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Pope Francis washes feet of patients at rehab facility

April 17th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In the humble act of washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus is showing all Christians how he wants them to serve others with love, Pope Francis said.

“This is the legacy that Jesus leaves us,” and he wants it to be passed down through people’s loving service to others, he said.

During the evening Mass at a rehabilitation facility on the outskirts of Rome, Pope Francis washed the feet of four women and eight men who are living with disabilities. Read more »

Pope to world’s priests: Go out into world and serve with God’s joy and love

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Priests extend their arms in prayer as Pope Francis celebrates Holy Thursday chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — A priest is called to be in the midst of his flock, protecting his people, searching for those who are lost and always serving those in need, Pope Francis told the world’s priests.

If a priest wants to overcome those inevitable moments of sadness, exhaustion and boredom as well as discover his true identity, he must head for the exit sign, going outside himself to be with God and his people, he said April 17 during the chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

He must also be a dutiful servant who listens to people’s need and builds a church whose doors are wide open, offering refuge for sinners, a home for the homeless, comfort for the sick and God’s word and joy for the young, he said.

Presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, Pope Francis blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

Deacons carried the sacramental oils in large silver urns to the main altar to be blessed by the pope.

Joined by more than 1,500 priests, bishops and cardinals, Pope Francis led them in a renewal of their priestly vows and a reflection on what it means to be a priest, in a homily that was lengthier than usual.

He focused on the meaning of being anointed through ordination, emphasizing that Holy Thursday was the day Jesus shared his priesthood with the apostles by anointing them with “the oil of gladness.”

“Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God,” the pope said.

He said it’s not an exaggeration, given the “grandeur of the gift granted us” to minister and serve, to say the priest is a very small person.

While “in that littleness we find our joy,” he said, being “little” without God spells danger.

“No one is more ‘little’ than a priest left to his own devices.”

Priestly joy must be sought and rooted in God’s love and it can find protection from evil in prayer to Mary, he said.

Otherwise a priest risks becoming “the poorest of men unless Jesus enriches him by his poverty, the most useless of servants unless Jesus calls him his friend, the most ignorant of men unless Jesus patiently teaches him as he did Peter, the frailest of Christians,” unless Jesus gives him strength in the midst of his flock, he said.

Self-denial, forsaking earthly happiness and giving oneself to others mean the priest “has to seek his joy from the Lord and from God’s faithful people. He doesn’t need to try to create it for himself.”

Nor should the priest be trying to carve out his own identity because “there is no identity and consequently joy of life without an active and unwavering sense of belonging to God’s faithful people,” he said.

“The priest who tries to find his priestly identity by soul-searching and introspection may well encounter nothing more than exit signs, signs that say: Exit from yourself, exit to seek God in adoration, go out and give your people what was entrusted to you.”

The people of God “will make you feel and taste who you are,” he said.

They will also be able “to protect you, to embrace you and to help you open your heart to find renewed joy” during those moments a priest finds himself feeling isolated, gloomy, listless and bored, “which at times overcome us in our priestly life and which I too have experienced,” the pope said.

With his infinite compassion “for all the little ones and the outcasts of this earth, wearied and oppressed like sheep without a shepherd,” Jesus calls people to his ministry, so that he can be present and work “in the person of his priests, for the good of his people.”

Like an attentive servant, the priest “makes the church a house with open doors, a refuge for sinners, a home for people living on the street, a place of loving care for the sick, a camp for the young, a classroom for catechizing children,” he said.

The priest must be wherever there are people in need or searching; he needs to know how to listen, and feel driven by Christ to lift burdens with mercy and encourage hope with charity.

He asked that people pray for vocations so that when young people hear the call to religious life, they have “the stroke of boldness to respond willingly.”

He asked for prayers for the recently ordained, that they never lose the “joy sparkling” in their eyes as they “go forth to devour the world.”

He also prayed for elderly priests and those who have served many years, that they may “gather their strength and rearm themselves, get a second wind.”

 

Journey to the faith: St. Polycarp parishioner had been baptized but never became a practicing Catholic until now

April 17th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized

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Staff reporter

 

Alecia Bedwell remembers as a child asking if she could attend CCD classes like the other kids she knew, but, although she was baptized Catholic, religion was never a focal point in her home. Now, decades later, she has returned to the faith and will be received fully into the Catholic Church this Saturday at St. Polycarp in Smyrna.

Bedwell is one of six people who completed the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults at St. Polycarp this year. Another is her daughter, Alexandra Orfetel. Both have been baptized and will receive first Communion and be  confirmed at the Easter Vigil. Read more »

More than 70 diocesan priests concelebrate Chrism Mass with Bishop Malooly at Holy Cross Church

April 17th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized

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For The Dialog

DOVER – A joyous atmosphere reminiscent of a family reunion surrounded the Chrism Mass at Holy Cross Church on Monday, April 14, as Bishop Malooly blessed the oils, which will be used to baptize and confirm people in the faith and to anoint the sick in the coming year.

