Program #0101 for Thursday, July 28, 2011: Archbishop Sambi dies; Cardinal O’Connell moves; the Orange Crystal Cathedral

July 28, 2011

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Susan Abbott

Today’s guest(s): Fr. Roger Landry, executive editor of The Anchor, the newspaper of the Fall River diocese; and Gregory Tracy, managing editor of The Pilot, the newspaper of the Boston archdiocese

  • The Anchor
  • The Pilot
  • Some of the stories discussed on this show will be available on The Pilot’s and The Anchor’s websites on Friday morning. Please check those sites for the latest links.

Today’s topics: Archbishop Sambi dies; Cardinal O’Connell moves; the Orange Crystal Cathedral

Summary of today’s show: Our usual Thursday panel discussed the news of the week, including the unexpected death of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the United States; the reinterment of the remains of Cardinal William O’Connell on the grounds of St. John Seminary; the Dicoese of Orange’s bid to buy the famed Crystal Cathedral; and more.

1st segment: Scot welcomed Susan to show and she related her work week. On Monday she took the day off and went to see the Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. Next week Susan joins with her counterparts in diocesan religious education in Springfield next week.

Scot said we’ll talk about the death of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Pope’s representative to the United States, who was in Boston a couple of months ago at the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary.

2nd segment: The apostolic nuncio has two essential roles: To be the pope’s diplomatic representative to the US government and to be the Pope’s voice on world affairs in Washington, DC; and to be part of the selection of new bishops of the United States. He surveys dioceses’ for their needs and polls bishops for lists of capable priests. He then prepares a ranked list of candidates to the Congregation for the Bishops in Rome. Fr. Roger said Archbishop Sambi has been known in the US for cutting down the wait down for a new bishop to be appointed. Previously it would take two years or more for a new bishop. Archbishop Sambi cut that down in manby cases to less than a half year.

Fr. Roger said he was a man of great joy whose joy came from knowing Jesus personally. Scot then introduced Archbishop Sambi’s words to the Redemptoris Mater fundraising dinner about Cardinal Seán.

Susan read Cardinal Seán’s statement on the death of Archbishop Sambi:

“Archbishop Pietro Sambi represented the Holy Father with distinction and great skill through his service as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He was an engaging and dedicated leader who had great love for a deep commitment to the Catholic faithful of our country. The Archbishop was a good and holy man and he will be greatly missed. Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother we pray for Archbishop Sambi, that he be welcomed to eternal life with our Heavenly Father.”

Scot said Greg had time to spend with the Archbishop at the Redemptoris Mater dinner. His impressions of the archbishop were that he possessed a lot of diplomatic skills; he immediately made a connection with people he met. He was greatly loved and there are so many people issuing statements about how beloved he was. The Archbishop had lung surgery several weeks ago. It had also been rumored that he was going to be getting a new assignment in Italy, but on July 26, his office put out a request for prayers and then he died last evening.

Fr. Roger said the Archbishop set a new standard for the interaction of a nuncio with the bishops of a country. Normally, the address of the nuncio at a bishops’ conference meeting are pro forma and somewhat vaguely worded, but when Archbishop Sambi spoke at the bishops’ conference or at installations of bishop, he had something to say that deserved to be heard and that made bishops pay attention. His ongoing legacy will be in the bishops he helped elevate in the episcopacy, especially among the young priests they cultivated for higher office in the Church. His model for new bishops was to select pastors for dioceses other than their own. In the past, the new bishops were often priests who worked in chanceries or were bishops’ secretaries. But his most lasting legacy will be all the Masses he celebrated and sacraments he performed.

3rd segment: Yesterday, the archdiocese announced that the remains of William Cardinal O’Connell had been moved and reinterred from the grounds of the former chancery to the grounds of the seminary. His will when he died was that he hoped to be close to the seminary. As part of the sale of the chancery property to Boston College, the college had asked the archdiocese to work with the Cardinal’s family to have the remains moved to a suitable place. Over the last week, his remains were moved from a hill to the courtyard at St. John’s Seminary close to the entrance to the chapel in the seminary. Cardinal O’Connell built that seminary and the cardinal’s residence as a way of showing that Irish Catholics had really arrived in Boston.

