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John Glenn — fighter pilot, astronaut, senator — dies at 95

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Astronaut legend and decorated World War II pilot John H. Glenn, who served for 24 years in the U.S. Senate and inspired young people to pursue careers in sciences and engineering, died Dec. 8. He was 95.

Born in Cambridge and raised in nearby New Concord, Glenn was propelled to fame after being one of seven military test pilots  chosen as the country’s first astronauts. He was the third American in space and the first to orbit earth when he flew aboard the Mercury Friendship 7 capsule, traversing the globe three times in a flight that lasted just less than five hours Feb. 20, 1962.

U.S. astronaut John Glenn, pictured in a 2012 photo, died Dec. 8 at age 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. (CNS photo/Bill Ingall, courtesy NASA)

U.S. astronaut John Glenn, pictured in a 2012 photo, died Dec. 8 at age 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. (CNS photo/Bill Ingall, courtesy NASA)

Among those watching Glenn’s first space flight was St. John XXIII, who asked to be kept regularly informed about the progress of flight.

Glenn became the oldest man to fly in space, when at age 77 and still a senator, he blasted into orbit on the Space Shuttle Oct. 29, 1998, after lobbying the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for two years that he could serve as a “guinea pig for geriatric studies.”

While on the fourth day of the mission, Glenn, a Presbyterian, said, “I pray every day. To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible. It just strengthens my faith.”

Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, then-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, praised Glenn the day after the shuttle took off. “Just think of it,” the archbishop said. “A man as old as the pope is now orbiting the world.”

The phrase “Godspeed, John Glenn”was in common use for both missions.

Glenn died surrounded by family at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where he been hospitalized for about a week. His wife of 73 years, Annie, was with him.

In a guest sermon, Glenn told a Virginia Presbyterian congregation that the “orderliness of the whole universe,” from the structure of atoms to the arrangement of galaxies, was “one big thing in space that shows me there is a God, some power that put all this into orbit and keeps it there. It wasn’t just an accident.”

Glenn later told a Senate subcommittee he thought it would be foolish to assert that God could be pinpointed to “one particular section of space.” “I don’t know the nature of God any more than anyone else, nor would I claim to because I happened to have made a space ride that got us a little bit above the atmosphere,” he said. “God is certainly bigger than that. I think he will be wherever we go.”

After his astronaut career, the former Marine Corps pilot started a career in business, but subsequently turned to politics, becoming a senator representing his home state in 1976. He served four terms before retiring in 1999. His Senate tenure included the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. He also served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, Armed Services Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.

Reaction to Glenn’s death came from across the country.

NASA immediately posted a tribute on its website to the space hero after his death was announced. The space agency had renamed its Lewis Research Center in Cleveland the John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in 1999.

President Barack Obama, who awarded Glenn the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, said in a statement that the country had lost an icon.

“John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond; not just to visit, but to stay,” Obama said.

“The last of America’s first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on earth compels us to keep reaching for the heaves. On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn,” the statement concluded.

The son of a plumber, Glenn flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific during World War II, taking direct hits several times but always returned to his airbase. He also was assigned to fly a jet interceptor in the Korean War. For his 149 combat missions in both wars, he was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross six times and the Air Medal with 18 award stars.

He was a winner of the Legion of Honor medal, the highest award of the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, an interfaith organization dedicated to four Army chaplains who died together in World War II.

Glenn also completed the first supersonic transcontinental flight, from California to New York, in 1957.

On the eve of his retirement from the Senate, Glenn placed fifth among the world’s most admired men in an annual Gallup poll, placing behind only President Bill Clinton, St. John Paul II, evangelist Billy Graham and basketball star Michael Jordan.

After politics, he founded the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, now known as the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University. He taught at the school as an adjunct professor.

Besides his wife, Glenn is survived by two children, David and Carolyn Ann, and two grandchildren.

Bishop Barres, a former priest of Wilmington, named bishop of Rockville Centre, N.Y. — updated

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Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and appointed as his successor Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Bishop Malooly, Bishop John Barres and the late Bishop Michael Saltarelli laugh during the press conference about Bishop Barres' appointment as bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, May 28, 2009. at the Cathedral of St. Peter. The Dialog/Don Blake

Bishop Malooly, Bishop John Barres and the late Bishop Michael Saltarelli laugh during the press conference about Bishop Barres’ appointment as bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, May 28, 2009. at the Cathedral of St. Peter. The Dialog/Don Blake

Bishop Barres, 56, has headed the Diocese of Allentown since 2009. Bishop Murphy, who has been Rockville Centre’s bishop since 2001, is 76. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope when they turn 75.

The 1,200-square-mile Rockville Centre Diocese has a total population of over 2.9 million people, of whom 50 percent, or 1.45 million are Catholic.

The changes were announced Dec. 9 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Barres’ Mass of installation will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Agnes in Rockville Centre Jan. 31. Until that time, Bishop Murphy will serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese.

In Wilmington, Bishop Malooly issued the following statement:

“We are very pleased and proud to learn that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has appointed Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown.

Bishop John Barres greets a priest friend after a press conference at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena in Allentown on May 27, 2009. when Bishop Barres was named to Allentown. The Dialog/Don Blake

Bishop John Barres greets a priest friend after a press conference at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena in Allentown on May 27, 2009. when Bishop Barres was named to Allentown. The Dialog/Don Blake

“Bishop Barres was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington in 1989, and served the people of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore faithfully for 20 years as a parish priest, vice-chancellor, and chancellor. He was my mentor in my first year as bishop of Wilmington and a wonderful companion and example to me of a dedicated priest and servant.

