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Archive of May 3, 2013

Rosary recalls life, love of Mary, says Archbishop Gomez

Los Angeles, Calif., May 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - At a youth rosary rally recognizing May as the month dedicated to Mary, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said that by praying the rosary, “we're repeating little words of love for our Mother.”

“This is what Jesus wanted for us. He wanted his Mother to be our Mother,” he told a group of some 2,000 young people at Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello, Los Angeles County, on May 1.

“The goal of our life is to follow Jesus and become more like him. So just like Jesus did, we need to learn from our Mother Mary what it means to be a child of God.”

Archbishop Gomez said that he prays the rosary daily and encouraged thanksgiving for the gifts of life, prayer, Christ, Mary and Joseph.

He emphasized that the rosary is not a mere repetition of prayer on our lips, but that “what we're saying with our lips comes from our heart.”

“As we pray with our lips, our minds are contemplating the mysteries of Jesus’ life. The mysteries of his life – as they are seen through his Mother’s eyes.”

He exhorted the youths attending to pray the rosary and to “stay close to Mary.”

May is appropriately dedicated to Mary, he said, because it heralds the coming of spring with the new birth of flowers, plants and crops.

“This reminds us that Mary is the Mother of Life. She is Mother of the new life that comes to us in Jesus Christ,” he explained.

The joyful mysteries focus on the birth of Christ and lead us to see that “God loved us so much that he chose to enter our world as each one of us did — through the womb of a mother,” Archbishop Gomez said.

“Our God loved us so much that he wanted to grow up in a human family and to share our human life.”

God calls us to be “people of life,” he continued, challenging those at the rally to uphold the dignity of all life.

“Let’s pray for life and let’s work to defend life. Every human life — from conception to natural death. Especially the lives of those who are weak and most vulnerable — the elderly, the sick, the handicapped, the child in the womb, the hungry and the poor,” he said.

The archbishop encouraged all those present to help make Los Angeles a city of love, truth, life and peace, by saying yes to Christ, “just as Mary did.”

“And let’s ask her to help us,” he concluded. “Let’s ask her to give us the courage we need and the strength we need to proclaim his beautiful Gospel of Life.”

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Theologian dismisses call for women 'deacons'

Bern, Switzerland, May 3, 2013 (CNA) - Theologian Father Manfred Hauke said recent comments from a German archbishop appearing to support a particular diaconate for women are confusing to Catholics and others.

“Allowing women to be deacons would create great confusion for the faithful,” Fr. Hauke, a professor of patristics and dogmatics at the Theological Faculty of Lugano, told CNA April 30.

“You would have to explain to them the difference between male and female deacons,” he pointed out.

Female “deacons” would not be ordained to the sacrament of Holy Orders, and calling them deacons would be “ambiguous,” Fr. Hauke said. Women could “receive a benediction for services of charity” but not ordination, he clarified.

At the conclusion of a diocesan conference on possible Church reforms last week, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau discussed the possibility of “a specific office of deacon for women.”

This “specific,” or “particular” office of deacon for women was an example of how the Church might “promote the use of new Church ministries and positions, open also to women.”

Archbishop Zollitsch went on to speak of the importance of leadership roles for women, and had earlier talked of the importance of being a more strongly charismatic-oriented Church and the strengthening of the “common priesthood of all the baptized.”

He believes the Church needs to commit to reform in order to regain credibility and strength.

Fr. Hauke said that Archbishop Zollitsch, who was ordained a priest in 1965, has made some confusing remarks on previous occasions and that he probably “got his idea” to introduce a “specific office of deacon for women” from fellow German Cardinal Walter Kasper.

However, Cardinal Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, had clearly distinguished between a service ministry for women and the sacramental ordination of men as deacons.

Fr. Hauke said that that most people who advocate for women deacons “ultimately want women in the priesthood.”

The Code of Canon Law makes clear that ordination, including to the diaconate, is validly received only by “a baptized male,” and John Paul II's 1994 apostolic letter “Ordinatio sacerdotalis” teaches definitevly that only men may be ordained priests.

On May 29, 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decreed that whoever “shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman” – including necessarily the diaconate – “as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive holy orders, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.”

Fr. Hauke noted that in 2003, the International Theological Commission “published a document with evidence that we have no historical basis for the sacramental diaconate being bestowed on women.”

