Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Vocation Director

This past week I had a meeting with my bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Warfel. He asked me to assume the role of vocation director with responsibility for recruiting seminarians. I will be replacing him in this role. Our Vicar General will be responsible for the seminarians once they are accepted and sent to the seminary.

I am looking forward to this new responsibility. I ask for your prayers for myself, and also for my parish as we adjust to my new role. I'll be doing a lot more traveling and we'll have to rely more on substitute priests.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Air Force recruiting non-native priests

I found the following article which was interesting
AF looks to foreigners to end priest shortage

By Sam LaGrone - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Sep 24, 2008 12:18:05 EDT

To combat a record low number of Roman Catholic chaplains, the Air Force chaplain’s office is pitching a plan to turn foreign-born priests into naturalized blue-suited clergy.

“We’re working on getting non-native Americans to come into the Reserve and then we would fast track them to American citizenship,” said Air Force Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Cecil Richardson.

“Once they became citizens, we will bring them into the [active] military as priests.”

Currently, there are 79 chaplain priests in the Air Force. Of those, 17 have medical problems that prevent them from deploying, and at least nine plan to retire by the end of the year. In short, priests for the Air Force are “a critical need” for the 25 percent of all airmen who are Roman Catholic, said Lt. Col. Gary Linsky, a Catholic chaplain in the plans and programs division of the Air Force Chaplain Service.

To blunt the blow, the Air Force will follow a trend in civilian parishes that have relied on foreign-born priests for years. But recruiting foreign priests into the active U.S. military presents more hoops than just getting an out-of-town padre a green card.

It’s like an SAT question: If all active-duty U.S. chaplains are officers, and all active-duty officers are U.S. citizens, are all active-duty chaplains U.S. citizens?

Yes, by law.

So the Air Force Reserve and the Chaplain Service want to use a provision in Title X of federal law that allows foreign legal residents to take reserve commissions. Once in, priests would undergo an accelerated naturalization process, based on President Bush’s 2002 executive order, in order get an active commission.

“What we’ve heard is three to six months, but we have yet to prove that,” Air Force Reserve Col. Anne Hamilton said. The Chaplain Service proposal comes in addition to other Air Force efforts that let priests take commissions when they are older, stay in longer or get waivers for problems that would get other candidates laughed out of the recruiting station, Richardson said.

The need for the clergy in the military is crucial since only ordained priests can administer Catholic sacraments such as Holy Communion, confession and last rites.

In forward operating areas, Air Force priests are in as much demand as special operators. Come January, Catholic chaplains will be required to deploy for six months at a time, at a dwell rate of 1-to-1 — six months in theater, then six months at home. Chaplians of other denominations deploy far less.

The clergy shortage is not unique to the Air Force. In the past 20 years, the Archdiocese for the Military Services has seen the number of priests drop from 1,500 across all services to about 290 active-duty chaplains and 250 in the reserves and the National Guard, said Monsignor Ronald A. Newland, the archdiocese’s chancellor. Catholic chaplains are responsible for nearly 1.5 million troops and family members worldwide covered by the military diocese.

The priest shortage in the military reflects a larger trend in the Roman Catholic Church.

“I can recruit a priest into the military, but I can’t recruit a young man into the priesthood,” Richardson said. “It’s a Catholic Church problem.”

On average, each year only brings 450 to 500 new priests to the entire church, said Mary Gautier, senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, a group that researches demographics in the Roman Catholic Church. That rate will only make up a third of what the worldwide church loses each year to priests’ deaths and retirements, Gautier said.

And most new priests are not American. The countries that are seeing the most new priests are, in order, Mexico, Vietnam, Poland, the Philippines and Columbia, according to Gautier’s data. For Chief of Chaplains Richardson, the program awaiting Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz’s approval is imperative to the welfare of Catholic airmen.

“We need to meet the needs of the men and women who’ve pledged to support and defend the Constitution and say, ‘By the way, I’m Roman Catholic,‘” he said.

Election time stories

Here is a story from the election two years ago. Check out the complete post for some concerns about this election cycle
"Battle of the Sign's 2006"

Election season is always a bit crazy in Missouri. This past election season proved to be one of those especially whacky and cantankerous election years. Due to the push to pass an Amendment to our state constitution, which would permit human cloning, the battle of the “Vote No” vs. “Vote yes” on Human Cloning began. The stakes were high as such an amendment, would constitutionally protect human cloning.

Our signs for a NO Vote would be defaced or removed in the dark of night by the opponents we faced. Night after night, the sign thieves would come and remove the signs. Some even resorted to defacing property in their nightly raids.

Throughout the month of October the battle raged. By the end of the month it had become a fact of nightly attacks upon our private property an especially our signs. Obviously the sign raiders didn’t know it is not nice to fool Mother Nature or little old Irish ladies on a “Mission for God.”

On the morning of October 30th, I had had enough of being Mrs. Nice old lady who patiently takes in and puts out her signs everyday to protect them.I decided to take some action. Stealing myself for the battle ahead, I laid my battle plan carefully. With a glint in my eye, I set off on a shopping trip, which I must say I enjoyed much more than I usually do shopping trips. First stop was at Wal-mart’s toy department. I spent considerable time carefully wheeling around the department searching for the perfect ammunition. From there, it was on to the grocery store. Wheeling through the aisle on the handicap cart, I quickly assembled my remaining arsenal of weapons. A large jar of honey, motor oil and black trash bags.