 “God has truly blessed the Diocese of Rockville Centre with a wonderfully talented servant-shepherd. I have no doubt that the people of Long Island, like the people of Allentown and Wilmington, will come to love this holy and cheerful man. We congratulate the clergy, religious, and laity of Rockville Centre, as Bishop Barres brings his dedication and enthusiam to Long Island.

“The faithful of the Diocese of Wilmington join me in offering our heartfelt congratulations to Bishop Barres on the occasion of this appointment. We pledge our continued prayers and affection.”

 

“It is my deep conviction that he will be a bishop for all of us without exception,” Bishop Murphy said of his successor in a statement. “He has shared with me his love of youth and his care for the elderly. He has a keen sense of parish life and has a special expertise in education. He has a deep love for the poor.”

Bishop Barres will support Catholic Charities, parish outreach as well as Catholic hospitals, he added.

Bishop Murphy also said Rockville Centre’s new bishop “will be a good neighbor to our brothers and sisters” in other Christian denominations as well as members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, and the many civic and political leaders with whom the church works “in building up Long Island for future generations.”

He described Bishop Barres as “a man of prayer” above all.

Born in Larchmont, New York, Sept. 20, 1960, Bishop Barres was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., Oct. 21, 1989. On May 27, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Allentown. He was installed as that diocese’s fourth bishop July 30, 2009.

During his tenure in Allentown, he has initiated a pastoral planning process for parishes across the Diocese of Allentown. He has called on every parish to establish a parish council and has made support for Catholic schools a priority; enhanced evangelization and pastoral ministries; and encouraged use of social media to spread the Gospel and evangelize.

On the national level, he is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis and is the USCCB’s episcopal liaison to the Pontifical Mission Societies.

Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pa., offers a blessing at the end of a Mass he concelebrated with Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., Dec. 9 at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre. Earlier in the day Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Murphy and appointed Bishop Barres as his successor. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)

Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pa., offers a blessing at the end of a Mass he concelebrated with Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., Dec. 9 at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre. Earlier in the day Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Murphy and appointed Bishop Barres as his successor. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)

He has a bachelor of sacred theology and a licentiate in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington; he received his seminary formation at the university’s Theological College.

He has a licentiate in canon law and a doctor of sacred theology degree from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. He has a bachelor of art’s degree in English literature from Princeton University and a master’s in business administration, focusing on management, from New York University’s School of Business Administration in 1984.

After his priestly ordination, he had assignments as associate pastor at two Delaware parishes, then went to Rome for further studies. After his return to the Wilmington diocese in 1999, he served as vice chancellor, then chancellor.

A native of Boston, Bishop Murphy was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Boston Dec. 16, 1964. He was named a Boston auxiliary bishop in 1995. St. John Paul II appointed him to Rockville Centre June 26, 2001.

 

 

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Panel: Genocide, wars, indifference will make Mideast Christians extinct

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Catholic News Service

NEW YORK — Christians in the Middle East face extinction because of genocide, wars and international indifference to their plight, according to panelists at a Dec. 5 interfaith forum in New York.

A concerted multilateral effort to establish a safe haven for them while rebuilding their devastated homelands is preferable to massive permanent resettlement to other countries, including the United States, they said.

Men walk in rubble Nov. 13 near St. Mary's Catholic Church and St. Elias Orthodox Church after a bombing in Damascus, Syria. Christians in the Middle East face extinction because of genocide, wars and international indifference to their plight, said speakers at a Dec. 5 panel discussion in New York. (CNS photo/Mohammed Badra, EPA)

Men walk in rubble Nov. 13 near St. Mary’s Catholic Church and St. Elias Orthodox Church after a bombing in Damascus, Syria. Christians in the Middle East face extinction because of genocide, wars and international indifference to their plight, said speakers at a Dec. 5 panel discussion in New York. (CNS photo/Mohammed Badra, EPA)

Twelve speakers at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture event explored “The Crisis for Christians in the Middle East,” with a particular focus on vulnerable Christian minorities in Syria and Iraq.

Christians formed the majority in the Middle East until the Crusades in the 12th-14th centuries, but “the past thousand years haven’t been good in many ways,” said Jack Tannous, assistant professor of history at Princeton University.

Tremendous violence perpetrated against Christians led to widespread conversion, he said, and long periods of stasis have been punctuated by large-scale persecution and followed by immigration.

As a result, many Christians were effectively exterminated from the lands where they lived for centuries, said Michael Reynolds, associate professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University.

Genocide is the accurate description for the fate of Christians, especially in areas controlled by the Islamic State, speakers said.

Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said she appreciated that Christians were included in the March 17 genocide declaration by Secretary of State John Kerry, even if the inclusion, she added, was made with difficulty by the current administration and because “it’s popular to talk about minority religions.”

Kerry said the atrocities carried out by the Islamic State group against Yezidis, Christians and other minorities were genocide.

“Today we are witnessing the world’s indifference to the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East and Africa,” said Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress and former U.S. ambassador to Austria. Referencing the Holocaust, he said, “Since 1945, genocide has occurred again and again. ‘Never Again!’ has become hollow. You can’t just declare genocide and say the job is done. You have to back it up with action.”

“Jews know what happens when the world is silent to mass slaughter. We learned it the hard way,” Lauder added.

“People turn off the Middle East because it’s so horrible,” Arriaga de Bucholz said, but having the U.S. declare genocide helps bring attention to the situation and opens the potential for action.

Msgr. John E. Kozar, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association, said his organization works with the Eastern churches throughout the Middle East, an area not fully understood or appreciated by those in the Latin church. The charitable and health care efforts particularly by women religious in largely Muslim areas have been well-received, and Christians and others have gotten along well, he said. Nonetheless, there is much outright suffering and persecution, he said.