And in September 2001, the prefects of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith (Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope emeritus Benedict), of Divine Worship, and of Clerics prepared a document, which was approved by John Paul II. It affirmed that “it is not licit to put in place initiatives which in some way aim to prepare female candidates for diaconal ordination,” according to the Italian paper La Stampa.

Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg has said he can appreciate Archbishop Zollitsch's call for a greater role for women in the Church, but that the sacramental diaconate cannot be received by females.

He was quick to distance himself from Archbishop Zollitsch's remarks, and said that a non-sacramental female diaconate would not satisfy the desire for a greater leadership role by women in the Church.

Bishop Voderholzer pointed out that abbesses, general superiors, and school principals all generally have more influence than deacons.

“The sacramental diaconate – like the priesthood and episcopacy – is inextricably a sacrament, which according to the bible-based Tradition of the Church – even the Eastern Churches – is reserved to men,” he stated April 28.

Some have called for the ordination of women deacons by noting ancient documents referring to “deaconesses,” including a letter of Saint Paul.

Fr. Hauke responded that in such instances, the “deaconesses” “cannot be identified as really deacons.”

The word 'deacon' comes from a Greek word which simply meant 'servant,' and so early references to “deaconesses” signify women in roles of service in the Church.

In the early Church, which more frequently practiced baptism by immersion, such “deaconesses” assisted in the baptism of females for the sake of modesty.

These deaconesses were servants of the Church but were not sacramental deacons, as there is no mention of a bishop laying hands on them in an act of ordination.

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Pope names Jesuit to lead Oakland diocese

Vatican City, May 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis has appointed Jesuit Father Michael C. Barber the next bishop of the Oakland, California diocese.

Bishop-designate Barber is currently the Director of Spiritual Formation at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass. and has been serving in that capacity since 2010.

The announcement of his appointment was made on May 3 by the Holy See’s press office. He will succeed Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone who now leads the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

The bishop-designate entered the Jesuits in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1985.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history at Gonzaga University in 1978, completed his theological studies at Regis College at the University of Toronto in 1985, and obtained an ecclesiastical license in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1989.

At 59 years-old, Bishop-designate Barber has served in numerous capacities, including as a missionary in Western Samoa, an assistant professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a tutor and chaplain at the University of Oxford, and as chaplain for the U.S. Navy Reserve.

During his time at the Gregorian, he taught dogmatic theology and conducted research on unpublished manuscripts of sermons by Blessed John Henry Newman.

His time as a military chaplain included being called to active duty in 2003 to serve the 6,000 troops in the 4th Marine Air Wing who participated in the invasion of Iraq.

He speaks English, Italian, Spanish and Latin.

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Pope warns against lukewarm faith with personal story

Vatican City, May 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - In keeping with his style, Pope Francis cautioned about the dangers of a lukewarm faith by telling a childhood story on the importance of believing in the physical resurrection of Jesus.

“I remember, excuse me, a personal story,” he said during his daily morning Mass on May 3.

“As a child, every Good Friday my grandmother took us to the Procession of Candles and at the end of the procession the recumbent Christ came and my grandmother made us kneel down,” he recalled.

“She told us ‘children, look, he is dead, but tomorrow he will be risen!’” he said.

Pope Francis concelebrated the morning Mass with Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and other priests.

Around 35 Swiss Guards and their commander Daniel Rudolf Anrig were among the approximately 50 guests invited to attend the Mass.

The Pope explained that his grandmother’s remarks were the vehicle that allowed his “faith in Christ, crucified and risen” to enter his heart.
 
“In the history of the Church there have been many, many people who have wanted to blur this strong certainty and speak of a spiritual resurrection,” remarked the Pope.

But this view is wrong because “Christ is alive,” he insisted.

In contrast with this deep faith is a lukewarm one that results in only “the courage to get involved in our small things, in our jealousies, our envy, our careerism and in selfishly going forward,” he noted.

“But this is not good for the Church, the Church must be courageous!” he exclaimed.

“Lukewarm Christians, without courage ... that hurts the Church so much because this tepid atmosphere draws you inside,” the Holy Father warned.

The consequence of this is that problems “arise among us, we no longer have the horizon or courage to pray towards heaven or the courage to proclaim the Gospel,” he stated.

