Program #0315 for Thursday, June 7, 2012: Fortnight 4 Freedom; Renewal of marriage vows; Theological certificates; Priest assignments in Fall River; World Meeting of Families

June 7, 2012

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Summary of today’s show: On our Thursday show, Scot Landry, Fr. Roger Landry, and Gregory Tracy considered the news headlines of the week as they appear in The Pilot and The Anchor newspapers, including the upcoming Fortnight 4 Freedom, including a televised town hall with Cardinal Seán; A celebration of marriage anniversaries at Holy Cross Cathedral; honoring decades of service by two priests; Dozens receiving catechetical certificates from the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization; Major reassignments of pastors in Fall River; and the World Meeting of Families in Milan last week and the next one in Philadelphia in 2015.

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry

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

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: Fortnight 4 Freedom; Renewal of marriage vows; Theological certificates; Priest assignments in Fall River; World Meeting of Families

1st segment: Scot welcomed Fr. Roger and Gregory to the show. Susan is not available today. Scot said they’re taping the show on Thursday morning because this afternoon is the annual convocation of all the priests of the Archdiocese with Cardinal Seán. Greg said Cardinal Seán always genuinely seeks feedback fom his priests on his priorities and initiatives. Scot said Bishop Richard Malone, most recently of Portland, Maine, and recently reassigned to Buffalo, NY, will speak at the convocation. He recently went through major pastoral reorganization of his diocese in Maine and will offer insights.

Scot said the first topic is that Cardinal Seán will host a televised town hall meeting for the Fortnight for Freedom on June 25 at 8pm on CatholicTV. Scot and Dr. Angela Franks will appear on the panel. Greg said it will be very interesting to see how people will be able to pose questions to Cardinal Seán and the panel. Questions will be submitted via Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Fr. Roger said the US bishops are trying to accomplish what they learned from Pope John Paul II: It’s not enough just to talk about something, but we have to add prayer to education. In Poland, their fight for freedom from Communism, including much public prayer in addition to other kinds of civil action. Pope John Paul II continued that in his papacy, narrowly focusing the attention of the Church on something important through prayer. The US bishops hope for an intense two-week period of liturgical prayer that includes some great saints related to the idea of religious freedom.

He said we shouldn’t have to choose between being a good Catholic and a good American. Scot said this is definitely appointment television or radio. People can watch it on CatholicTV on cable or online on CatholicTV’s website or listen live on WQOM.

Also in the Pilot this week is a story about 175 couple who were celebrating their 25th or 50th wedding anniversaries this past weekend at Holy Cross Cathedral during a Mass with Bishop Dooher. Greg said this is a great sign of the gift of Christian marriage. He said the cathedral was filled with many families and they showed the gift of life that these marriages created.

Fr. Roger said it’s a reminder of the vows these couples have made to one another in their sacrament strengthens us all in our fidelity to our faith. He said long-lived couples give him the advice on how they stayed together so long. He recalled one couple who said the secret was that they really trusted each other.

Another story is about the certificate program at the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization and the graduation of 115 people who spent many, many weekends studying their faith either for personal enrichment or to become catechists in their parishes. Greg said this is related to the Master of Arts in Ministry program that we talked about last week. That is a degree program, while this is a certificate. Only about 10 people per year graduate from MAM, but the certificates bring dozens of more people into parishes with this formation.

Angela Franks described the coursework of the certificate programs.

“The certificates are designed to provide an affordable yet intensive experience of the fullness of the faith. They cover the entire catechism and provide this essential foundation for further growth in the faith.” she said.

Angela Franks said the focus on the catechism is critical to the program.

She said the catechism provides definitive source for learning the teachings of the Church.

“What we find is that a lot of students have been relying on other people relying them what the Church reaches, which is fine, but when you access the catechism you really have it from the horse’s mouth. You have the explanation of the Catholic faith from the Catholic Church itself. Our students, after they go through the course, I felt very empowered.” she said.

Fr. Roger said this is what Pope Benedict XVI intends for the Year of Faith. Dioceses have been encouraged to set up these kinds of institutes of instruction and formation. He said the Archdiocese is setting a standard for what should be occurring everywhere. The Pope has said that religious freedom depends on an engaged, articulate laity bringing the truths of the faith to the public square. Fr. Roger said it would be worth any sacrifice for listeners because knowing your faith is the most important part of our lives.

Also in the Pilot, are two profiles of priests who provided many deuces of service. Msgr. William Roche, 90, served 30 years at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, was a paratrooper in US Army and the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA, during World War II.

Fr. Patrick McLaughlin has recently accepted senior priest/retirement status after 51 years of service. He’s served in Peabody and Brockton and in Bolivia in the St. James Society. He’s been at St. Joseph’s in Medford since 1976.

In the Anchor, lots of stories about priestly assignments this week. In Boston, assignments of priests are done on a rolling basis. In other dioceses, including Fall River, they do them all at once around the first of July.

