Saturday, October 30, 2010

Breaking: Archbp Lucas; former "Intercessors" address "lay companions"

Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, Nebraska
- Diocesan Homepage -


There is a significant development in the "Intercessors case" that I think is worth noting and talking about.  I am hoping to hear reactions to what was released today from former lay companions, and others who were deeply involved with the suppressed association.  See my note below about commenting. Others are welcome to join in, but I am calling upon everyone to be mindful of the dignity of the many who are probably very hurt and confused by all that has transpired.  It will help give context to one's comment, if a brief background is offered the first time.

Several things have happened:

1) Archbishop Lucas has issued a letter which goes into greater detail about the future of the roughly 50 souls who are cooperating with him, and he strengthens his request for everyone to refrain from using books and media by Nadine Brown, and to avoid her website. He also calls for a ceasing of "group discernments" among former lay companions.

2) Those former Intercessors who are cooperating with the archbishop have written a letter to lay companions.  They explain what transpired, how they are doing, and what needs they have at the moment.  They are encouraging lay companions and prayer groups to heed the Archbishop's directives
3) A statement put out on October 25, 2010 by the Archdiocese of Omaha concerning books and media by Nadine Brown and Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., has been superceded with a more strongly worded statement on October 29, 2010 in the wake of a recent message by Nadine Brown who offered "suggestions" to lay companions and prayer groups.

We will go into more detail into each of these three areas below, with direct links to diocesan statements. I have personally learned alot from the three things I discuss in this post. It also leaves me feeling hopeful for those who were cooperating with the archbishop. What say you?

I am copying the full text of Archbishop Lucas' letter into this post for the sake of international readers who are using auto-translators.  My international traffic has been up on anything related to the Intercessors. Many are making use of them through the flags in the upper RH sidebar.  It is often difficult or nearly impossible to read PDF files in auto-translators.

It may take some hours to moderate at times, so please be patient.  I use comment moderation due to internet spam of an immoral nature. 

Please use your name, or a nick name by choosing the NAME/URL option (leave URL blank if you don't have ont).  It's impossible to dialogue with 20 people all using "anonymous".

Archbp. George Lucas to Lay Companions:

The entire letter ought to be read slowly and more than once.  I am not going to embolden anything.

Direct link to PDF at Archdiocese of Omaha

October 29, 2010
Dear Friends,

As you know from the events of the past several weeks the Hermit Intercessors of the Lamb have been suppressed as a public association of the faithful in the Catholic Church. As former lay companions of the Intercessors I know that most of you are aware of the circumstances which led to this suppression. They have been documented in public statements that I have made and have also received attention in the news media. The attached letter from the former Intercessors gives an overview of these circumstances and I invite you to read that letter which I have approved. For those who seek more detailed information I invite you to go to

The purpose of my letter is not to revisit the circumstances which led to the suppression but to look toward the future. In this spirit I ask for your continued prayerful support for the 53 former members of the Intercessors who have decided to spend time in community discernment over the next 12 months. During this time they will pray and study and seek advice and counsel relating to developing a deeper and more profound appreciation of the charism of intercessory prayer. They will also pray and discern how such a charism could be of service to the local Church of Omaha as well as to the Universal Church in the context of community life sanctioned by the Church in distinct communities of women and men.

Many of you have had questions over the past few days on the use of books written by Nadine Brown and on the use of other media that contain her teachings. Prior to the suppression of the Intercessors I appointed a trustee to govern the community and help them work on a variety of issues and concerns that had been raised as the result of an official visitation I conducted of the community. One of the tasks I gave to the trustee was to review these teachings for theological accuracy and conformity to the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church. As a result of the suppression this review has not taken place. It is therefore not possible to state that the teachings of Nadine Brown are free of doctrinal error.

As we move forward I am asking that former companions and all Catholics refrain from using any materials and websites associated with Nadine Brown and all other material provided by the former Intercessor community. I also ask that you cease “group discernments”. However, if you decide to continue to meet with your prayer group, I encourage you to offer prayers of intercession for the needs of priests, for the former Intercessors in community discernment, and for our Holy Father’s intentions. I also encourage you to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church with special attention given to Part IV: Christian Prayer. If you continue to meet in your prayer groups I ask that you do so under the guidance of your Bishop or local pastor.

With best wishes and prayers I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend George J. LucasArchbishop of Omaha

I said in a previous post, that it is up to the Ordinary - in this case, Archbishop Lucas - to discern a charism's, validity.  What can throw a charism into question is when problems arise with a founder or foundress (see "FOUNDER'S CHARISM" in Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary).  The archbishop's letter shows that Archbishop Lucas sees potential for a community to emerge with a charism of "Intercessory Prayer".  With former members cooperating with the Archbishop, we ought to pray it will be successful and shaped according to God's will .

Letter from former Intercessors to "Lay Companions"

Direct link to PDF of Letter to Companions from former Intercessors

Here is a summary for my international readers to read through auto-translators. 

  • acknowledge the questions, concerns, and prayers sent to them, "from all over"
  • are calling it a time to pray, to grieve, to reflect
  • call the time ahead a period of discernment for the future and ask for prayers.
  • are seeking financial and material support (see letter for list), going into some details of expenses.
  • specifiy that checks should be made out to the Archdiocese of Omaha with "Intercessor Relief " in the memo field (on this, they also point out that if you make a check out to any individual not listed in the letter, you run the risk of supporting "Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc." which is not a Catholic organization). 
  • It includes a short memo from Fr. Gregory Baxter, the trustee appointed by Archbishop Lucas.

The letter by the former Intercessors cooperating with the archbishop also state that "the canonical visit with Fr. James Conn was not the reason for the suppression of the public association of the Intercessors of the Lamb, nor was it due to problems with the charism itself." It goes on to state that the majority of the community was excited about working with the archbishop and Fr. Baxter.  They then say, "the suppression came because of the unwillingness of Nadine Brown" and "the majority of the civil board to comply with Archbishop Lucas' directives that would have put the civil board in conformity with the Canon Law of the Church...".  The letter offers a word of thanks to those few board members who did comply with the Archbishop.

