañanitas a Nuestra
Religious Studies. For a limited time, courses are Señora de Guadalupe (Mexico)
free. Register at: Tuesday, December 11 | 7:00 p.m.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Youth
CARDINAL’S ANNUAL and Family Masses (Mexico)
STEWARDSHIP APPEAL Wednesday, December 12 | 10:00 a.m.
(Youth Mass), 7:00 p.m. (Family Mass)
Regional Reception in Staten Island
Wednesday, January 30 | 6:00 p.m. Mass in honor of Our Lady
Contact: of Nube (Ecuador)
Sunday, December 16 | 2:00 p.m.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS Mass in honor of Cristo de
Esquipulas (Guatemala)
Touring Tuesdays Sunday, January 6 | 2:00 p.m.
Tuesdays through April
Open houses at 130 Catholic schools. Mass in honor of Our Lady of
Visit: Altagracia (Dominican Republic)
Sunday, January 13 | 2:00 p.m.
Catholic Schools Week
January 27 – February 2 Mass in honor of Our Lady
Celebrating faith-based learning through of Suyapa (Honduras)
various events and activities. Sunday, February 3 | 4:00 p.m.

Common Sense Parenting Class Singing at Mass for Deacons Workshop
Biweekly (Wednesdays) Saturday, February 23 | 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
January 9 – April 10 St. Joseph’s Seminary | Yonkers
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Donelson, DMA, Professor
Immaculate Conception | Tuckahoe and Director of Sacred Music, St. Joseph’s Seminary
Exploring effective, practical parenting strategies Register at:
that teach positive behaviors. $30 includes book,
workbook. Contact: Sue DiSisto (646-794-3191 | SHEEN CENTER or Sister Cora  RESPECT LIFE 18 Bleecker Street, Manhattan
Lombardo (914-961-1076 | | 212-925-2812
NY Pilgrim Mass at the March for Life
Wine and cheese gathering: Friday, January 18 | 10:30 a.m. Faith and Duty: New York’s
Looking at the Mystery St. Patrick’s Church | Washington, D.C. Chaplains in World War I
of Our Marriage Celebrant: Timothy Cardinal Dolan Through December 15 | The Gallery
Friday, February 8 | 7:00 p.m. Focusing on chaplain priests from the Archdiocese
Saint Joseph’s Seminary | Yonkers Prayer Vigil for Life of New York, this exhibit explores religion
A gathering for couples married in 2018, with a Tuesday, January 22 | 6:30 p.m. on the battlefields of the First World War.
talk by Fr. Matthew Ernest, followed by fellowship, St. Patrick’s Cathedral | Manhattan
a Q&A and small groups. Contact: Joan Brisson Marking the 46th anniversary of the Faith and Duty: The Role of
(646-794-3190 | legalization of abortion, this event will Spirituality in Times of War
begin with a Catholic Underground-style Saturday, December 15 | 4:00 p.m.
Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Holy Hour, followed by Mass at 7:30 p.m. Black Box Theater
Parents (Spanish language) A panel discussion of academics, religious and
Saturday, February 9 Advent Day of Reflection for Women military on the intersection of religion and war.
9:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on “Hope and Expectation”
St. John – Visitation Pastoral Center | Bronx Saturday, December 22 | 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
Serving the spiritual needs of parents whose St. Vincent Ferrer Lower Church | Manhattan Through December 30 | Loreto Theater
children of any age have died by any cause, Fr. Joseph Koterski, SJ, and the Sisters of Life Out of the violence, a silence, then a song. A
no matter how long ago. Contact: Sue DiSisto will offer reflections. $25 registration fee German soldier steps into “No Man’s Land”
( | 646-794-3191) (includes lunch) payable at the door. RSVP: singing Stille Nacht, beginning an extraordinary
Register at: 212-721-4507 | night of camaraderie, music and peace.

