Lincoln, Neb., May 28, 2011 (CNA) -
Three men are in the final stages of formation and preparation before they become priests of the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb.
They will be ordained Saturday, May 28, by Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz.
Deacon Craig Clinch
Deacon Craig Clinch is the youngest of Jerry and Judy Clinch’s five children. As he was growing up at St. John the Apostle Parish in Lincoln, his pastor frequently encouraged him to pray that he would know his vocation and be able to say yes.
So, Deacon Clinch stayed open to the possibility of a priestly vocation.
“There were little signs along the way,” he said. “The great witness given by the priests at my parish and the priests who taught me at Pius X High School helped me see that the Lord calls men to be priests and that there is great joy in the priesthood.”
Deacon Clinch compares the formation process to training for a race: some days are easy and others are just plain tough.
“But if you remember why you are there, that the Lord is calling you, the Holy Spirit is at work and that it is part of the preparation, He provides the grace to persevere,” he assured.
He will celebrate his first Mass at the parish of his youth, and then it will be time to start serving in the parish of his first assignment.
Deacon Clinch said, “I am looking forward to administering the Sacraments, being part of a parish family, and also teaching.”
He expressed his gratitude to the people of the Diocese of Lincoln: “I am grateful for your prayers, your faithfulness to your vocations, and your generosity in making it possible through your financial support to help me answer the Lord’s call to serve Him and His Church and to share in His Priesthood.”
Deacon Adam Sughroue
Growing up in McCook, Neb. with one sister and two brothers, Deacon Adam Sughroue attended St. Patrick Parish with his parents, Ed and Margaret.
“I had many wonderful examples of priests growing up,” Deacon Sughroue said.
From time to time, he thought God might be calling him to the priesthood, but he held back.
“I doubted that I was smart enough or holy enough to be a priest,” he admitted.
Instead, he went to McCook Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree in elementary education.
Still, he said, “I talked with God about the possibility of being a priest. Then I listened as best I could.”
His discernment continued as he attended St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Neb. and Mount Saint Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.
“My formation has been wonderful,” Deacon Sughroue stated. “At times, hard, but always rewarding.”
Now, his formation process is coming to an end as he prepares to be ordained. He will celebrate his first Mass at Saint Patrick Church in McCook on Sunday, May 29 at 3 p.m.
“I am looking forward to bring people to Jesus Christ through the Sacraments!” he exclaimed.
“I am extremely grateful to the people of the Diocese of Lincoln for their constant support over the past seven years,” Deacon Sughroue said. “I hope that my first parish will be patient with me as I begin my priesthood. I hope to do for them whatever they need from me.”
Deacon Matthew Zimmer
Growing up in Firth, Deacon Matthew Zimmer attended St. James Parish in Cortland, Neb. until his parents moved to Lincoln two years ago. He has two brothers and three sisters.
Deacon Zimmer first started considering a call to the priesthood when he was in the sixth grade, but pursued a career in computer programming first. A great deal of prayer, “especially novenas” led him to the seminary, where his discernment continued.
“I became more and more certain that this was the path God wanted for me,” he said. “The final confirmation did not come from my feelings, but rather through the Church when the bishop accepted my petition letter and called me to the priesthood.”
Deacon Zimmer is eager to celebrate the Sacraments. “Especially the Eucharist and hearing confessions,” he added.
He will have his first opportunity when he celebrates Mass at St. Teresa Parish in Lincoln on May 29.
“My greatest hope is that whatever I bring to any parish are whatever gifts God has given to me so that I can help bring people to him,” Deacon Zimmer said. “I always want to be a help for people seeking God and never be a stumbling block.”
He offered his thanks to the people of the Diocese of Lincoln.
“The prayerful support that I’ve received is much appreciated, and I ask that you continue to pray for me as I enter into this next phase,” he said,
“Also, I’d ask that all the people of the diocese continue to pray for vocations and to continue to support those men who are currently studying for the priesthood.”
Printed with permission from the Southern Nebraska Register, newspaper for the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb.
Jerusalem, Israel, May 28, 2011 (CNA) - The Benedictine monks who oversee the site where Jesus miraculously fed thousands are building a new monastery to replace their earthquake-damaged building.
Fr. Jeremias Marseille, OSB, a member of the German Benedictine community living there, said that their present house, built without proper foundations in the 1950s, is not safe.
“The rooms have all cracks of 45 degrees in the walls and the house is moving, as we live in an area of earthquakes at the beginning of the Jordan valley,” he told Aid to the Church in Need.