These former members then ask former companions and prayer groups to heed, "the directions of our Archbishop, George Lucas", by discontinuing use of "all manuals, books and other material published by the former Intercessors of the Lamb community and to discontinue all discernment ministries". 

The letter ends with a request for prayers for the Church and Her priests, and especially for those who have chosen to remain under, "the direction of our Archbishop in the hope of discerning the formation of a new community with a charism rooted in intercessory prayer"

Lay Companion Resources Update

A new statement has been issued on October 29th, which supercedes the one written on the 25th.  That one urged "caution" against using resources put out by Nadine Brown or Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc. 

This statement strengthens the advisory based on Archbishop Lucas' directive to refrain from using these materials (see his letter).  Here again, is that PDF link and statement, with text copied in for international readers.

October 29, 2010

To the Former Lay Companions of the Intercessors of the Lamb

Lay companions and prayer groups of the former Intercessors of the Lamb should discontinue using all manuals, books and other materials published by the former Intercessors of the Lamb community and discontinue all discernment ministries. One of the tasks given to the Archbishop of Omaha’s trustee was to review the teachings and resources authored by Nadine Brown for theological accuracy and conformity to the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church. As a result of the suppression, this review has not taken place. It is therefore not possible to state that the teachings of Nadine Brown are free of doctrinal error. Moreover, lay companions should understand that the former Association of the Hermit Intercessors of the Lamb received canonical recognition in 1992 and 1998 from the Church; however, the companion group – the Intercessors of the Lamb – never received canonical recognition from the Church.

I don't believe there ever will be a formal review of those materials by the Church because they now belong to an organization which is no longer considered to be Catholic ..... by the Catholic Church.  To review them now, is a moot point. [Edit: RC in the combox suggests the materials can still be reviewed if the Church feels people need that clarification.]

Prudence of Heeding the Archbishop on use of Materials

Is it safe to drink?
 I would like to leave you with one final note on that point.  Prudence, not just obedience, would suggest that you heed the Archbishop on this.  It could be that 98% of what is found in that material is well and good.  But, 2% may have problems that are not visible to the untrained eye.  Using a popular example: If you have a full glass of water, and replace just 2% with poison, drinking all that good water, with just a little bit of poison can make you sick, and it could cost you your life. Determining if there is poison requires detailed analysis. In the case of religious and spiritual material, a theological review requires trained theological eyes.  My take on what Archbishop Lucas is saying is that he can't guarantee that that glass of water is pure enough to drink because it has not yet gone through analysis.  Would you drink water which may not be safe to drink before it can be tested?

My advice: Find another well to drink from.  The Church has an arsenal of time-tested, approved material.  Here's a pretty good start: 

Further Reading:

All of these items, and much more can be found on the Archdiocese of Omaha's webpage for the Intercessor's case.

Please see my latest postContrasting Nadine Brown and Padre Pio

Got comments?

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Election Day is coming...

A fellow parishioner just pointed out to me the other day that, if you use scantron sheets for voting, don't leave until you watch your sheet put into the voting machine, if they have someone standing there collecting them and won't let you feed in your own sheet.  Your vote doesn't count until it gets in that machine - the correct way. 

A few reads...
 Pro-Life Vigils in Southeast Michigan this Weekend

Also, for people in the metro Detroit area, this is a reminder that we have two (2) pro-life prayer vigils on different ends of town on Saturday, October 30th - one being led by Archbishop Vigneron (again) and Monsignor John Zenz. 

I can't make either, so if someone gets a few shots, email them to me at my private email address if you have it, or at my public address for this blog TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Foundress of suppressed community issues statement

Nadine Brown, formerly "Mother Nadine" sometime prior
to the suppression of the Intercessors of the Lamb

I was going to wait until the Archdiocese of Omaha issued a statement to make a post on this, which I discovered between 7-8pm last night.  However, it's already circulating so if you are interested, read the statement made by Nadine Brown that had been promised

Now we wait for the Archdiocese of Omaha to respond.  Watch this page for something dated October 27th or later.

My commentary, if I choose to make one, will come after any statement from the archdiocese.  One odd thing I will note at this time, is that Nadine Brown uses language that is specific only to her, but she does not use her name to sign the message.  Instead, she signs it:

Your Bellwether Foundress and Companion of the Lamb
Can she not use Nadine Brown?  She seemed to know better than to use the title, "Mother".

Also, while it is "legally correct" to give money to this organization, I have to raise the question if it is "ecclesiastically correct" to send funds to them, given how this came about through an act of defiance by majority of the lay board of directors to the archbishop.  The archbishop has informed people in his original statement:
"...From this point forward, The Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., is in no way associated with the Catholic Church.... Catholic faithful worldwide should be aware that any alms given to the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., are not being given to a Catholic organization...."

I could not, in good conscience, offer financial support to an organization which was affiliated with an association - now suppressed - that had "alarming findings" unearthed in a canonical visitation.  A partial list is offered in the original news release. What is to say that something which is foreign to our faith will not be in the materials they produce?  As the archdiocese points out on October 25th:

Lay companions and prayer groups of the former Intercessors of the Lamb should exercise caution when using resources authored by Nadine Brown or resources published by the former association. These resources and titles were never reviewed orapproved by the Archbishop of Omaha.
If something foreign to the Catholic faith, or to authentic Catholic spirituality, is produced with funds offered by Catholics, then those Catholics indirectly participate in creating scandal.  In this ill-catechized and era of malformed understanding of Catholicism, it is dangerous for the average member of the Church to discern the purity of this material.

Please pray for everyone involved in this situation - Nadine Brown, the 48 loyal to the archbishop and in his care, the small handful who were not cooperating with him that ultimately got them to this point, and for the roughly 10 who did not get on that bus and are presumably with Brown.

