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Bishop Malooly condemns acts of anti-Semitic vandalism and threats

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Bishop Malooly issued the following statement Feb. 28 regarding recent anti-Semitic activities around the country and in our community:

“Recent shocking acts of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and the spate of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers across the nation, including the Siegel Jewish Community Center in Wilmington, reveal an ugly anti-Semitism that I condemn with all people of the Diocese of Wilmington and religious leaders of all faiths in our community.

Men work to right toppled Jewish headstones Feb. 21 after a vandalism attack on Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo. The incident at the cemetery near St. Louis was repeated in suburban Philadelphia Feb. 26 when gravestones were destroyed at a Jewish cemetery there.(CNS photo/Tom Gannam, Reuters)

Men work to right toppled Jewish headstones Feb. 21 after a vandalism attack on Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo. The incident at the cemetery near St. Louis was repeated in suburban Philadelphia Feb. 26 when gravestones were destroyed at a Jewish cemetery there.(CNS photo/Tom Gannam, Reuters)

“I express my sympathy to members of the Jewish community in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland for the hate crimes being committed. The Catholic Church rejects this wave of anti-Semitism and, in the words of Pope Francis, sees these kinds of unconscionable acts as ‘completely contrary to Christian principles and every vision worthy of the human person.’

“As Christians begin the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, March 1, I call on parishioners of the diocese to share God’s love with all their neighbors and speak out clearly against all forms of prejudice and hate directed toward any of God’s people.”

New Castle County Police reported on Feb. 27 that a third bomb threat in a month was made against the Siegel Jewish Community Center in north Wilmington that morning. The building was swept by police and cleared as safe. The threat was made a day after more than 100 headstones were discovered vandalized at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Similar headstone-toppling vandalism was discovered Feb. 21 at a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis, Missouri.

 

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St. Catherine of Siena hosting prayer vigil for justice and nonviolence on Jan. 17

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On Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. there will be a prayer vigil for justice, nonviolence and dignity of every person at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Wilmington. The event is being held in conjunction with Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 16) and the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan. 18-25.

The vigil has been planned in consultation with the Millcreek Ministerial Association and IMAC, Wilmington’s interdenominational ministers group, said Father John Hynes, pastor of St. Catherine’s.

Invitations have been sent to churches on the western side of Wilmington and suburbs as well as Red Clay and Vo-Tech school districts, the pastor said.

“Many of our children and teenagers attend school in this district,” Father Hynes said. “Especially for children of immigrants, this [vigil for justice, nonviolence and dignity] will strongly affect their future. As Pope Francis has said, ‘we need to be out there.’”

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Members of Red Clay-area churches to pray together for justice

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“Out to the periphery … where God is found today” — this expression from Pope Francis for me states the mission of the church here and now.

On a Sunday afternoon last May, I walked into a church on North Market Street to pay respects to the family of Amy Joyner-Francis, a sophomore who had died of a beating in school, by other girls. Grief numbed her family, seated in the front row; the many students and parents seemed stunned. It was “what should not happen in our community.” Read more »

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St. Edmond’s Academy brothers say good-bye

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Dialog reporter

 

Congregation of the Holy Cross brothers ending a more than 50-year presence at the boys’ school

 

WILMINGTON — St. Edmond’s Academy has been educating boys since 1959, and for all but a few of those years, brothers from the Congregation of the Holy Cross have been part of the school. That era came to an end with the Class of 2016, as the three remaining brothers will be leaving Wilmington on July 27. Read more »

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Step toward priesthood: Bishop Malooly to ordain Jasper to diaconate May 22

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Bishop Malooly will ordain Richard J. Jasper to the transitional diaconate May 22, at 3 p.m. in St. Elizabeth Church, Wilmington.

The diaconate is the final step toward priesthood for Jasper, who will be ordained a priest in the spring of 2017.

