Tag Archives: Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Blessed Trinity principal and teachers camp out to bring attention to school’s 20th anniversary

February 1, 2014

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The Frozen Five ready to spend some time out in the cold. Photo submitted

The Frozen Five ready to spend some time out in the cold. Photo submitted

Fearless Frozen 5 to camp outside Feb. 1 

To bring extra attention to the school’s 20th anniversary, the Catholic Schools raffle and its $20,000 goal, a group of school staff, called the Fearless Frozen 5, will camp out in the cold night air at Blessed Trinity’s Penn Campus Feb. 1. after the school’s Sno*Ball dance and auction. Mr. Patrick O’Keefe (principal), Mrs. Patty Armbrust (4-6 grade teacher), Mrs. Melody Wyrick (first grade teacher), Mr. Brian Stock (middle school teacher) and Mr. Matt Miller (gym teacher for preschool though grade 8) will spend four hours in a tent outside. 

At 10:15 p.m, the school community will gather with the Frozen 5 and send them into the tent with a cheer, prayer and care package. Once inside the tent, their experience will be documented via social media. Follow them on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1401918903395726/

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Pray With Us

October 23, 2013

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Madonna and Child ~ Licensed under Creative Commons

Madonna and Child ~ Licensed under Creative Commons

Praying Together for Our Church

Below is a letter from Jeff Cavins to the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute inviting us to pray.  Let us all join in this beautiful novena.

In times of difficulty I have learned to turn to Mary.

For those of you who do not know of the Catechetical Institute – I urge everyone to look into it.  I am an alumni. Go C.I.

Thank you Jeff.

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

We would like to invite you to something very special that those associated with the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute are doing in response to recent news in our archdiocese.

 

As many of you know, the Catholic Church is going through some extremely difficult times. As graduates and current students, you know that we, at the Catechetical Institute, are not only learning “what” to believe, but we are learning how to “live out” what we believe. It is difficult times such as these that call us to live what we have learned—to truly live as disciples of Jesus Christ, as witnesses to the Gospel, as Christians. This is not an easy task.

 

As Catholics, we are blessed to follow in the great biblical tradition of the heroes of faith, men and women who responded to trials with prayer, praise and thanksgiving. As a united Catechetical Institute, we are doing just that and extending an invitation to our CI community to pray together for every member who makes up our archdiocese; for, the archdiocese is not the structure, it is the people, all of us together. We are inviting you to join us in praying for the entire body of Christ and all who are suffering right now during this arduous time.

 

We are beginning an extraordinary novena, one that happens to be a favorite of Pope Francis. The novena is called, “Mary, Undoer of Knots” and has a beautiful and rich tradition.

 

This novena will begin on Wednesday, October 23rd and conclude on the eve of the Feast of All Saints. If you do not own the small booklet that explains and walks you through the novena, you can find the daily prayers at http://www.cistudent.com.

 

As mature Catholic believers, we must always ask ourselves, “What is the responsible, charitable and right way to proceed?” No doubt, many people have asked you questions about what they are hearing in the media. Our response does not merely represent our own opinion, but it represents the body of Christ. We are the body of Christ, and as such we need to always ask, “What would Jesus do?”

 

Therefore, let us ask the Holy Spirit to season all our words with love, mercy and compassion. This is not only our response to our fellow Catholics, but also the response to those who appear to be attacking the Church. The guilty, the innocent, the accused and the accusers should all be treated with dignity and love. This is what it means to truly live the faith. This is what it means to be a Christian.

 

Thank you for uniting your prayers with ours at the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute. Let us together turn to Mary, Undoer of Knots, invoking her to ask her Son to grant us pure, humble and trusting hearts.

 

In Christ,

 

Jeff Cavins

 

 

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Something Beautiful…

October 14, 2013

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Something Beautiful

Something Beautiful

Last week a speaker/entertainer came to speak at the Champions for Life luncheon.  Danielle Rose, a music missionary sang from her prolife CD and spoke about her missionary work in China.  Because of the one child only policy and the poverty of most of those who live there, many families abort their daughters in favor of having a son who can care for them in their old age. As she was explaining this horrible reality, she described that this country had 20 million young men who will never have a wife and family.

