Can we please be civil?
(Pastor Loren Connell wrote this column for the Oct. 22-23 bulletin of St. Aloysius Parish in Detroit.)
PHOTO FROM SHUTTERSTOCK.COMDear Sisters and Brothers
In a little more than two weeks it will all be over. Are you as tired of this prolonged election campaign as I am? It started over a year ago, egged on by media which thought that they had to cover every minute of it lest other outlets scoop them on one story or another. Enough!
My first awareness of political elections came when I was 9 years old. My parents voted for Stevenson. Four years later, with the same two candidates running, they voted for Eisenhower. Politics and civics have fascinated me ever since. I have voted in 12 presidential elections. Three times I was truly enthusiastic about a candidate (and two of those three candidates lost). Three times I was so disgusted with the major party candidates that I voted for a third party.
FILE PHOTO“Perhaps we can begin by treating everyone with respect,” Loren Connell says.It’s easy to complain, especially when the system has given us so much to complain about. What can we do about it? Perhaps we can begin by treating everyone with respect. We are a very polarized society, but we have to live with each other. Can we do that? Can we disagree with people, and maybe even condemn some of their positions or tactics as immoral, and still respect them? Can we try to see where they are coming from? Can we grant them the same sincerity that we assume for ourselves?
Wouldn’t it be great if the media, lobbyists, and politicians here and in Washington began to restore civility to our national dialogue? Why don’t you and I begin to do that now!
Peace and every blessing,
Fr. Loren Connell, OFM
It’s about quieting the quarrels.
The answer: It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
That question was posed by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in a recent program called, “Living in the Year of Mercy When It’s an Election Year!” The discussion was part of an effort launched Sept. 19 by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr in an op-ed piece in The Cincinnati Enquirer (thecatholicbeat).
The campaign, “Civilize It: Dignity beyond the Debate”, grew out of a national, non-partisan movement to restore dignity to our election dialogue. According to the website that launched it, “Civilize It is a non-partisan movement and a call for all of us to help change the tone, follow our faith, and quiet the quarrels in our day-to-day lives.” It’s about “making room in your heart and speaking peacefully with those with whom you disagree.”
How do we do that? It starts with a personal promise:
It’s about quieting the quarrels.I pledge:
To reflect respect, to throw no stones, and to rise above it.
To align one’s political point of view with a formed conscience, which involves courageously standing up for one’s convictions while humbly remaining open to learn more.
To encounter others with a tone and posture that say, “I see dignity and goodness in you.”
Given our acrimonious atmosphere, it all sounds pie-in-the-sky. But in this hotly contested election, someone will win and someone will lose. And we, the survivors, need to figure out a way to get along.
(Resources on Church teachings are available at www.civilizeit.us You can also purchase yard signs, magnets and t-shirts. Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, a teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics, is posted on the USCCB website.)
BY FR. FRANCIS WENDLING, OFM
Front, Sr. Margaret, Sr. Elizabeth; back row, Fr. Leon, Sr. Dara, Br. Joseph, Sr. Grace MaryWith Franciscans and friends of St. Francis, we had a wonderful celebration for the Transitus of St. Francis and Mass on his feast day here at our Interprovincial Franciscan Contemplative Prayer Fraternity, Our Lady of the Angels Friary in Ava, Mo.
Our guests included seven Cistercian Monks, formerly from South Vietnam and now living at Assumption Monastery in Ava, as well as two Trappists from the Monastery. We also had five hermits and one Benedictine Sister from nearby Nazareth Hermitage join us. Donna Haley from Columbia, Mo., provided organ music for the Transitus and the Mass for the Feast Day.
We were greatly pleased to have several Franciscans come to share the Transitus with core members Friars Sean Murnan of OLG Province and Francis Wendling of SJB Province. We were also joined by SJB friars Michael Dubec, here for part of his sabbatical, and John Joseph Gonchar, in from Pittsburgh, Pa., for a retreat. Two friars of ABVM Province drove from Wisconsin: Paul Belco from Pulaski, formerly a core member here, and Justin Mysliwiec from Green Bay. They are with us for a month of a deeper prayer experience enjoying this place of solitude, fraternity, and beauty.
Left, front, Fr. Francis, Fr. John Joseph, Br. Paul; back row, Br. Michael, Br. Austin, Sr. Diane, Fr. Sean; right, Mary from Vietnam shows Fr. Bruno the yearly “lease payment”;
PHOTO FROM OUR LADY OF THE ANGELSGuests dined on smoke trout.This is the first time in the seven years I’ve been here that we’ve had six friars together for our Transitus and who remained for a deep prayer experience. Since the beginning of our Prayer Fraternity we always hoped to have a core community of at least four friars. We encourage all friars of the Order to come here for part of their sabbatical as Michael is doing.