Pope Francis pointed to prayer as the antidote to this kind of timidity.

“We all have to be courageous in prayer, in challenging Jesus!”

“Jesus, to put it in stronger terms, challenges us to prayer and says ‘whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son,’” he said.

The pontiff noted that “this is really powerful” and that “we must have the courage to go to Jesus and ask him to do it.”

“Do we have this courage in prayer or do we pray a little, when we can, spending a bit of time in prayer?” he asked the congregation.

The Swiss Guard will swear in 35 new recruits on May 6 at the Vatican and the Holy Father offered those at the Mass a special greeting, telling them that their service is “a beautiful testimony of fidelity to the Church” and “love for the Pope.”
 

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Pope moves queen, Italian laywoman closer to sainthood

Vatican City, May 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis has approved miracles attributed to a Sicilian queen and a 20th-century Italian laywoman, placing them one step closer to sainthood.

As groups of lay people devoted to saints from Italy, Spain, France and England converge on Rome for a Year of Faith event this weekend, the Pope advanced four causes for sainthood.

Queen Maria Cristina of Savoy, who married King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, is one of the two women who had miracles recognized by Pope Francis.

She was known for being shy but also a dedicated advocate for the poor and those condemned to death. She died in 1836, nine days after giving birth to Francis.

Maria Bolognesi, the other woman for whom a miracle was approved, was an Italian mystic who was known as the “silent woman of charity.” Besides receiving visions, she also opened a convalescent home and lived a life of poverty close to the poor.

Pope Francis also recognized a Spanish priest and a Polish nun as having lived lives of “heroic virtue.”

Father Joaquim Rossello Ferra, founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and Mother Janina Kierocinska, who founded the Carmelite Sisters of the Infant Jesus, can both now be referred to as “venerable.”

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Lebanese president discusses Syria refugees with Pope

Vatican City, May 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis and Lebanese president Michel Sleiman met to discuss the Syrian fighting and the influx of refugees it has sent into his country.

According to Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican press office director, the meeting focused on “the regional situation, with special reference to the Syrian conflict.”

“The Pope is concerned with the large number of Syrian refugees who have sought refuge in Lebanon and neighboring countries,” he said.

The Lebanese president appealed for aid for the countries absorbing the flood of refugees as well as for the people themselves, according to a May 3 statement from the Vatican Secretariat of State.

President Sleiman, a Maronite Catholic, was accompanied by his wife for the May 3 meeting in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

“During the cordial talks they discussed the situation in the country, stressing the importance of dialogue and cooperation between members of different ethnic and religious communities,” said the May 3 statement.

President Sleiman also met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

Lebanon’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for June 9, after the country’s prime minister resigned on March 22, 2013.

“Best wishes were given for the formation of the new government, which will face major challenges to national and international level,” said the Vatican’s press release.

The Syrian conflict has led to growing tensions in Lebanon, which suffered a civil war from 1975 to 1990.

Syrian troops then dominated the small country and ultimately pulled out in 2005 after they were accused of being involved in the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.

“A speedy and successful resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians is also hoped for, which are more and more necessary for the peace and stability of the region,” said the Vatican statement.

“The delicate situation of Christians throughout the Middle East was not overlooked as well as the meaningful contribution that they can offer,” it added.

The post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente,” an important point of reference for Middle Eastern Catholic communities, was also mentioned.

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Venezuelan cardinal calls for end to violence

Caracas, Venezuela, May 3, 2013 (CNA) - Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas exhorted Venezuelans to listen to the call of Pope Francis to end the violence that has swept the country after the April 14 elections.

Stressing the “need for dialogue and respect” to overcome violence, including verbal attacks and threats launched between the administration of Nicolas Maduro, who was recently elected president, and opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

“I am concerned that we Venezuelans are facing a political crisis,” Cardinal Urosa said. He recalled that the bishops issued a statement on April 17 insisting on “the need for mutual recognition by both parties, so that there can be a solution, an agreement, a peaceful and democratic outcome to the current crisis.”

In an April 28 interview with journalist Carlos Croes of Televen, Cardinal Urosa also said any sentiments of anger and annoyance should be set aside and the rhetoric should be toned down, “because that is only way to have a conversation.”