“Syria is an absolute mess, but the church is still there,” Msgr. Kozar said. Lebanon is at or close to capacity with refugees. Jordan has the greatest concentration of refugees in the world, but its camps are plagued with extortion and a gangland mentality. Christians are considered third-class citizens in Egypt and still suffer reprisals after the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood. Christians in Kurdistan and Iraq face different challenges.

“We are accompanying Christians who believe that somehow Our Lord will accompany and sustain them. We try to bring a reasonable stability,” he said.

Msgr. Kozar and other speakers underscored the deep historic and cultural connection of the Christians to their lands. “There is a tug of war between the goodwill of people here in the West who want to welcome and adopt (the refugees) and presume it’s best to extract them from where they are, and the church leaders and most of the people who want to stay” in the region and return to their countries when it is safe to do so, Msgr. Kozar said. “Family, faith, and church and connected.”

Nina Shea, director of the center for religious freedom at the Hudson Institute, said the current administration’s lack of a religious test for aid dooms tiny minorities and the new administration must make sure Christians and other minorities get their fair share of aid destined for Syria and Iraq.

Also, the United Nations needs a plan to protect minorities. “Otherwise, they will become extinct,” she said.

Retired U.S. Gen. Raymond Odierno, former chief of staff of the U.S. Army, said during his lengthy leadership service in Iraq, he never had a specific mission to protect Christians. He said that was likely because there were bigger problems and if the U.S. singled out Christians, it might be interpreted by the Iraqis as trying “to force our religion on Iraq.”

Odierno said the new administration should be prepared to have a position on what happens to Christians when the fighting wanes in Syria. He advocated a multinational effort to establish a safe haven to protect Christians “until governments can receive them and place them back where they belong, or else, they’ll dwindle.”

The effort will only work if it is multinational and supported by the United Nations, he said. A solo effort by the United States would create a larger problem for Christians because it would look like the U.S. was unilaterally protecting Christians.

Odierno also suggested relocating Christians from the Ninevah Plain of Iraq to Kurdish-controlled areas during what he said could be a 10- to 20-year rebuilding process before they could return home. He could support a no-fly zone there if there’s a threat and if Russia participated, he said.

Odierno said it’s unclear if the U.S. and Russia can work together to protect Christians and he has not spoken to anyone in Russia, “but I believe we should be able to develop common ground on this.”

He said, “It’s up to us as a nation that supports all religions to assist when any religion is being attacked. We should be there and take a look at it … we may be judged 50 years from now.”

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York said when bishops visit him from the Middle East, “they don’t say a lot, but unfailingly cry and plead not to be forgotten. They feel desperate, alone and isolated.” He wore a Coptic pectoral cross, a gift to him from Egypt, and he displayed an icon of the Martyrs of Libya.

“We have a God who is calling us to a sense of justice, advocacy and charity. We cannot forget these people,” he said.

The event was organized by the Anglosphere Society, a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the traditional values of English-speaking peoples, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of New York and the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture.

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Priest-historian: 75 years later, Pearl Harbor remains ‘such a powerful event’

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Catholic News Service

A Catholic military chaplain and historian says the attack on Pearl Harbor, even 75 years later, continues to rivet the attention of Americans because it is “such a powerful event.”

Pearl Harbor survivors Clark Simmons of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Aaron Chabin of Bayside, N.Y., look at the water after throwing a wreath into the Hudson River during a 2015 ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York marking the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Dec. 7 will mark the 75th anniversary of the attack. (CNS photo/Justin Lane, EPA)

Pearl Harbor survivors Clark Simmons of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Aaron Chabin of Bayside, N.Y., look at the water after throwing a wreath into the Hudson River during a 2015 ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York marking the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Dec. 7 will mark the 75th anniversary of the attack. (CNS photo/Justin Lane, EPA)

As the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack neared, Father Daniel Mode detailed the effect of the Japanese attack on the Hawaiian outpost.

“Before that, we were debating whether to get involved with World War II or not. We were basically a neutral country, trying not to get engaged in it. It (the attack) changed the tenor, and the president’s resolve,” Father Mode told Catholic News Service. “It brought our country together to fight a common threat.”

Speaking from the Pentagon, where he works for the chief of chaplains, Father Mode said he can see a parallel between Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terror attacks.

“They’re both cataclysmic events that galvanized our country,” he said. “One was more obviously targeted toward the civilian population, one toward the military population,” the priest added, “but both certainly were defining moments in our country.”

As a child, young Daniel Mode lived at Pearl Harbor for four years while his father was on duty in the Navy.

“I vividly remember as a young kid — fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade — going to the (USS) Arizona Memorial. As an altar server, I served Mass. It made a great impact on me. It was probably the seeds that were planted in my heart as I discerned my vocation to the priesthood. Pearl Harbor has made an amazing impact on my life.”

The lesson to be learned from Pearl Harbor, he said, is “always vigilance, to be vigilant. To use all sorts of opportunities for diplomacy, opportunities for peaceful engagement, to use all those opportunities ahead of time to engage with populations of other countries, but to be ever vigilant. We want to be friends, right? We have to have friends all over the world. But we have to be aware that not everyone wants to be our friend.”

Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, 24 years ago, Father Mode has spent most of his ordained ministry in the Navy Reserve, and the last 12 years in full-time chaplaincy, where he has attained the rank of commander. He’s now six months into a three-year stint at the Pentagon, where his work, among other things, includes collecting data on all the work performed by chaplains.

