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Pope tells archbishops not to be ‘armchair Catholics,’ but apostles

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church’s new cardinals and new archbishops must be willing to risk everything, patiently endure evil and bear crosses like Jesus did, Pope Francis said.

“The Lord answers our prayers. He is faithful to the love we have professed for him, and he stands beside us at times of trial.” Just as he accompanied the apostles, “he will do the same for you,” the pope told five new cardinals and about 30 archbishops named during the past year.

Pope Francis presents a box containing a pallium to Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, N.J., at the conclusion of Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 29. New archbishops from around the world received their palliums from the pope. The actual imposition of the pallium will take place in the archbishop's archdiocese. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis presents a box containing a pallium to Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, N.J., at the conclusion of Mass marking the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 29. New archbishops from around the world received their palliums from the pope. The actual imposition of the pallium will take place in the archbishop’s archdiocese. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis addressed the new cardinals and archbishops during his homily at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, who are the patron saints of the Vatican and the city of Rome.

The Mass was celebrated the day after Pope Francis created new cardinals from El Salvador, Mali, Laos, Sweden and Spain. Thirty-six archbishops appointed over the course of the past year were also invited to come to Rome to concelebrate the feast day Mass with Pope Francis. They came from 26 countries.

The concelebrants included Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey; and Archbishops Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Alaska; and Charles C. Thompson of Indianapolis. All three of the U.S. prelates have deep connections to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Archbishop Etienne was a priest of the archdiocese and Cardinal Tobin is the former archbishop.

In what has become the standard practice, the pope did not place the pallium on new archbishops during the liturgy. Rather, after the Mass, the pope handed each archbishop a pallium folded up in a small, simple wooden box tied with a brown ribbon as a soloist sang “You Got to Walk that Lonesome Valley,” a traditional American gospel song.

The actual imposition of the woolen band was to take place in the archbishop’s archdiocese in the presence of his faithful and bishops from neighboring dioceses. The pallium symbolizes an archbishop’s unity with the pope and his authority and responsibility to care for the flock the pope entrusted to him.

After the Mass, Cardinal Tobin told Catholic News Service that St. John XXIII had said “cardinals and bishops are the coat hangers on which the church hangs its tradition. Now I don’t like being a coat hanger, but the thing I like to wear the most is the pallium.”

Being made of lamb’s wool, the pallium is a reminder of “the need and really the obligation of the bishop to look for the one who is lost and then bring the lost one back on his shoulders,” the cardinal said. “I hope to do that in Newark.”

Archbishop Etienne noted that the pallium also is “symbolic of the unity of the metropolitan archbishops with the Holy Father and, through him, with the universal church.”

It tells an archbishop that his role is to be a good shepherd to his flock, “to help the people entrusted to my pastoral care to learn to live in unity and peace, to manifest that truth and love of Jesus Christ and the Gospel,” he said.

“The role of every priest, and particularly every bishop, is to be more and more transformed into Christ and that’s my prayer,” Archbishop Etienne said. “And then whatever burdens come and challenges, I’ll find my peace because I will be firmly convinced in experiencing his presence with me.”

Archbishop Thompson told CNS he received the pallium from Pope Francis as a gift for the sixth anniversary of his ordination as a bishop.

Pope Francis “has been such a great model, example and witness, and to receive this from him,” the archbishop said, is “a reminder to go forth. I think about Jesus at the Last Supper when he washed the feet of the disciples and said, ‘Now, go and do as I have done.’”

Archbishop Thompson said he kept watching Pope Francis during the Mass and looking at the pallium the pope wears as a symbol of the universality of his mission. “I watched him in his role of being the shepherd” and knew the pope was calling him “now to go forth and be that shepherd for the people entrusted to my care.”

In his homily at the Mass, the pope said the life of every apostle is built on: constant, edifying prayer; a firm, passionate profession of faith; and a willingness to patiently endure persecution.

