31 July 2009

Logo for WYD 2011

The good folks at Zenit pass on the recently unveiled logo for the upcoming World Youth Day 2011 to be held in Madrid, Spain:
The Zenit article offers the following description of the image:
The logo designer, José Gil-Nogués, explained that the image symbolizes "youth of the whole world united to celebrate their faith together with the Pope, at the foot of the cross, and they form the crown of Our Lady of Almudena, patron of Madrid."

The crown, Gil-Nogués added, forms the "M" of Mary and of Madrid. And the cross, symbol of Christianity, presides over the event.

The message of the logo, the designer continued, is "a catechesis, an opportunity for evangelization: The quick and sure path to reach Christ is the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of mankind. In Mary's faith, youth have the example and model for reaching Christ and fulfilling the primary goal of World Youth Day: to bring their message to the world."

"The logo has a firm and spontaneous stroke," Gil-Nogués suggested, "like youth of the 21st century. It is close, friendly, open. Joyful, carefree and positive."

"The use of a palette of warm colors -- red, orange and yellow -- transmits unmistakable warmth and friendliness, symbols of the identity of a city like Madrid, a nation like Spain. These colors also reflect the 'divine warmth' of Trinitarian Love."

What struck me immdiately about the logo was the lack of the anacronym WYD for World Youth Day. I have since learned that in Spanish speaking countries the title of WYD is not preferred. Instead the phrase "Jornada Mundial de la Juventad" is used, hence the anacronym JMJ on the logo.

The gathering of the world's youth is scheduled to take place 16-21 August 2011 and will have as it's theme, "Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith" (cf. Colossians 2:7).

An official website for the event has been launched, though it is only in Spanish.

29 July 2009

Days of Prayer for a Bishop Set

The Reverend Monsignor Carl A. Kemme, Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, has designated the weekends of August 29/30, October 24/25 and January 23/24 as Days of Prayer for a Bishop.

On each of those weekends, he has asked every parish in the Diocese to celebrate the Mass for the Election of a Bishop.

The Office for Worship and the Catechumenate has put together a handy pamphlet for Prayer during the Time of the Vacant Episcopal See. I would encourage families to prayer the prayers found in it on each of the above weekends, and more frequently, too!

Dedication date set

The Most Reverend George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, will rededicate the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Illinois on Wednesday, 2 December 2009 at 2:00 p.m.
His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. will be the homilist.

The restoration of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, completed in 1928, was begun by then-Bishop Lucas last year.

I've posted some pictures of the work here.

In honor of the day

Abbot Cuthbert Johnson has a little reflection on the friendship of Martha and Mary with Jesus. It is worth a read and will offer something to ponder through the day.

A long night watch

There are things in life I enjoy as much as watching a thunder storm come rolling in from the west. The stronger the storm, the louder the thunder and the brighter the lightning, the happier I am.

My arthritis has been acting up signficantly over the past four days and both my joints and the forecast indicated a large storm should have hit the area last night.

Having a free evening last night, a couple of friends and I drove out to the parking lot of our mission parish. It has a view to the west blocked only by corn and would make an excellent spot from which to watch for the gathering clouds.

After nearly two hours of watching, we saw not even one flash of lightning. The experience was something like waiting for the Great Pumpkin, only the storms do not seem to have come at all during the course of the night, hitting to the west of us and to the east of us. There seems to be something about Effingham that forces storms around us. It is most irritating, especially since my arthritis, though someone alleviated, is still acting up.

All I want is one great big storm. Is that really too much to ask?

28 July 2009

What's in a name?

In the first reading from today’s Mass we are told, “Moses stood there with the LORD and proclaimed his name, “LORD” (cf. Exodus 34:5).

The wording in the Lectionary differs slightly from that found in the Biblical text to assist in the public reading of the passage. Because of the way the Lectionary has omitted part of the passage read (Exodus 33:7-11, 34:5b-9, 28), an introductory clarification is needed to the verse. But this is – perhaps – a topic for another day.

I want to draw attention to the name that Moses proclaimed: “LORD.”

Two things ought to be noticed here: (1) the name is not really a name but a title, and (2) that the “name” is capitalized the whole way through.

Throughout the Old Testament – if your Bible is a decent translation – you will likely notice the word “LORD” occurs frequently in all capitalization. The reason for this is simple: wherever the word LORD occurs in the English translation, the word in Hebrew is the sacred name of God, the name he revealed to Moses.

When Moses asked who sent him to Pharaoh, he received this answer, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). The English transliteration of the Hebrew name is YHWH, the tetragrammaton, the sacred name of God. The name might also be translated “I AM WHAT I AM” or “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.”

In this way, the Lord gave Moses not simply his name but also his description.