Prior posts on this subject in chronological order:

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hilarious Political Ad against Barbar Boxer

To get the spoof below, watch this original exchange (17 seconds) between Senator Barbara Boxer and Brigadier General Michael Walsh. He, as trained in the military, referred to her as Ma'am and she threw a nutty.

The creator of the "Airplane" series of spoof-movies, created an excellent spoof of that scene. Watch this through to the end.... it's hilarious.

Here's the background on the creation of this ad at The Hill: 'Airplane!' director cuts ad poking fun at Boxer for 'ma'am' exchange with general

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Developing: What is brewing in Omaha with some ex-"Lambs"?

It's never a good idea to look exclusively at the good fruits in discernment
Bishops must look at both good and bad fruits.
One bad fruit in a basket can spread the rot.

This post has been edited for clarification and easier reading...

Something is apparently brewing in Omaha with Nadine Brown (formerly known as "Mother" and foundress of the now canonically suppressed "Intercessors of the Lamb"). Or, it is brewing with the lay board of directors who were not cooperating with Archbishop Lucas, or both.  Brown resigned on September 30th, 2010 at the request of +Lucas.  I doubt this has any connection to the 48 souls who sought the intervention of the the archbishop, and are currently in his care.

Statement found this morning on the archdiocesan page for this case tells Catholics that Archbishop Lucas has not reviewed any resources being put out under the name "Intercessors of the Lamb", or by Nadine Brown:

The page you will want to check for updates at the Archdiocese of Omaha:

What likely prompted it?

A note on the previously defunct webpage indicating "We are still here" and "Our Foundress" will soon release a statement.

It reads (emphases mind in bold):

We are still here!

Our mission continues and our charism has not changed. We remain dedicated to the contemplative formation of ALL Christians for the powerful ministry of intercession. Our goal is to develop and foster a deep interior life in the hearts of God's people so that they might become, within themselves, a "house of prayer" as God is within Himself. Because it is the life that prays, our own personal relationship with Jesus is the root of power of all effective intercession

Along this strange message, the webpage solicits donations to the corporation, Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc (Archbp Lucas discouraged this since it is not associated with the Catholic Church)

The statement is problematic in several ways.  Here are just a few:

  • It bills itself as a contemplative community for ALL Christians
  • It says the "charism has not changed", yet documentation from the Archdiocese of Omaha indicates confusion among the members over the charism.  A community can claim to have a charism, but it is the archbishop who ultimately discerns the validity and recognition of a charism.
  • An authentic interior life is built with the sanctifying grace that comes with the Sacraments.  In the public releases up to date, there is no indication that any priest went with them.  Priests of the diocese are not permitted on the Bellwether property they have, and one has to wonder what steps Archbishop Lucas will take next if they operate without his blessing, potentially pulling Catholics along in some kind of association which is not in communion with him. Will they be admitted to the Sacraments if they go to a nearby parish?
  • Our personal relationship with Jesus is not the root of power.  That whole last sentence is odd and belongs in the "alarming findings" file at the Archdiocese of Omaha. 
One question on my mind is, have they thought this through enough to ponder whether they are willing to live without the Eucharist, should it come to that?


If you missed these, they are in an increasing expanding list of articles, news and statements  on that page offered by the AoO webpage for the case:

  • October 19, 2010: Omaha World Herald - Hermits put Faith in Future (three former Intercessors, among the 48 cooperating with the archbishop and in his care unveil the chaos which took place behind the scenes ultimately prompting the archbishop to bus them out after the suppression, which took place 15 days after Nadine Brown's resignation on the 30th of September)

Also, Sr. Laurel M. O'Neal, Er., Dio (a diocesan hermit in Oakland, CA; canon 603), has been making some informative posts on this whole subject at her blog

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St. Francis of Assisi and the Bishop of Imola; a Franciscan of Medjugorje and the Bishop of Mostar

St. Francis and Reverence for Authority

Archbishp Fulton J. Sheen once said: “Obedience is servility only to those who have not understood the spontaneity of love.”

I want to demonstrate the "spontaneity of love" with which St. Francis treated bishops with this example. 

Respect shown to the Bishop of Imola
(from the Life of St. Francis by St. Bonaventure; ch 6:8)
One day St. Francis arrived at Imola where he went to the bishop and humbly asked him for permission to summon the people and preach to them.  "It is enough, brother, that I should preach to my own flock," the bishop replied abruptly. Francis bowed his head in genuine humility and took his leave.  Less than an hour later, however, he returned once more.  The bishop was annoyed and he asked him what he was looking for this time.  Then Francis replied respectfully and without the slightest arrogance, "My lord, when a father throws his son out one door, he must come in by another." The bishop was disarmed by his humility; he smiled and put his arm around him and said, "Henceforth you and all your friars have general permission to preach in my diocese. Holy humility deserves that."
In this case, St. Francis won the bishop over through humility and simplicity.  While Francis was perfectly suited to preaching, and his preaching was good for the people, the works on his life leave us no doubt he would have left the second time as humbly as he did the first, had he been denied again.  He would  not have called the bishop, "unprofessional", acted in defiance, or spoke irreverently of the local bishop to others.
Next... a contrast.

A Franciscan in Medjugorje "disses" the bishop

Below is a clip from a 1985 CBC video which includes an interview of Bishop Pavao Zanic in Mostar, and Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic, OFM while he was in Medjugorje. Kraljevic is a key protagonist of the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje. 

