Archive of July 19, 2011

South Sudan bishop dies while celebrating Mass

Rumbek, South Sudan, Jul 19, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Catholics in South Sudan are mourning the loss of Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of Rumbek, who died at the age of 74 while concelebrating Mass on July 16.

The Rumbek diocese said local faithful are “shocked and deeply saddened” by the Italian bishop's death, and expressed its “heartfelt appreciation of his dedicated service and lifelong faithful witness to the Gospel among the people of South Sudan.”

Bishop Mazzolari had a seizure at an early morning Mass on Saturday. Witnesses say he stumbled back onto a chair during the consecration and grabbed his chest while gasping for air.

After being taken to the State Hospital in Rumbek, he was pronounced dead at 8 a.m.

Bishop Mazzolari was known for his outspoken stance against warfare and for championing the rights of Sudan's poor and marginalized. The bishop also advocated for increased education and health care and was seen as pivotal in promoting dialogue and reconciliation across the 10 states of South Sudan.

“Evangelization was at the heart of his ministry which was nourished by his commitment to a deep life of prayer,” read the July 16 diocesan statement. 

“Like St Paul, Bishop Mazzolari spent his life at the service of the Gospel,” the diocese added. “His fatherly care and compassion, generosity and selflessness were sources of hope and comfort to all those he encountered.”

The bishop was born in 1937 in the Italian city of Brescia, later joined the Comboni Missionaries and was ordained a priest in 1962.

He first arrived in Sudan in 1981 and worked in the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, then the south-central Archdiocese of Juba. In 1990, he became apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Rumbek in South Sudan and that same year, helped free 150 child slaves.

Well acquainted with dangers of his work, Bishop Mazzolari was captured and held hostage for 24 hours by guerrillas from the Sudan People's Liberation Army in 1994. 

In 1999 he was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II.

According to Vatican Radio, Bishop Mazzolari constantly appealed to the global community “not to forget that the people of South Sudan need a just peace in respect of human rights.”

Messages of condolence have been sent to the diocese by Pope Benedict XVI as well as local leaders.

Governor of Lakes state Chol Tong Mayay mourned Bishop Mazzolari's death, saying that the bishop was expected to help lead in the shaping of South Sudan after its July 9 independence.

The community expressed grief over the bishop's passing as the new nation struggles to overcome recent political violence.

In 2011 alone, 2,000 people have been killed and over 300,000 displaced due to the conflict, the U.N. reported.

Northern forces based in Khartoum have been accused of ethnically cleansing the Nuba people, a mostly Christian minority that fought alongside the south during the decades-long independence struggle. The situation has been described by some as a “new Darfur.”


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Vatican official exhorts Catholics to set aside Sundays for God and rest

Rome, Italy, Jul 19, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Sunday should be a day for worship, rest and time with family and friends, said Monsignor Miquel Delgado Galindo, under secretary for the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
“The Church teaches us to set aside this day, the first day of the week on which we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for divine worship and for human rest,” the monsignor recently told CNA.
“On Sundays Catholics should participate in the Holy Mass, the unbloody renewal of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross” and “the greatest expression of worship and adoration that man can offer to the Lord our God,” he said.

Sundays should also be a day “devoted to rest with family and friends,” he added.
Msgr. Galindo underscored the importance of Blessed John Paul II’s 1998 Apostolic Letter, “Dies Domini,” which exhorts the bishops, the clergy and the lay faithful to keep Sunday holy and to treat it as the Lord’s day.
“We need to realize that we need more time with family and friends. It is hard to give them time during the week because of our professional and social commitments,” he noted.
Sunday rest is “a human necessity,” he continued. 
“Man cannot always be working, just as a bow cannot be constantly pulled back, because at some point it will break.”
Catholics should not see rest as “doing nothing,” but rather as time in which they devote themselves to activities that require less physical or intellectual effort such as going on a family outing, reading a good book, playing sports or watching a worthwhile film. 
“This makes it possible to return to our routine work with renewed energy. We need Sundays from a religious and a human point of view,” Msgr. Galindo said.
Sunday, the Lord’s Day
The letter “Dies Domini” explains that the Lord’s Day—the term used to refer to Sundays since apostolic times—has always had a privileged place in the history of the Church because of its close relationship to the very nucleus of the Christian mystery.
Sundays remind us, in the weekly succession of time, of the day of Christ’s resurrection. Therefore, it is the Easter of each week, when we celebrate the victory of Christ over sin and death, the fulfillment of the first creation in him.