With the passage of time, the people pronounced the sacred name less and less, wishing always to honor it and to avoid using it vain, in violation of the command of God (cf. Exodus 20:7). Rather than pronounce his name, the tetragrammaton was replaced by the Greek adonai or kyrios, both meaning, in English, “Lord.”

The early Christians maintained the Jewish practice of substituting “Lord” in place of the name of God, a practice which we continue even to this day, hence the capitalization of the name.

When Moses proclaimed the name of God, he proclaimed the name of a God who desires a relationship with his people, for which reason Moses says to him, “If I find favor with you, O LORD, do come along in our company” (Exodus 34:9).

Let each of us maintain a deep reverence for the name of God and, with Moses, ask him to come along in our company that we might both know him and be known by him.

27 July 2009

A good way to end a day

Yesterday was a busy day with three Masses and a Baptism. I also met some friends in the early afternoon, which offered a welcome and relaxing lunch prior to the third Mass of the day, which proved to be a bit irritating for a variety of reasons.

I left quite frustrated and was invited over to the house of some friends for an excellent way to close the evening:

There are few things finer on a summer evening than good friends, ice cream and blackberry pie.

25 July 2009

Homily - 26 July 2009

The Seventeenth Sunday of the Year (B)

Today, the Psalmist sings, “The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs” (Psalm 145:16). How is it that the Lord feeds us? He does so through the ministry of Bishops.

The Lord Jesus today tells the Apostles, “Have the people recline” on the “great deal of grass in that place” (John 6:10). The ancient hearers of the Gospel would have recognized an obvious allusion to Psalm 23, which we sang last week: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:1-2). What is more, King David further sings of this Shepherd, “You prepare a table before me” (Psalm 23:5). This Shepherd feeds his sheep and he does so with his own Body and Blood.

We might well ask how Jesus distributed the loaves and fish to more than five thousand people in a timely manner. Saint Matthew provides us the answer; Mark and Luke also agree with him. It is a detail that for one reason or another John has omitted. After the Lord blessed and broke the bread and fish, Saint Matthew tells us that Jesus gave them “to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds” (Matthew 14:19). The four Evangelists all agree that all were satisfied, that all had eaten their fill as in the days of the prophet of Elisha (cf. II Kings 4:44).

The Lord fed the multitude through the hands of the Apostles. He continues to feed us in the same way to this day, for when he instituted the Eucharist on the night he was betrayed, he commanded the Apostles, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Through his prophet Jeremiah, the Lord God promised, “And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15).

Jesus fulfilled this promise when he called the Twelve to himself and sent them out in his name to continue his ministry after he ascended to the Father. For this reason he said to them when he breathed the Holy Spirit upon them and gave them the authority to forgive sins, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (John 20:21). He also said to them, “Whoever receives you receives me” (Matthew 10:40).

This ministry they received from the Lord, the Apostles entrusted to certain men after them through the laying on of hands that the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ would be brought to every corner of the world in every age. We refer to this as the Apostolic Succession, the ministry of Bishops that they share with priests and deacons.

With Wednesday’s installation of Archbishop Lucas as the Archbishop of Omaha, we find ourselves here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois without a Bishop and our hearts cry out to the Lord for a shepherd after his own heart who will feed us and teach us.

The Bishop is more than the boss or Chief Executive Officer of the Diocese. He is our brother in the faith and our father in Christ. It is he who maintains our communion with the Bishop of Rome and it is he who leads us on the way to Jesus Christ.

The ministry of a Bishop is essential to the life of the Church for it is the Bishop who, as the successor to the Apostles, takes “the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act[s] as his representative.”[1] As Christ is the head of his Body, the Church, so is the Bishop the head of his Diocese, standing in the place of Christ the Head. In this way, the Bishop can make the words of Saint Paul his own:
I … urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3).
It is the task of the Bishop to take up the ministry of Christ, the Good Shepherd, to guide, protect and feed the sheep entrusted to his care.

The Bishop guides us as our teacher in the ways of faith. It is he who is the authoritative teacher in his Diocese to ensure that what is taught is the authentic faith of the Church, which we have received from the Apostles.

The Bishop protects his sheep by the help of his prayers and through his sacramental ministry. The ministry of the Bishop, according to the teaching of Saint Paul, sanctifies us and makes us acceptable to the Lord (cf. Romans 15:15-16).

The Bishop feeds his sheep by offering the holy sacrifice of the Mass in which we receive the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To assist him in his ministry, every Bishop appoints priests – presbyters – to stand in his place throughout his Diocese. Every priest receives his ministry from the Bishop and without his permission he may not minister.

We see how essential the ministry of the Bishop is for the life of the Church. Let each of us, then, raise our prayers to heaven, remembering the words of the Psalmist: “They eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season” (Psalm 145:15). Let us implore the Lord for the gift of a new Bishop that we might be fed both at the table of the Word and the table of the Eucharist.

