Saturday, October 3, 2009

News about Fr. John A. Hardon - The archive, the guild, and a blessing...

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Rite of Blessing with Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
James Maldonado Berry

On Monday, September 21st, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, presided over the Rite of Blessing of the offices of The Fr. John A. Hardon S.J., Archive and Guild, located in the former convent of the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis. Approximately one-hundred people turned out for the event, during which Archbishop Burke praised Fr. Hardon as a priest who courageously preached the faith “in and out of season.” Immediately following the blessing there was an open house at the office and a reception in the Jubilee Garden of the Cathedral-Basilica Rectory. The blessing was a highlight for the archbishop emeritus of Saint Louis, who has been overseeing the cause of Fr. John A. Hardon S.J for several years now, and also for the small team of officers working on the Cause. Fr. Robert T. McDermott, a priest from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, serves as the Postulator of the Cause and James Maldonado Berry is the Executive Director of the Archive and Guild. Msgr. C. Eugene Morris, pastor of Saint Mary Magdalen Parish in Brentwood, serves as the Episcopal Delegate; Fr. Kristian Teater, a professor at Kenrick Glennon Seminary, is the Promoter of Justice and Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, working from Milwaukee, is the theological consultant.

The work of The Fr. John A. Hardon S.J., Archive and Guild has been underway quietly for a couple of years now. This news may come as a surprise to many faithful who didn’t even know that such a project was underway in the backyard of their own Archdiocese. Upon Fr. Hardon’s death on December 30, 2000, he willed his extensive library and correspondence to Archbishop Raymond L. Burke. “For some time, we have been occupied primarily with the nuts and bolts of “setting up shop” but now, with the long distance encouragement of Archbishop Burke from Rome, and the enthusiastic blessing of Archbishop Carlson, we’re expecting to move forward in the upcoming year with a higher public profile,” said Fr. McDermott. The office itself serves as a repository and a museum of sorts, dedicated to preserving the memory of Fr. John A. Hardon, and spreading devotion to him and his spirituality as well. The archives contain numerous files, such as personal correspondence, academic papers, and manuscripts, all pertaining to Fr. Hardon. The basement serves as a library, housing Fr. Hardon’s voluminous personal collection of books, numbering well into the thousands. “It was really the only place in the entire house that could comfortably store so many books,” remarked Fr. McDermott. The most poignant feature of the office is the Fr. John A. Hardon S.J. Room. Set in the living room of the former convent, this room serves as a museum dedicated to the life of Fr. Hardon. Several glass display cases contain various personal effects of Fr. Hardon’s, like his rosary, scapular, passport and even his Jesuit cassock, which, throughout his life, he would devoutly kiss every day before putting it on. In this room, the officers of the Archive and Guild meet to discuss the multi-layered dimensions of the cause and its future path.
In the upcoming months, the officers working on the cause will begin collecting official testimonies from individuals across the country and in other parts of the world who knew Fr. Hardon. Fr. Hardon assisted Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in establishing the contemplative branch of the Missionaries of Charity. Given the scope of Fr. Hardon’s academic and spiritual writings, which consists of over forty books and other unpublished manuscripts. This investigative process is expected to take several years. Those interested in learning more about Fr. Hardon’s life, writings and spirituality are encouraged to check out the website of The Fr. John A. Hardon S.J. Archive and Guild at:

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!