Greg said it’s been a contentious process over quite a long time. the property that the mausoleum was on wasn’t obviously a final resting place of a cardinal. But when Cardinal Seán sold his own residence and the grounds of the chancery to Boston College, the college stipulated that the body should be moved. At first it was proposed to move him to the grounds of St. Sebastian’s school, which he helped found in Needham. But the family wanted to stay true to his wishes to stay close to the seminary. Public ceremonies surrounding the interment are planned for later.

Scot noted that mausoleum wasn’t well visited and it wasn’t in good shape near the end. The cardinal has got his wish to be near the seminary. During the cardinal’s tenure, the Archdiocese experienced massive expansion of religious, priests, and parishes. The Catholic Church came into its own in Boston. Fr. Roger said his legacy is that he fought hard for Catholics to receive their civil rights in Boston and was one of the most consequential Catholic statesman in the 20th century. He was also a the rector of the Pontifical North American College and returning to the US helped fight the unique heresy of Americanism which held that we didn’t need God’s help.

Fr. Roger said he often prayed for Cardinal O’Connell when he was the seminary, because of stories that the cardinal also had some scandal surrounding his governance of the Church in Boston.

Another story in the Pilot this week is a story about Sr. Alice Gagne, 92 years old, who was among 13 siblings, five of whom were in the same religious order, the Gray Nun order. Greg said the sisters have a tradition of a wake that is a time of remembrance and reflection on her life. At the wake, a copy of the order’s constitution, a crucifix, and red rose were placed on the casket, in keeping with the Grey Nun traditions. The constitutions signifies their way of life, the cross reflects the reality of life’s burdens, and the rose represents service performed with love. Greg said the French Canadian family emigrated to Woonsocket, RI and raised the children with joy and with a love for Christ.

Fr. Roger said the story makes him think of St. Therese of Lisieux, whose own family gave five daughters to religious life. The inheritance of the Gagne family must be great in heaven.

4th segment: Scot said it was announced this week that the Diocese of Orange in Southern California, the seventh-largest in the United States, made a $50 million bid for the Crystal Cathedral complex that had been built by television preacher Dr. Robert Schuller. Scot he recalls from his youth seeing it on TV occasionally and thinking of what a beautiful building it is.

Scot said some folks are asking why we’re building a Protestant church. Others don’t like the look of it, that it isn’t traditional. The reality is that the diocese needs a new cathedral in a fast-growing Church. A new cathedral in the US costs upwards of $100 million or more so this would not be a bad deal at $50 million. Susan said the story fascinates her , but she tends to be a bit more traditional when it comes to worship spaces. She said the story of Crystal Cathedral Ministries is interesting and the story of how the church was built on the location of a drive-in theatre. The building has 10,000 pieces of glass, can seat 2,700 and can accommodate up to 1,000 musicians. Greg thinks it does make for a grand and open space that allows one to see all of nature surrounding, even though it may not be his own cup of tea.

Fr. Roger said the renovations to make it suitable for Catholic worship would be important. He noted that the early Church often took the pagan buildings of Rome and converted them for Catholic worship. The Church has always converted buildings for use in celebrating the sacraments. He said the Crystal Cathedral is already a destination for people to see and now they would be able to visit with Jesus inside. It is a munificent building, which means it’s a spectacular work for the glory of God. Finally, it is a symbol of the transparency which is a virtue that people wish for the Church these days.

Scot also noted that it comes with a lot of land that could be developed for a lot of good purposes for the Church in Orange.

5th segment: Scot introduced the “lightning round” by asking Greg about which article he wanted to point out. He likes the article on how Pope Benedict has advocated the benefit of silence and solemnity at World Youth Day. In the past it has often become like a rock concert, based on an idea that young people always want high energy. Yet young people often want a time of prayer and adoration of Christ.

Susan liked the story about the eight US bishops named to lead World Youth Day catechetical sessions, including Cardinal Seán. She said it ties in with what Greg said about silence, and how Cardinal Seán often says we live in an age addicted to entertainment. Cardinal Seán has a sense of the busyness of the world. He will speak on the gift of our Catholic faith, how to build a relationship with Christ, and how each of us is called to a mission.

Fr. Roger pointed out the Pope’s words on the terrible violence in Norway this past week. The Pope said we have to build a world which abandons the path of violence in order to score some political points.

Scot noted a story a new uniform payroll and pension system for the whole archdiocese, including parishes, saves nearly every parish money and provides a real 401k for employees in the archdiocese.

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