Read more »

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St. Mary Magdalen School students celebrate Pope Francis at rally Sept. 25

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Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON – The day before Pope Francis arrived in Philadelphia, more than 500 students at St. Mary Magdalen joined their teachers, Bishop Malooly, St. Mary Magdalen Pastor Father James Kirk., and superintendent of schools Louis De Angelo in welcoming the pontiff in an hour-long “pope rally.”

St. Mary Magdalen students parade through the school's gym Sept. 25 during a rally in honor of Pope Francis.

St. Mary Magdalen students parade through the school’s gym Sept. 25 during a rally in honor of Pope Francis. (www.DonBlakePhotography.com)

Parents filled the bleachers at St. Mary Magdalen on Sept. 25 to watch their children sing, cheer and chant in anticipation of the papal visit. A cardboard cutout of Pope Francis sat outside the gymnasium, and students entered carrying a “Flat Francis” or a poster, with some of the younger ones wearing miters.

Between students and teachers, there was every type of Pope Francis t-shirt imaginable: ones with “pope” in the design of Philadelphia’s “Love” monument; one bearing the words “Keep calm, the pope is coming”; several with his image; and one, worn by parish religious education coordinator Stephanie Casey, who led the rally, that said, “Pope Francis rocks Philly,” with an image of the pontiff with his arms raised a la Rocky Balboa.

“God is truly present with us right now,” St. Mary Magdalen principal Serena Brasco said.

Casey, who also has three children at the school and is a member of a parish moms’ prayer group, got the rally started, walking around with a microphone and saying, “I say ‘pope,’ you say ‘Francis,’” which the students did with gusto.

After a short biographical cartoon, students from each grade ascended the stage to read brief facts about Pope Francis. There were facts about his family; his love of sports, particularly soccer; his focus on education; his own schooling as a chemist before entering the Jesuits; and his love of sports.

“He recently learned to spin a basketball on his finger with the Harlem Globetrotters,” second-grader Franco Vranic told the assembly.

Elaine Zahnow, a seventh-grade student, told why the pope chose the name “Francis.” When he was elected, “a friend told him, ‘Don’t forget the poor,’” she said.

Bishop Malooly and Father James Kirk, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church, display the Pope Francis shirts they received at SMM School's Pope Francis rally, Sept. 25. (The Dialog/www.DonBlakePhotography.com)

Bishop Malooly and Father James Kirk, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church, display the Pope Francis shirts they received at SMM School’s Pope Francis rally, Sept. 25. (The Dialog/www.DonBlakePhotography.com)

Father Kirk called the pope an “amazing” human being.

“He wants us to be kind, compassionate and merciful,” he said.

The only person in the room who has actually met the pope then talked to the students. Bishop Malooly was in Washington, D.C., when the pope arrived on Sept. 23 and spent a few seconds with him at St. Matthew’s Cathedral with a group of American bishops.

“What were you doing on Wednesday afternoon at 1:25?” he asked the students. “I was shaking the Holy Father’s hand.”

Bishop Malooly said he told the pontiff, “Pope Francis, I’m Bishop Francis.” The pope had a confused look on his face, but when his translator relayed the message in Spanish, the pope had a good laugh.

The bishop presented Brasco with a photo of him with Pope Francis, then, noting all the papal t-shirts, wanted to know where all the Bishop Francis shirts were. None were to be had, but later in the afternoon, he, Father Kirk and De Angelo each received a Pope Francis shirt.

The bishop noted that it was not as noisy at St. Matthew’s as it was at St. Mary Magdalen, but it was a wonderful experience nonetheless. He said he spent some time with his neighbors telling them about his visit. Francis is the third pope the bishop has met.

Another fact about the pope that the students learned is that he has a devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots. Each of the children wore a knot on their wrist signifying a challenge they face in their lives. They and members of the parish religious education program also wrote those challenges on paper knots and placed them in a basket that was placed on the stage. Bishop Malooly blessed the knots.

One of the challenges was “I want to stop bullying,” while another read, “I need to pray more.”