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Archbishop Chaput urges confidence in the Gospel, as he goes to Philly

Denver, Colo., Jul 19, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

The entire interview with Archbishop Chaput can be read by following either of the links in this story.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who will soon leave the Archdiocese of Denver to become the new Archbishop of Philadelphia, says his new archdiocese could emerge stronger from recent troubles, by embracing the chance to live the Gospel “without compromise.”

“The Church in Philadelphia is at an important point in her life. It’s not a time to be embarrassed about what we believe,” Archbishop Chaput told CNA in an exclusive interview. “In fact, it becomes even more crucial to preach the Gospel – both within the Church and outside the Church.”

“The biggest challenge, not just in Philadelphia but everywhere, is to preach the Gospel in a way that captures the imagination of God's people,” he said. “We need to have confidence in the Gospel. We have to live it faithfully, and to live it without compromise and with great joy.”

Archbishop Chaput said he could give “half a dozen reasons” why he considered himself an “implausible choice” to head the Church in Philadelphia. “But I do believe in the Holy Father’s wisdom, so I accept that the See of Philadelphia is where God wants me to be.”

“My life as a priest – first as a Capuchin Franciscan and now as a bishop – is shaped by a commitment to obedience; obedience to God as Father. The voice of the Pope is the voice of the Father for me.”

“I’m going to miss the Archdiocese of Denver very, very much,” Archbishop Chaput said. “They really are my family, and a part of my heart will always be in Denver.”

In Philadelphia, he will confront a challenging new situation. In March 2011, following a grand jury report, Cardinal Justin Rigali announced he was suspending 21 priests over allegations of misconduct he had originally judged not credible.

“We have to deal with scandal in an honest, thorough, confident way,” Archbishop Chaput stated. “We can do that, even when it’s very painful, because we know that Christ rose from the dead.”

He noted that the message of the resurrection is not a set of “powdered words,” but a “statement of fact” that should inform the Church's response to any challenge. In this light, “what happens in the Church, even when it seems death-dealing, can be turned into a moment of resurrection.”

The archbishop also wants Philadelphia's nickname – “the City of Brotherly Love” – to be an inspiration for his ministry, and not “just a good tourist slogan.”

“We know that Jesus, when he chooses men to be priests, chooses them with a brother's love, and I want to be a sign of that love to my brothers,” he reflected. “I look forward to embracing the new family that God is giving to me, the family that is the Church of Philadelphia.”

Archbishop Chaput, whose 2008 book “Render Unto Caesar” addressed the role of faith in public life, says it “means a great deal” to be chosen by the Pope to lead the Church in the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

“I think the United States has been blessed by God in unique ways. Because of that blessing, America has a duty to be a blessing for the world and for all people,” he reflected. “Philadelphia is one of this country’s truly great cities, and I want to be part of renewing and deepening the best in this community.”

He believes that Catholics, whatever their background or political affiliation, can only act in the country's best interest by putting their duties to God first.

“Before anything else, we're called to be Catholics. That should be the defining part of who we are.  Whether we're Indians or Germans or Irish; whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, we are Catholic first. Everything else is secondary.”

But seeking God's kingdom first does not mean disregarding one's country.

“We owe it to our country and the age we live in, to be faithful Catholics,” Archbishop Chaput said. “If we're good Catholics first, then we're good citizens, and if we're good citizens, then we'll be a force of transformation for justice in the world.”

“If we don’t live as faithful Catholics, we betray the Gospel. We forfeit the opportunity God gives us to make a significant difference for the evangelization of culture.”