Until such time, we must await the decision of Pope Benedict XVI who will personally choose the man who is to be our Bishop. It is a decision that must be carefully made because of the dignity of the office. Saint Paul instructs Timothy, whom the Apostle himself ordained (cf. II Timothy 1:6), “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands” (I Timothy 5:22).

In the meantime, the College of Consulters has elected the Reverend Monsignor Carl Kemme, a son beloved son of this parish, to be the Diocesan Administrator until such time as a new Bishop comes to take possession of the Diocese. As we pray for a new Bishop, let us also pray for Msgr. Kemme who will now see to the day-to-day affairs of the Diocese.

Let each of us lift our eyes hopefully to the Lord, begging him to give us soon a shepherd after his own heart that through his ministry he may feed us and answer all our needs. Amen.
[1] Lumen Gentium, 21.

24 July 2009

We have an administrator

The College of Consulters of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has elected the Reverend Monsignor Carl Kemme as Diocesan Administrator.

Msgr. Kemme is the Moderator of the Curia and Pastor of Saint John Vianney Parish in Sherman. He served as Vicar General of the Diocese under then-Bishop Lucas.

Please keep Msgr. Kemme in your prayers as he assumes his new duties.

A question from a reader

Last week reader BCB sent in the following:
My question pertains to newly ordained priests and a diocese or state. Recently I noticed that a newly ordained priest from Quincy was going to a diocese in another state. How does that work? Does the newly ordained priest request to be a priest in another state ahead of time, or can the bishop who ordains him assign him to another state? And, if the bishop can assign him to another state, does it often happen?

This is a very good question and concerns what is known as incardination into a Diocese and excardination out of a Diocese.

The Code of Canon Law reminds us that "every cleric must be incardinated either in a particular church [diocese] or personal prelature [such as Opus Dei], or in an institute of consecrated life or society endowed with this faculty [such as the Franciscans], in such a way that unattached or transient clerics are not allowed at all" (c. 265).

The word incardination means that a man becomes part of the heart of the local Church and in this way is attached to the Bishop, his clergy and the laity. There can be no such thing as a loner priest, for every priest receives his ministry through that of the Bishop.

A man becomes incardinated "through the reception of the diaconate" (c. 266 § 1). From that time forward he is bound to that particular Diocese, personal prelature, or institute of consecrated life.

If a man is a secular (diocesan) cleric, he may be assigned anywhere within the bounds of the Diocese. His Bishop may release him for service in another diocese. Such is often done if a cleric wishes to teach at a university or if he wishes to offer his service to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, which has no priests of its own. We often speak of this as a cleric being "on loan."

If a man is incardinated into a personal prelature or religious order, his superior may assign him anywhere the prelature or order has missions, with the consent of the local Bishop in whose Diocese the mission is.

It is possible for a priest to incardinate into a different Diocese, but he must first receive a letter of excardination from his own Bishop, which takes effect only upon acceptance from the new Bishop.

Clergy will request excardination and incardination into another local Church for reasons for health, family and other various reasons.

A bishop should not grant the requested incardination unless his diocese will benefit, he is certain that excardination has been granted and that the cleric is fit, and the cleric has expressed to him in writing his desire to incardinate into his Diocese.

Excardination "cannot be denied, however, except for evident, grave causes" (c. 270).

A Diocesan Administrator, if the See has been vacant for more than one year, may grant requests for excardination with the consent of the College of Consulters.

If I ever move to Hawaii, this would be the process that would be followed.

From the installation

The Archdiocese of Omaha has a photo slideshow from Wednesday's installation on it's front page. It has also posted a copy of the Papal Bull appointing Archbishop Lucas to Omaha (with a translation) and a video of highlights from the installation.

The empty chair

When His Excellency Archbishop Lucas took possession of the See of Omaha Wednesday afternoon, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois became a sede vacante, a vacant seat, because there is no one to occupy the cathedra, the Bishop's chair, from which the cathedral takes its name.

In such a time, the governance of the Diocese passes into the hands of the College of Consulters, a group of six to twelve priests appointed by the Diocesan Bishop to assist him in exceptional matters.

In the event of a vacant see it falls to the College of Consulters to elect, by a two-thirds majority, a Diocesan Administrator within eight days of the time the See became vacant who will govern the Diocese until a new Bishop should be appointed by the Holy Father.

The one elected must be a priest who has at least reached his thirty-fifth year and cannot have already been elected the Diocesan Administrator. He is to be “outstanding in doctrine and prudence” (c. 425 § 2).

The Diocesan Administrator oversees a Diocese in much the same way that a steward governs in the absence of the King; he sees to the status quo, as it were, simply ensuring that day-to-day affairs continue. “When a see is vacant, nothing is to be altered” (c. 428 § 1).

