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The Lines of Lent 

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St. Patrick's Day Mass

Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan will be the principal celebrant for the Mass in honor of ST. PATRICK at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 8:30 AM. The homilist will be Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York who currently serves as Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and former Archbishop of Baltimore and the Military Services.

With Venezuela in turmoil, how one religious sister cares for the elderly

Caracas, Venezuela, Mar 13, 2019 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- Mother Emilia Rivero runs the Providence Nursing Home Foundation in Caracas, Venezuela. Even in ordinary times, caring for lonely, poor, and often forgotten elderly Venezuelans is not easy. And in Venezuela, where political unrest has heightened shortages of food, medicine, and water, these are not ordinary times.

“This is our charism, our work, to serve them, care for them, make sure that they have their food, are dressed, have clean clothes, have water, which has been such a problem,” the sister told Sky News March 2.

The elderly suffer the crisis in Venezuela acutely, as in some cases their relatives have fled the country, and in other cases simply find themselves financially destitute.

Some experts have estimated that the majority of Venezuelans over 60 depend on charity to survive, with the Catholic Church at the forefront.

The Catholic charities supporting elderly Venezuelans are themselves struggling for resources, especially since electrical blackouts began March 7 in many parts of the country.

Mother Rivero told journalists that many of the appliances in her nursing home’s kitchen, for example, no longer work, and the home has had problems getting water, especially since the blackout began.

Sky News reported that the nursing home where Mother Rivero serves can ordinarily care for 100 residents, but, due to the crisis, can accommodate now only 40.

Speaking to Aporrea TV in December 2018, the nun also clarified rumors about the deaths of the elderly at the nursing home. “Some people out there have said that the elderly here are starving to death. Thanks to benefactors, they can get their three meals a day, and we also welcome visitors who encourage them and bring them snacks.


“We have here at the nursing home 40 people, we also take in for lunch another 15 people, and some other people come for supper,” she added.

“We don’t have aid from any governmental institution” nor “do we receive money because they withdrew all aid,” the nun lamented, explaining that the nursing home she runs is sustained by donations.

According to CNN en Español, Venezuela has suffered blackouts for several hours for each week. While the Maduro government says the blackouts are caused by a cyber attack from the United States, experts have blamed an overtaxed and outdated electrical grid.

For his part, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who also claims the presidency of Venezuela, said that 16 states in the country continue to be without electric power while six have partial service.

Guaidó indicated the private sector has lost at least $400 million because the power outages affecting Venezuela.

According to some media, the lack of electricity has also left t24 dead in the country’s healthcare facilities.

The blackouts have also resulted in a failed clean water supply in some parts of the country.

 

A version of this article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Vatican spokesmen: Pope Francis’ seventh year will be ‘synodal’

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2019 / 10:15 am (CNA).- On the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election Wednesday, the Vatican's chief spokesman said Francis will continue to lead the Church as a synodal “field hospital” in the year ahead.

 

Pope Francis “has a vision of an ‘outgoing’ Church and a ‘field hospital’ Church,” Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office told Vatican Media March 13.

 

“The outgoing Church presupposes that you walk … and ‘synodal’ means walking together,” he continued.

 

Gisotti connected Pope Francis’ vision of the Church, from the beginning of his pontificate, as a field hospital to the Vatican’s recent sex abuse summit on the protection of minors.

 

“With the meeting on the protection of minors we have seen a Church that has the courage to bind the wounds of women and men of our time,” Gisotti said.

 

The Vatican spokesman reaffirmed that last month’s Vatican summit necessitated concrete follow-up on the global issue of the protection of minors. This next phase will include the publication of a motu proprio, a handbook from the Congregation on the Doctrine of Faith with a series of regulations, and a task force with experts that can consult bishops’ conferences on the issue of child protection.

 

“Many had some doubts that it was appropriate to hold this meeting, while the Pope in this regard showed courage and also, in my opinion, a prophetic courage, because for the first time - in the face of a terrible scandal that puts at risk not only the credibility, but in some respects the very mission of the Church - he convoked all the presidents of the episcopates,” Gisotti said.

 

Vatican Media Editor Andrea Tornielli also said that pope’s sixth year will be “marked at the beginning and the end by two ‘synodal’ events,” the Vatican sex abuse summit and the special Synod on the Amazon respectively.

 

“But a look at the past year cannot ignore the re-emergence of the abuse scandal and the internal divisions that led the former nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò last August to publicly demand the resignation of the Pope for the management of the McCarrick case, just as Francis celebrated the Eucharist with thousands of families in Dublin proposing the beauty and value of Christian marriage,” Tornielli wrote in an Italian editorial on the eve of the pope’s anniversary.