Father Aloysius Schmitt, the first U.S. chaplain killed in World War II, is pictured in an undated photo. He died during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 while helping others escape his ship, the USS Oklahoma. Nearly 75 years after his death, the remains of Father Schmitt, a native of St. Lucas, Iowa, and graduate of Loras College, were identified and came home to the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, for burial Oct. 8. (CNS photo/Witness files)

Father Aloysius Schmitt, the first U.S. chaplain killed in World War II, is pictured in an undated photo. He died during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 while helping others escape his ship, the USS Oklahoma. Nearly 75 years after his death, the remains of Father Schmitt, a native of St. Lucas, Iowa, and graduate of Loras College, were identified and came home to the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, for burial Oct. 8. (CNS photo/Witness files)

He took a brief break from that work in October when he was selected to represent the Chaplain Corps at a funeral Mass in Dubuque, Iowa, in October for Father Aloysius Schmitt, a chaplain aboard the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor, who pushed a dozen men out a narrow porthole to safety during the attack at the cost of his own life as the ship was sinking. He was the first U.S. chaplain to die in World War II. It was only recently that his remains had been positively identified.

“It amazed me, too, that 75 years later, it would be an amazing occasion that gathered so many people together, but that it made national news,” Father Mode said.

Another heroic World War II chaplain Father Mode identified was Father Joseph O’Callahan, a Jesuit priest who was the Catholic chaplain aboard the USS Franklin, then a troop transport ship about 50 miles from the coast of Japan in March 1945, five months before the war ended. Father O’Callahan was awarded the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor, for organizing rescue and firefighting parties, leading men below deck to soak magazines that had threatened to explode, which would have catastrophically increased the death toll beyond the 800 who did perish, and administer last rites.

“He certainly comes to mind as a hero,” Father Mode said. “He did not die. He served, he went back to (the College of the) Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, to continue teaching math, which is what he did as a Jesuit priest. He is buried in the Jesuit cemetery at Holy Cross.”

Father Mode does not confine his historical research to World War II. For his master’s thesis in history, he wrote a book on Father Vincent Capodanno, a Navy Reserve chaplain who died while serving with the Marines in Vietnam in 1967, was affectionately called “the ‘grunt padre’ for his ability to relate well with soldiers and his willingness to risk his life to minister to the men.” “Grunt” is slang for a member of the U.S. infantry. The cause for his sainthood was formally opened in 2006.

 

Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.

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Oakland bishop prays for victims, first responders in warehouse fire

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OAKLAND, Calif. — In response to the Dec. 2 fire that erupted in an Oakland warehouse, Bishop Michael J. Barber of Oakland said in a statement that his “prayers and thoughts are with all those who have died or are suffering from the tragic fire.”

A woman prays Dec. 5 at a makeshift memoria near the scene of a fatal warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif. The Dec. 2 blaze claimed the lives of at least 33 people. (CNS photo/Stephen Lam, Reuters)

A woman prays Dec. 5 at a makeshift memoria near the scene of a fatal warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif. The Dec. 2 blaze claimed the lives of at least 33 people. (CNS photo/Stephen Lam, Reuters)

“We also pray for the first responders, medical personnel and others who are aiding the victims and their loved ones. We will be remembering the deceased in our Masses this weekend throughout the Diocese of Oakland,” he said in a Dec. 3 statement.

As of Dec. 6, the death toll was 36 and officials said that no additional bodies have been recovered.

The fire started during a dance party at a warehouse that had been converted to artists’ studios and illegal living spaces, dubbed the Ghost Ship. The cause of the fire, reported to be the most lethal building fire in the U.S. in more than a decade, has not been determined.

“We owe it to the community and those who perished in this fire, and those who survived the fire to be methodical, to be thorough, and to take the amount of time it takes to be able to look at every piece of potential evidence,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, according to The Associated Press.

Hundreds attended a vigil Dec. 5 at Oakland’s Lake Merritt for those who died in the fire.

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New York archdiocese appeals ruling to move Archbishop Sheen’s remains to Peoria

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Catholic News Service

PEORIA, Ill. — Hopes buoyed in the Diocese of Peoria by a Nov. 17 court ruling allowing Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s family to transfer the sainthood candidate’s remains from New York to Peoria were tempered by an emergency stay being granted to the Archdiocese of New York, which planned to appeal the ruling.

In a 10-page decision, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arlene Bluth had granted the request of Archbishop Sheen’s niece, Joan Sheen Cunningham, to have the remains of the famed orator and media pioneer removed from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and transferred to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, where a crypt is being prepared for his re-interment.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is pictured at a pulpit in an undated file photo.  Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill., president of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, said early March 6 he received word that the seven-member board of medical experts who advise the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes has unanimously approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Archbishop Sheen. (CNS file )

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen  (CNS file )

However, five days later, lawyers representing the Archdiocese of New York and the trustees of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, who oppose the relocation of the remains, announced their intention to appeal Bluth’s ruling. They also sought and were granted the stay.

In a statement provided to Catholic New York, newspaper of the New York Archdiocese, attorney John M. Callagy said: “We are confident that we will present substantial reasons for the appeals court to overturn the initial decision.”

In announcing her decision, Bluth wrote that “the petitioner has set forth a justifiable, good, and substantial reason for moving the remains.”

Among the reasons cited for disinterment is that the move will aid in the canonization process; that Archbishop Sheen’s parents are buried nearby in Peoria; and that St. Mary’s Cathedral is where Archbishop Sheen was ordained a priest and a place he visited often during his lifetime.

The Diocese of Peoria, which has been a promoter of Archbishop Sheen’s canonization cause for more than 14 years, expressed joy at the ruling and pledged “to begin working with the Archdiocese of New York to make this process happen as soon as possible.”

Patricia Gibson, chancellor of the Diocese of Peoria, called the decision to appeal disappointing, but expressed the hope the stay would be rejected at a hearing that could occur soon. If that happened, she said, it is possible Archbishop Sheen’s remains may be present for Christmas Masses at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Archbishop Sheen, who won the 1951 Emmy for outstanding television personality for his show “Life Is Worth Living,” was born in the Woodford County community of El Paso on May 8, 1885, and moved with his family to Peoria so that he and his brothers could attend St. Mary Cathedral Grade School and Spalding Institute. He was ordained to the priesthood in the cathedral on Sept. 20, 1919.