32 Archways † WINTER 2018–19
Annual Fulton Sheen Lecture Civility in America: On Campus March for Life
Sunday, December 9 | 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 18 | 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 18 | Washington, D.C.
Loreto Theater Loreto Theater Join other young adults to march and pray
Come celebrate the life and legacy of Princeton professors Robert P. George and for life. Must be 18 or older. Tickets at
Archbishop Fulton Sheen! This year’s speakers Cornel West, a conservative and a liberal,; $50.
are Msgr. Hilary Franco and Alexis Walkenstein. discuss the importance of freedom of speech Contact:
in the search for truth.
Olivier Messiaen: January Young Adult Mass
Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus Ah, Wilderness! Wednesday, January 9
Monday, December 10 | 7:30 p.m. January 25 – February 17 | Loreto Theater St. Patrick’s Cathedral | Manhattan
Loreto Theater Presented by Blackfriars Repertory Theatre 6:30 p.m.: Confession and adoration
Five distinguished pianists perform  and The Storm Theatre, a classic Eugene O’Neill 7:30 p.m.: Mass
Olivier Messiaen’s monumental and comedy about the trials and tribulations Contact:
profound Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jésus of a young man and his family in a small
(“Twenty Gazes on the Infant Jesus”). Connecticut town on July 4, 1906. February Young Adult Mass
Wednesday, February 6
St. Patrick’s Cathedral | Manhattan
YOUNG ADULT OUTREACH 6:30 p.m.: Confession and adoration
7:30 p.m.: Mass
December Young Adult Mass Contact:
Wednesday, December 5
St. Patrick’s Cathedral | Manhattan
6:30 p.m.: Confession and adoration YOUTH FAITH FORMATION /
7:30 p.m.: Mass YOUTH MINISTRY
Youth Ministers’ Meetup
Marian Consecration Event Saturday, January 19
Wednesday, December 12 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Contact: St. Joseph’s Seminary | Yonkers
Leaders in youth ministry share information,
New to NYC Meetup resources and planning strategies.
Thursday, December 13 | 7:00 p.m. Visit:
1011 First Ave. | Manhattan
LÚNASA: Christmas from Ireland 7th Floor
with Special Guest Ashley Davis Enjoy free pizza and get connected to the SAVE THE DATE
Tuesday, December 11 | 7:30 p.m. New York Catholic young adult community.
Loreto Theater Register at: The Catholic Charities Gala
Hosted by Lúnasa’s renowned flute player Thursday, April 4
and teller of tall stories, Kevin Crawford. New Year’s Eve Multi-Parish Bash American Museum of Natural History
Monday, December 31 | 9:00 p.m. Email:
Author’s Night: St. Malachy’s The Actor’s Chapel
Jonah Goldberg Manhattan 32nd Annual Cardinal’s Open
Wednesday, December 12 | 7:00 p.m. This event is 21+. Tickets $80. Monday, May 13
Black Box Theater Contact: Winged Foot Golf Club | Mamaroneck
Jonah Goldberg, author of Suicide of the West, Email:
makes the timely case that democracies John 3:17 Advent Celebration
must find the will to defend the values and Monday, December 10 | 7:00 p.m.
institutions that sustain freedom. Immaculate Conception Church
Radical Love: Join men and women of all Christian backgrounds
Catholic Women Speak for a night of prayer and fellowship, with praise and
Thursday, December 13 | 7:00 p.m. worship led by Matt Maher and David Gungor. is published four times a year by the
Black Box Theater Archdiocese of New York Marketing Office
Join authors Leah Libresco Sargeant, Hispanic Christmas Party
Eve Tushnet and Kerry Weber for a Saturday, December 15 Bridget Cusick, Director of Marketing
vivid discussion on the Church today. Auditorium Santiago Rubio Michael Cain, Managing Editor
Ricardo Paiba, Senior Designer
A Sheen Center Christmas A night of joy, music, food, dancing and a little wine.
with Jamie Parker Bring your Christmas hat and ID. Tickets $20. Vinny Bove, Junior Designer
Monday, December 17 | 7:00 p.m. Suzanne Q. Craig, Deputy Director
Loreto Theater Christmas of Marketing
Choirs from the Christian Cultural Center, Planning to stay in the city for Christmas?
Katherine Valentino, Social Media
St. Stephen of Hungary School and Times Square Email and we’ll
and Web Manager
Church will sing carols; Tony Award nominee connect you to other Catholic young adults
Jamie Parker will read “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” who want to share a Christmas meal together! Lauren Liberatore, Marketing Associate

Archways † WINTER 2018–19 33
© 2018 Archdiocese of New York