Tag Archives: Archbishop John Nienstedt

3 powerful paragraphs on sexuality from Archbishop Nienstedt

September 5, 2013

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“Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gn 2:24)

Licensed under Creative Commons by charm2010

Licensed under Creative Commons by charm2010

Men and women are different on the inside and the out. There’s no doubt about it. We were made to interconnect and be interdependent.  This is the nuptial meaning of the body–the eternal mystery of self-giving love.

Christopher West, author of Theology of the Body for Beginners, says, “The whole reality of married life, of course, is a sacrament. But nowhere is the ‘great mystery’ more evident than when the two become ‘one flesh’.”

This union is a miracle really, which is all in God’s marvelous plan for life.

Cooperating with the Creator’s plan

As I read the August 29, 2013 edition of The Catholic Spirit I was in awe of the beautiful way Archbishop John Nienstedt explained the complimentary differences between husband and wife:

“A woman’s body is obviously made in such a way so as to welcome a man’s body, and his is made to respond in kind. Their unimpeded conjugal union is designed to be reproductive, bringing forth new human life that needs to be protected and nourished. The natural context for such a relationship is the life-long, mutually exclusive union of husband and wife in what has, until recently, been called ‘marriage.’

The woman’s body has both fertile and infertile cycles, so as to allow for human reproduction as well as human intimacy and pleasure. Programs of natural family planning teach a couple how to read the signs so as to gain knowledge of how they should respond. It takes much of the guess work out of conception. True, it also takes discipline, but that leads to self-knowledge and virtue.

Natural family planning is not a Catholic version of contraception. Far from it. It is a valued and valuable method by which the married couple cooperates with nature and its laws, all of which have been designed by God ‘from the beginning’.”

The purpose of life

Why is it so difficult for some people to understand this? It should be simple to comprehend. It’s elementary, my dear Watson! It’s biology. It’s the law of nature. It’s black and white. Yin and Yang. Married love. The physical manifestations of male and female.

We are not opposing forces. We interact to form a whole greater than either separate part.

What is the purpose of this beautiful reality?

Christopher West explains it this way (p. 29):

“If you are looking for the meaning of life, according to John Paul II, it’s impressed right in your body–in your sexuality! The purpose of life is to love as God loves, and this is what your body as a man or woman calls you to. Think of it this way: A man’s body doesn’t make sense by itself. Nor does a woman’s body. But seen in light of each other, sexual difference reveals the unmistakable plan of God that man and woman are meant to be a ‘gift’ to one another. Not only that, but their mutural gift (in normal course of events) leads to a ‘third’.”

Yes, life is a gift. Why not embrace it?

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20 takeaways from a pastoral letter aimed to help Catholics get more out of Mass

November 15, 2011

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Snippets of meaning from Archbishop John Nienstedt’s pastoral letter “Do This In Memory of Me”

With my highlighter in hand as usual, I read the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ first pastoral letter on the Sacred Liturgy. Here’s what caught my eye or touched me as worth remembering — or at least giving more thought to:

  1. “The words of the priest gave voice to the unspoken prayers of those gathered in faith.”
  2. “The words obviously are important, but their true importance lies in the mystery by which those words are animated, inspired and inflamed.”
  3. “…with the implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal . . . we have the marvelous opportunity to stop and reconsider the important role that the Mass plays in our lives as individuals, as parish communities and as an Archdiocese.”
  4. “…the purpose of the Church is to call her members to holiness.”
  5. “…sanctity for the Christian is not a solitary activity.”
  6. “In the community of believers, our own hearts’ hopes and sorrows, joys and disappointments find reception, affirmation, and transformation as they are offered as one with Christ to the Father in prayer.”
  7. “The Liturgy . . . finds its origin in Christ’s call to be ‘gathered’ . . . . He calls us to holiness, but always in and through the church and her Liturgy . . . . this is the reason for the Church’s existence: to bring the baptized into a closer relationship with Christ as members of His one Body who pray the Liturgy together with Christ for the glory of God and the good of all.”
  8. “Our corporate prayer is thus a prayer that what has been accomplished in Christ might be accomplished in us, and that like Christ we might be sent to bear fruit for the life of the world.”
  9. “Unity does not mean ‘going along to get along.’ That would be a false unity, and one that cannot endure.”
  10. “As we are gathered around the one bread and the one cup, we are strengthened and summoned to form an ever greater unity of mind and heart with Christ Himself, so that we might be joined more closely to one another. Our unity with each other comes from this unity in Christ.”
  11. “Fundamentally, the Church’s Liturgy is not the expression of local customs or the particular interests of a parish or a priest. True enough, an assembly or a presider often do bring with them gifts and talents that should be shared with all, including at the offering of praise that is the celebrations of the Mass. But at its heart, the unity of the Roman Rite, reflective as it is of the Church’s universality, is meant to shine through our liturgical celebrations as an expression of our unity through one common expression of faith.”
  12. “How we pray together manifests what we believe.”
  13. “The new texts of the Church’s prayer provide a grace-filled moment to re-examine our liturgical practices, and to ensure that the liturgical life of our parishes, religious communities, and various apostolates are in conforming to the liturgical norms of the Church.”
  14. “Of course, it is not enough that we simply follow the liturgical law of the Church . . . we must strive to understand more fully just what it is that we are doing when we assemble. “
  15. “. . . take the time simply to listen to the Liturgy itself. We all must strive, clergy and laity alike, to hear with true docility the words the Church has given us, and the memories she cultivates within us as her prayers are proclaimed in our midst.”
  16. “When we stop to listen to the words of the Mass . . . we discover anew the mysteries of faith and enkindle the sense of wonder which marked the disciples on the road to Emmaus when they discovered the Living Christ, present to them.”
  17. “(Author Matthew) Kelly suggests that every Catholic ought to bring a journal to Mass which has inscribed on the cover, ‘What’s the one thing I need to do today to be a better person?’ He guarantees that if we have that single focus in mind as Mass begins, we will discover the joy and meaning that lies at the heart of the Eucharist. I think he’s right. I suggest we try it out.”
  18. “For many, even good Catholics, Sunday Mass can become just one more activity to fit into the schedule, rather than the culmination of the past week and the beginning of a new period of time.”
  19. “For human beings caught up in a whirlwind of activity, Sunday is meant to be a call to a contemplative re-examination of where our lives have been and where they are going. Sunday is meant to give meaning to the other six days of the week.”
  20. “We listen to the words of the Liturgy so that we may truly speak them in our daily lives.”
Care to read the pastoral letter in its entirety: Click here and you’ll have the option of reading it as it appeared as a special section in The Catholic Spirit or downloading a PDF.
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Catholic Community Foundation award winner sees love and creativity in groups that serve others

October 27, 2011

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Sue Morrison is a tiny bit of a woman, but she does great things.

Morrison heads up a committee that gives relatively small grants to nonprofits who serve the poor and needy around Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Again, although the dollars aren’t large, they have a huge impact.

Most of the grants awarded from the Catholic Community Foundation’s Community Priorities Fund are in the $1,000 to $5,000 range. But the groups that receive them are so appreciative and do so much with the money that it makes Morrison ‘s involvement especially rewarding.

She especially likes to visit the sites of the organizations that apply for grants to check out their operations and see just what they are doing to care for at-risk children, young mothers and elderly people who are living independently.

“I love the opportunity to see what loving and creative people dream up to serve the underprivileged,” Morrison said. “I get lifted up by the good hearts and the creativity of those who work on behalf of the less fortunate.”

Charity alive, but needs growing

Morrison’s remarks came Oct. 26 after Archbishop John Nienstedt and CCF president Marilou Eldred presented her with the Catholic Community Foundation’s Legacy of Faith Award for philanthropic leadership that supports the spiritual, educational and social needs of the Catholic community. A crowded ballroom at the Minneapolis Club gave her a standing ovation.

She made two good points with a connection you’ll get right off:

  • From her observations, Catholic grassroots charity is alive and well.
  • The need keeps growing; CCF has three times more applicants for grants than it can fund.

Surprise: People read their Catholic paper

Oh, and she opened her talk by expressing amazement at how many people read The Catholic Spirit. When the archdiocesan newspaper carried a Q & A with Morrison after it was announced that she’d be the Legacy of Faith recipient she said her phone rang off the hook. “Someone even sent me flowers!” she exclaimed.

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Sensible words about government budgets: Catholic archbishop offered them

July 5, 2011

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As the senseless, costly and harmful to humanity shutdown of Minnesota’s state government continues, and as the federal government looks to a similar shut down in a few weeks, you can go back to advice from a Catholic archbishop that made so much sense you want to force every legislator and governor to read it aloud — and then do something about it.

