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Update: Former cardinal moves from Kansas friary to new location

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal who was laicized by the Vatican in 2019 after numerous claims of abuse by him were substantiated, moved Jan. 3 from the Capuchin Franciscan friary in Kansas where he had been living since late 2018.

McCarrick made the move on his own accord, according to a spokesman for the Capuchin Franciscan province that oversees the friary.

The former prelate had stayed a little over one year at St. Fidelis Friary, run by the Capuchin Franciscan order in Victoria, Kansas, in the Diocese of Salina in the northwestern part of the state.

While his new residence has not been publicly disclosed, one Florida diocese denied reports that McCarrick was within its territory.

"Rumors that the former cardinal Theodore McCarrick has moved to Jacksonville and is staying at a priest retirement facility in the Diocese of St. Augustine are absolutely false. The diocese has made no arrangements for McCarrick to stay at any of its church-owned properties," said a Jan. 8 statement from Kathleen Bagg, diocesan communications director for the northeast Florida diocese.

"The diocese does not know the whereabouts of McCarrick, and it is not our responsibility to keep tabs on his movements," Bagg added. "It is important to note that McCarrick was laicized in February 2019, therefore like any person, he can travel where he wants without reporting his presence in a location within any diocese where he may visit."

The statement was in response to a posting by the website Church Militant that the diocese had arranged for McCarrick to move there.

The election of a new provincial for the Denver-based Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad had no influence on McCarrick's decision to leave, according to Capuchin Father Joseph Mary Elder, director of communications and vocations for the province, which also has a friary in San Antonio within its boundaries.

"There was nothing on our part" that suggested McCarrick leave, Father Elder said. "Our provincial was very clear with him."

Nor was space an issue. Fewer than 10 Capuchins live at St. Fidelis.

"It's a huge place. We have our meetings there and we have enough room for almost everybody," Father Elder said told CNS in a Jan. 10 telephone interview.

"There may have been concern on his part on the report coming from Rome" stemming from the allegations that first surfaced in 2018, Father Elder added. "But that is just conjecture on my part. He was free to stay as long as he wanted to."

McCarrick's life at the friary was uneventful, save for an interview in Slate.

But "he had to be supervised at all times," Father Elder told CNS. "The friary is a big building that adjoins a church," and behind the church was a school, he added.

Wherever McCarrick moved to, he kept his own counsel on the matter.

"The only knowledge we have is that he made plans to leave, and we were privy to his plans," Father Elder told CNS. "That was the first time I heard any plausible location to where he might be."

McCarrick had served as archbishop of Washington and archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, and was founding bishop of Metuchen, New Jersey. He also was a New York archdiocesan priest and auxiliary bishop.

Media interest in McCarrick has followed him since he stepped away from all forms of ministry at the Vatican's request in the summer of 2018.

He was quickly and quietly moved to Kansas after a Washington Post reporter unsuccessfully tried to track him down in late 2018 at the priests' retirement community in the District of Columbia where McCarrick had lived.

That move took place before McCarrick, now 89, was removed from the clerical state.

Then, last summer, a reporter from the online journal Slate was able to conduct a brief interview with McCarrick inside St. Fidelis.

After a query from CNS, Paula Gwynn Grant, secretary of communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, said in an email: "We understand that Mr. Theodore McCarrick has moved. As he is now a layperson, he is responsible for his own actions."

 

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

Residents fear what may come next after quakes, archbishop says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Hurricane Maria was a body blow to Puerto Rico in 2017, one from which it has yet to fully recover.

Then came the series of 5-magnitude-and-higher earthquakes that began Dec. 29 -- topped off by three such temblors in a 30-minute span Jan. 7 and followed by a magnitude 5.9 quake Jan. 11 -- that has resulted in only two confirmed deaths, but untold losses in property damage. And not only the earthquakes, but their many aftershocks.

Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves of San Juan lives on the northern part of the island, which was spared most of the worst effects of the quakes. But on a Jan. 10 visit to the island's southern region in the Diocese of Ponce -- what he could see of it -- the damage was much worse.

"I got around by car," Archbishop Gonzalez said. "But I wasn't able to go everywhere I wanted to because a bridge here or there collapsed."