After brief priestly ministry in Peoria he would go on to serve on the faculty of The Catholic University of America in Washington for nearly 30 years and was national director of the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966.

A former auxiliary bishop of the New York Archdiocese, he was bishop of Rochester, New York, from 1966 to 1969 and was given the personal title of archbishop when he retired from that diocesan post. He is the author of dozens of books, including his autobiography: “Treasure in Clay.”

Archbishop Sheen died Dec. 9, 1979.

In 2000, the Archbishop Sheen Foundation was officially organized and two years later, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria petitioned the Vatican to open the canonization process.

Archbishop Sheen’s heroic virtue and life of sanctity were recognized in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI, who granted him the title “Venerable.” The Diocese of Peoria has said that, with progress already made in the cause and pending the approval of Pope Francis, a beatification could be celebrated in the near future after the arrival of the remains at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

 

Dermody is editor of The Catholic Post, newspaper of the Diocese of Peoria.

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Iraqi Christians in U.S. pray to reunite with family at Christmas

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Catholic News Service

CHICAGO — On a recent overcast Sunday morning in northwest Chicago, the pews of the small wood-paneled St. Ephrem Chaldean Catholic Church were filled to overflowing. Among the rows of Massgoers sat Firaz Rassam and her sisters.

After the Mass, Rassam and her sister, Victoria Rassam, said they “pray, pray that (Victoria’s) children would be able to get out (of northern Iraq) in time” before any major Islamic State attack or any other conflict reaches their neighborhood in Ankawa, a Christian hub in the Kurdish region. Firaz Rassam, who arrived in Chicago in September, said this year she would not be able to celebrate Christmas “with the type of happiness that (her family) normally would celebrate.”

Fairuz Rassam, a long-time Chicago resident, sent for her Iraqi sisters, Firaz and Victoria, so they could escape the conflict in Iraq. They are seen at Mass Dec. 4 at St. Ephrem Chaldean Catholic Church in Chicago. (CNS photo/Simone Orendain)

Fairuz Rassam, a long-time Chicago resident, sent for her Iraqi sisters, Firaz and Victoria, so they could escape the conflict in Iraq. They are seen at Mass Dec. 4 at St. Ephrem Chaldean Catholic Church in Chicago. (CNS photo/Simone Orendain)

Speaking through their nephew who interpreted from their native dialect, an Aramaic derivative, Firaz Rassam, 44, said that she and her three children came ahead of her husband after her other sister, Fairuz Rassam, sent for her.

“The environment over there,” said Firaz Rassam, who used to be a librarian. “There’s no electricity. It’s dangerous. There’s no work. I want to have a better future for my kids.”

Victoria Rassam, 56, who migrated to Chicago two years ago, was still waiting for her family to come. She said all she could do was pray and that she was really hoping she would see her children again soon.

“This Christmas we will celebrate by going to midnight Mass and praying for them,” said Victoria Rassam.

Since the second Gulf War in 2003, oil-rich Iraq has been unstable with ethnic and religious conflicts that have given rise to various terror organizations, including the Islamic State group, which grew out of Saddam Hussein’s military, factions of al-Qaida and other groups. Many Christians migrated; others fled Islamic State and other terror organizations.

Deacon Hameed Shabila, a longtime Chicago resident who works at St. Ephrem, told CNS his siblings in the Baghdad area have not been able to attend midnight Mass for years because it is not safe. He said the churches are heavily guarded by armed forces after dark.

Deacon Shabila, who has asked that his siblings be allowed to come to the U.S., said it was also around Christmas time that one parishioner’s adult son was killed in Iraq 10 years ago. Shabila served as interpreter for the parishioner, Maria Yonan.

Yonan said she fled Iraq with her daughter-in-law and two grandsons immediately after her son was killed when he was celebrating on New Year’s. The 77-year old widow was hesitant to speak with CNS and feared for her grandsons’ safety as she described how a group she called terrorists attacked her son and his friends.

Yonan and her daughter-in-law spent a couple of years as refugees in Syria, trying to get to Australia, where her daughter-in-law has family. But the wait was too long and they decided to come to the U.S., which was accepting refugees. Her daughter also came to the U.S. as a refugee and is living in California, but one other daughter stayed behind with her own family.

Yonan, who recently became a U.S. citizen and lives in low-income housing, said at Christmas she likes to go to midnight Mass at St. Ephrem, where she can be with people who speak her language. She has tried to keep up some of the same Christmas traditions that her family kept in Iraq.

Yonan said every Christmas her grandsons visit and she makes special Christmas candy called klecha, a treat that “makes people happy” and signifies a joyful time. But this year, Yonan said she was not planning to make the candies because she is in mourning after the Nov. 25 death of her son-in-law, who suffered a heart attack in Baghdad.

Hazim Maryaqo and his family also will not be celebrating Christmas this year because of the death from illness of his brother in Baghdad. Maryaqo, 49, arrived in the Detroit area Oct. 4 with his pregnant wife and three children, all younger than 8.

In a phone interview with CNS, he said through an interpreter that when the family was living as refugees in Turkey during the two years before coming to the U.S., “There was no (Christmas) celebration.”

“The three or four (Christian) families that were around us, they came to our house, we went to their house. That was as simple as we could do,” said Maryaqo, who was threatened with death at his family pastry shop in central Baghdad for selling certain cakes with liqueur in them.