In recent years, Archbishop Chaput has increased his efforts to help Catholics rediscover a sense of their own identity amid the confusions of modern culture. He sees Catholic politicians' compromises, on issues such as abortion and same-sex “marriage,” as an outgrowth of a deeper secularization affecting the whole Church.

“If our political leaders lack conviction about their faith, it's because the members of the Church lack conviction about their faith. Political leaders are no different from the rest of us. So if we point fingers at them, we're also pointing fingers at ourselves, and at the broader Church community.”

Public officials, he said, are “not alone – not by a long shot -- in their tepidity and compromises of the Gospel.”

“If Catholics in their homes and parishes understand that, they'll realize that a serious conversion needs to take place in all our lives, and not just in the lives of politicians.”

As a Capuchin Franciscan, the archbishop looks to his order's founder as an example of fearless, uncompromising Christian witness. “Saint Francis rejected any kind of effort to diminish the demands of the Gospel,” he recalled.

“Of course, I have to live that discipline personally in my own life. That's the most important part of my Capuchin identity. But then I have to preach the Gospel in the same kind of way, in a way that's clear, that's always fresh, and always without compromise.”

Although the 66-year-old, Kansas-born bishop has not previously lived in Philadelphia, he did spend 10 years in western Pennsylvania – first as a seminarian, and later as an administrator for the Pittsburgh-based Capuchin Province of St. Augustine. Pope John Paul II chose him to be the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota in 1988, before appointing him Archbishop of Denver in 1997.

The archbishop, who is part Native American and belongs to the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe, believes his first episcopal appointment came about partly through this heritage. In South Dakota, he noted, Blessed John Paul II was “looking for a way to reach out in special love to the native people.”

“So I see my episcopacy, in some ways, as born from that part of who I am.”

As he prepares to succeed Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop Chaput is taking inspiration from one of the earliest bishops of Philadelphia – St. John Neumann, the Czech Redemptorist missionary who became an American citizen, and later became the first U.S. bishop to be canonized as a saint.

“I’ve been praying to St. John Neumann a lot since getting the news,” Archbishop Chaput told CNA. “I want to love the priests and people of Philadelphia with the same zeal he brought to his ministry.”

“At least I can guarantee that no one will work harder, or try harder, than I will.”

To read the full interview with Archbishop Chaput, please click here. 

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Christendom College founder Warren Carroll dies at 79

Front Royal, Va., Jul 19, 2011 (CNA) - Warren H. Carroll, a Catholic historian and founder of Christendom College, died on July 17 at the age of 79.

“Catholics praying for a renewal of Catholic life in America had a real hero in Dr. Carroll, and there is so much to be grateful for,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of Front Royal, Virginia-based Cardinal Newman Society. “We now pray that he is resting joyfully in the light of his great love, Jesus Christ.”

Carroll, a Maine native, received a master’s degree and a doctorate in history from Columbia University. He served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps and worked for the Central Intelligence Agency between 1955 and 1961. He also served as a historian for the Second Air Force’s Strategic Air Command.

He served on the California State Senate staff from 1967 to 1970 and was a staff member for the U.S. Congress from 1970 to 1972.

Carroll was a convert to Catholicism in 1968 under the influence of his wife Anne, according to Christendom.

“Carroll saw what was wrong in modern education a long time before he saw what was right about Christianity,” the college said on its website. “He maintained that the people teaching in the university did not care whether truth existed or not, and it didn’t matter to them. But to him, it mattered a great deal.”

In 1973 he joined the staff of “Triumph,” a monthly Catholic journal of opinion founded by L. Brent Bozell, Jr.

When the magazine closed, Carroll decided to advance its vision by founding Christendom College, which would acquire a reputation for its steadfast commitment to Catholic tradition. It opened in September 1977 in Triangle, Virginia and later moved to Front Royal.

He served as its president until 1985 and then chaired its history department until he retired in 2002.

Before his retirement, he was one of the few teachers that every student had in common.

In addition to his teaching duties, he authored several history books including a multi-volume “History of Christendom.”