 

What happens in a country where you have millions of young men with no future?

 

With such hope and innocence she said.  “Maybe God will raise them up to become priests.”  I am sad to say that most of us in the audience chuckled at that statement.  Maybe we have become so cynical that we don’t believe God can really do such things. China is, after all, an atheist country where it is illegal to evangelize.  Then, Danielle caught our attention and said compellingly “No, really! God can make something beautiful.”

 

At that moment, Danielle asked the Holy Spirit to help her find the right words to say.  I wish I could remember her exact words but she went on to compare Christ’s passion to the situation in China.

 

 

She said, “God can take something ugly and sinful and horrible and make something beautiful happen from it.” Of course I know this; I just need to be reminded.

 

I don’t know about others in the audience, but I wasn’t thinking about the situation in China.  I was thinking about situations in my own heart, situations closer to home.

Her words reminded me to hope and trust that “God really can make something beautiful!”

 

Here is to something beautiful!

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Novena for Life

January 15, 2013

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novenaCan you believe it’s been nearly40 years since Roe v. Wade? The tragic court decision that made abortion on demand legal? Since 1973,  about 55 million babies have lost their lives. Let’s pray to end this atrocity. As part of the bishops’ recent call to prayer, “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage” will take place January 19-27, 2013. It’s a little thing that we can do to make a big difference in the case for Life.

If you click here, you can sign up to receive daily email messages during the novena, or text “9days” to 99000 to get the reflections each day via text messaging. I don’t know about you, but I think a reminder is very nice!

 Here’s a Sample of Day One’s Reflection:

Day One: Saturday, January 19, 2013 Intercession: For the mother who awakens each morning with the memory of abortion fresh in her mind: that the Lord may still the terror in her heart and lead her gently to the well-spring of his love and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May she, and all who’ve been involved in an abortion decision, find healing and hope through Project Rachel Ministry.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Today’s Gospel reading from Mark recounts Jesus dining with tax collectors and sinners. When the Pharisees question Jesus about this, he responds, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” In a society where millions of people have fallen prey to the false promises of the culture of death, let us witness to the mercy of Jesus and invite all who’ve been harmed to experience his abundant love and healing.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Take time to write a handwritten note to someone who is lonely or needing encouragement.
  • Pray for your deceased relatives and those who have no one to pray for them.
  • “Spiritually adopt” a baby by saying this prayer every day: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of [baby's name], the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion.” – Prayer of Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Did you know? Women who’ve had an abortion have a 138% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who’ve given birth, according to a 2011 article in the British Journal of Psychiatry that analyzed 22 major studies on women’s mental health following abortion. Together, the studies involved over 800,000 women. Visit HopeAfterAbortion.org for more information on abortion’s aftermath, and much more.

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Touring Amish country

July 3, 2012

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As my wife Julie and I drove westward on Highway 44 toward the southeastern Minnesota town of Mabel, we saw a most unfamiliar sight on this back-c0untry road – a black, horse-drawn buggy.

We were in Amish country. After slowing down and circling widely around the buggy, we continued on our way to St. Olaf Catholic Church for 10 a.m. Mass.

The liturgy celebrated by the parish’s new pastor, Father Shawn Haremza, was a nice way to cap our 15th wedding anniversary celebration. It began with a nice drive down Highway 52 toward Lanesboro the day before. We stayed at a very nice bed and breakfast in Harmony, just about 10 miles from Lanesboro, called the Selvig House. It is owned by Carol and Ralph Beastrom, who not only are gracious hosts, but fabulous cooks!

Our appearance on their front doorstep was an answer to prayer. On Friday, Julie had been doing research on the Lanesboro area and was interested in spending the weekend there. But, most of the B&Bs in town were booked. By the time I left in the evening to pick up our daughter Claire from a friend’s house in Apple Valley, Julie was discouraged about her search for lodging.