 

“The Church, as Pope Francis reminds us today, is not self-sufficient precisely because she too recognizes herself as a beggar asking for healing, in need of mercy and forgiveness from her Lord and she bears witness to the Gospel to many wounded men and women of our time,” he said.

 

“Perhaps never before as in the troubled year just gone by, the sixth of his pontificate, has the Pope who presents himself as ‘a forgiven sinner,’ testified to this essential and most relevant fact of the Christian faith,” he continued.

 

The pope spent the sixth anniversary of his election as the 265th successor of St. Peter on a weeklong Lenten retreat with members of the Roman curia, held outside of Vatican City.

 

At the retreat Wednesday, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re told Pope Francis and 64 members of the Roman curia that “we are asking that the Lord be your light, support and comfort in your task of confirming your brethren in faith, of being the foundation of unity, and of showing everyone the way that leads to heaven.”

Saskatchewan government fights to fund non-Catholic students at Catholic schools

Regina, Canada, Mar 13, 2019 / 02:48 am (CNA).- The government of Saskatchewan in Canada is arguing that it should be allowed to pay for non-Catholic students to attend Catholic school, appealing a 2017 court decision that could force up to 10,000 students out of Catholic schools because they are not Catholic.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donald Layh first handed down the ruling in April 2017, saying that any provincial government funding for “non-minority faiths” would violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the state’s duty of religious neutrality, and equality rights.

Saskatchewan is arguing that its current model, whereby students of all faiths at Catholic schools are given funding, is religiously neutral, and that demanding religious proof to determine funding would not be religiously neutral, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

Saskatchewan is one of three Canadian provinces that partially fund Catholic school systems with taxpayer money. If it stands, the ruling could affect 26 other faith-based schools besides the Catholic schools, including a school for Muslim students.

This particular debate over school funding began in 2003, when the public school closed in the Saskatchewan village of Theodore. The public school district planned to bus 42 students to the public school in a neighboring village, but a group of Catholics petitioned the Minister of Education to form a new Catholic school division. The division then bought the old public school building and renamed it St. Theodore Roman Catholic School, CBC reports.

A local public school division filed a legal complaint against the Catholic school division and the provincial government in 2005. The complaint charged that the funding was unconstitutional and wrongly put the Catholic school in the role of a public school. Funding of non-Catholic students at the Catholic school constituted discrimination against public schools, the complaint said.

The lawsuit alleged that the community created the Catholic school division not to serve Catholic students, but to prevent students from being bused to another town to go to school, according to the Canadian site Global News.

Saskatchewan was given until June 2018 to follow the judge’s ruling, but instead they appealed and continued to pay for non-Catholic students to attend the Catholic school, Global News reports.

The government has said that if they lose again, they plan to counteract the ruling using a notwithstanding clause, which can temporarily override certain portions of the Canadian charter for five years, according to Global News. A panel of five judges in the court of appeals will have six to eighteen months to issue a ruling.

Both sides are expected to argue their case before the Court of Appeals this week.

 

Chilean cardinal addresses case of sex abuse in Santiago cathedral

Santiago, Chile, Mar 11, 2019 / 07:34 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago on Thursday denied knowing and giving  money to the complainant in a rape case in the cathedral which took place in 2015.

The Archbishop of Santiago gave an interview to Informe Especial which was broadcast March 7.

In the interview, he discussed a rape complaint against Fr. Rigoberto Tito Rivera Muñoz, who was found guilty in August 2018 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the sexual abuse of adults.

Rivera sexually assaulted Daniel Rojas Alvarez, who was then about 40, in a room of the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral in 2015.

Rojas claims he told Cardinal Ezzati of the attack during a confession, and that the archbishop asked him to pray for the abuser, gave him 30,000 pesos ($45), and asked that he not asked him not to share what happened.

In the Informe Especial interview, Ezzati said: “I hear confessions in the cathedral, especially during the time of Holy Week, but I am not aware of having heard his confession, because I don't know him and still less am I aware of giving him a hug and telling him that a priest would give him some money in my name, that's not it, this is all very unfortunate, but that's not the case, I understand that he may feel what he feels, and I have complete esteem and all my affection for him, because of what he has suffered,” he said.

Asked if he ever had contact with Rojas, the cardinal said “no.”

Regarding the processing of the case, Ezzati explained that the complaint was received by the Pastoral Office for Complaints: “It came to the archdiocese a few days later and immediately the archbishop ordered a preliminary investigation.”