Carroll, in his comments on the school’s 25th anniversary in 2002, credited the success of the college to divine providence.

“Why did God want Christendom College to grow and flourish? Because Christendom College is educating and preparing young men and women who will bring what our great and holy Pope John Paul II calls ‘the new springtime of the Church,’” he said.

“In the face of scandals and despair, believe in that new springtime! It is coming and nothing can stop it! For proof, look at our history. Our graduates will be leading the new springtime.”

Surviving Carroll is his wife, Anne. Christendom College described its 2,640 alumni and their children as his “adopted children and grandchildren.” Graduates of the college include 63 priests and 43 religious sisters and brothers.

A viewing of his body is scheduled for July 25 at All Saints’ Catholic Church in Manassas, Virginia from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m.

A funeral Mass will be held at All Saints’ Church on July 26 at 10 a.m.

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Mexican diocese responds to calls to replace bishop

Saltillo, Mexico, Jul 19, 2011 (CNA) - The Diocese of Saltillo, Mexico has responded to protests by an unidentified group who recently urged the diocese to replace current Bishop Raul Vera Lopez.

The July 15 statement was signed by Father Gerardo Escareno and titled, “The activity of the Bishop is not outside the bounds of the Gospel.”

Last week protest messages were hung on the railing that surrounds the Cathedral of Saltillo. They were taken down the same day, but not by diocesan or church employees, reported the Mexican daily Vanguardia. Bishop Vera has come under fire in recent months for his connection to a homosexual ministry that does not follow Church teaching.

Fr. Escaareno's statement published on the website of the Mexican bishops’ conference says: “The pastoral work of the diocesan bishop, which encompasses a wide variety of areas of the life of the Church and of society, is clearly spelled out in the teachings and pastoral norms of the Church.”

He later states that Bishop Vera’s actions “are not outside the bounds of the Gospel or the norms and guidelines of the Church, or the challenges of the society in which we live.”

The statement does not mention the relationship Bishop Vera has with the San Elredo Community, an organization which supports same-sex unions and adoption by homosexual couples.

The response from the Diocese of Saltillo also indicates that “because of his fidelity to the pastoral ministry he carries out, (Bishop Vera) will not cease his dynamism or his voice, which seek to contribute to the building of more dynamic and committed communities of faith and a more humane society."

In June of this year, Noe Ruiz, the coordinator of San Elredo, said the group planned to propose that same-sex couples be allowed to adopt and receive social security benefits, and that civil unions between them be called “marriage.”

Bishop Vera’s actions have been questioned by various Catholic groups in Saltillo, including the Familias Mundi Association, whose president, Natalia Nino, said the activity of the San Elredo Community is harmful to society and to its own members.

“We do not agree with the forming of families made up of same-sex couples because the family comes from a marriage, and a marriage is a vocation given to two people of the opposite sex, because this is what makes it complementary,” she said.

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Savannah diocese receives new bishop from Pope Benedict

Savannah, Ga., Jul 19, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - On July 19, Pope Benedict XVI appointed 59-year-old Father Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv., to lead the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia.

He also accepted the resignation of Bishop J. Kevin Boland, 76, who is one year past the age of retirement. The Pope named Bishop Boland apostolic administrator of the diocese until the ordination of Bishop-elect Hartmayer in October.

“I am extremely grateful to Pope Benedict for his confidence in me as the bishop of Savannah,” Bishop-elect Hartmayer said at a press conference announcing his appointment on Tuesday.

“I am continually impressed with God's sense of humor and His incredible ability to surprise.”

The bishop-elect currently serves as the pastor of St. John Vianney parish in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and will become the 14th bishop of the Savannah diocese.

Catholics make up nearly three percent, or around 77,000 faithful, in a diocese that encompasses a population of 2.8 million.

Bishop-elect Hartmayer was born in 1951 in Buffalo, New York and later studied in the Conventual Franciscan novitiate in Ellicott City, Maryland. He was ordained a priest for the Franciscan order in 1979.

He said that his Franciscan formation will guide him as a bishop.