This night the raiders were going to pay for their crimes! I carefully painted the edges of my signs with the honey to make them nice and sticky. Then I cut up and laid down the trash bags, dribbled more honey and motor oil on them and covered them with leaves, also duly baptized with honey and motor oil.

When night fell I was ready and waiting for the battle to begin. Dressed in my finest Annie Oakley attire, armed with my cap gun, a spotlight and a primed garden hose, I nestled down in my bunker to wait for the enemy. Hours went by while I warmed myself with thoughts of the sweet victory I was about to undertake. It was a fire fueled inside of me with a resolve General Custer would have been proud of.

Three hours later, my resolve was still hot, but the cold and chill was setting into my old bones. I was beginning to think the raiders were not going to engage the battle on my street this particular night. Then, just as I was preparing to give up and surrender my battle station for the night, the eerie light of car headlights began to glow softly on my honey/oil coated signs. The enemy had arrived!

Suddenly, from the driveway, two large dark figures sneaking across my yard came into view! Holding my fire and waiting for the perfect moment, my heart was racing! As providence would have it, both of the enemy combatants reached their designated sign targets at precisely the same moment! As they reached out to kidnap and trash my signs, I hit the button on my floodlight! With cap gun blazing and my walker to steady my aim, I gave out a battle cry that any Marine Sergeant would surely have approved!

Viva La Christo! I yelled at the top of my lungs! POP!

Take that you rascals! POP!

Viva the Un-born! POP!

Down with Sign killers! POP!

This is for trying to fool little old ladies! POP!

By this time, the miscreants were staring me dead in the eye! All 5 foot 2 inches of me, dressed to fight for the unborn. Proudly welding my cap gun and walker like a pro. And in about the same instant, the enemy realized they were covered with goo! With slips and slides on the slick trash bags, they quickly began their retreat. Scrambling back toward their car, with leaves and honey and motor oil flying, they threw themselves into the car and sped off into the dark Missouri night!

I did feel a bit concerned that they ignored my offer for some water to wash off their wounds before fleeing, but such is life, in the Battle for Justice! I do hope their wives were not too upset when they ruined the carpet in their car and possibly their homes as they came in from this bloodless but messy battle.

Friday, October 10, 2008

We think we have housing problems

I thought I'd share this picture I took while traveling to an orphanage in Kyrgyzstan.

With very few exceptions, even our poorest housing tends to be better than this.

Economic Crisis

Here is different thought on the source of our economic crisis. This is from the blog at catholicculture.org

The US economy is in crisis because the real-estate market is crashing. But why is the real-estate market crashing? One major factor-- among many, to be sure-- is abortion.

How's that, you ask? It's a simple matter of supply and demand.

In the first decade following Roe v. Wade, there were about 13 million American babies aborted. Had they lived, those babies would now be young adults, and many of them would be looking to buy their first homes. Add 13 million consumers to the market, and that increased demand would drive up prices. Raise prices, and the real-estate market would rally. If the real-estate market rallies, the financial crisis is behind us. But that's not happening, because those 13 million consumers are dead.

And that doesn't even account for the countless millions of children who might have been born in the 1960s, if their parents hadn't been contracepting...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Real Catholic TV

Have you checked out Real Catholic TV? Here is a sample. I think it will be well worth the $10/month for the premium service. The free service has a lot of good material as well :)

Why we need to vote

A quick video to help us understand how this election can affect each of us.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Real Men

When I am encouraging young men to consider the priesthood, I think it is important to remind them about the fact that it takes real men to make the commitment necessary. I will tell them that real men do extraordinary things.

This video is a scene from the USCCB vocations office, produced by Grassroots Films. The production itself is called Fishers of Men. ENJOY

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Endorsement for president

I've been asked if there are any qualified candidates running for president 2008. I wanted share this which I found at The Curt Jester

Priestless Sundays

I've copied the following from Dr. Edward Peter's blog

A news story out of the Diocese of Fairbanks in Alaska describes an upcoming "priestless Sunday" wherein priests will be away from their parishes to serve remote missions, leaving their parishioners without Sunday Mass that weekend. I can see arguments for and against this unusual action and I don't think that outsiders are in a position to conclusively support or reject the basic idea.

One point in the news article, however, needs to be corrected: After noting that Communion services will be celebrated in most parishes left without pastors, the article asserts that such services are "not Mass but will satisfy the Catholic obligation to attend Mass."

That's wrong.

Only Mass satisfies the Sunday obligation (1983 CIC 1247-1248) under Roman Catholic canon law.* If a member of the faithful cannot attend Mass on Sunday, that impossibility excuses the obligation. Boniface VIII, De Regulis Iuris, no. 8, "Nemo potest ad impossibile obligari." Indeed, Canon 1248.2 of the 1983 Code, placed in the Code by John Paul II himself (Peters, Incrementa in Progressu, 1082), expressly notes that "If participation in the Eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister . . . it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the Word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church . . . " (emphasis added). Note, participation in a Word service is recommended, not required, and there is nothing in the canon about Word celebrations counting as Eucharistic celebrations.

Those of us lucky enough to attend Mass in our own parishes next Sunday should especially remember Catholics in Alaska who are not so fortunate. That said, while severe shortages of priests should move us to redouble our efforts to encourage vocations to the priesthood, they are not occasions for changing the understanding of Sunday Mass or its obligation.

* I say under Roman canon law, because there is some provision under Eastern canon law for something besides Mass to count toward the Sunday obligation. See CCEO 881.1.

I am sure that there are other canon lawyers that would argue differently, but this has been my understanding with the limited canon law courses I received in the seminary.