First, an introduction to this 1985 video clip: It comes to us in a blogpost by retired University of Montreal researcher Louis Bélanger at Medjupedia who has studied Medjugorje for decades. He visited there in 1985, which included some filming of the visionaries, and he met with Bishop Pavao Zanic, twice.  His postings are very analytical and detailed, often containing video, photos, document scans and information with much of it coming from the protagonists themselves. He is the editor of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje which was authored by Fr. Ivo Sivric, OFM - a man born in Medjugorje, who studied with interest the phenomena happening in his native village.  Louis has much to share.  I wanted to blog on this video some weeks ago when I saw it in his post: The Construction of the "Lady of Medjugorje"

We have to look at this video through the lens of the status of Medjugorje in 1985.  In March of 1985, Bishop Pavao Zanic clamped down, ordering an end to public veneration of "Our Lady of Medjugorje" which stands to this day.   As an aside, the 1991 Zadar Declaration remains in effect even as the new commission works.  That declaration did not authorize public veneration of "Our Lady of Medjugorje". To the contrary, it states that the local bishop is to see that Marian devotion and liturigcal activities are carried out in accordance with the teachings of the Church.  It authorizes unofficial pilgrimages which are not organized by dioceses or parishes and which do not presuppose the supernaturality of the alleged apparitions.  In the context of the status in 1985, let us watch this short clip:

Thanks to Kevin Symonds at Desiderium, we have a transcript which might be helpful, especially to international readers using auto-translators. Kevin, who holds a B.A. and M.A. in Theology, offers his own commentary on why this is so disturbing. Here is just a partial transcript of what Fr. Svet says:

Reporter: [speaking in English to Fr. Kraljevic] "The Bishop of Mostar is...unequivocal. He says the Virgin Mary is not appearing in Medjugorje."

Fr. Kraljevic: [pauses, thinks and gives a passive gesture as if shrugging off the Bishop's opinion] "That is the opinion of a person who has a right to say so but if you talk to the..."

Reporter: [interjects] "This is not just a person, this is the Bishop you're speaking about."

Fr. Kraljevic: "His judgments, what I would like to say, are not 'professional' and his judgments come from his inner disbelief that, uh, the children don't see, uh, the Blessed Virgin Mary."

My Commentary

In a word:  Un-Franciscan!

Keep in mind that Bishop Pavao Zanic gave reasonable objections for his disbelief in authenticity, which were best compiled later in, the Truth about Medjugorje.

What is so perplexing is that Fr. Svet could say such a thing about his bishop, in such a public way.  It is anti-ecclesial to treat a bishop in this fashion over an alleged apparition. If he said this publicly for the world to hear, what has he been saying to pilgrims and others about the bishop all these years?

This casual dismissiveness of the local bishop is something which was once contained in Herzegovina.  Now, this same attitude towards the Bishop of Mostar has spread internationally through Medjugorje devotees. There has always been this parallel of good fruits in the form of people converting and the spread of an attitude towards the local bishop which is foreign to any authentic Marian apparition - a truly bad fruit.   In fact, some of the information you find online has progressed from dismissiveness to calumny. See an example explained by Italian researcher and professor, Marco Corvaglia, in his post on Medjugorje, the communists, and the bishop

I look forward to what the Holy Father has to say on "a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message" (words of Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico, Papal Nuncio in Bosnia & Herzegovina)

If you have not visited my Medjugorje Documents and FAQ's blog, you should find the site update much easier to navigate, and packed with much more information for serious discerners.

Two Volumes
Learn more about authentic Franciscan behavior

Back when I was discerning a Franciscan vocation in the early 80's, a friend who was in the seminary with the OFM, had given me a going-away present that I read through, over and again, in the years that followed in that convent in Herzegovina.  It was a book which was composed of key, collected works on the famous friar, called Saint Francis of Assisi: Omnibus of Sources.  It contains the writings of St. Francis, including his rules and testament, books on his life by Thomas of Celano, St. Bonaventure, and other works like the Mirror of Perfection, the Three Companions, Little Flowers of St. Francis, and more. Older copies can be found in a single volume, but the newer version I have (2008), is split into two volumes with some very helpful charts in the back.  The charts will list a topic, then guide you to the appropriate volume, chapter, and sometimes, right to a numbered paragraph.  It even shows when the same topic comes up in other works. Shop around because the prices really vary and perhaps there is a used one out there. This is a must-have for any Franciscan or devotee of St. Francis

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October 30th: Archbp Vigneron, Msgr. Zenz to lead prayer vigils at area abortion clinics

A woman in prayer at a prayer vigil led recently by Archbishop Vigneron.

On October 30th, we have two major prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics.  They are on opposite ends of town.  Please support these. 

Clarkston, Michigan
Archbishop Allen Vigneron has accepted our invitation to lead a rosary at the Women's Clinic Group--the abortion clinic that recently moved from Waterford, Michigan to its new killing headquarters in Clarkston. PLEASE MARK THE DATE OF OCTOBER 30TH. The rosary will begin at 9:00am. The address of the abortion mill is: 6310 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston,MI 48346. Let's gather around a shepherd of the Church, pray to end abortion, and make a public witness to the sanctity of life. PLEASE ALSO JOIN THE 40 DAYS FOR LIFE CAMPAIGN AT THIS CLINIC--NOW HAPPENING

Harper Woods/Eastpointe

The Helpers of God's Precious Infants will hold it's final vigil of the year on the 8 Mile Blvd, led by Msgr. John Zenz

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Video: Archbishop Dolan calling out the NY Times

I blogged on this the other day, linking to a post made by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York at his blog

Now, there is a video story by a local news network, which includes an interview with +Dolan.  I'm glad he spoke out and I think all of us need to keep hitting home the message that they wouldn't have done this to any other religious, ethnic or racial group in the US. 

Veil-tip to Rocco Palmo and Dcn Greg Kandra

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Archdiocese of Detroit: Requiescat in pace, Rev Richard Lewnau, 35

Early this afternoon, I received a press release from the Archdiocese of Detroit about a 35 year old priest, Rev. Richard Lewnau was killed in a tragic accident yesterday.  He was pastor of  Sacred Heart Parish in Yale and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Emmett, administrator of Sacred Heart Mission in Brown City. 

Go to the Archdiocese of Detroit for a page on Fr. Lewnau's death, and for Archbishop Vigneron's statement.