People must ask themselves whether they are “armchair Catholics, who love to chat about how things are going in the church and the world,” he said, or if they are “apostles on the go,” who are on fire with love for God and ready to offer their lives for him.

Apostles of Christ “know that they cannot just tread water or take the easy way out, but have to risk putting out into the deep, daily renewing their self-offering,” he said.

Christians must follow the Lord completely and live according to his ways, not ways guided by personal self-interest, he said. Christ’s way “is that of new life, of joy and resurrection; it is also the way that passes through the cross and persecution.”

In different parts of the world, “often in complicit silence, great numbers of Christians are marginalized, vilified, discriminated against, subjected to violence and even death, not infrequently without due intervention on the part of those who could defend their sacrosanct rights,” the pope said.

However, there is no Christ and no Christian without the cross, he said. “Christian virtue is not only a matter of doing good, but of tolerating evil as well,” he said, quoting St. Augustine.

Enduring evil means “imitating Jesus, carrying our burden, shouldering it for his sake and that of others,” knowing that the Lord is by one’s side.

Finally, the pope said, prayer is another essential element of the life of an apostle as it “is the water needed to nurture hope and increase fidelity. Prayer makes us feel loved and it enables us to love in turn.”

As is customary, a delegation from the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople attended the Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Before the Mass, Archbishop Job of Telmessos, head of the Orthodox delegation, joined the pope in prayer at the tomb of St. Peter inside St. Peter’s Basilica. The two also stopped before a bronze statue of St. Peter, which was adorned with a jeweled tiara, ring and red cope.

Contributing to this story were Cindy Wooden and Junno Arocho Esteves.

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Cardinal Tobin installed as Newark, N.J., archbishop

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Catholic News Service

NEWARK, N.J. — The chasm between faith and life is the greatest challenge facing the Catholic Church today, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin said at his installation Mass, and he urged the church to be salt for the earth so that the presence of Christ does not become “a comforting, nostalgic memory.”

Delivering the homily during the liturgy Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany, Cardinal Tobin said he wanted to head off “a growing trend that seems to isolate us, convincing us to neatly compartmentalize our lives” as people attend Mass on Sunday and then doing “whatever we think we need to do to get by” the rest of the week.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin smiles as he greets a clergyman before his Jan. 6 installation Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin smiles as he greets a clergyman before his Jan. 6 installation Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Tobin said his appointment reminded him “that stakes are incredibly high” as he assumes leadership of the richly diverse Archdiocese of Newark.

“If we permit the chasm between faith and life to continue to expand, we risk losing Christ, reducing him simply to an interesting idea of a comforting, nostalgic memory. And if we lose Christ, the world has lost the salt, light and leaven that could have transformed it,” he said.

He recalled how the church is “the place where believers speak and listen to each other, and it is the community of faith that speaks with and listens to the world. The church senses a responsibility for the world, not simply as yet another institutional presence or a benevolent NGO, but as a movement of salt, light and leaven for the world’s transformation. For this reason, our kindness must be known to all.”

The installation took place before more than 2,000 people at Newark’s towering Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Cardinal Tobin concelebrated the Mass with six other cardinals and more than 60 archbishops and bishops. Five hundred priests and deacons also participated.

After a 30-minute processional, Archbishop John J. Myers, retired archbishop of Newark, welcomed participants and took special note of members of Cardinal Tobin’s religious community, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, his mother, Marie Terese Tobin, and his extended family. Cardinal Tobin, 64, is the eldest of 13 children.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States, recalled when St. John Paul visited Newark in 1995, he described the nearby Statue of Liberty as a symbol of “the nation America aspires to be.” Archbishop Pierre told Cardinal Tobin, “We are confident that in imitation of the Good Shepherd, your episcopal ministry will be both hospitable and welcoming.”

The nuncio read the apostolic mandate from Pope Francis to the College of Consultors to authorize Cardinal Tobin as the new archbishop of Newark.

Carrying the unfurled scroll with the mandate raised high in front of him, Cardinal Tobin walked down the main aisle and was greeted with sustained applause.

