Vatican City, Jun 16, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Francis on Monday denounced corruption among those in authority in politics, business, and the Church, urging Christians to overcome it through both service and charity.
“Corruption is precisely the sin that the person with authority – whether political, economic or ecclesiastical – over others has most readily to hand,” the Pope said in his June 16 homily during Mass at the chapel of Casa Santa Marta.
“We are all tempted to corruption. It is a ‘handy’ sin, for when one has authority, one feels powerful, one feels almost like God.”
He noted news stories about politicians and business owners who “got rich by magic,” and then later find themselves in court.
“We hear too much talk of a prelate who has become rich too, and left his pastoral duty to care for his power,” the Roman Pontiff said.
He said the corrupt seek “well-being, money, then the power, vanity, pride – and from there, everything (becomes possible), even killing.”
Pope Francis said the poor especially suffer the costs of political and economic corruption: country hospitals go without medicine, patients go without care, and children go without education.
He also reflected on the spiritual consequences of corruption within the Church.
“Who pays the price for the corruption of a prelate?”
“The children pay, who cannot make the sign of the cross, who do not know the catechism, who are not cared for. The sick who are not visited, the imprisoned who receive no spiritual attention.”
“The poor pay. Corruption is paid by the poor: the materially poor and the spiritually poor,” the Pope continued.
He reflected on the daily reading from the First Book of Kings, in which King Ahab’s covetousness for the family vineyard of a man named Naboth turned deadly. To acquire the vineyard, Ahab’s wife Jezebel schemed to convict the innocent man with false witnesses, and to execute him by stoning.
Ahab received the stolen vineyard from Jezebel “as though nothing had happened,” Pope Francis said.
Among those who wield power, he said, “this story is continuously repeating itself.”
The Pope said that service to others is “the only way to escape corruption.” He explained that corruption is proud and arrogant, while service “humbles you.”
He offered his Mass for those who are “paying the price for corruption,” voicing prayers for “these martyrs of political corruption, economic corruption, and ecclesiastical corruption.”
“May the Lord bring us closer to them.”
New York City, N.Y., Jun 16, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Francis on Saturday appointed three auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of New York, including one priest who ministered at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York praised the bishops-to-be as “seasoned pastors” with “years of acclaimed ministry in all areas of the archdiocese.”
“Congratulations to our new auxiliary bishops, and I know that you join me in praying that they be true, faithful, and dedicated successors to the apostles,” the cardinal told the faithful of his archdiocese in a June 14 statement.
The bishops-designate are Monsignor John Jenik and Fathers John O'Hara and Peter Byrne.
The apostolic nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, announced their appointments.
Bishop-designate Jenik was born in Manhattan on March 7, 1944. He attended Cathedral College and earned a bachelor's degree from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y. He attended Puerto Rico's University of Ponce to learn more about the Spanish language and Hispanic culture. He holds a master's degree in education from Fordham University, the U.S. bishops' conference reports.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1970 and became parochial vicar of the Bronx parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1994. He has worked to provide housing for the poor, to combat crime, corruption, drugs and prostitution. Bishop-designate Jenik was named a monsignor in 1995.
He helped the archdiocese regionalize its Catholic schools. He has served as vicar for the Northwest Bronx since 2006. He is presently pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Parish.
Bishop-designate O'Hara was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on Feb. 7, 1946. He holds a bachelor's degree from Seton Hall University and worked in journalism and broadcasting from 1967 to 1980 before entering St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers. Ordained to the priesthood in 1984, he served as parochial vicar at several New York City-area parishes before becoming pastor of St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus Parish on Staten Island. He became the New York archdiocese's vicar for planning in 2013 and directs the archdiocese's Strategic Pastoral Planning Office.
Bishop-designate Byrne was born July 24, 1951 in Manhattan. He received a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and also attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1984. He has served as a pastor of the Staten Island parishes of Immaculate Conception and St. John the Baptist. He became pastor of New York City’s Church of St. Elizabeth in New York City in 2013.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the bishop-designate worked for many weeks ministering to bereaved families at the morgue at the World Trade Center site, the New York archdiocese said.
Cardinal Dolan noted that bishops-designate Jenik and Byrne have lived and served primarily in Hispanic parishes.
“They will be especially attentive, I know, to the needs of this ever-growing community,” he said.
The New York archdiocese presently has two auxiliary bishops, Gerald Walsh and Dominick Lagonegro.
Cardinal Dolan said the auxiliary bishops and the bishops-designate will aid him in serving the pastoral, educational and charitable needs of “our vast archdiocese.”
“They will, as well, work very closely with our vicars in visiting our parishes and priests and in representing me at various archdiocesan events,” he said.
The cardinal also acknowledged the continued service of the retired New York archbishop Cardinal Edward Egan and retired auxiliary bishops Robert Brucato and Josu Iriondo.
The bishops-designate will be ordained on Aug. 4 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Bangui, Central African Republic, Jun 16, 2014 (CNA) -
A Catholic archbishop in the violence-ridden Central African Republic recently reached out to a group of 600 Muslim refugees, saying that the love of Christ must drive the faithful to action.
“The flight of Muslims from central Africa is a grave problem. If we do not want them to associate Christians with those who have caused them harm, they need to be helped by Christians,” Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui said. “We have to act quickly if we do not want our coexistence to become merely an illusion.”
In statements to the French daily “La Croix,” Archbishop Nzapalainga referenced his recent visit to 600 Muslims camped at Yaloke, a city located 100 kilometers from the capital of the Central African Republic, Fides News Agency reported.
Since December 2012, the Central African Republic has been torn apart by violence, killing thousands, displacing an estimated 1.1 million persons and leaving millions more without an assurance of food or safety.
