Program #0248 for Thursday, March 1, 2012: Rite of Election; Catholic Appeal; Mary Ann Glendon

March 1, 2012

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

Today’s guest(s): Gregory Tracy, managing editor of The Pilot, the newspaper of the Boston archdiocese

Links from today’s show:

  • 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: Rite of Election; Catholic Appeal; Mary Ann Glendon; 10 ways to grow in faith this Lent

Summary of today’s show: Our Thursday news show had a more local flavor than recent weeks. Scot Landry, Susan Abbott, and Greg Tracy began by discussing the Rite of Election this past Sunday at Holy Cross Cathedral and then talked about the importance of the Catholic Appeal, not just to the central ministries, but to parish ministries as well. Mary Ann Glendon’s talk at the seminary on the vocation of politics called on Catholics to be engaged in the public square and Fr. Roger Landry’s editorial this week gave fodder for discussion with the top 10 ways to grow in faith during Lent. Also, a commemoration of an immigration raid in New Bedford five years ago and a suggestion to give up coffee for Lent to benefit the poor.

1st segment: Scot welcomed Susan and wished her a Happy March. Susan recommend listeners read Emily Dickinson’s poem about March.

Dear March — Come in —
How glad I am —
I hoped for you before —

Put down your Hat —
You must have walked —
How out of Breath you are —
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me —
I have so much to tell —

I got your Letter, and the Birds —
The Maples never knew that you were coming — till I called
I declare — how Red their Faces grew —
But March, forgive me — and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue —
There was no Purple suitable —
You took it all with you —

Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door —
I will not be pursued —
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied —
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame —

They discussed their activities over the past week. Susan said she was in the Diocese of Providence for a day of prayer for diocesan employees.

2nd segment: Scot welcomed Greg to the show. Scot said that on the front page of the Pilot this week is a story about 500 people preparing to enter the Church on Easter gathering at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sunday for the Rite of Election.

“The fathers of the Church often see Noah’s Ark as a metaphor, or a sign, of the Church. We are tossed on rough seas. Some passengers are seasick, some of the crew have mutinied, some have fallen overboard, and yet we are one billion Catholics in all sizes, shapes and colors, and speaking every language imaginable,” he said. “Although it is sometimes a rough ride the Lord has promised that he will always be with us,” he continued.

Susan clarified that there are two groups in the candidates. One consists of Christians who come from other faiths and Catholics who were baptized but didn’t receive any of the other sacraments of initiation. She said adult converts to the faith often bring a special zeal to the Church with them. She also spoke about how everyone in the Church is responsible for evangelization and bringing others to our faith. Scot said Greg was himself a convert to the faith. He noted that there are so many people entering the Church that they have to hold two different services for the Rite of Election.

Scot said Fr. Jonathan Gaspar, director of the Office for Worship, is quoted as well:

“They are already elect members of the Church, even though they haven’t been baptized. They gain a new status in the Church. The cardinal, the local bishop, is a reminder that for us as Catholics, it’s not just about belonging to a local parish, although that is very important. For many people their entrance into the Church
is because of the outreach of local clergy and local Catholics. At this moment in their preparation they see with their own eyes and experience in the liturgy that they belong to a universal Church,” he said.

“The bishop and the rite itself reminds all the fully initiated who are there present that it is our responsibility to support them with our prayers and by our example,” he said. “For us as Catholics it is a day of great joy, we anticipate it all year round, and to see new faces, to see new people being added to the family of God in the Church brings us tremendous joy,” Father Gaspar said.

Susan recalled being a sponsor for a candidate at one time and asking them and other after the ceremony about their experience. Many spoke of the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church. Greg said it’s significant that the ceremony is held at the Mother Church of the Archdiocese and connects them to the universal Church. The rest of their preparation is in the parish so this gives them a connection beyond the parish and even personally to the cardinal. They spoke of the importance of the physicality of the cathedral and how the statues and windows and paintings of churches is a catechism lesson in images.

The 2012 Catholic Appeal launch is this weekend and most parishes in the Archdiocese will have a recorded homily for the parish. Cardinal Sean will be personally in Amesbury and Middleboro parishes. The theme this year is “The Good Samaritan is you.” Many of the central ministries of the archdiocese are funded through the appeal including Susan’s office for religious education. She said when she was working at her parish during Catholic Appeal time, her pastor would always tell people that if they like the programs in their parish, they should give because those ministries only do the work they can because they receive support from the central ministries.

