Summary of today’s show: Our Thursday panel of Scot Landry, Susan Abbott, and Gregory Tracy look at the news headlines of the week, including reaction to the launch of Phase 1 of the Disciples in Mission pastoral plan; George Weigel’s lecture this week on Evangelical Catholicism; the new and improved Pilot Catholic Directory; the new annual report for the Archdiocese; and the March for Life and Roe v. Wade anniversary
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Watch the show via live video streaming or a recording later: BostonCatholicLive.com
Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Susan Abbott
Today’s guest(s): Gregory Tracy, managing editor of the Pilot, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston
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: Disciples in Mission, George Weigel; Pilot Catholic Directory; Annual Report; March for Life
1st segment: Scot Landry welcomed everyone to the show and ask Susan Abbott about a gathering her office is organizing tonight. She said for the Year of Faith they’re going out into parishes for a series of events that attract catechists for inspiration and information. They have a talk on the Year of Faith and then break into groups to work on skills and methods for lower grades and high school grades.
Scot welcomed back Greg Tracy who was away last week on vacation with his wife. He comes back very tanned.
A top story in this week’s Pilot is some reaction to the announcement of the Phase 1 parishes for the Disciples in Mission pastoral plan. The story interviewed Fr. John Sheridan at St. James in Salem, where four parishes are in one collaborative. Greg Tracy said Fr. Sheridan said he’s looking forward to the pastoral planning process and is confident the parishes will work together well because they are already working closely together on some initiatives. He was happy that there is now a plan, which Greg said is not untypical of priests in the Archdiocese. Before the pastoral plan, the problem of allocating priests and resources was handled on an ad hoc basis.
Scot noted that like all the pastor of the Phase 1 parishes, Fr. Sheridan had to submit his resignation. Pastors and parishes in Phase 1 chose a path of uncertainty for the good of the Church. Susan said Fr. Sheridan says it’s not a question of demotion, but that as a priest he has given his life for the good of the Church. Fr. Sheridan also speaks of parish identity. Susan said people here have a very deep sense of identity with the parish. Yet in the pastoral planning, Fr. Sheridan believes one parish identity will not dominate. He also spoke of the diversity of population and he said that music is a way to express that diversity.
Scot said next week the show will cover in more depth the kickoff of Phase 1 training at the Pastoral Center, which will give the same training to Central Ministries’ staff that parishes will receive to help them understand and appreciate what they’ll go through. The employees are going through the training in two groups. Fr. Paul Soper, Director of Pastoral Planning, wrote on his blog about the first day:
We started the day with Mass. Then the Chancellor, John Straub, gave us a witness talk. Drs. Angela and David Franks, from TINE and Saint John’s Seminary, followed that with a talk called “The Founding of the Church and the Beginning of Evangelization.” Bishop Kennedy came next, with “The History of Evangelization.” Then the Franks again, with “Holy Scripture: Testimony to Faith and Human Reason.” Then, after a lunch break, Michael Lavigne spoke on “Keeping Christ at the Center.” Finally, Mary Ann McLaughlin spoke on “Prayer, Sacraments, and Grace.”
Scot encouraged listeners to follow this blog as it documents this very important process. they noted that 120 people is the workable capacity for a training like this at the Pastoral Center.
Also in the Pilot is a summary of George Weigel’s address at a lecture at St. Columbkille Parish in Brighton, sponsored by St. John’s Seminary and the Year of Faith office. Susan said it’s an interesting talk and she was thrilled to see that the Pilot article summarized the talk for readers. Scot said he first thought that Evangelical Catholicism was going to be about a Protestant-Catholic connection, but instead the book and the talk were about the Church’s mission and how Vatican II outlined the reform of the Church so she could be more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ than she’s been. The Church has always been reforming herself to be more faithful and effective to the mission of evangelization. Susan said evangelical is a connection to the New Evangelization. One of Weigel’s points was a call to constant conversion and Susan said that echoes what Bishop Arthur Kennedy said in the first session of the Catholic Faith Essentials course on the continuum of conversion.
