Archive of August 29, 2009

Priests gather for fellowship, prayer, as part of Year for Priests

New Haven, Conn., Aug 29, 2009 (CNA) - Surrounded by his brother priests, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell expressed thanks and appreciation for their dedication at an informal evening gathering of priests on Aug. 25 as part of ongoing activities to celebrate the Year for Priests."


At the event, held at St. John Vianney Church, which is named for the patron saint of priests and which overlooks Long Island Sound, the Archbishop used the metaphor of going down to the sea to reflect upon the beauty and value of the priesthood.


"We all have so much to learn of the tremendous value of each and every priest, part of the fraternity of priests in the Archdiocese of Hartford and part of the fraternity of priests across the world," he said during an evening prayer service.


We give thanks for that," he said, and realize "how much experience is present in this church today."


Calling for prayer for "this extraordinary fraternity," he also used the occasion to remember the priests "who have gone before us, upon whose shoulders we stand," as well as those who could not attend because of sickness and for other reasons.


"As we continue to celebrate this tremendous gift of the priesthood," he said, making special note of 42 seminarians now in formation, "we pray to continue to grow to be of service to the archdiocese as instruments of God."


"Using this as the opportunity in this Year for Priests setting," he said, "I thank you for all that you do and all that you are."


Father Joseph V. DiSciacca, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Bristol, who as the minister for priests helped coordinate the evening, said that the gathering was one of the of ongoing events this year to "celebrate the gift of the priesthood in the Archdiocese."


"It’s a very informal, relaxed day," he said, "but it gives us an opportunity to gather in fraternity and be in contact with the Archbishop."


The Year for Priests was announced by Pope Benedict XVI to run from June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010 as an opportunity for priests to deepen their spirituality and build fraternity.


Following evening prayer led by cantor Bonnie Pepper and accompanied by Ezequiel Menéndez from the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, the group of about 90 priests gathered for dinner.


Printed with permission from The Catholic Transcript, newspaper from the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn.

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Three U.S. bishops visiting Africa to observe humanitarian work

Washington D.C., Aug 29, 2009 (CNA) - A delegation of American bishops is visiting Zimbabwe and South Africa on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The bishops intend to observe not only the challenges facing the African countries, but also the humanitarian work and the “fully alive” faith of Christians in the region.

Bishop of Pensacola John H. Ricard and Bishop of Salt Lake City John C. Wester visited Zimbabwe from August 26-28. They will visit South Africa from August 28 to September 6, where they were scheduled to be joined by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a retired Archbishop of Washington.

Bishop Ricard is chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Africa, while Bishop Wester is a committee member. During their trip they plan to talk with Church officials and visit projects funded by the Pastoral Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa.

Bishop Wester, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, is also leading a delegation for the Migration and Refugee Services office. The fact-finding mission is assessing the problems of refugees and displaced persons in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Children and women victims of human trafficking, an activity described as a modern-day slave trade, are a particular concern of his delegation.

All three bishops are associated with Catholic Relief Services (CRS). According to the USCCB, they are observing the humanitarian work CRS is involved in, especially in combating HIV-AIDS.

Patrick Markey, executive director of the USCCB Office of National Collections, organized the trip.

“As we saw clearly during Pope Benedict’s recent trip to the Cameroon and Angola, the Church in Africa is not only growing rapidly. It is also fully alive and rich in vocations,” Markey said in a USCCB press release. “The Church in Africa also faces many challenges and for that reason Catholics in the U.S. have so generously responded to a call from the bishops to give them a hand.”

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Briefs filed in New York same-sex ‘marriage’ recognition case

New York City, N.Y., Aug 29, 2009 (CNA) -

The Thomas More Society of Chicago has filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the New York State Catholic Conference concerning whether N.Y. should recognize out-of-state same-sex "marriages" that have been contracted in states which recognize the practice.

The Thomas More Society’s brief argues that recognition of such unions would undermine a natural and social institution and is not required by New York precedents governing the recognition of out-of-state marriages.

"A lower court said that New York state can recognize an out-of-state same-sex marriage, which does not make sense. A marriage that violates the public policy of New York state should not be recognized, regardless of where it was entered into, period," Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel for the Thomas More Society in Chicago, said in a statement.

Brejcha characterized the lower court’s decision as an "aberrant departure" from governing law.

"New York's Court of Appeals has already handed down a definitive ruling in 2006 that the state's public policy, as set forth in its Domestic Relations Law, clearly provides that the state prohibits marriage between members of the same sex. Furthermore, under New York state law, the state is not required to recognize out-of-state marriages that could not be legally performed in New York state," he continued.

Richard E. Barnes, director of the New York State Catholic Conference, said the state’s Catholic bishops have "consistently supported" efforts to defend marriage from redefinition efforts.

Barnes said that marriage has always been defined as "the enduring union of one man and one woman, ordered for the procreation of children and the mutual support of the husband and wife."

"The New York State Court of Appeals has previously ruled that state law defines marriage in this way, and that the state has a legitimate interest in prohibiting so-called 'same-sex marriage'," he added.

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