The Diocesan Administrator “is bound by the obligations and possesses the power of a diocesan bishop, excluding those matters which are excepted by their nature or by the law itself. When he has accepted election, the diocesan administrator obtains power and no other confirmation is required” (c. 427 § 1-2).

The College of Consulters of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois will meet today to elect our Diocesan Administrator. Please keep them in your prayers this day.

Once elected, the Diocesan Administrator must inform the Holy See of his election.

The office of Diocesan Administrator ceases when a new Bishop takes possession of the Diocese.

What do you think?

For my homily this Sunday, I'm considering focusing on the role of a Bishop and what he means for a local Church. I am also thinking of focusing on what happens next as we await the appointment of a new Bishop.

Is this a good idea, or should I simply stick to the readings?

23 July 2009

Homily - 19 July 2009

The Sixteenth Sunday of the Year (B)
Great River Teens Encounter Christ #260

“When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34).

My dear young friends, what does it mean to be like shepherdless sheep?

Such a flock has no one to give it direction, no one to guide it, no one to follow. It is free to wander on its own, chasing after its own path that will undoubtedly lead to thickets and ravines. It will likely get lost and be unable to return to the pasture, to that place of safety and refreshment, to that place it longs to be.

Such a flock, having no one to defend it, will certainly fall prey to the wild beasts, to the ravenous wolves who seek to steal the sheep away and devour it (cf. John 10:12).

The Scriptures do not refer to the People of God as “the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3) because we, like sheep, are smelly and unintelligent, but because “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6).

In our stubbornness and pride, we think that we know the way that leads to the “verdant pastures” and “restful waters” (Psalm 23:1-3). But we do not.

The more we follow our own way, the farther we stray, we find ourselves in thicker thickets and ever-deeper ravines. We find ourselves entangled in the brambles, unable to set ourselves free, and we do not know how to return safely home.

We find ourselves in the company of sadness, fear and doubt, though when we set off on our path we thought we were heading towards happiness, joy and peace.

What is more, the more lost we become, the more entangled we become, the more easily we fall victim to those wretched wolves who want nothing more than to feast upon us.

But these wolves are not always easy to detect, for they lurk in the shadows and strike swiftly. Sometimes they even prowl about in sheep’s skin, looking for the weak point in even the strongest of sheep. They are very skilled at their hunting and the sheep without a shepherd, without a guide and protector, are easy prey indeed.

Jesus looked upon the vast crowd before him and saw their dire state and was moved with deep compassion for them. He saw within their hearts a deep longing, a yearning, for something more, something that would satisfy them fully. When the people heard where Jesus was going by boat, “they hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before” Jesus, because they saw something in him and heard something in his words that satisfied the longings of their hearts (Mark 6:33). Will we hasten to him?

Looking upon his people, the Lord said, “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock” (Jeremiah 23:3) when he said, “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:14).

The Good Shepherd comes among us bearing his rod and his staff (Psalm 23:4). The rod is the scepter of the king by which he establishes his will for our lives and marks out for us the path that leads to the fulfillment of the greatest desires of our hearts. The staff is his cross, with which he drives away the wolves and crushes their power. He holds his cross aloft, calling us by name to follow after him. In this way he is both our guide and our protector; he is our shepherd, we are his sheep.

But sheep do not follow a shepherd simply because he is the shepherd. A flock follows the shepherd because it trusts the shepherd, that he has the good of the sheep in mind and in heart, that he will only do what is good for the sheep. Because the sheep trust the shepherd they follow his voice and his staff.

It is the same with us. The Good Shepherd himself says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). We are able to say, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want,” only if we trust in the Lord and follow him because he knows us through and through and knows what is best for us and what will lead us to the greatest of joys (Psalm 23:1).

He calls us not simply to follow him, but to pick up our crosses in union with his. The Cross is not to be feared, but to be embraced! Our Shepherd knows how to lead us to still waters, to that place of lasting joy and peace, where our deepest desires are met.

My dear young friends, will you look to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for you, his sheep? Will you follow him? Will you let his gaze meet yours, that he might look upon you with compassion? His heart longs for you, and truly your heart longs for him! Do not be afraid to follow him!

Look to his Cross, the sign of his victorious love, and see in it what you are to be. This Shepherd feeds his sheep with his own Body and Blood as he calls his sheep to become like Himself.

Now, my dear parents, I turn to you. The primary task that the Lord has entrusted to you is to help your sons and daughters recognize the voice of their Shepherd. With him, you are to help drive away the wolves and guide your children along his path.

Doing so requires that you first of all hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow him. You cannot lead your children to Christ unless you follow him, unless you trust him to lead you to verdant pastures. If you look first to Christ you will truly love your children and will be able to lead them to the fountain of joy and peace.