Archbishop John Nienstedt — six weeks ago! — offered principles on which a sensible budget could be fashioned. It’s in his May 26 column at http://thecatholicspirit.com/that-they-may-all-be-one/budgeting-with-the-common-good-in-mind/ and worth the time to read and send to your elected officials.

Just the fact that the Minnesota state government shut down meant that the state parks are losing $1 million a week ought to be enough to knock some sense into stubborn state decision makers.

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Hundreds ‘get on board’ to kick-off archdiocese’s 2011 development drive

February 25, 2011

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Rolling!

That’s the best way to describe the start of the main annual development effort of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

More than 300 Catholics who will be the feet-on-the-street for the 2011 Catholic Services Appeal literally “got on board” Wednesday, Feb. 23, hopping on buses from five different directions to first see for themselves how Appeal dollars are used, then meeting at the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis for dinner and even more inspiration to make this year’s campaign a success.

“This is like a field trip!” claimed a pumped Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Pat Regan, who owns a bus company headquartered in Hastings, gets credit for the idea.

Pat and Mary Regan said they were “humbled and honored” when the archbishop asked them to co-chair the 2011 Appeal, which begins the weekend of March 4-5.

“When he talked to us about leading the Appeal,” Pat recalled, “the archbishop said we need to get more people on board.

“I said if you really want to get ’em on board, let’s put ’em on some motor coaches and show ’em what the Catholic Services Appeal funds really do in this archdiocese.”

Seeing the good donations do

Regan donated the use of five of his Minnesota Coaches to transport Appeal volunteers from parishes in the suburbs to five sites where donations to the Catholic Services Appeal help make ministry possible.

Buses stopped at three Catholic schools — Risen Christ and Ascension in Minneapolis and Blessed Trinity in Richfield — at the St. Paul Seminary and at Catholic Charities’ Seton Services in St. Paul.

Seton’s Mary Ann Sullivan said $1 million of Appeal funds help support a pre-natal program that serves some 500 clients each year. The poor and immigrant women receive counseling and medical care, get connected to resources, baby clothing and blankets, emotional support and even post-partum care that includes education for caring for infants and help to transition back to work or school.

“We don’t advertise, and we’re completely full just on word-of-mouth,” Sullivan said. “Most of the women are from high-risk populations who come from all over the metro area, many speak little or no English, and who are pregnant and don’t know where to turn.

“Our goal is to help these women — and the dads, too — make their lives as stable as possible before giving birth so that they have healthy babies.”

And it works. Moms cared for through Seton’s pre-natal program deliver babies who gestation weight and birth weight surpasses the norm in the Twin Cities area.

Sullivan thanked the Appeal volunteers for the continuing support of Seton Services.

“These are your dollars supporting the pro-life movement in a real, practical way.”

Representatives of each of the schools toured — including several parents of pupils — told Appeal volunteers that many of the young people at their schools wouldn’t be able to attend Catholic school without the generosity of the people of the archdiocese. Seminarian Brian Park said the tuition support from the Appeal has allowed him to follow his call to the discernment about the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary.

So that volunteers could get a preview, Archbishop Nienstedt introduced the short DVD that promotes the 2011 Catholic Services Appeal. “I’m kind of famous for DVDs,” he quipped, to a round of applause. The video itself earned another round of applause, and Archbishop Nienstedt followed up by “commissioning” everyone present to be missionaries for the Appeal, urging them to be sure to share widely the brochure that tells the Appeal story.

“It’s all in here,” the archbishop said, holding the brochure aloft. “We tell you where the money is going and how it’s transforming lives. Obviously our first love is our own parish, but as a community we have obligations no one parish can meet.”

In thanking the chair-couple, the volunteers and the staff of the archdiocesan Development and Stewardship Office — including new director Michael Halloran — Archbishop Nienstedt saved a special thank you to Pat Regan’s father, Don, who underwrote the cost of the dinner for the Appeal kick-off.

That earned applause, of course, but the founder of Premier Banks and patriarch of the Regan family was the one who had earlier started a show of gratitude at Seton Services.

Having been on the bus with the rest of the crowd from White Bear Lake, Don Regan put into words what many Appeal volunteers were surely thinking after stopping at Seton and hearing of the inspiring work Catholic Charities does for poor, pregnant women and their babies.

“May we all commend you all for all you do,” he said, and the crowded room applauded in agreement.