Local news station WXYZ-TV has more info, as well.  There is also something in the Port Huron Times Herald.

EDIT 10-24-2010: The Michigan Catholic Online has a full write up.  A parishioner of Grotto parishioner who was at Father's last Mass said he spoke about the need to be prepared for death.  The Michigan Catholic article discusses this briefly. 

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Lewnau, for his family, parishioners, and anyone else who may have been injured in this accident.  This part is not yet clear to me. 

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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Catholic News and Posts I'm reading today...

Missionaries of Charity in Detroit visit Assumption Grotto when Rev. Robert McDermott, 

A few times weekly I will try to do this kind of post to share with you other posts and news out there. 

Any blogger can tell you it is impossible to keep up with so much.  Also, as you get familiar with the Catholic blogosphere and news sources which are loyal to the Church, you will find that each has a primary subject.  I tend to focus on spiritual stories and traditional liturgical happenings, especially at my own parish. I often like to look at the what the bishops are saying,with an emphasis on the kinds of things they do that I find encouraging.

Other blogs, like and First Thoughts will often dig into Catholicism and the political sphere (which is a great place to visit daily during this political season, especially.  Father Z will often get into some of this, but has a more liturgical focus, and you might find his "fisking" of dissident and secular pieces quite informative.  One of the finest blogs on culture of life issues is that of Chelsea Zimmerman who authors Reflections of a Paralytic.

Great reads today:

Archbishop Nienstedt is doing some bishoping once again in Minneapolis-St. Paul.  Says Archbp Nienstedt:

"We're part and parcel of the culture, so it's important for us to be involved with those discussions and have our say," Nienstedt told the Associated Press Monday. He counseled Catholics to "either be hot or cold" but not lukewarm on their loyalty to the faith.

"I believe that it's important that if you're going to be Catholic, that you have to be 100 percent Catholic," Nienstedt told the Associated Press on Monday. "That you stand by the church, you believe what the church believes and you pass that on to your sons and daughters and your grandsons and granddaughters."

Tom Peters at Catholic Vote is discusses a pretty good takedown.  Here is a good teaser...about NRLC's director dealing with, as Tom rightly calls it, a fake "catholyc" group:

Fake Catholyc group Catholics United hosted a conference call this morning about the SBA List hearing in Ohio. In their press release, they misstate in the first line that the Ohio commission ruled that SBA List made false claims in their billboards. In fact, in a narrow 2-1 ruling, the commission only found there is enough merit to the case to have a full hearing later. (Perhaps someone should sue Catholycs United for libel?)
Things got interesting towards the end of the call. As reported by the Washington Independent, Doug Johnson, National Right to Life’s legislative director who provided a sworn affidavit in SBA List’s defense, attended Catholycs United’s call and kept his silence until the very end, when he jumped in and started lobbing truth-grenades... read on 

Patrick Madrid talks offers some spiritual advice to a blogging Medjugorje supporter.

Relax. Settle down. Be at peace.

There's no need to obsess the way you are over what a tiny handful of people may think about Medjugorje. If some, like I, doubt that it's an authentic apparition, so what? Why does that rob you of your peace? Your most recent behavior indicates that you are unsettled, anxious, and worried about the fact that some are skeptical about Medjugorje. This turmoil and defensiveness exhibited in your recent public comments is not from the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Janet Smith and some Christopher West critics go head-to-head in a Catholic Exchange combox in an article she has published critiquing the essay of Dr. Alice von Hildebrands on West's brand of Theology of the Body.  I'm not going to quote anything here, but let you read the respective essays, and observe the ever lively combox chatter.

Blogging UK priest, "His Hermeuticalness", Fr. Tim Finigan, talks about Cardinal-designate Malcom Ranjith, the former Secretary of the Congregatio for Divine Worship, now the archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka.  For those who don't know +Ranjith, he does not mince words when discussing the liturgy and, says Sandro Magister, is considered one of B16's best pupils.

And, last, but not least, are Luke Coppen's "Morning Catholic Must Reads".  Coppen is the editor of the UK's Catholic Herald - a sound source.

That leaves one of my daily portal checks at lunch time, New Advent

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Archbishops Burke, Wuerl among 24 to become Cardinals

Cardinal-designate Raymond L. Burke

This post has been updated to include official statements by Cardinals-delegate Burke and Wuerl.

Along with American, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, the archbishop of Washington D.C. was also named in the consistory of cardinals.  Today's Bollettino shows them being elevated on November 20.

24 men were named Cardinals in the consistory which came at the end of today's general audience, four of them over 80, thus not eligible to vote in a papal conclave.  10 are Italian (eight of them under 80).  There are two Germans, a Pole, a Swede, a Spaniard (non-voting), four African (including the Patriarch of Egypt), two Americans, a Brazlilian, one from Equador, and one who was expected from Sri-Lanka....Archbishop Ranjith.

It would seem that the Italians have once again increased their voting power in the conclave.  However, I am more interested in how aligned these men are with Pope Benedict's line of thought on many things, including the liturgy.  This I leave for the Catholic pundits (links to places discussing these kinds of things near the bottom).

Pardon any typos, for some reason my copy/paste features was throwing a nutty. 