“I bring with me a spirituality of simplicity and joy,” he said. “For almost 800 years, the Franciscans have been preaching about the love and mercy of God. This friar and son of St. Francis will continue that mission of evangelization here a bishop of the Diocese of Savannah.”

In addition to a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College and Seminary, in Massachusetts, the bishop-elect holds three master's degrees: a master of divinity degree from St. Anthony-on-Hudson, in Rensselaer, New York; a master of arts degree in pastoral counseling from Emmanuel College, Boston and a master of education degree from Boston College.

Bishop-elect Hartmayer has spent 16 of his 32 years of priesthood in Catholic high school education and the remaining half in parish ministry.

His ordination will take place Oct. 18 at the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Savannah.

The bishop-elect praised his predecessor Bishop Boland – who has been a priest of the diocese for more than 50 years – saying, the “people of Savannah love him.”

“I can tell you without question, he loves you too. I have very, very large shoes to fill.”

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Pope appoints Archbishop Chaput to Philadelphia archdiocese

Denver, Colo., Jul 19, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Updated at 8:51 a.m. MDT with remarks from the press conference in Philadelphia.

Pope Benedict appointed Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver on July 19 to lead the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, who reached the age of retirement in April 2010, will serve as apostolic administrator until Archbishop Chaput's installation on Sept. 8. Cardinal Rigali has headed the Philadelphia archdiocese since 2003.

“I know other bishops would have been smarter than I am, or more talented, or more connected to Philadelphia’s past,” Archbishop Chaput said at a July 19 press conference announcing the appointment.

“But I do promise that no bishop will love the people and priests of this local Church more than I will.  No bishop will give more of himself than I will.” 

Cardinal Rigali praised the appointment, saying the Denver archbishop's life “is marked by an evident joy in his priesthood, a fearless proclamation of the Gospel, and a clear commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church.”

Cardinal Rigali, who has headed the Philadelphia archdiocese since 2003, submitted his resignation last year when he turned 75 and will retire to the diocese of Knoxville, Tenn., where he has been invited to live.

The Pope's appointment comes as the archdiocese struggles to deal effectively with clerical sex abuse allegations.

In March, Cardinal Rigali placed 21 priests on administrative leave following a grand jury report claiming to have credible accusations of misconduct against them. According to the report, some of the priests were still in active ministry at the time.

Since Archbishop Chaput's began leading the Denver archdiocese in 1997, it has launched numerous endeavors, such as the founding of the local St. John Vianney Seminary, which boasts one of the highest seminary enrollment rates in the country.

Archbishop Chaput has also been influential in the success of several Colorado-based organizations, including the nationwide missionary group Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), the international women's group Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women (ENDOW), and the Augustine Institute, a lay Catholic graduate school.

From 2003 to 2006, the archbishop served on the U.S. Commission of International Religious Freedom.

He has also served on numerous U.S. bishops' committees involving marriage and family, pro-life activities, and migration.

Archbishop Chaput was born in 1944, in Concordia, Kansas. He attended school and seminary locally and later joined the St. Augustine Province of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in 1965.

After studying at St. Fidelis College Seminary in Herman, Pennsylvania and later at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., he was ordained to the priesthood in 1970.

In 1977, Archbishop Chaput became pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Thornton, Colorado, and vicar provincial for the Capuchin Province of Mid-America.

He was then ordained Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota in 1988. In 1997, Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Denver.

As member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, Archbishop Chaput is the second Native American to be ordained bishop in the United States, and the first Native American archbishop.

He will be installed on Sept. 8 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

“I’ve spent the last 23 years of my life as a bishop in the West,” Archbishop Chaput said on Tuesday.  “The priests and people of Colorado and South Dakota have formed me with their faith, their generosity, their humor and their love.”

“Leaving a place is easy,” he added.”But leaving the people who have shaped me with their friendship, opened their homes to me, and welcomed me into the happiness and sorrows of their lives – that’s very, very hard.”

“All I can say to them is thank you. My life as a priest has been filled with goodness because they made it so.”

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