So, I said a simple prayer as I drove southward on 35E: “Lord, you can make something out of nothing. Please help Julie and I find a nice place to stay.”

On the way down, I stopped at an outdoor archery range for some practice with my bow. Then, about 9 p.m., I headed to Apple Valley. I got to talking about our weekend plans with the parents of Claire’s friend, who perked up when I mentioned Lanesboro.

“That’s where we went for our honeymoon!” the mom replied. She said she and her husband stayed at the Selvig and really enjoyed it. The town of Harmony is quieter than Lanesboro, they said, but close enough to take advantage of everything this small tourist town has to offer.

On the drive back home, I decided to call the Selvig. I figured I would get an answering machine and planned on leaving a message, hoping for a call back on Saturday morning. Instead, Carol picked up and said they had vacancies.

In fact, all four of the rooms were open. She said we could come down and look at them, then pick the one we liked.

Praise God! What an answer to prayer. And, this fit in perfectly with Sunday’s Gospel passage from Mark, in which Jesus raised the daughter of a synagogue official, Jairus, from the dead. His words to Jairus were, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

Sometimes, it is so simple. Just bring our requests to the Lord and believe. Father Haremza, who originally is from the Twin Cities, echoed that sentiment in his homily, exhorting those inside the small church to act on Jesus’ words.

For us, the weekend seemed to be about simplicity – the landscape, the small towns, and, especially, the Amish lifestyle.

We found that both appealing and refreshing. There are a number of Amish tours in the area, and we took one out of Harmony. The guide got into our van and we made a loop just east of town. We visited a number of farms and got to talk to some Amish folks. Unfortunately, they do not allow photos of themselves to be taken, so I had to leave my camera in the van for most of the tour, which was painful.

But, we got to visit two different farms where furniture is made and sold. The craftsmanship was remarkable – and each piece was made of 100 percent, natural wood. The Amish find trees locally, have them cut down and brought to an Amish sawmill, where planks are cut and kiln dried.

After seeing so much beautiful furniture, I couldn’t help but dream of buying some. For about $1,500, you can have a gorgeous red oak dining room table.

For sure, the way to get the best price is to buy directly from the Amish. There are stores that sell their stuff, but there is some hefty markup involved.

I think it would be fun to go down again and do some serious furntiture shopping. Perhaps, in the fall, we can drive there to see the colors change, then take home a table or dresser.

I wonder: Do the Amish sell scratch-and-dent furniture?

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One remarkable missionary

June 11, 2012

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Unforgettable Monsignor Greg Schaffer

After presiding at the early-evening Mass, the big, white-haired American priest walked toward the big doorway at the side of the 400-year-old Church of San Lucas Church, greeting his people along the way.

It was a lot like watching John Paul II in action.

He’d shake hands.

When he’d stop to talk with someone he’d put a hand on their shoulder.

He’d wave with an open-handed gesture to make a point.

That was the Monsignor Gregory T. Schaffer I saw pastoring some 15 years ago in San Lucas Toliman in the Central Highlands of Guatemala.

“I really love the liturgies here,” he told me as we spoke outside the ancient church in the town 5,000 feet above sea level. “It’s informal, but simple and beautiful.”

Back in 1997, the man his parishioners called “Padre Gregorio” had been their pastor for 34 years already. He’d go on to minister to the people of San Lucas for another 14 years before coming back to Minnesota. A terrible skin cancer finally took him May 24 at the age of 78.

If he’s not a candidate for sainthood, none of us are.

 One busy missionary

Although he’d been born in St. Paul and trained at the St. Paul Seminary, in 1960 young Gregory Schaffer was ordained a priest of the new Diocese of New Ulm, the nation’s most rural diocese, one that was carved out of the southwestern portion of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

He had only been a priest for three years when he took the assignment to go to Guatemala as a missionary.

