We Possess Divine Truths But Is Our Hierarchy Listening To Our Human Truths, Too?

Satan may be aTime with Godfoot but it took me at least 30 minutes to troubleshoot why the Fox 29 News video wasn’t playing. For you tech types, was it the embed code? Was it a problem with WordPress? No, it was as simple as the “Play” button is overtop the white cloud on the left. Who knew? Now you do and, hopefully, you’ll take the time to view it. Give the first movie a moment to start. Also, therein lies the answer to all of our problems – with God, high above the clouds and that’s where we need to direct our attentions so that we can make a difference in this earthly world here below.

Deacon Phil Geliebter of St. Mark’s Church is a sharing guy and I had just read one of his inspirations today and thought it was perfect for right here. Thanks, Deacon Phil! I also used it for our 8 AM Prayer Service Announcement outside St. Joachim tomorrow morning.

The title of this blog post came to mind because, as Catholics, we do have many beliefs that we consider to also be truths of the Church. Much like our Declaration of Independence has certain truths that our country is based on. But there is a problem – our church hierarchy is spending so much time trying to counteract the voice of the laity when this time and effort could be so better spent in us listening to each other and finding a way to solve the urgent issues of today’s church. As you know, our efforts were featured in the September issue of Philadelphia Magazine in the Bob Huber article titled, “Archbishop Charles Chaput: The Hardliner”As the Archdiocese was aware of this impending article, Father Higgins is interviewed to counteract us. And so it goes! So, we give you both versions of the story. Please watch both videos! Our churches depend on you being informed!

Last night on Fox 29 this segment aired about Holy Innocents and about many of us. Keep the Faith in Frankford continues to, as my Aunt Pearl would say, “Speak the truth” and try to get justice not only for the closed churches in Frankford but for all closed churches in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Rather than writing a long explanation of our response to this report, I make a video, too, which I hope you’ll take the time to watch. We would love to hear your “truths”, too! We are brothers and sisters in the one Jesus Christ, who can unite us all!

A Tale of Two Shepherds

Archbishop and MeWell, Archbishop Chaput, at a lecture he was giving in Manhattan (imagine how many people like us were there) “blasts Vatican debate on family, says ‘confusion is of the devil””. Now when you read this article, I started to wonder if Archbishop Chaput really wants Pope Francis to come here. I have personally heard him speak about how “concerned” and worried Catholics are because of Pope Francis – his words and his actions. He most definitely seems to be speaking for himself. Yet this article should not be a surprise to us as there can be not debate, no discussion with the Archbishop about anything. Does he think his style and words are drawing people back to the church? Is he even helping to keep people in the church? I get concerned about people who always think they’re right. I’m concerned about our local Shepherd telling us “the decision has been made and we are not considering any changes”. Are you as concerned as I? You decide after reading – “Archbishop Chaput blasts Vatican debate on family, says ‘confusion is of the devil'” Thanks to Greg Minetola for sharing this article.
Pope Francis

Thank God for Pope Francis. A light and a beacon that tells us it’s alright to have these discussions. He’s another opener of doors like Pope St. John XXIII. Let’s talk about it – let’s see how we can heal those whose lives have already been broken by society, by the loss of a love intended to be forever through divorce and anyone who feels a distance from Jesus’ love. Pope Francis is not about “winning” or dictating. He’s about making visible the kingdom of heaven on earth. How different than what we’re used to. Pope Francis, himself, is an expression of unity and of bringing all of us together. Here’s a summary of the Synod from the National Catholic Reporter. “Synod a win for Franics and openness”.

I’m glad ours is a church of diversity and expression of that. But we mustn’t let fear or judgement be our guide. We must have the courage of the Holy Spirit! It confirms what we believe. It is even more imperative and necessary that each and every Catholic add their voice to these discussions. Are you willing? Can you believe?

Pope Francis photo credit: KOREA.NET – Official page of the Republic of Korea via photopin cc

Let us “Go Forth”!