“Within a few hours and a few days later that the investigator, Fr. Walker, conducted a preliminary investigation, which he gave to me, I received a phone call in which I was told  that the Holy See had asked the nunciature to review [Rivera's] situation because of a complaint that had come to them. I don't know what complaint, so consequently I immediately sent all the documentation where appropriate.”

Regarding the time elapsed between the filing of the complaint and calling in the victim (to testify), Cardinal Ezzati pointed out that “in 2016 the investigation was already done. What also happened is that they were never able to get Daniel's address. Except toward the end, Daniel gave (us) his e-mail, and he was able to be able contacted there.”

Asked about his responsibility in the abuse scandals within the Church, the cardinal said that “without a doubt one of the tasks that has fallen on me, and very painful, very shameful, very humiliating, is to take in hand the cases that are being reported and have been reported.”

“What I can tell you with a lot of transparency and with a lot of peace, we certainly could have made some mistakes, we're not infallible, I'm not infallible, but that in all the cases that have been reported to the Archdiocese of Santiago, for which since 2011 I have been responsible, all, all the cases have been investigated, and all cases are investigated, and what people reported before then, and they are in the process of being resolved.”

Concerning the accusations for alleged cover-up of abuse in which at least ten priests are implicated, Cardinal Ezzati said that “the justice system has to determine that. I am very much at peace and  I am willing, and as I have always said, I am at the disposal of the justice system if they want to investigate and they have the complete freedom to do so.”  

Asked about a bill which seeks to take away his Chilean citizenship, Ezzati (a native of Italy) said it “that pains me immensely, foremost because I was granted citizenship by indult and the decree sets out the reasons.”

He said that “the authorities are certainly free to take the path they want” and “personally I think it's unjust, but I am going to continue to work as archbishop as long as the Holy See asks me to do so.”

“After (they do that), as a priest with no complaints about what I was able to contribute at this time in the history of Chile, whether as an educator or as a pastor, I am going to continue working because what I am interested in is not titles, but was I am interested in is people,” he concluded.

The Archdiocese of Santiago stated last week that it received a complaint of possible abuse of minors by Rivera in August 2011, but that during enquiries into the case “it was not possible to contact the complainant.”

The Pastoral Office for Complaints then received a complaint against Rivera from an adult in March 2015, which permitted the start of a preliminary investigation and the implementation of the precautionary measure of removing the priest from all pastoral responsibilities.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the request of the Santiago archdiocese, “gave new instructions to continue the preliminary investigation and to start an administrative penal process” in September 2016.

The preliminary investigation was closed in November 2016, leading to the administrative penal process which concluded with the Decree of Condemnation of Aug. 16, 2018.

The priest was declared “guilty of crimes against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue continued  over time and involving scandal, with adults, as is specified in Canon 1395§1 of the Code of Canon Law,” the archdiocese said.

Rivera was suspended from public ministry for ten years, “only being able to celebrate the Eucharist privately and with the company of a person over 50 years of age.”

He was also prohibited from “meeting with or maintaining contact with young people” and was required not to move anywhere.

Once the ten years are completed, if the priest does not comply with the measures, he risks “being suspended for a greater period of time.”

The archdiocese also noted that these four penalties were “among others.”

It concluded, saying that “besides the canonical sentence which was implemented  in September 2018, an exhaustive review was begun to clarify all the information that was made known publicly.”

Cardinal Ezzati has faced accusations that he was involved in covering up the crimes of other abusive priests, including Fernando Karadima and Oscar Munoz Toledo.

Argentine bishop under investigation for sex abuse attending pope’s Lenten retreat

Vatican City, Mar 11, 2019 / 06:00 pm (CNA).- Argentine Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, under a Vatican investigation for sexual abuse of seminarians and other sexual misconduct, is attending Pope Francis’ annual Lenten spiritual exercises with other curia officials this week.

According to a report from Christopher Altieri of the Catholic Herald, Zanchetta confirmed by phone that he is attending the retreat, which began in the afternoon March 10 at a retreat house outside Rome.

The bishop is on a leave of absence from APSA while under investigation. The current Bishop of Orán is in the process of collecting testimonies regarding the allegations against Zanchetta, which will be sent to the Congregation for Bishops, and ultimately be judged by Pope Francis personally.

The pope’s annual Lenten spiritual exercises are taking place March 10-15 at the Casa del Divin Maestro in Ariccia, a town situated about 16 miles outside Rome on Lake Albano. The retreat is traditionally attended by the pope and senior members of the Roman Curia, particularly department heads.