The afternoon also featured a performance by the school’s cheerleaders, in uniform and waving pom poms. They led the assembly in a series of chants. Soon, the gym was filled with the sounds of “Hey, hey! Are you ready, are you ready for Pope Francis?”

With the theme song from “Rocky” playing, two students with Pope Francis masks jogged around high-fiving students as two other students followed carrying the papal flag. One of the highlights of the program followed, as the gym erupted with the sound of “Pope Song,” a revised version of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” filled the room.

After a round of pope trivia, the assembly ended with another rendition of the “Pope Song.” The students then filed out with a full weekend of papal activity ahead of them.

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Bishop Malooly leads holy hour at St. John the Beloved for the success of Pope Francis’ U.S. visit

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WILMINGTON — Bishop Malooly led the holy hour at St. John the Beloved Church last night for the success of Pope Francis’ trip to the United States. The service was one of the holy hours the bishop had asked for at all parishes in the Diocese of Wilmington.

Bishop Malooly processes into St. John the Beloved Church in Wilmington Sept. 21 at the start of the holy hour for the success of Pope Francis' visit to the United States., www.DonBlakePhotography.com

Bishop Malooly processes into St. John the Beloved Church in Wilmington Sept. 21 at the start of the holy hour for the success of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States., www.DonBlakePhotography.com

Following exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the rosary and Benediction, the bishop told about 250 participants at St. John the Beloved that he will greet Pope Francis in Washington on Wednesday at St. Matthew’s Cathedral where 274 U.S. bishops will gather for a prayer service and address by the pope.

Bishop Malooly said he will meet the pope with a smaller gathering of American cardinals and about 30 bishops who serve with him on the U.S. bishops’ administrative committee.

The bishop asked the holy hour congregation to pray for the pope, the World

Meeting of Families and “for our own families.”

Once Pope Francis arrives at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Washington, D.C., “Continue to walk with Francis during the week,” the bishop said.

“Continue to pray for him. His impact can be tremendous on a lot of people.

“There are a lot of people who look at his joy and his enthusiasm and ask, ‘What’s missing in my life?’

“Hopefully some of them, no matter what their faith, hopefully some of them, who will encounter him in D.C., in Philly or just simply on TV, will come to ask that question: ‘What do I need to draw closer to God and find joy and happiness in my life?’

“So I ask of you to continue to pray,” Bishop Malooly said.

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Homily at Beau Biden funeral: A life of love, commitment, friendship

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The following is the prepared text of Jesuit Father Leo J. O’Donovan’s homily at the June 6 funeral Mass of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden in St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington. Father O’Donovan, president emeritus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., was the main celebrant.

Dear friends: The reaction has been universal, whether you were a friend of Beau Biden’s or knew him only from the press. “How sad.” “How very, very sad.” “It’s heartbreaking.” “When I heard the news I wept.”

This great young man, this splendid son, this devoted, deeply loving husband and father, as true a brother as anyone could ever have, this peerlessly patriotic public servant — gone. Gone. Gone. It was, is, like the night of Good Friday. The one we hoped in, counted on, thought our future, has been taken from us.

The casket with the body of Beau Biden, son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is carried into St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del., for his June 6 funeral Mass. Beau Biden, 46, died May 30 after a battle with brain cancer. (CNS photo/Yuri Gripas, pool via Reuters)

The casket with the body of Beau Biden, son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is carried into St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del., for his June 6 funeral Mass. Beau Biden, 46, died May 30 after a battle with brain cancer. (CNS photo/Yuri Gripas, pool via Reuters)

How do you say goodbye to “the finest man any of us have ever known”?

First, I think, we face the loss. The fact that we have lost the handsome, winning, humble presence of an incomparable gift. The richness of that gift is the measure of our grief. The nobler a man is the more he is praised and even revered. But the truly noble man, the “righteous man” of the Book of Wisdom, knows that the one to be praised and indeed worshiped is not himself but his Creator, the ground and goal of his life. For all his sense of responsibility and commitment, he knows that he did not invent himself but was given life and a world to fulfill it in by a loving Lord. Only at the end of that life can he or his Lord or indeed any of us make a full accounting of its achievement.