The cathedral was filled to capacity with the cardinal’s family and well-wishers from Newark and Indianapolis. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, as well as Sen. Robert Menendez were among the civic representatives.

The installation took place on the feast of the Epiphany and the choice of music reflected the liturgical season, as well as the special occasion. “O Come, All Ye Faithful” was the opening hymn.

Ethnic diversity in the archdiocese was represented by prayers of intercession in Spanish, English, Korean, Polish, Creole, Ibo, Portuguese, Tagalog and Italian.

At the end of Mass, Cardinal Tobin thanked “all those families to which I belong, beginning with the one that’s put up with me for 64 years,” specifically his mother, 12 brothers and sisters, in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles who were present. He said his family taught him how to love and share while growing up in a one-bathroom house with eight sisters.

The cardinal extended thanks to his Redemptorist family and “bishops in episcopal service in Indiana and New Jersey.” When he thanked Archbishop Meyers for his welcome and “the care you’ve given to this archdiocese for 15 years,” the congregation offered sustained applause.

Thanking the people in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for all they taught him and now mean to him, Cardinal Tobin said, “I showed up there unexpectedly four years ago and I was a little embarrassed to be parachuted in on top of these unsuspecting Hoosiers.”

Of his newest family in Newark, Cardinal Tobin said, “These past couple of months have been an interesting roller coaster of emotions, a time of preparation, anticipation and change for all of us.” He expressed heartfelt thanks to the army of people who worked since his appointment was announced Nov. 7 to plan multiple services and celebratory events.

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Retired Archbishop Gerety of Newark, NJ, dies at 104

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TOTOWA, N.J. — Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark died Sept. 20 while in the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor at the order’s elder-care facility in Totowa. He was 104.

Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark, N.J., the world's oldest Catholic bishop, died at age 104 Sept. 20 at St. Joseph's Home for the Elderly in Totowa, N.J. He is pictured in a 2010 photo. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark, N.J., the world’s oldest Catholic bishop, died at age 104 Sept. 20 at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Totowa, N.J. He is pictured in a 2010 photo. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

According to a remembrance of Archbishop Gerety posted Sept. 21 by the Archdiocese of Newark on its website, Archbishop Gerety was the world’s oldest Catholic bishop at the time of his death. By 2007, when he was 95, he was already the oldest living U.S. bishop.

Archbishop Gerety’s body will be received at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart the afternoon of Sept. 25 for the viewing, which will last until 6:30 p.m. local time.

On Sept. 26, a 3 p.m. funeral Mass will follow a four-hour period for viewing. Newark Archbishop John J. Myers will be the main celebrant of the Mass, to be followed immediately by internment in the crypt of the cathedral basilica.

Archbishop Myers in a Sept. 21 statement called Archbishop Gerety “a remarkable churchman whose love for the people of God was always strong and ever-growing.”

“He served as shepherd of this great archdiocese during a time of spiritual reawakening in the years after the Second Vatican Council, and a time of deep financial difficulties,” he added. “He very carefully led the church, her people and institutions through those challenges.”

Archbishop Gerety had been retired as head of the Newark Archdiocese for 30 years at the time of his death. He was Newark’s archbishop for 12 years. Before that he spent five years as the bishop of Portland, Maine; he had been coadjutor bishop of the statewide diocese for three years prior.

During his tenure in Newark, Archbishop Gerety helped create Renew International, the parish renewal program still in wide use among U.S. parishes today. Renew also has created several other parish renewal programs, including one that has been used in more than two dozen countries outside the United States.

Because Renew’s use was so widespread, Archbishop Gerety asked the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine in 1988 to evaluate it. Some groups in dioceses where it was being used were publicly critical of it.

The committee’s report praised many aspects of Renew, but said participants needed to be given a more complete understanding of Catholic faith and doctrine, and small-group leaders were to be more than just facilitators who accepted all the participants’ contributions as equally valid. Revisions suggested by the committee were made.