The second “more important” reason for the move is that the community needs a cloister “where the monastic life can increase and grow.”
They experience a high volume of pilgrims and tourists each day, sometimes as many as 5,000 people. The monks need a place of retreat and reflection and also a place to provide a meeting place for the young people they serve: disabled youth from Israel and the West Bank.
It is important to withdraw to a quiet place and seek God, Fr. Jeremias explained, and the new monastery will provide this in its new oratory.
The monk cited Jesus’ words before the multiplication of loaves and fish: “Come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while, for there were so many coming and going.”
Aid to the Church in Need is supporting the project, giving more than $70,000 to build the oratory.
The oratory will be air conditioned, an essential feature in an area where temperatures can reach 122 degrees Farenheit during the hottest part of the day.
“Monks and guests need a room where, both day and night, they can find a quiet place to pray which is set apart from the crowds in the surroundings,” Fr. Jeremias said.
The new building will also be able to withstand the periodic earthquakes.
Construction on the monastery’s cells is almost finished. Builders will soon begin its west wing, which includes the new monastery.
“We hope and plan to finish the skeleton construction work of the whole monastery in October, and we hope to move in at the end of May next year,” Fr. Jeremias said.
The monks oversee the Church of the Multiplications of Loaves and Fish, which was built in 1982 by the German Association of the Holy Land on the site of a Byzantine church destroyed in 614 A.D. by the Persians. The current structure incorporates the remains of the mosaic floor of the fifth century church.
Records of a church at the site date back to the end of the fourth century. A small Syrian church was built over a holy stone which became an altar commemorating Jesus’ miracle.
Sydney, Australia, May 28, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - It’s been nearly a month since Bishop Bill Morris of Toowoomba in Australia was dismissed from office by Pope Benedict XVI. Now the country’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, has given his first in-depth interview on the controversial sacking to CNA.
“Well, it was a tragedy. It should never have come to this,” Cardinal Pell told CNA while on a visit to Rome.
“Rome was very patient. You could say the dialogue had continued on for 13 years and unfortunately Bishop Morris felt unable to give satisfactory clarifications.”
Bishop Morris’s dismissal followed comments he made in a 2006 pastoral letter. In it he called for the ordination of women and married men, and suggested that protestant ministers could offer Mass to compensate for the lack of priests in his diocese. This in turn led the Vatican to order an investigation.
“Catholics stand with the Pope as the successor of Peter and his role is to strengthen his brothers and to defend the apostolic tradition, and it’s now Catholic teaching that women cannot be ordained priests. That’s not an optional belief; it’s now part of the Catholic package,” said Cardinal Pell.
Critics of the bishop who’ve spoken in recent weeks to CNA suggest that the problems in Toowoomba went far beyond the bishop’s public disagreement with Catholic doctrine on the priesthood.
They’ve claimed Bishop Morris - who preferred a shirt and tie to a priestly collar and bishops’ attire - did much to undermine Catholic identity and teachings during his 18 years in office.
Cardinal Pell was both balanced and charitable in his assessment of Bishop Morris’s legacy.
“He’s a very good man. He had a lot of pastoral strengths. He’s got a lot of good points. He’s done of lot of good work. He’s got quite a strong following in the diocese.”
“But the diocese was divided quite badly and the bishop hasn’t demonstrated that he’s a team player. I mean even at the end he didn’t wait for the official Vatican announcement.”
“He sent around messages to every parish, to all his priests, the Australian bishops before the official announcement and since then he’s made a number of public announcements which haven’t been helpful.”
As for critics of the Pope’s decision to sack Bishop Morris?
“There’s been a predictable chorus from a minority but such is life.”
The job of rebuilding things in Toowoomba now falls to Bishop Brian Finnegan of Brisbane who has now been appointed apostolic administrator until a new bishop can be found. Cardinal Pell said it’s time “to look to the future.”
“You know, life moves on, but also I think it will be a useful clarification for people that Catholic doctrine is there to be followed and bishops take promises to defend the integrity of Catholic teaching.”
Cardinal Pell believes that it’s this orthodox approach that is reaping apostolic benefits in many parts of Australia including Sydney. He points to an increased number of priestly and religious vocations, vibrant university chaplaincies and the legacy of World Youth Day in 2008.
“Young people don’t see the Catholic Church as being inevitably in decline at least in most parts of Australia.”
“We’re doing what Christ wants, and I think that if you do that you’ve always got to be optimistic”
“There’s life and energy and promise.”