To you, young men, I offer a final word. The Lord has promised through his prophet Isaiah to give to his Church shepherds after his own heart (cf. Isaiah Jeremiah 3:15). Ask the Lord if he wants to give you as a shepherd for his flock. “Do not be afraid to say ‘yes’ to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others.” Parents, if the Lord chooses one of your sons, do not hinder him but entrust him lovingly to the Lord, for only in following the will of the Lord will your sons find fulfillment, joy and peace.

Let each us this day, as we strive to hear more clearly the voice of the Shepherd, beg the Master of the Harvest to send forth more laborers into his harvest. May he grant us many more shepherds to defend us from the wolves and to guide us along his way. Amen!

22 July 2009

Urgent Pro-Life Alert

From the Knights of Columbus:

Abortion mandate in health bill

The healthcare reform legislation currently before Congress contains an abortion mandate that is a grave threat to human life. The bill's language will result in federally mandated abortion coverage by nearly all health plans, recruitment of abortion doctors into local health networks, and the nullification of many state laws that place reasonable limits on abortion.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) has called this legislation the "largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade."

We urge you to write to your senators and congressman today. Click here where you can learn more about the health legislation and send a message to your two senators and congressman.

To read a letter from 19 House Democrats who insist they will not support a health bill unless it explicitly excludes abortion, click here.

Time is of the essence as congressional leaders want to pass the bill in the Senate and House by the end of July.

A coalition of prominent pro-life leaders have arranged a Stop The Abortion Mandate live webcast for the public this Thursday, July 23rd, 2009, at 9 PM Eastern (8PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific).

Please go to www.stoptheabortionmandate.com to register.

Very cool!

William, one of my friends and readers, sent in this very cool story this morning:

Medieval Database Logs Long-Dead English Warriors

(Undated) -- Medieval English warriors fended off the French during the Hundred Years War but they were apparently no match for their own accountants. Britain's "Daily Mail" reports that British academics have compiled the Medieval Soldier Database based on service records kept in the 14th and 15th centuries. The 250-thousand listings include not only names and ranks, but how much money each captain spent and which duke or king commanded them. Even sick days were logged and Medieval mileage was tracked -- on horseback, of course.

The records were compiled at the insistence of the English exchequer, the guy who doled out the dough for the royal treasury. Adrian Bell of the University of Reading, who spearheaded the project, said the ancient accountant's, quote, "had a very modern obsession with wanting to be sure that the government's money was being spent as intended."

Search the database for free at www.medievalsoldier.org.

A day to rest

The Papal Nuncio to the United States, the Most Reverend Pietro Sambi, will install the Most Reverend George J. Lucas as the fifth Archbishop of Omaha this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. (3:oo p.m. Eastern) in the Cathedral of St. Cecilia.

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) will air the Mass of Installation live. I will be watching it. Will you?

I had planned to be in Omaha for today's celebrations following the TEC retreat in Quincy this past weekend. Quincy is almost half-way between Effingham and Omaha and so it seemed a logical conclusion.

There was, though, one little detail I failed to consider before leaving for Quincy on Friday morning: tickets to the celebrations. They arrived in Effingham either Friday or Saturday.

Not wanting to make a four-drive to Effingham only to turn around for a nine-hour drive to Omaha, I decided simply to return to Effingham. This also saved a parent the drive to Quincy and back.

This morning I am especially glad I did not go to Omaha, not because I do not want to be there to support Archbishop Lucas but because I simply lack the stamina for public appearances today.

I awoke this morning from what feels more like a nine-hour nap than a full night's sleep. Today I will continue to rest and stay in hiding, as it were, working on correspondence when my mind is able to do so. Retreating, driving and misty days make for one tired little priest.

Even so, today feels like a great day for gelato. If only it weren't ninety minutes away.

21 July 2009

A weekend on retreat

Many moons ago I received a call to serve as the Spiritual Director for Great River Teens Encounter Christ #260 in Quincy. I excitedly accepted and brought three students with me.

We left early Friday morning to enjoy good Quincy food and a tour of my beloved Gem City.

We returned to Effingham early this afternoon and are now all rather worn down. Each time I go on such a retreat I return realizing, yet again, that I am not as young as I once was. Somehow I forget this each time I leave for the retreat and have to alter plans due to a lack of strength of body and mental prowess.

At what point in life does a person begin to remember that he isn't as young as once he was?

A change

As he is installed as the Archbishop of Omaha, the Most Reverend George J. Lucas has made a change to his coat of arms.

When he was made the Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, he took this this coat of arms:

Here, is his personal coat of arms (viewer's right) is placed beside the arms of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois (viewer's left).