Driving around Ponce, the archbishop told Catholic News Service in a Jan. 10 telephone interview from near San Juan, "I saw a number of people In Ponce now with their suitcases and looking for a place to find shelter."

"I can see lots of damage," he said.

Archbishop Gonzalez added, "I didn't see many buildings that had collapsed, but you see buildings with pieces of cement, pieces of the roof that have fallen off. It will take a while for structural engineers to make an assessment. The cathedral has bene quite damaged. I say it might take a year or two to fix the cathedral."

People are sleeping in tents and spending most of their waking hours outside, he noted, fearing an aftershock might cause more of their homes to crumble.

Complicating people's quest to find shelter is the weather. It has been raining on the island. Archbishop Gonzalez, during the interview, said it was raining heavily, and that the quake also has affected telephone and internet service on Puerto Rico.

Another fear is people not knowing where their next meal is coming from.

"There are many people without food," Archbishop Gonzalez told CNS. He mentioned one district where "there are at least 400 people homeless. Caritas has been doing their best to provide them with food. Yesterday (Jan. 9) we purchased $150,000 for our Catholic Charities for that group of 400 or so."

One difference Archbishop Gonzalez noted between a hurricane and an earthquake: "One can prepare for a hurricane -- 'there's a hurricane on its way' -- but you cannot prepare for an earthquake. It just happens."

"Every day there have been replicas" -- the archbishop's word for aftershocks. "Those replicas continue to affect the structure of buildings. In the building, it has a number of people. You come to this building, and it's traumatic. One becomes afraid -- what's going to happen next?"

Archbishop Gonzalez disclosed something that perhaps few non-Puerto Ricans know: "The island shakes every day. We're in a seismic area that's very active -- as active as California. but only shakes 2 points or 3 points (of magnitude), and you become accustomed to that and you don't feel it. I remember as a child there were maybe two or three significant quakes, but I'd never felt anything like this. It is quite a jolt. It affects everyone emotionally."

He recalled one morning receiving a call from a priest in Guanica, on the south side of the island. "I'm in the north, in San Juan, but they needed volunteers to organize the distribution of food from large trucks that had come from Caritas, from Catholic Charities. He asked if I would make calls to get volunteers. I spent an hour, an hour and a half, making calls. I had 100 volunteers going across the island to the town of Guanica to give help. It shows the spirit of solidarity, and the goodness among the people. It's very touching."

For people on the U.S. mainland, "first of all, we appreciate your spiritual solidarity and prayers, your awareness, your concern," Archbishop Gonzalez said. "Secondly, if you are able to make monetary donations to assist in the relief effort -- I'm speaking mainly of food and shelter -- that would be a big help."

Catholic Charities USA has established a Puerto Rico disaster relief fund that can accessed online at https://bit.ly/30hHwQd.

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

BISHOP THANH THAI NGUYEN IN SERVICE TO THOSE IN NEED

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Baptism is first step on path of humility, pope says

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In asking to be baptized, Jesus exemplifies the Christian calling to follow along the path of humility and meekness rather than strutting about and being a showoff, Pope Francis said.

Addressing pilgrims in St. Peter's Square Jan. 12, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the pope said that Christ's humble act shows "the attitude of simplicity, respect, moderation and concealment required of the Lord's disciples today."

"How many -- it's sad to say -- of the Lord's disciples show off about being disciples of the Lord. A person who shows off isn't a good disciple. A good disciple is humble, meek, one who does good without letting himself or herself be seen," Pope Francis said during his midday Angelus address.

The pope began the day celebrating Mass and baptizing 32 babies --17 boys and 15 girls -- in the Sistine Chapel. In his brief homily before baptizing the infants, the pope told parents that the sacrament is a treasure that gives children "the strength of the Spirit."

"That is why it's so important to baptize children, so that they grow with the strength of the Holy Spirit," he said.

"This is the message that I would like to give you today. You have brought your children here today so that they may have the Holy Spirit within them. Take care that they grow with the light, with the strength of the Holy Spirit, through catechesis, through helping them, through teaching them, through the examples that you will give them at home," he said.