Rome, Italy, May 28, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Updated May 31, 2011 at 8:55 a.m. MDT. Correction to paragraph 5 to change the reference to International Planned Parenthood Federation to Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Congressman Chris Smith says that Catholics in the Republican Party should have three priorities when it comes to picking the 2012 GOP candidate for president – human rights, debt reduction and pro-life issues.
“I do think we need a man or woman who is totally committed to the culture of life and not just in name only or symbolically but somebody who really believes in the family and in the preciousness of all life, including the child in the womb,” the New Jersey congressman, who is Catholic himself, told CNA during a recent visit to Rome.
Congressman Smith believes that another term for Barack Obama would be a disaster for the pro-life movement.
“President Obama is the abortion president. …If he gets in for four more years he’ll be untethered.”
“Look at the stand Obama took on the threat to withdraw funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from the U.S. budget,” Smith remarked.
“He said, ‘I’ll shut down the government before I don’t fund Planned Parenthood.’ So his priorities couldn’t have been clearer. His priority will be to fund all pro-abortion, non-governmental organizations to the max.”
The New Jersey congressman also pointed to a recent vote in Kenya on a new constitution. “Look at what happened recently in Kenya where we (the US government) spent 61.5 million dollars and funded 83 non-governmental organizations to change their constitution to include a right to abortion.”
Rep. Smith also sees the balance of the Supreme Court being in jeopardy. “Obama will pack the Supreme Court too. The only realistic way that Roe v. Wade will be repealed is through the courts. If he gets a chance to put one or two more judges on (the bench), then a generation will be lost and over a million kids a year will suffer the cruelty of abortion.”
On economic issues, the congressman said he would like to see a presidential candidate committed to debt reduction, describing the present levels of U.S. as “unsustainable.”
His third and final area for concern is human rights, something he believes the Obama administration is failing on.
“Religious freedom has been demoted. The Obama administration is pushing, sadly, the gay rights agenda globally and doing it very aggressively,” Smith said.
He says a similar agenda is being pursued at home, leading to Catholic adoption agencies and foster services being closed down. As of May 27, agencies have been forced to close in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Rockford, Ill.
“It’s not just a matter of ‘let people be people and do what they want to do.’ It then gets rather coercive in that you can’t be involved in things like, for example, adoption work,” Smith said.
The chances of having a candidate who meets all those criteria are “extraordinarily good,” in Rep. Smith’s estimation.
“The Republican Party is the pro-life party. And I say the next with deep regret – the Democrat Party has become the party of abortion. Ninety-five percent of our members in the House on the Republican side are pro-life and 90 percent of the Democrat side is pro-abortion.”
As for an individual candidate, is Congressman Smith backing the most high-profile Catholic to enter the race so far, Newt Gingrich?
“I haven’t made up my mind on any candidate yet. I know Speaker Gingrich very well. He has become a Catholic and I believe it’s a real conversion.”
“But we have other candidates running who are totally pro-life as is he. Hopefully we get the strongest candidate.”
The U.S. presidential election will take place on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.
Vatican City, May 28, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said the Catholic Church is on the front lines in the fight against AIDS. He explained that the Church not only has a health care network of 117,000 centers, but also generates "invisible capital" by recognizing the fundamental dignity of every person.
During a Vatican conference on AIDS prevention organized by the Good Samaritan Foundation, which operates under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Health Care, Cardinal Bertone said the Church "has been deeply committed to this task (of fighting AIDS) from the beginning, and the health care facilities that are in places where the populace is most affected are proof of this."
The conference is being held May 27 and 28 in Rome.
Cardinal Bertone said the "invisible capital" created by the Church consists of policies such as education in overcoming prejudices, encouragement in treating those who are HIV-positive with dignity and respect, and fostering awareness of the contribution "that they can and should make to the family and to society."
"Today, thanks to the experience acquired throughout the years, we understand even better the importance of these aspects not only for the sustaining of those persons who are affected, but also for the preventing of infection and for the effectiveness of treatment itself. This is a dimension that deserves to be broadened, and that is the framework for this conference," the cardinal said.
"The Church," he continued, "aware of all of this, confirms her own efforts in the double and indivisible dimension of the formation of consciences, and the largest offering possible of medical cures accessible to all and of advanced health care facilities, especially in places where the need is greatest."
"We strive to carry out this task with all our strength, together with many men and women of good will who are working throughout the world to achieve the same end," the cardinal said.