Whether young or old at our dying, it is only then that we can say of the life we have been given, and of all those we have loved within the gift: Take it now, Lord; it was your gift, all my family and friends and public service were your gift as well. Take them now, enfold them in your mercy, lead us home. You alone know fully the grace that accompanied your gift.

As surely as Beau Biden knelt at night to pray with his wife and children, he knew this truth, whether in these words or some like them. For he knew the words of Jesus on the cross — “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” — that are offered to all of us to share on the Good Fridays of our lives.

Whether in prolonged suffering, like Beau’s, or in the gradual diminishments of age, our mortal lives are gifts that must pass through the darkness of death if they are to know the splendor of eternity. In this sense, “death is not extinguishing the light,” as the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote; “it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” Or in the words of Paul: our hope is that even “if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands” (2 Cor 5.1).

Beau’s life of giving, to his fellow citizens and above all to his family, was dazzling. As a young lawyer working for the Justice Department in Philadelphia and also in war-torn Kosovo, as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard and a major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, as Attorney General of Delaware forgoing a run for the United States Senate because he felt it his duty to continue his mission to protect children from abuse — the watchwords were honor, courage, integrity.

My own favorite picture shows him standing before his father at an American base near Baghdad on July 4, 2009, mid-way through his deployment to Iraq. The two men known for the warmth of their smiles are close to grim. A sense of danger and possibly worse hangs over the crew-cut son in fatigues looking into the eyes of the earnest father. There is no limit to what the protection of life may entail.

Nor was there for Jesus. If all of life is ultimately gift, how was he the gift that would redeem and fulfill the gift of our creation? How did God give us this Son to reveal God’s vision of the world and lead it to God? I would prefer not to say that God gave us the Son to die for us. (What father could imaginably envisage that?) Rather, God gave us the Son, God’s own Word in our flesh, to live with and for us. God gave us Jesus to preach the Kingdom among us, a reign of reciprocity, forgiveness, healing and fulfillment.

If that mission led to violent rejection by authorities, civil and religious, that it threatened, then so be it. Jesus would not turn back. He remained true to his word in the very deepest sense, even to the cross, which made it possible for God once and forever to reveal the power of his forgiving love over even the cruelest death.

Death is always cruel. We feel that today, moving from Good Friday into Holy Saturday, when all is silence, feelings are muted, grief and mourning overtake everything. Beau is gone.

But from our immediate vision only. For we live now not only after Good Friday and through Holy Saturday, but in Easter.

And here is Beau’s great final gift to us. Promising as he most assuredly was, his death calls us to hear again the promise, the promise that the gift of life entails. It is the promise first given to the Jewish people that their God would never fail them but would be faithful to them forever. It is the promise spoken by Jesus to Martha of Bethany, after the death of her brother Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, though the person dies, yet shall that person live.”

In Jesus Christ, writes St. Paul, “it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him to the glory of God” (2 Cor 1.19-20) .

In a few moments, in our Eucharistic Prayer, we will recall this mystery of our redemption, the fulfillment of the promise that attended creation from its beginning and courses through it still in the Holy Spirit. And for us, in a special way, it becomes the promise of union with Beau in the Communion of Saints — now, and one day forever. We pray to be united now, and one day forever, with a remarkable man for whom belief was not simply a view of life but engaged love, not merely confession but commitment, not only a generous life but a discipline of justice meant ultimately for friendship.