As the sounds of fussy children filled the frescoed chapel, the pope repeated his usual advice to mothers of infants, encouraging them to make their children comfortable, and to not worry if they start to cry in the chapel.

"Don't get upset; let the children cry and scream. But, if your child cries and complains, perhaps it's because they feel too hot," he said. "Take something off them, or if they are hungry, breastfeed them; here, yes, always in peace."

Later, before praying the Angelus with pilgrims, Pope Francis said that the feast of the Lord's baptism "reminds us of our own baptism," and he asked the pilgrims to find out the date they were baptized.

"Celebrate the date of your baptism every year in your heart. Do it. It is also a duty of justice to the Lord who has been so good to us," the pope said.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

FINDING HOPE AND HEALING AFTER ABORTION

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Seasoned musician inspires people to sing, raise voices 'in honor of God'

IMAGE: CNS photo/Rick Cothran, courtesy of Tonya Taylor-Dorsey

By Gina Christian

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- With the start of the new year, a seasoned Philadelphia musician is taking on a new challenge as director of the Philadelphia Catholic Gospel Mass Choir.

Tonya Taylor-Dorsey was appointed to the post by the Philadelphia Archdiocese's Office for Black Catholics, effective Jan. 1.

Established for the 2014 World Meeting of Families, the ensemble features voices from the archdiocese and neighboring dioceses. The choir has participated in parish revivals, the U.S. bishops' listening sessions on racism and the annual "Soulful Christmas Concert" at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition, the choir regularly performs at archdiocesan observances such as the St. Martin de Porres Mass and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day prayer service.

For Taylor-Dorsey, who has more than three decades of experience in parish music, the role once seemed unlikely for someone who was raised Presbyterian -- and who "didn't sing in the church choir growing up."

"I wanted to be a concert pianist," she said, citing "Fanfarinette" from Jean-Philippe Rameau's "Suite in A Minor" as her favorite piece to play.

Taylor-Dorsey's musical ambitions led her to study at Michigan State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Diploma in hand, she returned to her native Philadelphia, and shortly thereafter landed a job as music director at St. Peter Claver in Center City until the parish was closed.

In 1993, she started a 13-year appointment as choir director at Our Lady of Hope parish in Philadelphia, during which time she staged annual concerts and produced a recording of the Hope Singers.

When she became the choir director at St. Martin de Porres Parish in 2006, Taylor-Dorsey decided to make her lifelong commitment to Catholicism official, joining the church under the guidance of then-pastor Father Edward Hallinan.

"During our first meeting, he asked me, 'Why aren't you Catholic?'" she recalled in an interview with CatholicPhilly.com, the archdiocese's online news outlet. "Actually, I felt like I was Catholic even before I converted."

In college, she had studied the Mass, finding beauty in the order of the liturgy. As her career developed in Catholic parishes, she realized that she felt increasingly at home.

"I thought to myself, 'I'm playing at this church for two Masses each Sunday, but I wouldn't be buried from here if I died,'" she said.

Father Hallinan also encouraged Taylor-Dorsey to attend the National Black Catholic Congress, which gathers participants from a number of African American Catholic organizations. Participating as a new Catholic in 2007, she was eager to connect with fellow believers, but lamented the lack of musical presentations at the conference. Eventually, she created her own, delivering workshops on sight reading and music ministry.

During the organization's 12th conference in 2017, Taylor-Dorsey was the first woman to direct the congress's liturgical music, conducting a 100-voice choir at its daily Masses while writing musical scores for the accompanying string orchestra.

In the process, she realized that although she enjoyed performing herself, her talents "really were in composition, in writing and arranging," she said.

In fact, Taylor-Dorsey may be best known for her original piece "Everybody Needs Someone," which was presented in concert at the Juilliard School by alumnus and pianist Peter Dugan.

Her composition "God's Angel" was featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper after she dedicated a 2012 performance of the song -- originally written after her mother's death -- to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A number of Taylor-Dorsey's vocal works have been sung throughout the United States.

Despite such musical prestige and prowess, though, she said she strives to "refresh and renew" her choirs, giving all participants a chance to grow musically and not simply "letting a few people do solos."