Maryaqo said now that he is in Michigan, his family tries to go to Mass often, but sometimes trying to find transportation is tough. He said he is hoping to find work as a pastry chef so that the family can have some stability and get to church more regularly. But he also expressed anxiety about the safety of his elderly father and siblings left behind in Baghdad.

“I will never go back to Iraq, but I hope I can bring my family here,” he said.

Going to Christmas midnight Mass was something that Eevyan Hanoon said she longed for when she lived with her husband and toddler for three years at a refugee camp in Turkey. She said that she made klecha and tried to make the most of the season. But something was lacking.

“The difference at Christmastime was the Eucharist. I missed taking the Eucharist. I was with two church choirs in Mosul (Iraq),” said Hanoon, 28. “This is the most important thing in our life. We have not missed a single Sunday” since arriving in Michigan in September.

In Chicago, the Rassam sisters’ nephew, Rakan Kunda, said even if his own family has been living in the U.S. for two decades, they “always remember … family back home” at Christmastime.

“We think about them,” said Kunda, 26. “We pray for them but there’s nothing we can do at this point. Until all this is over.”

By Simone Orendain

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Pope names two auxiliary bishops for Baltimore

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WASHINGTON —Pope Francis has named Msgr. Adam Parker, vicar general and moderator of the curia in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Msgr. Mark Brennan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, as auxiliary bishops for Baltimore.

Msgr. Mark Brennan, pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg, Md., is pictured in a Dec. 2 photo. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Brennan an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lipplemann, Catholic Standard)

Msgr. Mark Brennan, pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg, Md., is pictured in a Dec. 2 photo. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Brennan an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lipplemann, Catholic Standard)

The pope also has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, who is 76. Canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope at age 75. A Baltimore auxiliary since 2005, Bishop Madden is former chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

The changes were announced in Dec. 5 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishops-designate Parker and Brennan’s episcopal ordination will be Jan. 19 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore.

“This is a joyous and blessed day for our archdiocese,” Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said in a statement.

He said Bishop-designate Brennan, 69, will bring to his new role “his four decades of experience as a priest who has served in a variety of settings, including most recently as pastor of a large parish with a significant Spanish-speaking population.”

“His pastoral leadership and experience working with Spanish-speaking Catholics suits him well for the duties of auxiliary bishop, which include helping to oversee our efforts to grow and care for the spiritual needs of Spanish-speaking Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Archbishop Lori added.

About Bishop-designate Parker, 44, he said he has “been blessed to work with (him) on a daily basis for much of my time since arriving as archbishop of Baltimore” in 2012. The priest “is widely regarded by his co-workers and fellow priests,” Archbishop Lori said, “and is well-prepared to assume the duties of auxiliary bishop, while continuing to manage the day-to-day operations of the central services offices of the archdiocese.”

Archbishop Lori said the archdiocese also has been blessed by the dedicated service of Bishop Madden. “I’m pleased that he will continue serving our local church (in retirement). … I am grateful for his selfless service and his willingness to continue serving God’s people.”

Bishop Madden was Baltimore’s only active auxiliary after then-Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski was named bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts, in June 2014.

Msgr. Adam J. Parker, vicar general and moderator of the curia in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is pictured in an early October photo. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Parker an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, The Catholic Review)

Msgr. Adam J. Parker, vicar general and moderator of the curia in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is pictured in an early October photo. Pope Francis has named Msgr. Parker an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, The Catholic Review)

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl in a statement said Bishop-designate Brennan’s appointment “is a tribute to his faithful and fruitful priestly ministry.”

“We in the church of Washington have greatly appreciated Msgr. Brennan and his pastoral ministry over the years,” he said. “Together with the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Washington, I offer heartfelt congratulations to Msgr. Brennan.

“We will miss him, but know that the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be gaining a fine pastoral leader. He brings with him our prayers for his success.”

Bishop designate-Parker has been the Baltimore archdiocese’s vicar general and moderator of the curia since 2014. From 2013-2104, he was vice chancellor for a year before that. He was priest-secretary to now-Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, from 2007-2012, when he headed the Baltimore Archdiocese.

“From the earliest days of my priesthood, in all kinds of situations and most especially in times of transition, I have consistently prayed the words, ‘Thy will be done,’” Bishop-designate Parker said in a statement about his appointment. “Such was my prayer when I received the news that I had been appointed auxiliary bishop of Baltimore. … My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to lead and guide me to do God’s will and in so doing, that I may be a faithful shepherd and an instrument of God’’s love and mercy.”

Since 2003, Bishop-designate Brennan has been pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg, Md., a multilingual parish that is one of the largest in the Washington Archdiocese.

He celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood this year. Reflecting on his vocation during a recent interview with the Catholic Standard, Washington’s archdiocesan newspaper, he said he felt an “overwhelming sense of God’s faithfulness. … The Lord is always there for me, giving me the help I need.”

The greatest challenge he said he faced as a parish priest “is just meeting the great variety of situations you encounter.” The greatest joy, he added, comes in seeing God’s “grace work in the lives of people,” for example, when couples he counseled are working through the difficulties in their marriage, or when a young person is back on the right path, or when a man whose confession he heard tells him that he helped turn around the problems he was facing.

In a statement about his appointment as an auxiliary bishop for Baltimore, he said he was humbled by it “at this stage in my life and being simply a parish priest.”

“It is something I never expected but I will trust in God and do my best. I have found that God never lets us down,” Bishop-designate Brennan said. “As he has promised, his grace is always there for us, so I will take up my responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore with gratitude and openness to both God and the people.”

Born in Boston Feb, 6, 1947, Bishop-designate Brennan earned a bachelor of arts degree from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1969. He pursued seminary studies at Christ the King Seminary in Albany, New York, 1969-1970. In 1972 he received a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, 1972; he also earned a graduate degree from the Gregorian in 1974. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington May 15, 1976.