The cardinal said he had not spoken with Maduro and that the bishops are waiting to hear from him and would like to help facilitate a meeting between the government and the opposition.

During the interview, he said that while the bishops recognize Maduro as constitutionally elected, the opposition has “the right as well to demand that any doubts be cleared up” regarding the results of the election.

“I think that the opposition’s request for a recount needs to be addressed, in accord with the terms that were reached on April 18,” the cardinal said. “I think the uncertainties need to be cleared up.”

Rather than continue in a spirit of confrontation, he added, “we need to come together as brothers.”

Cardinal Urosa also referenced the growing sense of insecurity on the streets, which according to journalist Carlos Croes, “affects 80 percent of Venezuelans,” as well as the Church.

Pointing to a priest who was killed almost two months ago, he warned of a “terrible increase in crime, and this must also be put down, this should be totally controlled and eliminated.”

He concluded by reiterating the bishops’ willingness to facilitate a dialogue between the government and the opposition. 

“We are willing to seek out the necessary elements for a just and peaceful solution. We are willing to do what is necessary in order to achieve peace,” the cardinal said.

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Pennsylvania mourns sudden loss of Bishop McFadden

Harrisburg, Pa., May 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Church and public officials from Pennsylvania are saddened by the unexpected death of Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, who shepherded the Diocese of Harrisburg.

“I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Bishop Joseph McFadden,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia said.

“I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be with him over the last few days at the Annual Spring Meeting of the Pennsylvania Bishops and spend time in conversation with him.”

Bishop McFadden died on May 2 at the age of 65 while in a series of week-long meetings with his fellow bishops of Pennsylvania, which was being held in Philadelphia. He awoke feeling ill and was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead that morning, according to the Harrisburg diocese.

His cause of death has not yet been announced.

The governance of the Diocese of Harrisburg has passed to the College of Consultors, who must elect a diocesan administrator who will serve the diocese until Pope Francis appoints the eleventh bishop of Harrisburg.

Bishop McFadden's body will lie in state at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Harrisburg beginning Sunday evening. Solemn evening prayer will be said there in the body's presence May 5 and 6. It will be transferred to Holy Name of Jesus parish on the afternoon of May 7, where evening prayer will again be said.

A solemn funeral Mass will be said for Bishop McFadden at Holy Name parish the morning of May 8.

Bishop McFadden was born in 1947 in Philadelphia. He studied political science at Saint Joseph University, and was a high school teacher for seven years before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.

In 1981, he was ordained a priest for the Philadelphia archdiocese. While a priest, he served as a pastor, secretary to the archbishop, and a high school president.

He was appointed an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese in 2004, and became bishop of Harrisburg in 2010. He served as pastor of the 248,000 Catholics in south central Pennsylvania from his installation on Aug. 18, 2010, until his death.

Archbishop Chaput, who is metropolitan archbishop over Harrisburg, said that Philadelphia “was always close” to Bishop McFadden's heart, as he was a native.

“His love for the priesthood was evident in everything that he did. He worked diligently to promote vocations to the priesthood and advance the mission of Catholic education.”

“Although he served as the Bishop of Harrisburg for only a short time, he effectively embraced the call of our former Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to use new forms of media to proclaim the message of the Gospel,” Archbishop Chaput said.

U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Bob Casey, Jr. said that Bishop McFadden was “a forceful advocate, an effective leader and a much beloved shepherd for the people of Harrisburg, Philadelphia and all of Pennsylvania. I join the Diocese of Harrisburg in mourning the passing of a good man.”

Tom Corbett, the governor of Pennsylvania, said Bishop McFadden brought “a compassion and understanding of the value of every human person” to his ministry, and that he set “an example for all people of all faiths.”

Archbishop Chaput concluded by extending the “prayerful sympathy” of the Philadelphia Church to that of Harrisburg.

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Accused Newark priest resigns from ministry

Newark, N.J., May 3, 2013 (CNA) - A priest accused of sexual misconduct against a minor in 2001 has resigned from ministry with the Newark archdiocese, after acknowledging that he violated the terms of an agreement with local prosecutors.

On May 2, Fr. Michael Fugee submitted his resignation to Newark Archbishop John J. Myers, who promptly accepted it.

Having been removed from ministry, Fr. Fugee technically remains a priest, but may not celebrate the sacraments or otherwise represent himself as an active priest.