In a 2007 interview with The Catholic Advocate, Newark’s archdiocesan newspaper, he noted how he had been ordained a bishop shortly after the close of the Second Vatican Council. He noticed one important change was a shift from the “top-down” mentality that had prevailed at that time in the church.

Archbishop Gerety said the liturgy “improved tremendously” at that time, centering on increased participation among laypeople. Another major change he saw was the formation of parish councils and similar programs. In fact, he said one of his prized possessions was a stone tablet inscribed with a pledge he made in his early days in Newark when he said in a speech on April 18, 1975: “I am totally committed to parish councils by April 15, 1976.”

Born July 19, 1912, in Shelton, Conn., Leo, as his parents called him, won academic honors at Shelton High School and was captain of the football team. He was the eldest of nine sons.

His mother and father, Peter L. and Charlotte Daly Gerety, “had a tremendous religious faith, and a tremendously optimistic view of life. They loved life very much. They taught us we could do almost anything,” the archbishop once said.

After working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Transportation Department, the future archbishop entered St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn., and was chosen for study abroad at St. Sulpice Seminary in Issy, France. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., in 1939 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris.

One hallmark of his service in the Archdiocese of Hartford was ministry to black Catholics in New Haven. He founded an interracial social and religious center, the St. Martin de Porres Center, which gained parish status in 1956 with then-Father Gerety as its first pastor. In the 1960s, he founded the New Haven chapter of the Urban League and was a member of the Connecticut State Committee on Race and Religion and the National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice.

As bishop of Portland, Archbishop Gerety was active in pro-life and social justice causes, led campaigns to protest state legislative efforts to legalize abortion, and defended the rights of conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War.

In Newark, Archbishop Gerety expanded outreach to black and Hispanic Catholics, and shored up a deteriorating archdiocesan financial base. On a national stage, he was known for his work with the Call to Action Committee, formed at the time of the U.S. bicentennial celebration in 1976 to address and discuss the needs U.S. Catholics.

The eldest of nine brothers, Archbishop Gerety outlived all of them. He is survived by many nephews and nieces, as well as their children.

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Pope Francis accepts resignations of St. Paul archbishop, auxiliary bishop — updated

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Catholic News Service

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Pope Francis accepted the resignations June 15 of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche of St. Paul and Minneapolis and named coadjutor Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of Newark, New Jersey, a canon lawyer, to be apostolic administrator of the Minnesota archdiocese.

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, right, addresses the media alongside Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche at a news conference Jan. 16 announcing that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had filed for Chapter 11 Reorganization. Ten days after the archdiocese was criminally charged with failing to protect children, Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piche. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, right, addresses the media alongside Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche at a news conference Jan. 16 announcing that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had filed for Chapter 11 Reorganization. Ten days after the archdiocese was criminally charged with failing to protect children, Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piche. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

In a statement, Archbishop Nienstedt said he submitted his resignation to Pope Francis “to give the archdiocese a new beginning amidst the many challenges we face.”

“The Catholic Church is not our church, but Christ’s church, and we are merely stewards for a time,” he said. “My leadership has unfortunately drawn away from the good works of his church and those who perform them. Thus, my decision to step down.”

On June 5 the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office filed criminal and civil charges against the archdiocese alleging it failed to protect three boys who were sexually abused in 2008-2010 by Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest of the archdiocese.

Wehmeyer was convicted of the abuse and is serving a five-year prison sentence. He was dismissed from the priesthood in March.

Archbishop Nienstedt, 68, was appointed coadjutor archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2007, and installed as its archbishop in June 2008, succeeding Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, who retired.

Prior to taking the helm of the archdiocese, Archbishop Nienstedt was bishop of New Ulm, Minnesota, from 2001 to 2007, and auxiliary bishop of Detroit from 1996 to 2001.

“It has been my privilege the last seven years to serve this local church,” Archbishop Nienstedt said in a statement. “I have come to appreciate deeply the vitality of the 187 parishes that make up the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. I am grateful for the support I have received from priests, deacons, religious men and women and lay leaders, especially those who have collaborated with me in the oversight of this local church.”