This year’s retreat is being led by Benedictine abbot Bernardo Francesco Maria Gianni. He will give meditations on the theme of Christ’s gaze and gestures in the life of the world.

After resigning as bishop of Orán in August 2017, Zanchetta, was appointed by Pope Francis in December 2017 to a position created for him within the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which oversees the Vatican’s assets and real estate holdings.

The Vatican has twice insisted it knew nothing about abuse reports against Zanchetta until the fall of 2018, though media investigations suggest that Pope Francis knew about the allegations in 2015, two years before he gave Zanchetta a Vatican job.

Zanchetta was reported to the Vatican in 2015 and 2017 when he was discovered in lewd sexual photographs on his cellphone, and suspected of sexual abusing of seminarians.

Documents published Feb. 21 by The Tribune, a newspaper in the Salta region of Argentina, purport to show that the Vatican received a complaint about Zanchetta in 2015 and that Pope Francis had spoken to Zanchetta after the complaint was filed. The documents also claim that Zanchetta failed to register and report the sale of two church properties worth millions of dollars.

The documents seem to confirm earlier reporting by the Associated Press. Zanchetta also faces a judicial complaint of sexual abuse in Argentina that was recently made public.

Fr. Juan Jose Manzano, Zanchetta’s former vicar general in the diocese of Orán, told the Associated Press that the Vatican received complaints against Zanchetta in both 2015 and 2017, but that the 2015 complaint against Zanchetta was not issued as an official canonical complaint.

According to The Tribune’s report, one of the Zanchetta’s secretaries alerted authorities after accidentally finding sexually explicit images sent and received on Zanchetta’s cell phone. The complaint says that some of the images depict “young people” having sex in addition to lewd images of Zanchetta.

The report says three of Zanchetta’s vicars general and two monsignors made a formal internal complaint before the Argentinian nunciature in 2016, alleging inappropriate behavior with seminarians, such as encouraging them to drink alcohol and favoring the more “graceful” (attractive) among them.

Pope Francis summoned Zanchetta to Rome for five days in October 2015. The pope appeared to have accepted Zanchetta’s excuse that his cell phone had been hacked, and dismissed the allegations.

The 2017 internal accusation, which The Tribune says alleged more explicit abuse by Zanchetta of seminarians, resulted in Zanchetta’s exit from the diocese, though Zanchetta said he was resigning for health reasons. The Vatican did not open an investigation at that time.

Manzano said part of the reason the allegations against Zanchetta may have not been taken seriously by the Vatican was because of the bishop’s close relationship with Pope Francis, who appointed him bishop of Orán in 2013. Still, Manzano said he didn’t believe the Vatican meant to lie or hide anything about Zanchetta. He said he believed Francis and other Vatican officials had also been victims of the bishop’s “manipulation.”

Vatican Press Office spokesman Alessandro Gisotti in January “resolutely” repeated a Vatican statement that said no sexual abuse charges had yet emerged against the bishop at the time Pope Francis appointed Zanchetta to his position at APSA. Gisotti said the charges only emerged in the fall of 2018.

When asked at a Feb. 24 press conference about Zachetta’s case, Gisotti reiterated that an investigation is ongoing.

 

Catholic university to review Rosica work for plagiarism

Toronto, Canada, Mar 11, 2019 / 05:05 pm (CNA).- A Catholic university in Ontario, Canada, says it will review any published work by its former president and vice-chancellor, Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.

“In so far as Fr. Rosica has admitted that his published work has included unattributed material originally published by others, it is possible that what he published as President contained similar material. We will endeavour to determine if this is the case,” Richard Corneil, president of Assumption University in Windsor, Ontario, told the Windsor Star March 8.

Rosica served as president and vice-chancellor of the university from 2011-2015. In recent weeks, the priest has come under fire amid revelations of extensive plagiarism in his published articles, books, and speeches.

The priest, a long-serving English language press aide at the Vatican Press Office, and the CEO of Canada’s Salt+Light Television network, was reported by Life Site News Feb. 15 to have plagiarized sections of text in several lectures and op-eds from a variety of writers, among them priests, theologians, journalists, and at least two cardinals.

The priest apologized for plagiarism on Feb. 22, shortly after initial reports emerged.

“What I’ve done is wrong, and I am sorry about that. I don’t know how else to say it,” Rosica told the National Post.

“I realize I relied too much on compiled notes,” Rosica told the National Post, adding that his plagiarism was inadvertent and not malicious. He explained that “it could have been cut and paste,” apparently meaning that he had mistakenly included passages of text written by others in his texts without remembering to attribute them.