According to a 2007 agreement with prosecutors, Fr. Fugee was allowed to remain in ministry so long as he was not around children unsupervised and did not engage in youth ministry.

Within the last week, it emerged that the priest had participated in youth retreats and pilgrimages, though without the knowledge of the Newark chancery.

“He engaged in activities that the archdiocese was not aware of and that were not approved by us, and we would never have approved them because they are all in conflict with the memorandum of understanding,” archdiocesan communications director James Goodness said May 2, according to New Jersey newspaper The Star-Ledger.

In 2001, Fr. Fugee told police he had twice groped a teenage boy's crotch while they were wrestling in the presence of the boy's family members. One instance took place while he was on vacation with the boy's family in Virginia in 2000, he said, and the other was about a year prior to that.

He was charged with criminal sexual contact and endangering a child's welfare. A jury convicted him of aggravated sexual contact in 2003, but in 2006 an appellate court reversed the conviction, saying the trial court had given inadequate guidance to the jury. During his trial, he had protested that his confession to the police was false and that he had lied.

The priest came to an agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor and the Archdiocese of Newark's vicar general in 2007 requiring him to undergo two years of “sex-offender specific counseling/therapy” and avoid unsupervised engagement with minors for the entirety of his ministry.

The agreement specified that this includes prohibitions on “presiding over a parish, involvement with a youth group, religious education/parochial school, CCD, confessions of children, youth choir, youth retreats and day care.”

With the approval of an advisory board composed of laypeople and of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the archdiocese permitted Fr. Fugee to return to ministry, under those restrictive conditions.

The archdiocese appointed Fr. Fugee to extra-parochial positions in the chancery, and allowed him supervised contact with minors but prohibited his interaction alone with children.

However, it was recently revealed that Fr. Fugee later attended two youth retreats, in 2010 and 2012, and has gone on pilgrimages which included young people.

The retreats were held by St. Mary's in Colts Neck, which is in the Trenton diocese. Fr. Fugee was reportedly called to assist at the retreats by the parish's youth ministers, with whom he is good friends.

He heard the confessions of minors on these retreats, according to The Star-Ledger. The article included Facebook photos of Fr. Fugee with minors taken on the retreats.

On April 29, Goodness had told CNA that the Newark archdiocese had been “complying with the terms of the memorandum of understanding with the prosecutor's office,” and that Fr. Fugee's participation in events at St. Mary's was done without the involvement of the Newark chancery or the approval of the archbishop.

“They were not part of what the archdiocese has done in terms of abiding by the agreements. We have abided, we believe,” Goodness said.

It is not publicly known whether Newark Archbishop John J. Myers requested the resignation, but when it was offered he readily accepted it. Fr. Fugee admitted to Archbishop Myers that he had violated the terms of the 2007 agreement.

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Six months later, Sandy victims plod through recovery

New York City, N.Y., May 3, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Six months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Caribbean and hit the northeastern U.S., coastal community members continue to struggle through the difficult process of rebuilding their lives.

“The recovery is progressing slowly,” Father Richard Ahlemeyer, pastor of St. Camillus and St. Virgilius parishes in the Rockaway area of Queens in New York City told CNA May 1.

“This morning I was having breakfast with some of the parishioners over at St. Virgilius after the eight o'clock Mass, and they talked about watching houses now being knocked down which have been condemned, and how painful that is.”

“They're families we know in the parish and their houses suffered such severe damage that they cannot be repaired, they have to be taken down, and then there's the question of requirements that are gonna be made in order to rebuild. It's painful for people.”

The parishes are among the worst affected by Sandy in the Brooklyn Diocese. St. Camillus is located in Rockaway Park, about two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, and St. Virgilius is in Broad Channel, across the peninsula from the ocean.

Fr. Ahlemeyer estimated that 40 percent of people in Broad Channel have yet to return to their homes.

“You go down there, it's very desolate, and there's all these question now about the requirements that will be made for rebuilding.” There is a dizzying array of application rules from FEMA, Small Business Administration, and federal grants, and “the rules are changing as we speak,” the priest reported.

“There's a lot of anxiety, and stress in the community still about that, because people are trying to get ready to put their houses back together again because they want to move back home, get back to a normal way of life, and they're not sure what they can do, because they don't know what the regulations are going to be, and then also they don't know what money they may have to enable them to do this.”