Toward the end of Mass Bishop Malooly commissioned delegates from each parish before dispatching them to receive a portion of the blessed oil to take back to their local church.

The Mass is always held in the diocese the Monday of Holy Week, between Palm Sunday and the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Read more »

Our Lenten Journey: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Click link for today’s scripture readings:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041514.cfm

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Our Lenten Journey: Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Click link for today’s scripture readings:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041414.cfm

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Our Lenten Journey: Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 13th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Click link for today’s scripture readings:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041314.cfm

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Our Lenten Journey: Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Click link for today’s scripture readings:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041214.cfm

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Our Lenten Journey: Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags:

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Click here for today’s Scripture readings:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041114.cfm

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Conrad Hilton’s foundation supports the work of Catholic sisters, says grandson

April 10th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — One of hotelier Conrad N. Hilton’s wishes in his final will was to support Catholic sisters all over the world, and in its 70 years, his foundation has helped accomplish this.

“Conrad had this lifelong respect and admiration for the sisters,” Steve Hilton, the foundation’s current president and CEO, told Catholic News Service in a phone interview from California.

Steve Hilton, grandson of hotelier Conrad N. Hilton, talks with Sister Anisia Kitaka, a member of the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, during a 2012 visit to St. Francis Rehabilitation Center for Street Children in Nairobi, Kenya. Steve Hilton will soon retire as president and CEO of the foundation his grandfather established 70 years ago to support Catholic sisters all over the world. (CNS photo/courtesy Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)

Steve Hilton, Conrad’s grandson, announced March 25 that he will retire next year, and whoever his successor will be, he expects the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to keep pursuing its mission to help Catholic sisters.

“Everything we do is based on (Conrad’s) wishes,” said Steve Hilton, who is 64. “I hope the next leader will embrace that same mission.”

Supporting the work of Catholic sisters is one of six primary focuses for the Hilton Foundation. The others include providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV or AIDS and supporting older youth in foster care.

Conrad Hilton stressed the importance of helping sisters, the “protectors and defenders” of children, in his last will. Excerpts are posted on the foundation’s website.

“Give aid to … the sisters, who devote their love and life’s work for the good of mankind,” Conrad Hilton wrote. “They appeal especially to me of being deserving of help from the foundation.”

He requested that the largest part of the foundation’s benefactions goes to helping sisters everywhere.

This admiration for the Catholic sisters began in Conrad’s childhood, Steve Hilton said.

Conrad Hilton grew up in a Catholic home in Socorro, N.M. His mother sent him to a Catholic school in a nearby town where he studied catechism. This was his first experience of the sisters and their ministry.

“He was just impressed by their selflessness and the good work they were doing,” Steve said.

A specific initiative jump-started by the Hilton Foundation is the Sisters Leadership Development Initiative, a program by the African Sisters Education Collaborative that strives to educate sisters of various African ministries on basic technology, leadership and financial management skills.

Sister Jane Wakahiu, a member of the Little Sisters of St. Francis who is project coordinator of the initiative, told CNS that Hilton approached the collaborative asking for such a program to be started. The foundation awarded a grant to help create it in 2007.

The program is now in its third phase, which began last year, and teaches web development to 274 sisters in eight African countries. Faculty members from partnering U.S. and African colleges teach these courses.

“I am forever grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for living out the legacy of Mr. Hilton and (its) willingness to continue championing in the support of the education of Catholic sisters in Africa,” Sister Jane wrote on the African Sisters Education Collaborative website.

In February 2013, the Hilton Foundation also launched the Catholic Sisters Initiative to broaden the sisters’ impact by strengthening their congregations.

As a part of this initiative, the foundation gave the National Religious Retirement Office a grant of $2.5 million in January. It will be distributed over the course of three years.

The office is the coordinating body that oversees the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection, the largest such national collection in the U.S. Catholic Church since its inception in 1988. It is jointly sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Sister Janice Bader, a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood who is executive director of the religious retirement office, said the majority of the money will go to help religious communities struggling with the upkeep and operation of underutilized buildings. One million will go to their annual distribution of grants to other religious communities.

“We’re very grateful for the money,” she said. “It really will help us to expand our services.”

In the search for a new president of the foundation, Steve Hilton said a critical point is to make sure his successor continues following Conrad’s wishes.

“One of the most important responsibilities is to be true to Conrad Hilton’s last will,” he said. “I take that very seriously.”

Originally, Steve Hilton had not considered joining the family’s foundation. But when the oyster farm in Hawaii where he had worked shut down, he moved back to California. The then-president of the foundation asked Steve if he would be interested in working there.

Steve became a program assistant in 1983 and president in 1998. He also became chairman and CEO of the foundation.

“I’m incredibly fortunate to have found my niche,” Steve Hilton said.

Members of the Hilton family have not always presided over the foundation, Steve said, and so far, no family members have asked to be considered for the next position.

Steve’s retirement will take effect in fall 2015. He said he hopes to continue his position as chairman.

 By Navar Watson

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