As the Archbishop of Omaha, His Excellency will use these arms:

You will first notice, of course, that the arms of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is replaced with the arms of the Archdiocese of Omaha. The change to which I referred earlier is found in Archbishop Lucas' personal arms: the addition of the cresent moon over the cross in honor of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Diocese he has shepherded for the past nine and a half years.

The installation Mass

...of Archbishop-Designate George J. Lucas as the Archbishop of Omaha will be streamed live at www.dio.org.

The Mass begins at Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.

Dinner with the Archbishop-Designate

This past Thursday evening the priests and deacons, together with their wives, of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois gathered with His Excellency Archbishop-Designate Lucas for a final farewell dinner.

Msgr. Kemme welcomes His Excellency and greets those gathered.

Such gatherings are always bitter-sweet, as fond memories return and mix heart-felt congratulations. Priests and deacons, with their wives, enjoying the dinner.

The clergy of the Diocese presented to the Archbishop-Designate the gift of a crozier that is currently being fashioned. The plans of the design of the crozier were on hand and His Excellency expressed his gratitude for the gift.Msgr. Kemme and Fr. House present the gift to His Excellency.

The Archbishop-Designate admires the design.

Around the node of the crozier are three wavy lines, calling to my the lines on the coat of arms of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, symbolic of the rivers that once formed the boundaries of the Diocese.

Within the crook is a cross, the beams of which each end in a fleur-de-lis, taken from His Excellency's coat of arms.

On the cross is found the crescent moon, symbolic of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Archbishop Lucas expresses his gratitude.
His Excellency stood for a picture with me after the dinner.

After dinner, we went to Christ the King Parish for Evening Prayer and a public reception to bid farewell for our Shepherd of the past nine and a half years.

Following the public reception, we stood for another picture.

I'm back

Several days have passed since last I posted here and for that I do apologize. The past few days have been rather a blur of activity, good and enjoyable, but at the same time quite tiring.

Two or three posts will now follow concerning the past few days.

15 July 2009

Good news for parental notification

Zach Wichmann, the Associate Director of Education for the Catholic Conference of Illinois, sends the following note:

As I am sure most of you are already aware, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today [Tuesday] dissolved the federal injunction against the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act. It seems after fourteen years, this important law will finally go into effect.

For now, it seems safe to say that the work the Catholic Conference of Illinois and all of you put into defeating House Bill 317 three years ago and House Bill 2354 this year, as well as our participation in various legal actions, will really pay off. The implementation of this law will surely result in the preservation of many innocent lives in the years to come.

Congratulations to all! Let's hope the legal maneuvering finally comes to an end.

Oh dear...

Fr. Zuhlsdorf passes on a legend concerning today, St. Swithun and the weather. We could be in trouble.

14 July 2009

Most profound

Over at Ubi Petrus, Peter says, "Riddle me this":
If He came to die for you, why can't you just live for Him?

This would be a most moving to begin each day in prayer and to close each day in prayer. Thank you, Peter!

The Lily of the Mohawks

Today Holy Mother Church honors Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the daughter of a warrior Mohawk.

She was born in 1656 in what is now New York and was orphaned as a young girl as the result of an epidemic of smallbox. Before she died, her mother taught her the Christian faith and many prayers, as well. This faith remained with Kateri until her death in 1680 at the age of 24. Her last words: "Jesus, I love you."

Kateri was deeply devoted to the Eucharist and to the Crucified Lord. Her life of simple piety and service won her the title, "Lily of the Mohawks."

As she walked through the woods, she would often fashion small crosses from sticks and twigs and leave them behind her.

I wonder, if others followed the paths upon which we walk each day, what would they find left behind? Do we leave behind markers that point to ourselves, or to Christ? Let us ask Kateri to teach us how to leave behind markers of the cross of our Lord.

The hidden passing of parts of FOCA

Reader Jake sent this in from the Faith and Family Live! Blog: Here Comes FOCA...hidden in small bills.

Pray. Write. Pray.

13 July 2009

A Prayer for Parish Priests

I have been working this morning on my talks for this weekend's Great River Teens Encounter Christ retreat #260. In the midst of papers and letters, I found a card given me on the occasion of my ordination to the priesthood that included the following Prayer for Parish Priests by Saint John Vianney:

Pray that God may give to His Church
today many more Priests
after His own Heart.
Pray for all the Priests
under your patronage,
that they may be worthy representatives
of Christ the Good Shepherd.
May they wholeheartedly
devote themselves to prayer and penance;
be examples of humility and poverty;
shining models of holiness;
tireless and powerful preachers
of the Word of God;
zealous dispensers of
God's Grace in the Sacraments.
May their loving devotion
to Jesus in the Eucharist
and to Mary His Mother
be the Twin Foundations of fruitfulness
for their ministry.