After the Transitus we dined on trout donated by the Rockbridge Trout Ranch and smoked by a neighbor. Many guests brought salads, other dishes and desserts. At dinner, guests watched as friars gave a basket of fish with a dollar bill to the Trappist Monks in fulfillment of our yearly lease agreement. The smile on the face of Fr. Alberic, the Abbey’s superior, as he received the basket drew applause and laughter. Our lay guests at prayer and dinner were delighted to see the friars’ joyful and fraternal spirit.
Mark Soehner’s Year of Mercy talk is Nov. 2.• Fr. Mark Soehner previews the third and final presentation in SJB’s Year of Mercy speakers’ series on our YouTube page. He’ll focus on God’s Mercy and Our Response. Mark’s talk is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at St. Anthony Shrine in Mt. Airy. Admission is free and all are welcome.
BY BR. JIM McINTOSH, OFM
PHOTOS BY JIM McINTOSH, OFM“Together as Brothers”: Friar attendees with speaker Ospino (second from right)
This is the fourth year in which friars from different provinces interested in Hispanic ministry have met as Juntos Como Hermanos (Together as Brothers).
Boston College Professor Hosffman Ospino gave a presentation on Hispanic ministry in the U.S. Church and offered startling statistics. More than 40% of U.S. Catholics are Hispanic. Almost two-thirds of Hispanic Catholics are born in the U.S. and speak English as their first language.
“If you have Latinos living in your parish, you’re doing Latino ministry,” observed Steve DeWitt, OFM, one of the meeting’s organizers.
More than 40% of U.S. Catholics are Hispanic, said Dr. Ospino.According to Dr. Ospino, it is critical that the church in the U.S. address the needs of the 64% of Latinos who are U.S.-born. These are most young Latinos who speak English, but find themselves caught between the wider U.S. society and their Latino roots. Only 4% of the children who are Latino study in Catholic schools, and less than one percent is in Church youth groups.
In the U.S. Catholic Church, which is rapidly becoming Hispanic, Dr. Ospino said that Hispanic ministry shouldn’t be delegated to one “Hispanic Ministry” office but should infuse all the work of the Church.
The friars also discussed the planned V Encuentro of the American Catholic bishops and the effects of the Revitalization and Restructuring effort by the U.S. provinces.
They ended the meeting by drafting a letter to the U.S. provincial ministers requesting that their ad-hoc organization be recognized as an official inter-provincial structure “to develop and provide resources for Hispanic ministries throughout the U.S.; to provide resources and a support system for friars engaged in Hispanic ministry and those who might be interested in Hispanic ministry; and to organize regular gatherings for friars interested in Hispanic ministry in furtherance of our mission.”
(Br. Jim McIntosh is National Social Media Director/US Franciscans.)
Fr. Jim Van Vurst writes that Sr. Kateri Koverman, SC, died Oct. 5 at the age of 73. “Many friars around my time at St. Leonard will remember her with fondness. When the chapel was dedicated and open for Mass in 1959, Kateri, who lived nearby, used to come to Mass on horseback. I have a feeling that our presence may have influenced her in her vocation to religious life.” A funeral was held Oct. 21 at the Motherhouse at Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati.
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PHOTO BY JEFF SCHEELER, OFMFriars will serve at the Chinese Mission in Houston.In recent years and months we have had to return the pastoral care of some parishes to dioceses: Lourdes, Peoria, and Bloomington in Illinois, Hazard, and Jackson in Kentucky to name a few. It is always difficult to make and implement these decisions, and it does Top, Joe Hund, OFM; above,Bonaventure Huber, OFMaffect how we think and feel about ourselves as a province. Departures and withdrawals can be downers!
I am pleased to let you know that next week, on Oct. 31, Fr. Bonaventure Huber and Fr. Joe Hund will take up residence at the Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston, Texas. Bonaventure will be installed as pastor in the coming weeks and Joe will do sacramental assistance in the area. We are grateful to Joe for his willingness to accompany Bonaventure and make this new and unique venture possible.
Bonaventure has finished his classes at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He will take his comprehensives next semester and receive an MA in Religion and Culture. Check out the parish’s website: ascensionchinesemission.org
– Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM
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It’s about quieting the quarrels.Jesus calls us to be merciful 24-7, but does that really include an election year?
PHOTOS BY JIM McINTOSH, OFM“Together as Brothers”: Friar attendees with speaker Ospino (second from right)WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y.— Sixteen friars from across the country met here at the Mt. Alvernia Retreat House Oct. 10-13 to discuss common issues in OFM Hispanic ministry and to give each other support.
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