For many of its saints, the Catholic Church celebrates their feast on the day of the saint’s death — the day of final union with God through Christ and in the Holy Spirit. I have little doubt that in this sense May 30, 2015, is a feast day for everyone here. We may be weeping still, and may weep more. But thanks to Beau this is also a time of almost unlimited grace. I pray, for all of us, that the gift and promise of his life may deepen our love and faith and hope in God — and in one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ash Wednesday at St. John the Beloved Church

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Francis Markowski (left) receives ashes from Father Brian Lewis, associate pastor at St. John the Beloved Parish in Wilmington, on Wednesday. To the right of Father Lewis, is Father William T. Cocco, the pastor, who is also marking parishioners with the sign of the cross during the morning Mass. (DonBlakePhotography.come/The Dialog)0220.Ash.Wednesday

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Wilmington ‘officials’ fail to curtail 40 Days for Life sidewalk vigils

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Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON — Those who have been quietly protesting abortion outside Planned Parenthood in Wilmington during the latest 40 Days for Life campaign do not need a permit to be on the sidewalk, the city acknowledged last week.

The city was responding to a letter from the Thomas More Society, a national law firm contacted by 40 Days organizers after protesters were approached early in the campaign by Wilmington police and a “business compliance/license inspection” officer. The law and licensing enforcement occurred on the first day of the 40 Days for Life, Sept. 24. The protesters pray and sing on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood at Seventh and Shipley streets.

40 Days for Life participants sing outside Wilmington's Planned Parenthood facility on Oct. 13. the 20th day of the campaign. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

40 Days for Life participants sing outside Wilmington’s Planned Parenthood facility on Oct. 13. the 20th day of the campaign. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

According to the Thomas More Society, which has no connection to the diocesan St. Thomas More Society, the police officer first said the music was too loud, then that city ordinance had changed since the last vigil and the protesters could not have music at all.

A short while later, the licensing officer appeared and “informed the group that they could not be there as they were blocking the sidewalk and needed a permit,” the Thomas More Society said.

“They came the first day,” said Julie Easter, the campaign director for the Wilmington 40 Days for Life. “Somebody called, they don’t like the music, they don’t want to hear the name of Jesus. They come out and say that. It’s bad for business to have people in there (Planned Parenthood) hearing the name of Jesus out here.”

Campaign organizers, who noted that they had contacted the Wilmington police before the 40 Days started and that they had done this for several years, got in touch with the Thomas More Society, which could find no such ordinance in Wilmington city code. Nor did they need a permit, it added.

“Our research indicates no requirements under Wilmington ordinances that require a permit for a peaceful gathering of a small group of people engaging in core political speech, such as 40 Days for Life Wilmington,” the society wrote to the city.

Easter said the first day was the only one when police or a city employee engaged her group. They are used to seeing the police drive by or stop to observe the proceedings, however.

“Two Saturdays ago they came again. This time, they brought a paddy wagon, two squad cars and a motorcycle, which was kind of extreme. I called Thomas More again after that,” she said.

Rosamaria Tassone-DiNardo, the first assistant city solicitor, responded in a letter to Thomas More on Oct. 9 after that incident. She acknowledged that a permit is not necessary and that those out with 40 Days for Life have left room for pedestrians to walk on the sidewalk.

Easter said her group just wants its First Amendment rights to be respected. “We don’t want to have to sue the city for something so ridiculous.”

There is a residence across the street from Planned Parenthood, so Easter said they do not have any music before 11 a.m. They are at the site every day from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

As for the campaign itself, Easter said they were pleased with the results as of the midway point.

“We’ve had three saves, which we’re very pleased about, and we also have many turn aways. Those are people who come and don’t really know what Planned Parenthood is all about,” she said.

“We’ve let them know that they do have alternatives in the city. There are many places that want to help them to choose life. A lot of times they don’t know they have those options. We also talk to them about post-abortive healing. There is a lot of free counseling available to them.”

At a Mass at St. Peter Cathedral on Oct. 13 to mark 20 days, Bishop Malooly said Pope Francis has said all of us are “masterpieces of God’s creation” and deserving of reverence and respect.

“Masterpieces of God’s creation, that has been our theme in this October month for life, as a reminder for us to look at every individual as God’s unique creation,” the bishop said in his homily. “That’s why it’s so important what we do for life in trying to preserve all the unborn.

“Jesus challenges us to continue, to forge ahead, to not lose courage, be strengthened by his presence, and let him work through each of us.”

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