A number of dioceses in the United States had taken to heart Pope Paul VI’s suggestion that relatively vocation-rich countries share their priests with countries where vocations were few. (It’s why our own archdiocese continues to have a presence in Ciudad Guyana in Venezuela, where the pastor is also named Gregory Schaffer. It’s not a coincidence.)

The year was 1963 when Father Schaffer began to minister in Guatemala.

By the time I got there in 1997 the Church of San Lucas had accomplished much and had more projects underway than the busiest suburban parish you can name.

  • Next to the church was a library/dining hall.
  • Attached was the parish center, where coffee beans raised by 170 families were bagged before being sent for sale in the United States.
  • Across the courtyard was the parish medical clinic.
  • A few blocks away was the dental clinic and eye clinic, which was being expanded to be a full-service clinic with 60 beds.
  • Up one hillside a parish crew was putting in a water tank, the first step in building a new “colonia” or neighborhood for 56 families. The construction crew built 16 new homes a year and always had three under construction.
  • There were parish apprentice programs for the needed trades, for carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians and mechanics.
  • At the south end of town the parish had an experimental farm.
  • Drawing international attention was a parish tree reforestation project.
  • Of course there was a parish pre-school and grade-school.
  • And all the sacramental prep programs.

Weekday mornings I watched Monsignor Schaffer lean against a wall in the dining hall and simply observe as the male Guatemalan leaders of the parish – the project managers for all those programs – planned the day’s work, updated one another to learn when the skills of their crews would be needed, and told Padre Gregorio where they could use some help from the volunteers he was always hosting.

Each afternoon he’d listen in again as the women of the parish met to discuss the programs they were working on.

After 34 years of organizing and building up indigenous leaders from among the Mayans, the pastor didn’t need to say much at these meetings.

When he did the talking was when he was in front of groups – lots from Minnesota – who came down to volunteer at San Lucas. Marker in hand he’d explain the socio-political situation of the place they’d come to, writing on a white board to explain what he taught as “the process of poverty” that his parishioners were living.

 A teacher at heart

Two volcanoes dominate the geography of this town of 25,000 on the shore of Lake Atitlan, and a volcano was the priest’s favorite image to use to explain Guatemala to outsiders.

He’d draw the familiar triangular form, then add a line across it fairly near the top.

“The top of the volcano is small, held up by a great big body,” he’d start out.

“The country is run by 18 to 22 extended families, people who live the good life, and 94 percent of the land in Guatemala is in the hands of 7 percent of the population.”

Monsignor Schaffer would draw another line somewhere around the center of his volcano, explaining that was the military and the middle class.

“The bottom of the volcano, the base holding it up, is the 84 percent of the population that are people living in the process of poverty.”

The lectures to his guests explained that industrialized economies needed raw material, cheap labor and markets to sell their goods and services, and that was how the poorest Guatemalans were being used.

At the base of the volcano, he explained:

  • 54% are unemployed.
  • 84% who do work make less than the daily requirement to provide for their families.
  • 70% are illiterate.
  • 46% lack access to health care.
  • 51% of all children die before the age of five.

“A volcano is an explosive situation,” Monsignor Schaffer explained. “It may not be erupting now, but it certainly has the potential to erupt.”

 Literacy and land

The priest tapped fund-raising sources in New Ulm, in the Twin Cities and elsewhere to address the issues parishioners brought to him. When he’d have groups of Norte Americanos come down, it wasn’t just to be lectured to but to work side-by-side on projects with Guatemalans. His idea was to put volunteers into situations where they can appreciate the gifts of the people of this developing country.

He took pride in the fact that the people of the parish did all the decision-making, did the hiring and firing, set the salaries, planned and managed the projects.

He was justifiably proud, too, that the literacy rate in his parish was 85%.

“I can tell we’re making progress,” he said, “because the newspapers sell out every day.”

He humbly acknowledged, “We’ve met a lot of felt needs,” but claimed that the parish had made its greatest contribution in helping the people get the one thing they want most: land.