Fr. Roger has received a new assignment. He aid this is an unprecedented number of moves, including 21 pastors being reassigned in some way, because 5 pastors are retiring, with 5 taking their places, and then musical chairs to cover everything. On June 27, Fr. Roger is moving from St. Anthony in New Bedford to become pastor of a new parish in Fall River, St. Bernadette, which is made up of the merger of two previous parishes, Immaculate Conception and Notre Dame. Fr. Roger said he’s disappointed it’s happening at the same time as the Fortnight 4 Freedom, which makes it more difficult to concentrate on this event at the same time they’re moving.

Scot said it can be compared to leaving an old job and going to a new job, but it’s also the move of a physical residence. But these aren’t just co-wrokers, they are people whose souls Fr. Roger has cared for. Fr. Roger said the Lord is calling him to preach the Gospel in another place, which is like when Jesus told the people of Capernaum that he had to go and preach to others. He aid he will very much miss the people of St. Anthony’s, especially the kids for whom he’s been the only pastor they’ve ever known. But if a priest is good at his task, he will have prepared people to focus not on himself, but on Jesus. Priests will come and go, but Jesus Christ is working through every priest.

Fr. Roger said there are 90 parishes in Fall River and over one quarter of the pastors are moving. Next week, they will publish the changes in parochial vicars and they will have almost no parochial vicars left in parishes as they become pastors and hospital chaplains.

Scot noted that there is an ordination Saturday at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. Jason Brilhante will be ordained. He discerned his vocation while he was in college. He prepared for the priesthood at St. John Seminary. Fr. Roger said during their interview Jason couldn’t contain the joy he felt at his imminent ordination. Fr. Roger said the ordination of a priest is a shot in the arm to all priests who are laboring in the vineyard. He said another priest will be coming back from Rome after finishing up an advanced degree there so Fall River will be getting two reinforcements. Scot said the ordination will be broadcast on CatholicTV.

Scot said the World Meeting of Families took place in Milan last week, which included one million people at the final Mass. At the end of the event, Pope Benedict announced that the next meeting will take place in 2015 in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Greg said he’s planning to go with his family. It will be a great sign for this country of hope for marriage and family.

Scot said Philadelphia has many challenges. The situation in the Church there is like what it was in Boston in 2004. They’re undergoing a trial of a prominent priest in connection to the sex abuse crisis, plus all the pastoral reorganization they’re undergoing. Scot said he was surprised that they were chosen at this time.

Fr. Roger said the Pope is going because of the struggles in Philadelphia, to support Archbishop Chaput, and because of the place of Philadelphia in American history, including the Declaration and Constitution, which outlines our religious liberties. Fr. Roger thinks it’s going to be enormous, maybe not 1 million people, but people will be trying to get there like in 2008 when the Pope came tot he US last. Fr. Roger said he was surprised too. He’s really praying that the Holy Father can make it to 2017 as a German on the throne of St. Peter on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation so he can explain how the differences of that time can be understood as misunderstandings of the Catholic faith. Fr. Roger asked the listeners of The Good Catholic Life to pray for the Holy Father’s health and vigor.

Scot said the Holy Father will be 88 in 2015 and a multi-city schedule on that trip would be difficult to plan for at this time. Fr. Roger said unlike John Paul II, they’ve been trying to conserve Pope Benedict’s energies while he’s traveling so the odds are slim he’ll go any other place. Greg speculates that it would be someplace close to Philadelphia, like New York or DC.

Also in the Anchor this week is a story about a defeat of a bill to ban sex-selection abortions on May 30. Scot said it’s ironically shocking to him that women’s organizations are okay with sex-selection abortion that predominately affects unborn girls. Fr. Roger shows the hypocrisy that they’re not standing up for women’s rights by not standing up for the young women being executed simply for being women. He noted that the only Massachusetts representative who voted in favor of this bill was Rep. Stephen Lynch. He said every listener should ask themselves if their representative thinks it’s okay to kill little girls for being girls, do they actually represent our interests and the good of the human race? The real War on Women is being waged by the abortion business.

“For most of us ‘it’s a girl’ is cause for enormous joy, happiness, and celebration,” said Rep, Chris Smith (R-NJ.). “But in many countries, including our own, it can be a death sentence.”

Scot noted the US is one of the only developed countries that hasn’t banned this practice. Greg said when it comes to issues of abortion that things that would make sense in any other context, like parental consent for medical procedures, when it has to do with abortion, anything goes. Scot said studies show that sex-selection abortion is indeed happening in the United States.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) argued thaI the bill is necessary to “give baby girls the same chance at life as baby boys.” She said that it is “hypocrisy” to call oneself “pro-woman” while supporting the abortion of a girl based on her gender. “Since when did America subscribe to the idea that males are worth more than females?” she

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