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Cardinal John Foley’s remarks at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Catholic Bulletin/The Catholic Press

January 14, 2011

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REMARKS OF CARDINAL JOHN P. FOLEY

GRAND MASTER,

ORDER OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE OF JERUSALEM,

100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT,

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA,

JANUARY 6, 2011

Your Grace, Archbishop Nienstedt, my brothers and sisters in Christ:

First of all, I want to thank Bob Zyskowski, the associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit, for his invitation to celebrate with all of you the 100th anniversary of The Catholic Spirit.  I also want to thank my friend of twenty-six years, Archbishop John Nienstedt, for his kind hospitality. I remember when he assured that my mother got an invitation for Thanksgiving in Rome in 1984, and I remain ever grateful to him.

I also remember when Bob Zyskowski worked with me at The Catholic Standard and Times in Philadelphia thirty-five years ago.  One of his final responsibilities was to assemble the pre-and post- Eucharistic Congress issues of the newspaper in 1976.  It was an enormous task, and he did it very well, as always!

I fact, Cardinal Krol, then the Archbishop of  Philadelphia and our publisher, asked me if I would have a special supplement for the Second Coming of the Lord, and I responded “yes”.  When he asked what advertising I would get for the issue, I responded, “Going out of business sales!”

In 1975, as Bob will well remember, Cardinal Krol made a Holy Year pilgrimage, not only to Rome but also to the Holy Land, Egypt and Lebanon.

In Egypt, he visited the pyramids – and said to me – “Father Foley, they want me to get on that camel.  Should I get on that camel?”  I answered that I did not think he should get on the camel – so he got on the camel.  He was wearing a white cassock, and had a slight beard – and they put a kaffiyeh, or Arab headdress, on him.  He looked somewhat like Yassir Arafat.  Naturally, as a newsman, I took a photo of him on the camel.

After we got home, he began to get letters from Jewish groups lamenting that it looked as if he had embraced the Arab cause.

He asked me why, if I had counseled him not to get on the camel, I took a picture of him on the camel, and I replied that, as a priest, if asked, I would say what I thought he ought to do, but as a journalist I would cover whatever he did.  He smiled and made no more comment.

I hope that the environment to which Bob Zyskowski owes at least part of his formation was one of respectful candor – taking God and His Church seriously, but not ourselves – and insisting always on knowing and telling the truth.

It certainly comes as no surprise to me that Bob has produced an outstanding paper.  As far as I’m concerned, he is a blessing to the Catholic Press.  As many of you know, Bob was also president of the Catholic Press Association at the time I was named a cardinal – and so he decided to give me – in the name of the association – the clothes I’m wearing.  He thought it would be appropriate if a representative of Catholic journalism could be seen running in the red.

The Catholic Spirit, of course, has a wonderful tradition.  Established by the legendary Archbishop Ireland 100 years ago as The Catholic Bulletin, the diocesan newspaper of St. Paul – Minneapolis flourished until the mid-1990s when its circulation fell to about 26,000.  Reborn as The Catholic Spirit in 1996, 15 years ago this week, your weekly newspaper has gotten into the habit of winning the general excellence award of the Catholic Press Association.  You can be very proud of your newspaper.

Apparently, the only instruction given to the first editor of the paper was to publish and interesting, well-written and well-edited Catholic newspaper, non-political and non-controversial, which did not necessarily reflect the Archbishop’s views on any subject.

My own view was that a diocesan newspaper must be a source of information, formation and inspiration to supplement and indeed sometimes correct what is found in the secular media.

I have been fortunate to have known personally a number of your editors.  The first one I knew was the legendary Bernie Casserly, with whom I was very well acquainted during his last fifteen years at the paper.  I also knew Dan Medinger, who went on to service in Baltimore.  Finally, I knew well Paulist Father Tom Comber, a fellow Philadelphian, who did much to promote the newspaper.

You can be proud of The Catholic Spirit.  It serves your diocesan family well – and, indeed, it is one of the very best instruments for helping to form your diocesan family.  All of you are fortunate indeed to have Archbishop John Nienstedt as your spiritual shepherd, but he is fortunate indeed to have The Catholic Spirit as an instrument of information, formation and inspiration in his historic and dynamic archdiocese.

Congratulations to him, to associate publisher Bob Zyskowski, to editor Joe Towalski, to the staff of and contributors to The Catholic Spirit – and to all of you, its subscribers and supports – on 100 years of dynamic, stimulating, informative and inspiring Catholic journalism in America’s heartland.  God bless you all!

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