Over the years he has had a number of parish posts around the archdiocese. He oversaw pastoral care to the Hispanic community from 1988-1989; and was director of vocations and priest programs, 1988-1998. Among other assignments he has been vicar forane for the archdiocese, 2002-2005.

 

Mark Zimmermann in Washington contributed to this report.

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Some fleeing wildfires in Tennessee describe it as escaping ‘hell’

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PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — St. Mary’s Catholic Church was at ground zero in the wildfires that devastated parts of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Nov. 28, and while flames reached to within yards of the tourist city church, it appears to have been spared.

Some parishioners weren’t as fortunate.

Father Arthur Torres, associate pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville, Tenn., assists volunteers Nov. 29 in unloading items donated for victims of the wildfires that ravaged the Great Smoky Mountains region. (CNS photo/Bill Brewer, The East Tennessee Catholic)

Father Arthur Torres, associate pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville, Tenn., assists volunteers Nov. 29 in unloading items donated for victims of the wildfires that ravaged the Great Smoky Mountains region. (CNS photo/Bill Brewer, The East Tennessee Catholic)

Its pastor, Carmelite Father Antony Punnackal, was forced to evacuate St. Mary’s as intense fires came within 300 yards of the church that sits in the heart of Gatlinburg.

The church and rectory have been closed since then, but the priest has received reports that the buildings were spared from the blaze but sustained smoke damage and possible damage from high winds that fueled the flames.

The wildfires left a swath of destruction in and around the city of Gatlinburg, causing at least 13 deaths, more than 50 injuries, and tens of millions of dollars in property damage. Dozens of residents and visitors to the tourist destination still are missing. Three people who suffered serious burns were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

As of midday Dec. 2, the city of 5,000 residents still was closed down, with only emergency personnel allowed to enter as well as residents and property owners on a limited basis.

“I know of seven families in our parish that lost everything,” Father Punnackal told The East Tennessee Catholic, the magazine of the Diocese of Knoxville. “Five of them lived in apartments that burned to the ground. They lost their housing and all their belongings. They’re also jobless because the businesses where they worked burned.”

Many evacuees reported fleeing through horrific infernos, with intense flames licking at their vehicles as they fled down narrow mountain roads to safety. But a number of residents and tourists perished in the flames, and rescue workers still were trying to account for everyone.

Some members of Holy Cross Parish in Pigeon Forge also lost their homes, belongings and businesses. The fires burned nearly 16,000 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Father Punnackal was told he could re-enter Gatlinburg Dec. 2 to assess the church and rectory. But he could only stay for a few hours.

He said that as he monitored the spreading fires Nov. 28, smoke was entering the church and rectory to the point it became unsafe to breathe. Shortly thereafter, he was forced to evacuate with just an overnight bag as fire threatened the property.

Father Punnackal has been staying at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Newport while his parishioners were spread out in shelters and hotels, or with family or friends.

“I’m now far away, and I can’t get to my parishioners. I have tried to go back, but I’ve been unsuccessful,” the priest said. “I greatly appreciate everyone offering help. I’m doing what I can, but we have a long way to go.”

While a severe drought over several months prompted many of the recent eastern Tennessee woodland blazes, officials are investigating whether some of the wind-whipped fires above Gatlinburg were caused by individuals, either accidentally or intentionally.

The wildfires raced down the mountains, eviscerating everything in their path: homes, condominiums, chalets, cabins, apartments, businesses, automobiles. YouTube was populated with harrowing cellphone videos of people fleeing, blinded by thick, suffocating smoke, many of them unsure if they would make it out alive. Some of them described the situation as escaping the “gates of hell” and running through “rivers of flame.”

As a stream of vehicles exited Gatlinburg and surrounding areas, shelters were set up to accommodate those displaced, which numbered as many as 2,000 at one point. Evacuees were receiving food, clothing and other help in shelters set up by the American Red Cross, said Father Andres Cano, pastor of Holy Cross.

“Many people are showing solidarity and generosity toward the people affected by the fires,” he said, adding that “there is a longtime recovery ahead for the people and the local community.”

Father Cano was assessing the impact of the wildfires on his parish. As of Dec. 1, the parish knew of one family that lost their home to fire, but more could be affected. He also said parishioners’ employers in and around Gatlinburg were affected, and those parishioners are now out of work.

Knoxville Bishop Richard F. Stika has been working with volunteers from around the diocese to get assistance to the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge communities.

On Dec. 1, the bishop announced a $25,000 grant for fire victims through the Diocese of Knoxville’s St. Mary’s Legacy Foundation. The $25,000 grant is in addition to $735,000 that the St. Mary’s Legacy Foundation will be distributing to charities and nonprofit groups throughout eastern Tennessee in 2017.

“What happened in the Gatlinburg area was unexpected, and each day we’re hearing about more lives lost, more property destroyed, and more heartache for many, many people. The St. Mary’s Legacy Foundation has a very precise way of evaluating grant distributions before they’re announced. In this case, the foundation felt it was best to react to this tragedy immediately,” Bishop Stika said.

“The St. Mary’s Legacy Foundation also recognizes that many communities across our entire diocese have been affected by wildfires, and more recently, tornadoes. For this reason, the $25,000 grant will be channeled into our diocesan Fund for Wildfire Victims. We want to make sure we can help everyone who needs assistance,” he added.

East Tennesseans began donating needed items to the Sevier County relief effort early Nov. 29, and those donations continue.

Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville began a drive to collect bottled water, food, and clothing that has turned into a multiday effort. Those donated goods were delivered to the National Guard armory in Sevier County, just outside of Pigeon Forge, where Guard troops are assisting in the relief effort. Diocese of Knoxville schools also took part in collecting donations.