The fighting began when Seleka rebels, comprised mostly of Muslim fighters from other countries, began to carry out acts of terrorism and violence, with individuals continuing to loot, rape and murder even after the Seleka disbanded. Then, in September 2013, “anti-balaka” self-defense groups, many comprised of Christians, began to strike back, attacking Muslims in revenge for earlier acts of violence.
In response to the continued violence and conflict that now divides political, tribal, and religious groups in the country, the African Union has deployed 5,000 peacekeepers to the Central African Republic, and the United Nations has also pledged an additional 12,000 troops by the end of 2014.
Archbishop Nzapalainga personally drove his van as part of a convoy of humanitarian aid organized by the Catholic Church to help the 600 refugees at Yaloke. A delegation of religious leaders led by the Iman of Bangui, Oumar Kobine Layama, accompanied him.
Another car in the convoy was driven by Sister Julietta, a South Korean religious from the Congregation of Saint-Paul de Chartres who directs the Our Lady of Fatima Healthcare Center in Bangui. She was accompanied by two nurses.
During his visit, Archbishop Nzapalainga sought to bring calm to the refugees. “I am here with the Iman I welcomed into my home for five months. It's not enough to say, 'We have to live together.' Rather, we must translate these words into concrete actions.”
Upon his departure, the archbishop pledged he would return to visit soon.
“We will not abandon you,” he told them.
Phoenix, Ariz., Jun 16, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The 105-degree heat did not deter parishioners and friends of Father Kenneth Walker from packing St. Catherine's in Phoenix to standing-room only for his Requiem Mass Monday, June 16.
The nearly two-hour Mass, celebrated in the Extraordinary form, began at 10 a.m., but priests, religious sisters, and faithful began filling the pews nearly two hours beforehand to pray for the beloved priest.
A Rosary was recited at 9 a.m., followed by a solemn silence broken only by tears.
Fr. Walker, 28, was shot and killed on June 11 during an attempted burglary at the Rectory of Mater Misericordiae Mission in Phoenix where he served as associate pastor. Father Joseph Terra, pastor of Mater Misericordiae, was critically wounded in the incident but was released from the hospital Monday morning and was in attendance at the Requiem Mass.
Hours before the Requiem Mass on Monday, police arrested a homeless convict with a history of drug abuse and violence. According to authorities, 54-year-old Gary Moran brutally attacked Fr. Terra with a piece of metal after he was spotted by the clergyman in the church courtyard.
The priest managed to escape to his room to retrieve a handgun, which Moran then wrestled away from him. Moran then shot Fr. Walker who had rushed to defend Fr. Terra.
The homilist for the Mass, Father Eric Flood – a member of the priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter along with the deceased – said Fr. Walker was known as “a priest without guile.”
“He was very honest, courteous, kind, and I know even now he would not want me to extol him much more from the pulpit. He would say, ‘talk about why I am a priest,’” said Fr. Flood.
Fr. Flood described how as a priest, Fr. Walker forgot himself and thought of others. He was drawn in to the vocation by the beauty of the Mass.
“There is no closer moment you can have to another person than in the Eucharist with Our Lord,” he said. “It is a greater bond than any earthly bond.”
From all eternity, God knew he would need priests, said Fr. Flood, and from all eternity, God knew He would call Fr. Walker to the priesthood.
“If Fr. Walker would have been asked as a seminarian studying for the priesthood, ‘If you knew one day that as a priest you would be killed at a young age, would you still pursue the priesthood?” said Fr. Flood, “His answer of course would have been ‘yes, even to say Mass just once.’”
In his short two year ministry, Fr. Walker likely celebrated more than 700 Masses. Fr. Walker's parishioners gathered at St. Catherine's described him as a holy priest who was close to his flock.
“He was more than a priest, he was a friend,” parishioner Brian G. told CNA, “That was how everyone felt.”
Fr. Walker was known for regularly visiting families, dabbling in photography and playing soccer with the children in his parish.
“He came to our home on numerous occasions,” said parishioner Mary Langlois. “He had a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, and on the parish website parishioners could sign up for him to bring the statue to their house. He would bring the statue and bless the home and leave her there for a week, then he’d come pick her up a week later.”
Arizona Speaker of the House Andy Tobin said that although he did not know Fr. Walker personally, he has been impressed by the response of the Arizona Catholic community.
“I think it's just a loving response of forgiveness and love,” Tobin told CNA.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery added that the Catholic community has united over the tragedy.
“There's deep sadness,” said Montgomery, “But also I think unity and prayers for the soul of Fr. Walker and the well-being of Fr. Terra, and then until last night that the suspect would be caught so that no one else would be at risk. I think we’ve all come together as one Catholic family in support.”
Bishop Thomas Olmsted told CNA said he has been encouraged by the response of the people in the diocese.
“It’s been overwhelmingly beautiful and inspiring because there’s been such strong faith among the people,” he said. “And priests themselves, you just see the fraternal love and support they have for one another.”
Bishop Olmsted stressed that the Catholic perspective brings hope even in tragedy.
“As soon as I heard about (the shooting,) I was just aware of the communion of saints praying for us, but also how we’re caught up in that communion when we die,” he noted.
“And I think even the name of their parish, Mater Misercordiae, Mother of Mercy – Our Lady was certainly there in that moment. It’s painful, but the faith of the people has been really beautiful.”
The Requiem Mass was held for the parishioners and Catholic community in Phoenix. The funeral for Fr. Kenneth Walker will be this Friday, June 20 at 11:00 at Sacred Heart Church in Paxico, Kansas, near Maple Hill. The body will be viewable the day before at Piper Funeral Home in St. Mary’s, Kansas.