10 are members of the Roman Curia:

10 Residential Bishops.

N.B. Type a name into the search tool at Catholic Hierarchy to learn more about each.
    Cardinal-designate Wuerl
  • Antonio Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria and the Copts (Egypt)
  • Paolo Romeo, archbishop of Palermo
  • Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising (Germany)
  • Kazimierze Nycz, Arcbishop of Warsaw (Poland)
  • Donald William Weurl, Archbishop of Washington (USA)
  • Laurent Monsengwo Pasinja, Archbishop of Kinshasa (Congo)
  • Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, archbishop emeritus of Lusaka (Zambia)
  • Albert Malcom Ranjith Patanbendige Don, Archbishop of Colomob (Sri Lanka)
  • Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, Archbishp of Quito (Ecuador)
  • Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparacedia (Brazil)
Those over 80, thus not eligible to vote in a papal conclave:
  • Elio Sgreccia (Italy)
  • Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spain)
  • Walter Brandmuller (Germany)
  • Domenico Bartolucci (Italy)

Statements and Related:

Two US Cardinals-designate; two contrasting views on canons 915/916
An interesting thing to note about the two American's to be elevated, is the contrasting views they hold on the matter of withholding Holy Communion from pro-abort Catholic politicians.  As Prefect of the Signatura - the Church's near equivalent of a supreme court, he is involved with interpreting canon Law.  These two men will undoubtedly spend at least a short time together, and I'm sure they will both rise to the occasion.

Surprises?  Disappointments? Places to watch for discussion:

News from many US Cities and news sources (secular and Catholic):
Pray for our bishops!

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Archbishop Dolan calls out the New York Times for anti-Catholic bigotry...

I'd say he told 'em off pretty good! 

Go to Archbishop Timothy Dolan's blog and read, "More from the Times"

Unlike the old days when the media was in full control of information, these days, you can't just shut a blogging bishop up by not presenting his views.  Of course, the NY Times, which advocates "tolerance" of every group except the Catholics it constantly persecutes, would never dismiss a rarely written letter of objection by the sitting archbishop.

Archbishop Dolan actually has a tag for the New York Times at his blog, so I'm sure it won't be the last time he takes them on.  But, as he pointed out previously, no one could keep up with the frequency with which they put out trashy, anti-Catholic stuff. 

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where to catch the "Red Hat" pre-game show tonight...

Photo Source:
(with plenty of photos).

Stay tuned tomorrow...

The Catholic blogosphere's favorite past-time is underway as anticipation grows that Pope Benedict XVI will name Cardinals in a consistory tomorrow.  It gives the men, and the tailors making their new red garbs until Christ the King on November 30, 2010. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke is considered a shoe-in.  I will let you read other speculations about what will take place on these shores and abroad in the links below.

I may get to post the names before leaving tomorrow morning, if it appears on the Bollettino, but if not, I will leave you with a few places to watch for news, posts, and the ever lively comboxes.

I will be unable to blog on this tomorrow beyond anything that is available veerrrryyy early, so I am going to leave you with some links to existing "pre-game" shows, and some places to watch tomorrow.

A few sites to watch tomorrow:

Footnote: Back in August when a number of people thought the consistory would not come until spring because more Cardinals are expected to turn 80 in the coming months, at which time they are not eligible to vote in a Papal conclave. Ed Peters pointed pointed out some interesting stats and played with a few other numbers which had me wondering whether we would see the number of Italians shrink. 

On that note, here are some interesting pages to find current and historical facts about bishops, dioceses and more at Catholic Hierarchy:

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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Archbishop Lucas was justified to act quickly in "Intercessors" case


“There have been a lot of tears,” said the Rev. Mark Nolte, a Roman Catholic priest who belonged to the organization. “But at the same time, we know there's a bright future for us, and we're thankful to the archbishop for supporting us and being willing to walk with us.”

Fresh from is something very revealing: We get a glimpse into why the archbishop acted so fast.

It is an interview with three of the 48 people being cared for by the archdiocese at a retreat center after their community was suppressed. 

I'm sure that time will reveal even more about what transpired to prompt the archbishop to act so quickly following the resignation of Mother Nadine.  He was not only justified, it would have been cruel to leave the 48 in that situation given what was going on.

After reading what is below, I ask again, to please consider sending donations to the Archdiocese of Omaha to spread the load of caring for these people until they can get situated. Do not send to the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., which is no longer recognized by the Catholic Church, but to the address provided by the Archdiocese of Omaha here.

Here's an excerpt (emphasis mine in bold)

But on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 3 — two days after Brown's resignation was announced — people close to her began taking steps signaling that they would not comply with the archbishop, the three former Intercessors said.
A board member and a man she identified as her lawyer walked into a house the Intercessors owned on a neighboring street and announced that they were there for the association's assets, Neuhoff said. [keep in mind these people signed over their own assets when they joined!]
She said they took computers and files with financial and personal records from the house. Then people began carrying boxes out of the main house on the Intercessors campus, including in the middle of the night. That was confusing and frightening, the three said. [especially with personal information]
The three called police and archdiocesan officials [!] They were told that the civil corporation had the legal right to move its property.
The corporation changed the locks on the Intercessors' homes and asked for their car keys, Nolte said. It was becoming obvious, he said, that the faction close to Brown would not budge.
He said the situation became more tense in the two weeks that followed [!!!], culminating with Friday's suppression and the archbishop's offer of sanctuary at the retreat. [Some wondered, "why the rush to suppress" and "why wasn't there a 'cooling off' period" if the majority of the lay board of directors were not cooperating with the archbishop.  This explains it.... read on]
“We were all very happy to get on that bus,” [!]Nolte said. “This was not done with any malice or evil intent toward Mother Nadine. It was necessary for us to disassociate ourselves from her because of her lack of obedience to the church.” [non serviam]
Brown and other leaders could not be reached for comment Monday.
Levy said Monday: “It was a very chaotic time immediately after the archdiocese had Mother Nadine resign and took over the campus. The officers and employees of the corporation were doing what they thought was appropriate to do to protect the assets and property of the corporation.”
The Intercessors' civil corporation, he said, “was continuing to take care of the hermits and would have continued to do so.”
Levy declined to comment on specifics, saying he didn't think it productive to get into a back and forth.
Nolte said a board member told him the members would have to go elsewhere. That process is just beginning.
Nolte said he hopes that the group can create a new community with the same calling, and he said that Baxter and Lucas have agreed to examine whether that could be possible.
“We really don't know what the future holds,” Nolte said.
Source Former hermits put faith in future ( - This was a longer article and I only excerpted a portion of it, so I do recommend you follow the link if interested in this story.