Also in the Pilot this week is a story about the 2013 edition of the Pilot Catholic Directory and how it has reduced the number of pages while keeping the same amount of information. Greg also noted that they’ve managed to get the directory out earlier than usual. Sometimes it doesn’t get out until March. Scot said that’s partly because of the number of organizations that have to report and they’ve managed to streamline the reporting, replacing paper forms with online reporting. Greg added that Antonio Enrique, editor of the Pilot and the Directory, did an immense of work automating the collection and collating of data. Scot noted that the reduction in size came from changes in layout and examination of the best practices in such reporting across the country.
The panel discussed the efficiency of using a printed directory over a website or searching Google. Greg said if you’re looking for a retreat center, you could Google “retreat center Boston” and get dozens of dubious results or you can look in the directory to get a listing for which you can be confident.
Susan said the sacramental index for all parishes is enormously interesting to her. But she also uses it to look up quick information. Scot said there are all kinds of interesting Catholic data like dates for Easter and how to address a letter to various members of the Church’s hierarchy. To get your own copy, see your parish orcall Stephanie Rodricks at 617-779-3792.
2nd segment: Scot said an official notice was in this week’s Pilot announcing Fr. Dennis Dever of St. Clement Parish in Somerville is resigning and will take Senior Priest/Retirement status, effective February 2. He has served the parish for over 20 years.
Also there is a notice in the Pilot this week that the Archdiocese is releasing it’s Fiscal Year 2012 annual financial report. This release has been part of Cardinal Seán’s initiative for transparency and accountability. Scot said the archdiocese releases more data than any other diocese in the country.
Greg noted that while some of the data is esoteric and understandable mainly for experts, it’s still comforting that it’s there and available and open for anyone to examine.
Scot noted that the report is being published many months earlier than it has in the past. In some years it was almost one year after the fiscal year closed, because they had to get all the data in from all the parishes, schools, and associated organizations. Now they are able to release it just about six months later, which is line with other large organizations. Scot noted that the financial reports of the individual parishes and organizations are on the website as well.
Scot said also in this week’s Pilot is an obituary for Fr. Eugene P. Curtin, ordained in 1956. He was 81.
The big story in the Church over the next week will be the 40th anniversary of the March for Life and the Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal nationwide. Susan said she went to the first March for Life in Washington. She was the mother of three small children at the time. She left the kids with her husband and rode a bus contracted by Mass. Citizens for Life. They traveled overnight and marched during the day and then returned to Boston about 5 am. She hasn’t been able to go back since then. She noted that the March has grown amazingly, especially with young people.
Greg said he’s been to six or seven marches over the years. Chris Pineo from the Pilot will travel with kids from the Archdiocese and Greg will travel with Cardinal Seán, who as chairman of the US bishops pro-life committee, will lead many of their events and gatherings, such as being the main celebrant at the Vigil Mass at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. He will also speak from the podium during the March on the National Mall.
ALso in the Pilot is a column by Jaymie Stuart Wolfe who will be the emcee for the Assembly for Life at Fanueil Hall on Sunday, January 27. The main speaker at the event will be Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic who left that job and had a conversion to both Catholicism and pro-life.
Johnson now works to help abortion clinic workers to leave the profession. Greg said once you get past all the euphemisms and see the consequences for real people in real life, that changes hearts and minds. Greg noted that the news media used to refer to fetus when speaking of abortion and unborn baby for all other pregnancies, but when the inconsistency was highlighted, they all switched to referring only to fetuses.
Susan said Johnson’s work is about helping clinic workers with the economic efforts of leaving their jobs and getting training and new jobs as well as the spiritual counseling and healing they will need.
Scot mentioned that also locally most of the parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston will have Holy Hours for Life, cosponsored by the Office of Permanent Deacons and the Pro-Life Office. A list of local times is on the website of the Archdiocese of Boston.
January 19 through 27, the US Bishops are asking for Nine Days of Prayer, Penance, and Pilgrimage marking the 40th anniversary of the March for Life and Roe v. Wade.
Scot noted that this week is the National Vocation Awareness Week and he encouraged all listeners to seek out and encourage men and women who may have a religious vocation.