Selections for the Sunday liturgies at St. Martin de Porres are carefully chosen by Taylor-Dorsey in close collaboration with the parish's pastor, Father Stephen Thorne, who also is a consultant for the National Black Catholic Congress.

In addition to her preparations for Sunday Mass, she also is in the process of setting the Book of Psalms to music, while managing the Tonya Dorsey and New Vision foundation, which since 2008 has awarded more than 140 scholarships in the arts to school-age children.

Though practiced and prolific, Taylor-Dorsey remains focused on the true source of her artistic inspiration.

"I give 100% credit to God," she said. "There are songs that I write where I truly could not tell you the process involved."

Taylor-Dorsey's joy in music is central to her ministry, which she says is a simple one: "I want to encourage people to sing and raise their voices in honor of God."

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Christian is senior content producer at CatholicPhilly.com, the news outlet of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

PREACHING THE WORD

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Update: Pope sets special day to honor, study, share the Bible

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The newly established "Sunday of the Word of God" is an invitation to Catholics across the world to deepen their appreciation, love and faithful witness to God and his word, Pope Francis said.

By papal decree, the third Sunday in Ordinary Time -- Jan. 26 this year -- is to be observed as a special day devoted to "the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God."

A day dedicated to the Bible will help the church "experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world," the pope said in the document establishing the special Sunday observance.

Dioceses and parishes have been invited to respond with creative initiatives, helpful resources and renewed efforts for helping Catholics engage more deeply with the Bible at church and in their lives.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, said added emphasis on the importance of the word of God is needed because "the overwhelming majority" of Catholics are not familiar with sacred Scripture. For many, the only time they hear the word of God is when they attend Mass, he told Vatican News Sept. 30, when the papal document, titled "Aperuit Illis," was published.

"The Bible is the most widely distributed book, but it's also perhaps the one most covered in dust because it is not held in our hands," the archbishop said.

With this apostolic letter, the pope "invites us to hold the word of God in our hands every day as much as possible so that it becomes our prayer" and a greater part of one's lived experience, he said.

In his letter, Pope Francis wrote, "A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a yearlong event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers."

"We need to develop a closer relationship with sacred Scripture; otherwise, our hearts will remain cold and our eyes shut, struck as we are by so many forms of blindness," he wrote.

Sacred Scripture and the sacraments are inseparable, he wrote. Jesus speaks to everyone with his word in sacred Scripture, he said, and if people "hear his voice and open the doors of our minds and hearts, then he will enter our lives and remain ever with us."

Pope Francis urged priests to be extra attentive to creating a homily each Sunday that "speaks from the heart" and really helps people understand Scripture "through simple and suitable" language.

The homily "is a pastoral opportunity that should not be wasted," he wrote. "For many of our faithful, in fact, this is the only opportunity they have to grasp the beauty of God's word and to see it applied to their daily lives."

Pope Francis encouraged people to read the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, "Dei Verbum," and Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic exhortation on the Bible, "Verbum Domini," whose teaching remains "fundamental for our communities."

The pope also suggested pastors provide parishioners with the Bible, a book of the Gospels or other catechetical resources, "enthrone" the Bible in order to emphasize the honor and sacred nature of the text, bless or commission lectors of the parish and encourage people to read and pray with Scripture every day, especially through "lectio divina."

"The Bible cannot be just the heritage of some, much less a collection of books for the benefit of a privileged few. It belongs above all to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words," the pope wrote.

"The Bible is the book of the Lord's people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division toward unity" as well as come to understand God's love and become inspired to share it with others, he added.

The celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God also "has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity," he wrote. The third Sunday in Ordinary Time falls during that part of the year when the church is encouraged to strengthen its bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity.

The document was published on the feast of St. Jerome, patron saint of biblical scholars and doctor of the church, who said, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." The title, "Aperuit Illis," is based on a verse from the Gospel of St. Luke, "Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures."

The pope said it is impossible to understand the Scriptures in depth without the Lord who opens people's minds to his word, yet "without the Scriptures, the events of the mission of Jesus and of his church in this world would remain incomprehensible."

 

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Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]