But where they hermits in the true sense?
Also, there is a very good post, posed to a sister, who also happens to be a blogging, diocesan hermit.  She distinguishes between the canonical hermit state of life, and why these "hermits" as they were called, could not simply be admitted to this way of life automatically.  It's an interesting read about a state in life that few are aware of and I highly recommend you check it out....

Go read: Intercessors of the Lamb and Profession under Canon 603 by Sr. Laurel

10-19-2010; 10:00pm - Post was edited to include inline comments; and a few more relevant excerpts. 

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Pope Benedict XVI's address to seminarians is a like steak after decades of cheap hamburger

Pope Benedict XVI with seminarians at Catholic Univeristy of America
in Washington D.C. during his 2008 visit.

In a word: Wow! 

I, like many, was saddened to see the Year for Priests come to an end, but with this amazing letter to seminarians, he's not done speaking about the priesthood.  He hits one out of the park.

I have to run, but am going to come back later and highlight a few quotes. 

Read this through.  He nails it - as always.  B16 does not serve cheap hamburger when there is so much steak to offer. 


Dear Seminarians,

When in December 1944 I was drafted for military service, the company commander asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: “Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed”. I knew that this “new Germany” was already coming to an end, and that, after the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever. Today the situation is completely changed. In different ways, though, many people nowadays also think that the Catholic priesthood is not a “job” for the future, but one that belongs more to the past. You, dear friends, have decided to enter the seminary and to prepare for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in spite of such opinions and objections. You have done a good thing. Because people will always have need of God, even in an age marked by technical mastery of the world and globalization: they will always need the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who gathers us together in the universal Church in order to learn with him and through him life’s true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of true humanity. Where people no longer perceive God, life grows empty; nothing is ever enough. People then seek escape in euphoria and violence; these are the very things that increasingly threaten young people. God is alive. He has created every one of us and he knows us all. He is so great that he has time for the little things in our lives: “Every hair of your head is numbered”. God is alive, and he needs people to serve him and bring him to others. It does makes sense to become a priest: the world needs priests, pastors, today, tomorrow and always, until the end of time.

The seminary is a community journeying towards priestly ministry. I have said something very important here: one does not become a priest on one’s own. The “community of disciples” is essential, the fellowship of those who desire to serve the greater Church. In this letter I would like to point out – thinking back to my own time in the seminary – several elements which I consider important for these years of your journeying.

1. Anyone who wishes to become a priest must be first and foremost a “man of God”, to use the expression of Saint Paul (1 Tim 6:11). For us God is not some abstract hypothesis; he is not some stranger who left the scene after the “big bang”. God has revealed himself in Jesus Christ. In the face of Jesus Christ we see the face of God. In his words we hear God himself speaking to us. It follows that the most important thing in our path towards priesthood and during the whole of our priestly lives is our personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. The priest is not the leader of a sort of association whose membership he tries to maintain and expand. He is God’s messenger to his people. He wants to lead them to God and in this way to foster authentic communion between all men and women. That is why it is so important, dear friends, that you learn to live in constant intimacy with God. When the Lord tells us to “pray constantly”, he is obviously not asking us to recite endless prayers, but urging us never to lose our inner closeness to God. Praying means growing in this intimacy. So it is important that our day should begin and end with prayer; that we listen to God as the Scriptures are read; that we share with him our desires and our hopes, our joys and our troubles, our failures and our thanks for all his blessings, and thus keep him ever before us as the point of reference for our lives. In this way we grow aware of our failings and learn to improve, but we also come to appreciate all the beauty and goodness which we daily take for granted and so we grow in gratitude. With gratitude comes joy for the fact that God is close to us and that we can serve him.

2. For us God is not simply Word. In the sacraments he gives himself to us in person, through physical realities. At the heart of our relationship with God and our way of life is the Eucharist. Celebrating it devoutly, and thus encountering Christ personally, should be the centre of all our days. In Saint Cyprian’s interpretation of the Gospel prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread”, he says among other things that “our” bread – the bread which we receive as Christians in the Church – is the Eucharistic Lord himself. In this petition of the Our Father, then, we pray that he may daily give us “our” bread; and that it may always nourish our lives; that the Risen Christ, who gives himself to us in the Eucharist, may truly shape the whole of our lives by the radiance of his divine love. The proper celebration of the Eucharist involves knowing, understanding and loving the Church’s liturgy in its concrete form. In the liturgy we pray with the faithful of every age – the past, the present and the future are joined in one great chorus of prayer. As I can state from personal experience, it is inspiring to learn how it all developed, what a great experience of faith is reflected in the structure of the Mass, and how it has been shaped by the prayer of many generations.

3. The sacrament of Penance is also important. It teaches me to see myself as God sees me, and it forces me to be honest with myself. It leads me to humility. The Curé of Ars once said: “You think it makes no sense to be absolved today, because you know that tomorrow you will commit the same sins over again. Yet,” he continues, “God instantly forgets tomorrow’s sins in order to give you his grace today.” Even when we have to struggle continually with the same failings, it is important to resist the coarsening of our souls and the indifference which would simply accept that this is the way we are. It is important to keep pressing forward, without scrupulosity, in the grateful awareness that God forgives us ever anew – yet also without the indifference that might lead us to abandon altogether the struggle for holiness and self-improvement. Moreover, by letting myself be forgiven, I learn to forgive others. In recognizing my own weakness, I grow more tolerant and understanding of the failings of my neighbour.

4. I urge you to retain an appreciation for popular piety, which is different in every culture yet always remains very similar, for the human heart is ultimately one and the same. Certainly, popular piety tends towards the irrational, and can at times be somewhat superficial. Yet it would be quite wrong to dismiss it. Through that piety, the faith has entered human hearts and become part of the common patrimony of sentiments and customs, shaping the life and emotions of the community. Popular piety is thus one of the Church’s great treasures. The faith has taken on flesh and blood. Certainly popular piety always needs to be purified and refocused, yet it is worthy of our love and it truly makes us into the “People of God”.