“The greatest request is one I hear on a daily basis: Help us get land,” Monsignor Schaffer said. “The people want to be farmers. They want to work the land with a hoe and a machete, and they are very good at it.

“We’ve been able to help 3,000 families get about three acres of land apiece. They plant corn and beans on two acres and then coffee on the other as a cash crop.”

 Reaping what he sowed

Monsignor Schaffer, however, planted a few things himself.

One was a missionary spirit in his namesake nephew, Father Gregory J. Schaffer, a priest of the archdiocese who is pastor of Jesucristo Resuscitado parish, the mission of the archdiocese in San Felix, Venezuela. Visits to his uncle’s mission in Guatemala played no small part in the younger priests’ own vocation. Between college and the seminary younger Greg spent two years volunteering at San Lucas and visited the mission about a dozen times.

He’s been a missionary himself in Venezuela now for 15 years.

Monsignor Schaffer also planted concern for the people of another culture and country in the hearts not just of Catholics in the New Ulm Diocese but with the thousands – many college students – who visited and worked at San Lucas Toliman at his invitation.

Finally, what Monsignor Schaffer planted were some invaluable gifts in the people he served for those 48 years: Confidence. A sense of self-worth, so every person in town knew they were created in the image and likeness of God. And hope. Hope that there is a way out of living in the process of poverty.

Sainthood credentials?

*     *     *

After a funeral Mass in New Ulm’s Cathedral and another here in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Monsignor Schaffer’s body was flown to Guatemala for a final funeral Mass and burial in the cemetery at San Lucas Toliman.

 Learn more about the Diocese of New Ulm’s mission in Guatemala at http://www.dnu.org/service/sanlucas.html.

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Stewardship toolkit is growing

June 8, 2012

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Corpus Christi parish in Roseville used elements of the Archdiocesan Stewardship Toolkit last year when it was first introduced.

“The toolkit was helpful in setting up our ministry fair,” said Tom Dohm, who is a member of the Corpus Christi parish pastoral council as well as its stewardship committee. “But more than that it helped us with the broader stewardship effort in our parish.”

Dohm was one of more than 300 parish leaders – clergy and mostly lay – who attended one of five workshops intended to present the new tools that have been added to the toolkit in this its second year. The workshops were spread geographically across the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis the first full week of June.

Along with presenting the new elements of the toolkit, the workshops offered parish leaders time to share challenges and ideas with others engaged in parish stewardship initiatives and to suggest other needs that might be addressed in the toolkit in the future.

At each workshop Michael Halloran, archdiocesan director of development and stewardship, briefly ran through the elements new to the toolkit:

  • A chapter on Shared Ministry;
  • More scriptural references to stewardship;
  • A chapter on Planned Giving;
  • More samples of commitment forms, pastor talks about stewardship, and,
  • A section to facilitate the segmenting of parish lists through the Logos software system for more effective annual stewardship renewal efforts.

The toolkit is available both in three-ring binder form and on http://www.archspm.org, and Halloran invited parish leaders to browse through the updated version to see what’s available now to see what they may want to adapt for their own parish stewardship initiatives.

 Added time and talent pieces

At the workshops Mary Kennedy and Sally Carlson-Bancroft described the additions to the toolkit aimed at supporting approaches to parish volunteerism.

Kennedy, coordinator of stewardship at Pax Christi in Eden Prairie and chair of the archdiocesan Stewardship Committee, pointed out that in its first year the toolkit’s emphasis was on the more financial aspects of the parish annual stewardship renewal effort.

“This year we collaborated with the Shared Ministry Association in the archdiocese to work on the time and talent part,” Kennedy said.

Carlson-Bancroft, coordinator of both volunteer support and new member welcome at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, noted the importance of encouraging all aspects of a giving community, not simply financial stewardship.

“So much of our life is about how we steward our time and talent as well as our treasure,” she noted.

The new toolkit chapter on Shared Ministry includes a baker’s dozen ways to link parishioners’ gifts with ministry opportunities and samples of ways to invite people into parish ministry.