He added: “I leave with a clear conscience knowing that my team and I have put in place solid protocols to ensure protection of minors and vulnerable adults.”

Archbishop Nienstedt requested prayers for “the well-being of this archdiocese and its future leaders.”

“I also ask for your continued prayers for me,” he said.

Bishop Piche, 57, was ordained as an auxiliary for St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2009.

“The people of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis needed healing and hope. I was getting in the way of that, so I had to resign,” he said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to serve this local church, and I will continue to hold everyone in the archdiocese in my prayers.”

Archbishopd Hebda plans to serve both the Minnesota and Newark archdioceses until Pope Francis names Archbishop Nienstedt’s successor.

In his statement, he noted that the position of an apostolic administrator is temporary and his role “is not to introduce change, but rather to facilitate the smooth continuation of the ordinary and essential activities of the church, while advancing those positive initiatives to which the archdiocese is already committed.”

Still, he said, he hoped to meet as many people as possible in the archdiocese while still fulfilling his responsibilities in Newark.

“As the universal church prepares to embark on a Year of Mercy, I look forward to getting to know this local church and experiencing in a new context the marvelous ways in which the Lord works through his people to make his grace and healing presence known and felt, even in the most challenging of times,” Archbishop Hebda said.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed in January for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code amid mounting claims of clergy sexual abuse. In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature lifted the civil statute of limitations on claims of child sexual abuse for a three-year period.

In May, the archdiocese announced that it would sell archdiocesan offices, including the archbishop’s residence, as part of the reorganization.

Barbara Dorris, outreach director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, welcomed the resignations. But she said that “one or two or three small steps doesn’t erase decades of complicity,” and added that Pope Francis’ “public relations advisers are trying hard to burnish his imagine prior to his U.S. trip.”

In Washington, reporters asked Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl about his reaction to the resignations. The cardinal was participating in a symposium on solidarity attended by religious and labor leaders held at AFL-CIO headquarters.

At a midday news conference on the symposium, Cardinal Wuerl said it was a “great tribute to Pope Francis” that the pontiff acted swiftly to accept the Minnesota prelates’ resignations.

Cardinal Wuerl said he believes the U.S. church response “has been exemplary on the issue of clerical abuse going back to 2002,” when the bishops first adopted the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” It was revised in 2005 and 2011.

“I’m hopeful that one … of the good things to come out of this for country” is to see “what the church has learned from this sad experience,” and view the church as a model of the “accountability required of all institutions,” not just the church. He urged other institutions to adopt the church’s “zero tolerance” on abuse and conduct the same background checks it does.

While there was no direct statement from the Vatican that the resignations of Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piche were tied to the Minnesota archdiocese’s mishandling of abuse cases and the criminal charges it faces, Cardinal Wuerl said there could be no more explicit explanation from the church than the resignations themselves.

The fact a resignation is voluntary shows that “the person who resigns now understands the significance” of the situation, Cardinal Wuerl said.

Wiering is editor of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Contributing to this story was Cindy Wooden in Rome.

 

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Father Mark Kopacz dies at 49

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Staff reporter

Father Mark Kopacz, a native of Poland who served in the Diocese of Wilmington since his ordination in 1992, died Dec. 27. He was 49.

The funeral Mass for Father Kopacz was Jan. 2 at St. Hedwig Church in Wilmington. Interment was at All Saints Cemetery.

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Pro-life New Jersey nurses sue hospital over its policy on abortions

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Catholic News Service

Confronted with what one called “a choice between our faith and our jobs,” 12 nurses are suing University Hospital in Newark, N.J., over a new policy requiring them to care for patients before and after abortions, even if they have religious or moral objections to abortion.

The hospital, part of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, said that because “no nurse is compelled to have direct involvement in, and/or attendance in the room at the time of,” an abortion, its policy does not violate state or federal conscience protection laws.

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