In honor of the day

you filled Saint Henry with your love
and raised him from the cares of an earthly kingdom
to eternal happiness in heaven.

In the midst of the changes of this world,
may his prayers keep us free from sin
and help us on our way toward you.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

How about a little dose of humor early on a Monday morning? King Saint Henry II is the son of the duke of Bavaria, Henry the Quarrelsome. The medievals were nothing if not honest!

Sometimes I wonder if we should bring back such monikers as Edward the Confessor, Louis the Pious, Pepin the Short, Charles the Bald and Philip the Fair.

Of course, the return of such usages could prove risky, depending on your physical stature or personality. I wonder what moniker would be given me.

12 July 2009

A enjoyable evening

This evening, as part of our summer concert series, the parish hosted the local quintet St. John's Brass for a concert in the church.

The music was excellent and those who attended very much enjoyed it.

I happily sat in the last pew under the choir loft and began working on one of my three talks that I will give this weekend in Quincy. I will be the Spiritual Director for Great River Teens Encounter Christ 260. Three boys from the parish will be on the retreat. Please keep me - and the rest of the team - in your prayers as I write the talks, and the boys - and other candidates - as well, in these days before the weekend that their hearts and minds will be open.

This will be a busy writing week as I work on those three talks, Sunday's homily and the homily for the following Sunday. After the TEC retreat I will drive to Omaha for the installation of Archbishop Lucas and I find it highly unlikely that I'll have a chance that week to work on a homily.

After the concert this I evening, I caught a glimpse of the sky as I headed out on a walk.

While on my walk, I went to a local ice cream stand for an ice cream cone. I haven't eaten ice cream in a cone in a while and that sounded good tonight, though I didn't expect my ice cream to look at me:

I explored the neighborhood behind the ice cream stand as I ate the cone. It's a nice, quiet neighborhood and one that might see more of me in the coming days as I keep taking my daily walks.

Looking for a good book?

Among the most common ways of honoring the Lord's Day are attending Holy Mass and visiting with family and friends. These days, another good way to keep Sunday is very much under-appreciated: reading spiritual books.

This afternoon I read Mike Aquilina's Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Powers (Cincinnati, Ohio: Servant Books, 2009).

This short book, consisting on an introduction, twelve chapters, and a selection of prayers, hymns and prayers, is an excellent resource both for learning more about angels and for teaching others about them.

Aquilina addresses the creation of the angels, free will in relation to the angels and the role of angels in the lives of men. He also includes chapters on the Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Of particular interest to me was his insightful chapter on the guardian angels. Consider this:

Our angels can be immensely helpful too in everyday life. We can call upon
our own angel as well as the angels of those around us - our family members,
coworkers, neighbors and even our adversaries...

If you're married, for example, it's useful to know that your spouse's angel wants you to succeed in creating a happy home. You can ask for the help of your honey's angel.

If you're a parent, it's helpful to keep in mind that your children have guardian angels, and those angels want you to succeed at parenting. So when you're beginning to lose patience, ask your own guardian angel to help you. If the situation keeps getting worse, call on your kid's guardian angel as well. If face, the system works best if you greet each child's angel (silently, in your heart) each time your the child strolls into your presence.

Saint Josemaria suggested that guardian angels can be a big help in evangelization too. "Win over the guardian angel of the one you want to draw to your apostolate. He is always a great 'acomplice'" (53-54).

I am happy to recommend this book to you. If this is a topic you are especially interested in, don't forget Peter Kreeft's excellent book, Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know About Them? (San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press).

11 July 2009

An unexpected tour

Some months back I apparently blew one of the rear speakers in my car. I guess I listen to Libera and Handel a bit too loudly.

I never noticed a speaker was blown, but the high school students did as we traveled to soccer games. Some time ago, one of them offered to replace the speaker and last week we finally got around to ordering one. It arrived this morning so I met him at his family's car wash for him to get to work. (Since it was raining this morning, the car wash was closed.)

It didn't take him very long at all to finish his work; he's very handy at such things.

After he replaced the speaker he gave me a tour of the car wash and demonstrated how the various aspects of it work. It was a bit more complicated than I would have thought. If you ever get the chance to tour a car wash I recommend it.

On another note, I haven't yet written out this weekend's homily. I've been a bit tired yesterday and today waiting for a storm to break overhead. Unfortunately, the storms keep going around Effingham and more clouds keep coming from the west. I'm looking forward to a sunny day soon when my arthritis goes down and my energy returns.

A good laugh

The American Papist has a great photo caption this morning.

10 July 2009

Living the Gospel

From time to time there are those who say that if we would but follow Jesus Christ faithfully life would nice, happy and easy. Call it the "Gospel of Prosperity" or the "Gospel of the Rose-Colored Glasses." Call it whatever you like, but in the end be sure to call it false.