 More for Logos users,  new Planned Giving section

Mike Laughery introduced the new segment of the toolkit that shows the step-by-step process to segment donor lists using Logos, a process he used as business administrator at St. Michael in Prior Lake, and Pam Burke, the Logos consultant to the archdiocese, walked attendees through a sample of the possibilities the software affords for better stewardship results.

Finally, Bill Marsella of the Catholic Community Foundation offered a glimpse at the new chapter on Planned Giving and the reasoning behind adding it to the toolkit.

The chapter includes sample letters, suggested resources and steps for building an endowment.

During a roundtable discussion with parish leaders from St. Patrick in Oak Grove, Corpus Christi’s Dohm said he liked the new things that have been added to the toolkit.

“I like the strength-finder idea, and maybe working on the endowment, too,” he said.

Mark Flynn from St. Patrick said his parish began using the new stewardship logo from the toolkit last year, and is looking forward to the new portions on Shared Ministry.

“We need help with volunteer development,” Flynn said, “re-generation of volunteers. We need to work on how to ask for volunteers.”

Ideas for future additions to the toolkit that surfaced at that one table included stewardship education for children, family activities with a stewardship focus and education pieces on the benefits of electronic giving.

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Why a parish just for black Catholics?

February 1, 2012

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St. Peter Claver Church has served black Catholics in Minnesota’s state capital for nearly 125 years, but the archbishop who established the parish wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do.

Archbishop John Ireland

Archbishop John Ireland, the legendary leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul, was ahead of the curve when it came to racial equality, preaching that blacks were just as much children of God as were whites.

He acted on what he preached as well.

As St. Paul’s first archbishop (1884 to 1918), he was the first American bishop to allow a black man to study at the diocesan seminary — the St. Paul Seminary — and be ordained a diocesan priest in the United States. Father Stephen Theobald was ordained in 1910 and served at the Cathedral of St. Paul before being named pastor of St. Peter Claver Church in St. Paul.

Archbishop Ireland’s vision was that there should be no “race problem,” that the United States should be an integrated society. Daniel Rudd, the editor of a widely read black Catholic newspaper of the time, the American Catholic Tribune (circulation 10,000), saw in the archbishop an ally in his own vision that the Catholic Church was the best hope for racial justice and equality for black people in America.

Rudd was a sought-after lecturer, and in 1890, through a series of benefit speeches, he raised funds to build the first permanent church for St. Paul’s St. Peter Claver Parish. Archbishop Ireland had founded St. Peter Claver as a parish for “Colored Catholics” two years earlier and named it after the Spanish Jesuit who ministered to slaves in New Spain. But it wasn’t until 1892 that St. Peter Claver Church was built.

Historian Gary B. Agee, writing in the just-released biography of Rudd, said the black Catholic newspaperman and the archbishop both heard the demand from black Catholics for their own parishes, just as other ethnic groups had theirs, but they had trouble with that line of thinking.

Here’s an excerpt from “A Cry of Justice: Daniel Rudd and His Life in Black Catholicism, Journalism and Activism, 1854-1933″ (University of Arkansas Press):

“Rudd’s position on the existence of separate black parishes seems to have paralleled that of Archbishop Ireland. For example, when Ireland dedicated a new black parish in the city of St. Paul in 1892, the prelate expressed some ambivalence over the matter. He stated the establishment of a separate church for African American Catholics was only a temporary measure designed to benefit blacks. Further, Ireland desired all races to worship together. He also emphasized the fact that blacks were free to attend any of the city’s parishes.”

In his newspaper, Daniel Rudd echoed much the same sentiment, again excerpting from Agee’s book:

“If every so-called Colored Catholic church in the world was done away with instantly the Colored Catholics would be at home in any other Catholic church beneath the Sun.”

Obviously, given the racial history of our country and our church, both Archbishop Ireland and Daniel Rudd were ahead of their time in their vision.