“It's coming slowly. People are back, but not fully.”

St. Virgilius church was flooded, and the bottom four feet of the walls had to be cut out to remove the molded wood. The walls have since been replaced, and the parish is looking forward to a visit from Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, one of Brooklyn's auxiliary bishops. He will be doing Confirmations at the parish May 24.

“Back in November we were looking for something to give people a sense that we weren't going to close, to keep our sense of hope, and Bishop Caggiano was gracious enough to volunteer, to give the people something to rally about.”

“The church looks good, it really does, they did a nice job of restoring the church. That's coming back. But the other two buildings at St. Virgilius have not been touched yet. We do have heat, but no electricity.”

“Over here at St. Camillus, the building that was a distribution center is still not back yet. It will probably be September before its done,” he said.

“The floors and walls are all ripped up, the electric is being done and the heating had to be replaced. Now they're going to start doing the carpentry work.”

The parish school was unusable for roughly six weeks, and Fr. Ahlemeyer noted that the nearby Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, “were so gracious to give us some room.” Though St. Camillus school has been in its own building since mid-December, the kindergarten classroom was so destroyed that those students had to have classes in the library, and only returned to their classroom a week ago.

“Anything that was on the first floor had to be totally torn out and gutted. The kindergarten I couldn't believe, they had to take it all the way down to the cement foundation and the brick walls and then rebuild it, because they found mold on every single piece of wood that was underwater.”

Fr. Ahlemeyer said he's been thankful for the “overflowing support and generosity of people from around the country who have sent letters, donations, and came here to help. It's very uplifting for me personally and for the parish, and certainly for the community.”

Parishes in Brooklyn and Queens have sent supplies down to the Rockaway parishes, and a group of Jesuit volunteers who generally go to El Salvador to volunteer in the summer will be coming to help St. Virgilius and St. Camillus instead.

The picture across the 12 dioceses in the U.S. affected by Hurricane Sandy looks much like that in Queens.

“I'd sign up with what Fr. Ahlemeyer said,” Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities of Camden, told CNA May 2.

“The five Catholic Charity agencies in the state of New Jersey are heavily involved in this recovery, and probably will be for another two to three years.”

Hicky said Sandy's case “is complicated because of the multiple states, and that it impacted the coastline so much, which calls into question a myriad of policy issues – flood control, flood plains, the private insurance market, the different state policies, trying to get those in sync with federal policies.”

“So it' s immensely complex,” he added, “which is of no help to people who have lost everything. Or, right now, a lot of people in Jersey are faced with being displaced because of insurance issues, and of course, if you're poor, all this stuff gets multiplied by some factor of 10 or 20.”

Catholic Charities of Camden, he said, has experienced the “incredible response” of local Catholics as well as people of good will from across the country.

Catholic Charities USA distributed $5 million to the 12 dioceses in Hurricane Sandy's affected zone, and Catholic Charities of Camden was granted $800,000 of that for long-term recovery.

Short-term disaster response money was used in Camden to replace mattresses, particularly for undocumented persons “ who had nowhere else to turn...it's a blessing, what a wonderful thing.”

Catholic Charities of Camden will be distributing temporary financial assistance to help those whose employment was affected by the hurricane to meet rent and other needs.

Hickey said that the New Jersey Department of Human Services has given grants to the state's five Catholic Charities agencies which are providing funding for case managers, which “provides us with the ability to engage more staff in the recovery.”

“In the case of both disasters and ongoing work, our biggest challenge is how to fund the human resource, the people we need to be able to work with people.”

The grant has funded eight case managers for the Camden diocese, as well as a supervisor, which Hickey said is “tremendous.”

“It just multiplies our presence on the ground in the affected zones. Four of our six counties are among the 12 most affected in New Jersey.”

“Our damage is not the dramatic sites that you've seen, we're talking floods here. So if you drive around the Camden diocese, you won't see a lot of buildings knocked off their foundations, like in Trenton, or Queens and Staten Island.”

“Our destruction isn't as visible, or at least not as dramatically visible, we're talking a lot of flood and wind damage. And that's had a consequent impact on businesses.”

“It's slow,” Hickey reflected. “The long-term recovery began Dec. 1, and it will be two to three years.”

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