5. Above all, your time in the seminary is also a time of study. The Christian faith has an essentially rational and intellectual dimension. Were it to lack that dimension, it would not be itself. Paul speaks of a “standard of teaching” to which we were entrusted in Baptism (Rom 6:17). All of you know the words of Saint Peter which the medieval theologians saw as the justification for a rational and scientific theology: “Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an ‘accounting’ (logos) for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15). Learning how to make such a defence is one of the primary responsibilities of your years in the seminary. I can only plead with you: Be committed to your studies! Take advantage of your years of study! You will not regret it. Certainly, the subjects which you are studying can often seem far removed from the practice of the Christian life and the pastoral ministry. Yet it is completely mistaken to start questioning their practical value by asking: Will this be helpful to me in the future? Will it be practically or pastorally useful? The point is not simply to learn evidently useful things, but to understand and appreciate the internal structure of the faith as a whole, so that it can become a response to people’s questions, which on the surface change from one generation to another yet ultimately remain the same. For this reason it is important to move beyond the changing questions of the moment in order to grasp the real questions, and so to understand how the answers are real answers. It is important to have a thorough knowledge of sacred Scripture as a whole, in its unity as the Old and the New Testaments: the shaping of texts, their literary characteristics, the process by which they came to form the canon of sacred books, their dynamic inner unity, a unity which may not be immediately apparent but which in fact gives the individual texts their full meaning. It is important to be familiar with the Fathers and the great Councils in which the Church appropriated, through faith-filled reflection, the essential statements of Scripture. I could easily go on. What we call dogmatic theology is the understanding of the individual contents of the faith in their unity, indeed, in their ultimate simplicity: each single element is, in the end, only an unfolding of our faith in the one God who has revealed himself to us and continues to do so. I do not need to point out the importance of knowing the essential issues of moral theology and Catholic social teaching. The importance nowadays of ecumenical theology, and of a knowledge of the different Christian communities, is obvious; as is the need for a basic introduction to the great religions, to say nothing of philosophy: the understanding of that human process of questioning and searching to which faith seeks to respond. But you should also learn to understand and – dare I say it – to love canon law, appreciating how necessary it is and valuing its practical applications: a society without law would be a society without rights. Law is the condition of love. I will not go on with this list, but I simply say once more: love the study of theology and carry it out in the clear realization that theology is anchored in the living community of the Church, which, with her authority, is not the antithesis of theological science but its presupposition. Cut off from the believing Church, theology would cease to be itself and instead it would become a medley of different disciplines lacking inner unity.

6. Your years in the seminary should also be a time of growth towards human maturity. It is important for the priest, who is called to accompany others through the journey of life up to the threshold of death, to have the right balance of heart and mind, reason and feeling, body and soul, and to be humanly integrated. To the theological virtues the Christian tradition has always joined the cardinal virtues derived from human experience and philosophy, and, more generally, from the sound ethical tradition of humanity. Paul makes this point this very clearly to the Philippians: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (4:8). This also involves the integration of sexuality into the whole personality. Sexuality is a gift of the Creator yet it is also a task which relates to a person’s growth towards human maturity. When it is not integrated within the person, sexuality becomes banal and destructive. Today we can see many examples of this in our society. Recently we have seen with great dismay that some priests disfigured their ministry by sexually abusing children and young people. Instead of guiding people to greater human maturity and setting them an example, their abusive behaviour caused great damage for which we feel profound shame and regret. As a result of all this, many people, perhaps even some of you, might ask whether it is good to become a priest; whether the choice of celibacy makes any sense as a truly human way of life. Yet even the most reprehensible abuse cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure. Thank God, all of us know exemplary priests, men shaped by their faith, who bear witness that one can attain to an authentic, pure and mature humanity in this state and specifically in the life of celibacy. Admittedly, what has happened should make us all the more watchful and attentive, precisely in order to examine ourselves earnestly, before God, as we make our way towards priesthood, so as to understand whether this is his will for me. It is the responsibility of your confessor and your superiors to accompany you and help you along this path of discernment. It is an essential part of your journey to practise the fundamental human virtues, with your gaze fixed on the God who has revealed himself in Christ, and to let yourselves be purified by him ever anew.

7. The origins of a priestly vocation are nowadays more varied and disparate than in the past. Today the decision to become a priest often takes shape after one has already entered upon a secular profession. Often it grows within the Communities, particularly within the Movements, which favour a communal encounter with Christ and his Church, spiritual experiences and joy in the service of the faith. It also matures in very personal encounters with the nobility and the wretchedness of human existence. As a result, candidates for the priesthood often live on very different spiritual continents. It can be difficult to recognize the common elements of one’s future mandate and its spiritual path. For this very reason, the seminary is important as a community which advances above and beyond differences of spirituality. The Movements are a magnificent thing. You know how much I esteem them and love them as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Yet they must be evaluated by their openness to what is truly Catholic, to the life of the whole Church of Christ, which for all her variety still remains one. The seminary is a time when you learn with one another and from one another. In community life, which can at times be difficult, you should learn generosity and tolerance, not only bearing with, but also enriching one another, so that each of you will be able to contribute his own gifts to the whole, even as all serve the same Church, the same Lord. This school of tolerance, indeed, of mutual acceptance and mutual understanding in the unity of Christ’s Body, is an important part of your years in the seminary.

Dear seminarians, with these few lines I have wanted to let you know how often I think of you, especially in these difficult times, and how close I am to you in prayer. Please pray for me, that I may exercise my ministry well, as long as the Lord may wish. I entrust your journey of preparation for priesthood to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, whose home was a school of goodness and of grace. May Almighty God bless you all, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

From the Vatican, 18 October 2010, the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist.

Yours devotedly in the Lord,

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