Greg said Msgr. Deeley, the vicar general, made a good summary, which is that the Appeal funds that which makes us a Church. While we may be very parish centered on a day to day basis, it is the ministry of the archbishop that makes us one Church. In the end, every ministry in the parish is affected by something funded by the Catholic Appeal. He said the Pilot is not funded by the Catholic Appeal, but they are located in the Pastoral Center which supports their ministry.

Also in the Pilot is a story about Mary Ann Glendon, former US ambassador to the Vatican, giving an address at the seminary about the vocation of the politician.

“Anticipating practically every excuse most of uS would think of, [Pope John Paul II] said that ‘Charges of careerism, idolatry of power, egoism, and corruption, as well as the common opinion that participating in politics is an absolute moral danger, do not in the least justify either skepticism or an absence on the part of Christians in public life,’” Glendon told The Pilot. “I think he was reminding us, based on his own personal experiences in Eastern Europe, that the work of politics – despite all its frustrations, disappointments, and grubbiness- is what determines whether other human activities like philosophy. art, literature, science, and commerce, all flourish or wither,” she added.

She related her experience teaching at Harvard Law in which she saw idealistic students become disillusioned in their years of study about the state of politics. But where would we be if good people didn’t get involved in public service? Greg said she makes the compelling point that Catholics have an important mission not to retreat from the public square.

Scot said the article ends with Fr. John Mulloy talking about the address and his admiration for Glendon. Scot said that describes how a lot of people feel about her. She is one of the most influential lay Catholic women in the Church worldwide. Susan said she has known Glendon for some time and she has a wonderful way of presenting the truth of the Church without stridency and with love. She is obviously brilliant. Susan cited Edmund Burke: “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”

Scot said there is also a story about an upcoming breakfast by Women Affirming Life on the topic of assisted suicide. The breakfast will take place on March 10 at Four Point Sheraton in Norwood. To register, call the Pro-Life Office at 508-651-1900.

Scot also cited a couple of local stories in this week’s Anchor on a 5th anniversary service commemorating an immigration raid in New Bedford that detained 300 illegal immigrants and another on an initiative in Fall River asking people to give up their daily coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and donate the money to the missions. Find out more at

3rd segment: This week’s editorial in the Anchor cites ways to grow in faith during Lent. It includes 10 suggestions related to growing in faith.

Lent is a time for growth in faith. It begins with our being marked with ashes and instructed to turn our backs on sin so that we may be faithfully the Gospel. There is for sure a need for us to grow in a personal, trusting adherence to God, something that happens as we seek to pray more and better, to discipline ourselves through fasting and other means, and to give of what we are and have in alms to others, confident that our Provident God will not only sustain but reward us.

The first three suggestions are to study the Catechism of the Catholic and the documents of the Second Vatican Council; Go on a pilgrimage, even to a local shrine; and increase one’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Susan suggests for studying the Catechism that people pick up YouCat for youth and the Catholic Catechism for Adults from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Of pilgrimage, she said we often just need the attitude of pilgrimage. Scot said pilgrimage could even just be going to a church you’ve never been to before.

The next four are to grow in friendship with the saints as a holy, heroic witnesses to the faith; reading the writings of the Holy Father, who is one of the best teachers we’ve ever had as a pope; to attend missions and days of recollection; and attend conferences and study days. Greg said the idea of becoming more familiar with the saints can include getting to know the two new American saints who will be canonized in October, Blessed Kateri and Blessed Marianne Cope. Scot pointed out that there are calendars of events throughout the dioceses published in the newspapers and on their websites.

The final four are celebrate the faith more intensely during Mass; examine your conscience on sins against the faith; give added attention to teaching the faith in Catholic school, religious educations programs and homes; and communicate your experience of faith to peers. Susan said the new translation of the Mass helps us to pay renewed attention to what is going at Mass and The Light Is On For You is a good opportunity for an examination of conscience and confession.

Scot said there are two lengthy obituaries in the Pilot for priests who died this past week, including Fr. James Curtin and Fr. Edward O’Flaherty, SJ. There are also several articles in both newspapers about the Health and Human Services contraception mandate. Scot especially recommended an opinion column by John Garvey, president of Catholic University of America on the topic.

Greg wrapped up by talking a special travel and pilgrimage section in the Pilot this week.

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