 

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Gutsy black Catholic journalist found hero for racial justice in Minnesota bishop

January 30, 2012

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19th century newspaperman considered Catholicism key to racial justice and saw an advocate in the Archbishop of St. Paul

Daniel Rudd’s is a name you’ve likely never heard, but the one-time slave was a bold Catholic ahead of his time, and one who found a champion in none other than St. Paul’s Archbishop John Ireland.

Back in 1887, Rudd founded a black Catholic newspaper, the American Catholic Tribune, and from its pages he preached the unique message that the Catholic Church would play an essential role in the breaking down of the color line in the United States and in gaining racial equality for black people.

Historian Gary B. Agee’s recently released biography, “A Cry for Justice: Daniel Rudd and His Life in Black Catholicism, Journalism and Activism, 1854-1933″ (University of Arkansas Press, 2012) captures that distinctive philosophy.

As a child Rudd was owned by a Catholic master and formed in faith along side white children in his parish in Bardstown, Ky. He became a free man after the Emancipation Proclamation, founded his newspaper in Cincinnati, and was one of the most well-known black Catholics of the late 19th century as he labored for justice and equality for people of color.

Born a century later, he might have been a prophet, too. He wrote this in 1888:

“We think we will live long enough to see a black man president of this Republic.”

 Journalist and evangelizer

Rudd believed in – and took pride in – the Catholic theology that taught “the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of all people.” That belief convinced Rudd that the Catholic Church was the best hope for blacks to have the same rights as whites.

Agee noted, “In July 1890, Rudd told a reporter of the Cincinnati Times-Star, ‘I have always been a Catholic and, feeling that I knew the teachings of the Catholic Church, I thought there could be no greater factor in solving the race problem than that matchless institution….’”

Rudd’s newspaper had a circulation of 10,000 at its high point, and he used its pages not just to cry out for racial justice but to evangelize his fellow blacks. He wrote that he had started the newspaper to “give the great Catholic Church a hearing and show that it is worthy of at least a fair consideration at the hands of our race, being as it is the only place on this continent where rich and poor, white and black, must drop prejudices at the threshold and go hand in hand to the altar.”

White readers both bought subscriptions and donated money to support the American Catholic Tribune. Agee states that Rudd used his newspaper “both to instruct and encourage African American Catholics as well as to proclaim Catholicism’s merits to prospective black converts. In this manner he served his black readers even as he attempted to shape his white readership’s perception of blacks.”

 Hero in an archbishop

Rudd was a gutsy editor who addressed the issue of women’s rights, demanded the blacks be hired when they can do a job just as well as whites, called for granting home rule for Ireland, and took to task a Catholic newspaper editor who claimed that whites were destined to rule America’s inferior black race.

Rudd sued a delicatessen for refusing to serve him (and won a $100 judgment). He founded the Colored Catholic Congress movement to prod black Catholics to take up collective action to demand racial equality, and he chided the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. to open its Catholic schools to blacks.

Not all Catholics of Rudd’s time bought the idea of the equality of the races. Not all Catholic bishops agreed with him either.

One who did, however, was Archbishop Ireland, who wasn’t shy about his feelings on the matter. The archbishop caused an uproar when in 1890 he preached on the subject to a packed house at St. Augustine Church in Washington, D.C., with members of Congress and other highly place politicians present.

St. Paul’s archbishop said that racial prejudice is a crime that Catholics must lift themselves above. He said whites need “lessons in charity, benevolence, justice and religion” in order to address “the race problem.”

Agee’s work goes into great detail about ArchbishopIreland’s views on racial prejudice, and notes that Rudd made sure the archbishop’s words were spread far and wide, quoting him in the columns he wrote for his own newspaper, urging other black publications to reprint the archbishop’s talk and lecturing on the topic around the United States.

Businessman, journalist, evangelist, and advocate for justice, his biography tells of the trials, the accomplishments, and the disappointments of a black Catholic who more American Catholics – black and white – should learn about.

 

 

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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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