Summary of today’s show: Our usual Thursday panel of Scot Landry, Susan Abbott, Fr. Roger Landry, and Gregory Tracy considered the headlines of the week, including Pope-emeritus Benedict’s return to the Vatican; Pope Francis’ theology of work; the sudden death of Bishop Joseph McFadden of Harrisburg; awards to deserving catechetical leaders; Cardinal Justin Rigali’s talk on Vatican II this week; and “God has no grandchildren”.
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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Susan Abbott
Today’s guest(s): Fr. Roger Landry, pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Fall River, and Gregory Tracy, managing editor of the Pilot 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: Headlines: Benedict returns; Theology of work; Sudden death of a bishop; Catechetical awards; Cardinal Rigali; God’s grandchildren
1st segment: Scot Landry welcomed Gregory Tracy back and Greg said last week he was in the Holy Land with his family on a retreat. Greg talked about a few of his favorite sights and sites.
Scot said the big news in Rome today was the Pope-emeritus Benedict has moved back to the Vatican from Castelgandolfo. He will now live there, praying for the Church, and he’s likely to stay there until his death. Fr. Roger said it’s unprecedented to have two popes living inside the Vatican walls. Fr. Roger noted that Benedict’s 10,000-volume library that was in his apartment and then in the apostolic palace was moved to his new living quarters in the monastery. He talked about the extreme steps they took to ensure that his books would not be put there out of place. Fr. Roger recalled that he used to walk past this monastery when giving people tours of the Vatican gardens or when taking visitors to various offices of the Vatican.
Scot considered how many 10,000 books is and the panelists compared their own libraries. He also said that Archbishop Ganswein will live in the same building along with several nuns who will care for Benedict.
Greg said he didn’t think there would be any problem with having two popes within the walls even though there is some handwringing over the prospect. Fr. Roger said it is unlikely for Benedict to have any public Masses or events, but he wouldn’t be surprised if he was asked to lead the Curial retreat for Lent or Advent next year.
Scot said a book that had previously been published in Spanish about Pope Francis is now in print in English. Fr. Roger wrote in his column for the Anchor this week about Pope Francis’ theology of work as described in the book. Fr. Roger said we live in a culture where we don’t want to work. There is a vocation to work. Pope Francis said when he turned 13, his father told him he needed to get a job along with school in order to learn about hard work. His father arranged a job for him at a client’s company, a hosiery factory. He worked there several summers and then in a chemistry lab in college.
In the lab, his boss taught him a very valuable lesson about the importance of doing his work well, well for those who are served by that work, but also well because we are forming our own character. Work done well is crucial for our dignity.
Scot said most people will think they’re doing great if you’re giving 95% effort. But if you think of the gifts of God you’ve been given, why not give 100%? What are you doing with the other 5?
Susan talked about the prospect of retirement and said she described to a friend her ideal retirement. The friend noted it sounded like her work now. She said she’s blessed to do what she loves. If you’re giving 100%, everything you do that day is offered up for the glory and praise of God. Fr. Roger said we need to look at our work as the sacrifice of Abel. Work was one of the first commands of God, in addition to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over creation. This type of work began before the Fall.
He noted that Jesus often used images of work in his preaching, not to mention the 30 years of his life under the tutelage of St. Joseph and working as a carpenter in Nazareth.
Scot recalled our interview with the pastor and pastoral associate of a parish in Baltimore who wrote the book “Rebuilt”, about the renewal of their parish. Once per year, Fr. Michael White gets up and challenges everyone that if they’re not willing to serve, they should get up and leave to make room for someone who will. He said this is spiritual advice, because getting involved causes personal spiritual growth.
- Program #0491 for Wednesday, March 20, 2013: Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter
Greg said he’s heard the axiom that there is no work grater than someone else’s work, with few exceptions. All work serves the whole. Whatever you do, do it in a Christian way and a holy way. We are serving others, not serving ourselves. Mother Teresa said most of us will not do extraordinary things, but we can do ordinary things with extraordinary love.
Scot said today we heard the news that Bishop Joseph McFadden of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, died suddenly today at age 65 while at meetings in Philadelphia. He said it reminds him not to take our bishops for granted. Fr. Roger talked about losing one of his seminary classmates in an accident. He said Bishop McFadden was beloved in Harrisburg and in Philadelphia and recounted meeting him.
Fr. Roger said Cardinal Justin Rigali, former archbishop of Philadelphia, two days before he retired wrote an incredible mediation on death for his priests and how we should be ready at any moment. We should be ready to give ourselves freely to the Lord. He talked about those who gave their lives heroically. Those who live every day like it’s their last, live like those in the Twin Towers or the airplanes on 9/11 who took what time they had left to contact their loved ones and tell them they love them. Suck the marrow from life.
2nd segment: Scot said three catechetical leaders were honored with awards in a gathering in the cathedral on April 28 along with 75 other catechists. Susan said Bishop Deely led the service of Solemn Vespers at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the ceremony. She said it was the first time they’ve done the awards in that context. She thinks about 500 people were present. About 75% of the people had never been to the cathedral before and the responses they’ve got since Sunday have been overwhelming.
The awardees were nominated by their pastors and have been teaching in some form at their parish for at least the last three years. Donna Lee Mcintosh of St. Linus Parish in Natick, and Maribelle Ortiz. Millan of St. Patrick Parish in Brockton, each received the Sister Marian O’Connor Award for Excellence in Catechetical Leadership as directors of religious education. Amy Chapman of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Chestnut Hill was also honored with the Gaudium et Spes Service Recognition. The award recognizes outstanding service: to the archdiocese and the parish in the Year of Faith, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Scot also said that Cardinal Justin Rigali was in the Archdiocese earlier this week for St. John’s Seminary’s Year of Faith and 50th anniversary of Vatican II speaker series. Cardinal Rigali spoke from his perspective as having worked in Rome at the Vatican during the Second Vatican Council and alongside Pope Paul VI. The cardinal related how the Pope had a very human and personal touch, whether with one person or bringing the light of Christ to the modern world.
Scot talked about how we have maybe about 10 more years to hear personal reflections from the bishops who were at Vatican II. Fr. Roger said many have written memoirs about their experiences. Those who were there can continue to teach the Church about what the real hopes were and the real values were of those who there at the time. He talked about how one council father lamented at how some of the council documents were hijacked by the American media and liberal Catholics.
Scot said one column that stood out to him this week in the Pilot was by Dale O’Leary, titled “God has no grandchildren.” She wrote that we can inherit practices and traditions, but we cannot inherit the faith. What makes evangelization of these ‘grandchildren’ hard is that they don’t know what they are missing. They think that what they have is all there is. Scot said it’s been shown that the younger you are in the Church, the less likely you are to be an active Catholic. People aren’t going to inherit the faith just because they receive the sacraments or come to church. They have to live the faith.
Greg said it’s not enough to force children to go to Mass on Sunday, because as soon as they’re out from under your authority they won’t. Ultimately, their heart needs to be converted. We transmit faith through our own witness, through showing how they need God in their lives, through demonstration of the truths of the faith. There used to be a society that supported your faith and belief system, but that doesn’t exist anymore. So without an active evangelization of our own families, it’s very easy for young people to be drawn away and look to the world to satisfy them.
Susan encouraged people to look at Msgr. James Moroney’s blog in which he encouraged people to give a good witness.