Couresty of desales.edu

Courtesy of desales.edu

We hear that at the end of Mass, “Go forth, the Mass has ended”. Mass had ended but our call to be evangelizers is renewed. We are hearing much about evangelization today. But this word can mean many things to many people. Is it that we are called to convert everyone to Catholicism? If so, maybe we should be exhorted to “Go Convert”! Is it to preach the Gospel? Well, no one likes to hear preaching! Perhaps St. Francis de Sales, whose feast we celebrated on January 24, said it best, “Live Jesus”!

I believe we are called to “Live Jesus”! It is through loving, giving, helping and sharing in the ups and downs of others’ lives that we are evangelizing. It is through our actions that reflect the love we have found in Jesus and that unconditional love we feel from our Lord that enables others to see the possibilities of this love in their own lives.

We need to discuss what evangelization means. Many think it is solely about converting others to the “Catholic” way of thinking. That can happen and is wondrous if it does. I want to propose that our lives are testament to the love of Jesus, to the love we have for our faith. Those who are searching may join us. But there are many who believe in a loving God, the “golden rule” of loving your neighbors as you love yourself. We are one family regardless of what we believe. We cannot “pigeonhole” God or have God taking sides to make us right. What is right is the way we live each and every day!

Pope Francis has written an apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel)Let us take the time to read this and then have a real discussion on evangelization. The reopening of St. Joachim depends on this. Our souls depend on this.

Lastly, the Pope has recently said that all Christians must find a way to achieve unity and you can further read his thoughts here.

 

Parishioners at St. Joachim file appeal to reopen

From the Northeast Times:

Former parishioners at St. Joachim Roman Catholic Church last week formally filed an appeal to reopen the recently closed parish.

The overview of their case was sent on July 3 to the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States, based in Washington, D.C. The appeal will be forwarded to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, and there is no timetable for a final decision.

The former parishioners have raised $4,805, with another $1,000 pledged. That’s about half of what their total legal bill is expected to be.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed 15 parishes, including Frankford’s St. Joachim and Mater Dolorosa and Tacony’s St. Leo the Great, effective July 1. It cited drops in weekend Mass attendance, marriages and baptisms.

The archdiocese did not consider any appeals in the month between the announcement and the closings.

Read the rest of this story at this link.

Eulogy for a Church

From the DeSales Weekly:

We see Jesus in each other.
We see Jesus in the poor.
We see Jesus in the struggling addict.
We see Jesus in the one just released from prison.

  When Fr. Steve Wetzel, OSFS, used these words in the homily of the last Mass at his inner-city Philadelphia parish, St. Joachim, he described a people. A community. The People of God.

Since 1845, these holy people faithfully prayed, served, taught, learned, fed, worshipped, healed, and gathered. The dynamics of urban life and shifts in Catholic communities prompted the leaders of the Archdiocese to close St. Joachim and ask its parishioners to join another community, Holy Innocents.

Read the entire story at this link.

Balancing the Budget by Selling Our Church

More grim disclosures today explaining the financial plight of the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Wednesday reported a staggering $39.2 million loss for the year ended June 30, 2012, while disclosing unprecedented details about longterm financial deficits totaling $350 million. Even after stripping away millions in unusual expenses, including $11.9 million for legal and professional services related to the priest sex-abuse scandal and other issues, the archdiocese said its cash expenses 2012 still exceeded revenue by $17.4 million. “It’s not so simple to say our problems are related to the sexual-abuse crisis,” Timothy O’Shaughnessy, chief financial officer for the archdiocese, said. “That is a serious issue, a very serious issue that I believe the church is taking more seriously now. “We’ve also had serious financial problems independent of the abuse crisis,” said O’Shaughnessy, who became CFO in April 2012.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130704_Archdiocese_report_unveils_huge_financial_concerns.html#QOOxpzzOO9mXyB7M.99