“I realize the seriousness of this and I regret this very much … I will be very vigilant in future,” he said.

Subsequent reports found widespread plagiarism in essays, speeches, and op-eds by Rosica, dating back more than a decade.

In late February, evidence emerged on Twitter that Rosica had also copied directly and without attribution the work of several theologians in a 1994 article he published in the theological journal “Worship.”

Liturgical Press, which publishes the journal, announced Feb. 26 "that the editors of Worship are retracting the [1994] article by Thomas M. Rosica because of plagiarism."

Liturgical Press subsequently retracted two additional articles published by the priest.

The 1994 article covers the same topic as Rosica’s 1990 licentiate thesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, leading some to raise questions about whether that text, through which the priest earned a pontifical degree in scripture, might also have been plagiarized.

Last week, the priest was discovered to have misrepresented his studies at the Ecole Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem. While he had claimed to have a degree from graduate school, its director told journalists that while Rosica had been enrolled there, he had not earned a degree of any kind.

On Feb. 24, Rosica resigned from the Collegium, or governing board, of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, and the governing boards of St. John Fisher College in New York and the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

On Feb. 25, Rosica acknowledged to The Catholic Register that he had plagiarized. “We know that plagiarism is wrong, especially when it is practised deliberately. Please note that my actions were never deliberate. Nevertheless they were wrong,”

While the board of directors at the the Salt and Light Media Foundation has acknowledged that Rosica’s plagiarism was wrong, board chairman Tony Gagliano said in a March 7 statement that board members “unanimously pledge our support of the continued leadership of Fr. Rosica as Chief Executive Officer.”

“For the past 16 years, Fr. Thomas Rosica has worked consistently with young adults on many media platforms and in multiple languages to offer experiences of unity, prayer, celebration, reflection, education, dialogue, thought-provoking reporting and stories of faith and action. This work must continue,” the board statement said.

The Knights of Columbus, financial supporters of Salt+Light, have told reporters that they will review and reevaluate their relationship with the media network.

 

 

Catholic aid group to set up kidney dialysis clinic in Guadalajara

Guadalajara, Mexico, Mar 7, 2019 / 07:28 pm (CNA).- In response to the growing number of patients with kidney conditions in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Catholic charitable agency Caritas is implementing plans to set up a kidney dialysis clinic in the region.

Caritas of Guadalajara currently has the donated office for the clinic, but around $410,000 is still needed to remodel the facility and purchase dialysis machines.

To raise the necessary funds, Caritas will hold a gala event March 28.

Once set up, the kidney dialysis clinic is expected to serve 180 patients a week.

Fr.  Francisco de Asís, an adviser to Caritas of Guadalajara, called the clinic a “dream come true…especially for people needing the treatment who can’t afford this service, who will be able to find in Caritas the treatment they need.”

In 2018, Caritas of Guadalajara helped provide dialysis for 711 people with donations of about $36,000.

An estimated 900,000 people in Jalisco state suffer from kidney problems, Caritas says. Of these, some 6,000 have been diagnosed with chronic renal insufficiency.

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Costa Rican police raid Church offices after priests accused of sex abuse

San José, Costa Rica, Mar 7, 2019 / 04:49 pm (CNA).- The offices of the Archdiocese of San José and the Costa Rican bishops' conference were raided by police Thursday as part of an investigation of two priests accused of sex abuse.

The Judiciary Investigation Department confiscated computers and files March 7 in search of information regarding Fathers Manuel Antonio Guevara Fonseca and Mauricio Viquez Lizano, and proof of potential cover-up by Archbishop José Rafael Quiros Quiros of San Jose, according to the AP.

Viquez, 54, has been dismissed from the clerical state, the San José archdiocese announced March 4. Nine canonical complaints of sexual abuse of altar boys had been filed against him. He had been teaching at a local university, but he fled Costa Rica Jan. 7, and prosecutors in the country have issued an international arrest warrant.

Guevara, 52, was arrested earlier this month for one allegation of sexual abuse against a minor. He has been released from prison, but has strict regulations to follow and is suspended from his work at Santo Domingo de Heredia parish.

The 52 year-old priest was only kept in prison for one night, but he must check in with civil authorities once a month, cannot change addresses, and has surrendered his passport. He is also forbidden from any form of contact with the victim.

The Costa Rican bishops' conference issued a statement a day after his arrest, seeking forgiveness for a lack of an appropriate response in other sex abuse cases, according to Q Costa Rica.

“We humbly acknowledge our mistakes and ask forgiveness for the faults that have been painfully committed by some members of our church,” the bishops said.