Bishop Stika said offers for assistance were coming in from around the country, including from Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Alaska, who chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catholic Home Missions, and the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, has helped in getting information out about the relief effort.

“It just shows that the Catholic Church is the face and hands of Jesus, and that we do together what we can’t do by ourselves. Together, with the Holy Spirit, we can overcome anything,” Bishop Stika said.

The diocese is accepting donations online for its assistance fund at http://tinyurl.com/j6gf2wd. All parishes and mission churches in the diocese were asked to hold a special collection at Masses the weekend of Dec. 3-4 for relief efforts.

The wildfires damaged or destroyed more than 700 homes and businesses, including about 300 buildings Gatlinburg and about another 400 in Pigeon Forge.

Sevier County native Dolly Parton announced her My People Foundation will give $1,000 a month in assistance to people affected by the wildfires that also destroyed a number of cabins near the Dollywood theme park. The theme park itself was not damaged in the fires, according to Dollywood officials.

Father David Boettner, rector of Knoxville’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, also was working to get assistance to St. Mary’s and Holy Cross parishioners.

He is confident the popular tourist destination will rebound.  

“It is tourism that built this area and it is tourism that will bring it back,” Father Boettner said. “Dolly Parton, to her credit, has reinvested in her home community. The immediate need was emergency assistance. Now that has shifted to long-term needs, getting people back into housing, to get these folks back on their feet and rebuilding the community.”

By Bill Brewer, editor of The East Tennessee Catholic, magazine of the Diocese of Knoxville.

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Hawaii Catholic paper’s 1941 war edition cited faith, patriotism of Catholics

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Catholic News Service

HONOLULU —“Our beloved country is at war. Our peaceful shores have been ruthlessly attacked, and all citizens are called upon to unite their efforts toward that peace for which we have all prayed, that peace which the world cannot give, and that peace which God will surely bring about when mankind has seen its folly and conforms its ways to his.”

Those are the opening words of the front-page editorial of The Catholic Herald, the publication of the Diocese of Honolulu, published Dec. 11, 1941, four days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

The first bomb is seen exploding during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. A Catholic military chaplain and historian says the attack on Pearl Harbor, even 75 years later, continues to rivet the attention of Americans because it was "such a powerful event." (CNS photo/Pearl Harbor Museum)

The first bomb is seen exploding during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. A Catholic military chaplain and historian says the attack on Pearl Harbor, even 75 years later, continues to rivet the attention of Americans because it was “such a powerful event.” (CNS photo/Pearl Harbor Museum)

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the attack.

The smallest of editions, a single tabloid sheet printed front and back, the newspaper was a somber reassurance of the faith, resolve and patriotism of Hawaii’s Catholics.

“Our duty is clearly marked out,” the editorial continued, “and will be faithfully executed. The pages of history proclaim the love and loyalty of Catholics for their fatherland in time of war as well as in time of peace. Catholics have been in the front lines at every battle in the history of our nation. And every war-time president from Washington down to our own beloved President (Franklin) Roosevelt has sung their praises.

“Difficult times may be ahead. But we are ready to face them. There may be many things which others would call sacrifices. But our leader has reminded us that for us they are not sacrifices, but rather privileges. We shall consider them as such, and take them in our stride.”

At the time of the attack, the diocese was only 3 months old. The newly installed Bishop James J. Sweeney was in California at the time, stranded with all commercial travel on hold, following his attendance of the annual U.S. bishops’ meeting in Washington. He was able to find a berth on the first troop transport ship to the islands and immediately took a role as chaplain, counselor and confessor for men headed for the battlefield.

It may have been providence that Bishop Sweeney was away because the one news story in that post-attack edition reported that his home on the slopes of Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, about eight miles from Pearl Harbor, had been “bombed.”

“The home of His Excellency Bishop Sweeney on Thurston Street was considerably damaged when bombs struck the Spencer Street entrance and destroyed the stairway leading to the second floor,” the story said. “The house was unoccupied at the time.”

Later, it was speculated that the bombs were probably American anti-aircraft fire.

The story further reported that “several narrow escapes were reported by various pastors, but no serious losses.”

It also said that “St. Stephen’s Seminary in upper Kalihi Valley suffered some damage as a result of a bomb which fell quite close to the building, shattering windows and breaking a water pipe. No one was injured, and the students have returned to their families until the government order affecting schools is lifted. The seminary building will probably be taken over by army authorities temporarily.”

Oddly or not, considering the large number of Hawaii residents of Japanese ancestry, the Catholic Herald never named the attacking country.

The unsigned front-page editorial, framed by a drawing of a man and woman gazing upward at a flying American flag, pledged prayers and the resolute cooperation of the church for the still unknown sacrifices ahead.

“Already our Catholic institutions are bee hives of activity. Our hospital is equipped. Our schools and halls are at the disposition of those who need them. Our Sisters are ready, as ever, to lend the helping hand, to suffering wherever it may be. Our priests are striving to assist their confreres the noble chaplains of our armed forces. Everyone is anxious to render as much assistance as is humanly possible.

“Thank God for our good Catholic people also who realize that we must not only work for peace, but must continue, nay redouble our prayers and self-denials. The kingdom of Heaven is said in holy Scripture to suffer violence, and we are reminded that it is the violent who bear it away. So we shall storm the heavens with our prayers while we do everything possible in the realm of material things to bring about what we all desire: Peace on earth to men of good will.

“God grant that the trying times through which we are passing may be shortened. May the Lord hear our prayers and hasten to our aid. And meanwhile, let us carry on courageously, united for God and country.”

 

Downes is editor of the Hawaii Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Honolulu.

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