Today the Master and Teacher sends out to the Twelve with this warning, "You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:22). Those who wish to follow after Jesus Christ should expect difficulty and persecution.

The Lord never promised that life with him would be pleasant, but that it would lead to eternal life, to the satisfaction of the deepest yearnings of our hearts. He requires, rather, that his disciple "take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

The curious thing is that even after such a warning - and others like it - still the Apostles willing went out proclaiming the Gospel and continuing the ministry of the Redeemer. Though warned that "brother will hand over brother to death," still they went (Matthew 10:21).

When the struggles and difficulties of life come our way, let us, too, with the Apostles, go out to proclaim the Gospel, remembering always the words of the Prince of the Apostles:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed (I Peter 4:12-13).

09 July 2009

My weakness

This morning one of our recent graduates met with me to learn how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. As we talked he mentioned he also wanted to purchase a Daily Roman Missal and since both of us were free we took a trip to Springfield to The Marian Center to get one. (They used to have a web site but a Google search didn't seem to bring it up.)

As luck would have it, they were out of the missal we wanted, though more are on the way. Even so, the trip wasn't worthless because books and I have always gotten along rather well. I can't say that I've ever been to a used book store I haven't liked. Or a new book store, for that matter.

Since I am soon to be the pastor of a parish dedicated to the Sacred Heart, I picked up a book on devotions to the Sacred Heart and a book of the letters of St. Margaret Mary. I also picked up a commentary on the Confessions of St. Patrick since I am to be Pastor of a parish dedicated to him. And since this is the Year for Priests under the patronage of St. John Vianney, I picked up a biography of him. I think I picked up another book, too, but I've left them in the car and I don't feel like collecting them at the moment. If you're interested in the titles I'll post them tomorrow.

It was a good trip and - in addition to getting several good books - I was able to meet one of the parishioners from Virden who recognized me. It also gave me and this graduate - whom I'm happy to also call a friend - a good visit before he leaves for college and I leave for my pastorates. Quiet summer days are filled with many blessings.

When we returned to Effingham I went for a quick swim before a wedding rehearsal in Altamont. This evening I finished up a bulletin column and I'll soon be emptying out my e-mail inboxes before calling it a day.

I would also like to ask your prayers for one of our high school students with whom I had a good conversation this evening. I won't give any details but please raise a few prayers to the Lord; he knows who he is. Also, please ask St. John Bosco to intercede for me so that I may the words to speak at the right moment.

08 July 2009

The black chasuble arrived

A few minutes ago I went over to the office looking for a package that I am expecting to arrive any day now. There was indeed a package on my desk, but not the one for which I was looking, but a far better one.

Two and a half weeks ago I stopped in to The House of Hansen on the way back from the work camp to order a black chasuble for use at funerals and on All Souls' Day. It arrived today:

My car is back

A little over an hour ago, I left for my (almost) daily hour-long walk before the clouds and rain come in this afternoon, this time to the drug store to pick up a refill of my arthritis medicine (which is always good to have on hand).

On the way back I stopped by a farmer's market and picked up a few tomatoes, both to use in pasta, to eat plain, and to have a tomato sandwich for lunch in a few minutes.

After purchasing these precious fruits, I walked to the auto shop where my car was being looked at. As it turns out, it was - thankfully - only a dead battery.

Judging from the clock in my car, my battery died yesterday right about 3:50 p.m., just over an hour before I returned to the car.

A day at the lake

I spent yesterday afternoon on the lake with a couple of good friends for a beautiful and relaxing afternoon. I've always enjoyed being on the water because I always find it peaceful and calm. It is, I suppose, one of the benefits of living in the midwest; we don't have to worry about sudden storms as on the Sea of Galilee.

After wakeboarding, skiing and tubing, we made our way into a very quiet and still cove just to look around. We saw a bird swoop down and grab a fish from the water. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity for a picture and the birds remained in the air afterwards.
We also found a large number of turtles basking in the sun on fallen trees in several spots. As we approached, some of the turtles went into the water, but many remained on the logs. I never realized before that turtles were social creatures:

It was a great afternoon!
When I returned to my car after four hours on the lake, I found it dead; it wouldn't start. Someone kindly gave me a jump and, after letting it run for a bit, I went to the store to pick up some cups for soccer practice. When I returned to my car, it was dead again.
One of the soccer players gave my car a second jump. When I arrived at soccer field I put the water jug in my car and drove from the field to the school. As I turned to park the car near the doors, it died.
I don't know if it is the battery, the starter, the alternator or a combination of them. It will be looked at this morning; I'm hoping it will be a simple repair.
After soccer practice, I went on the usual Tuesday night run to Buffalo Wild Wings for a most enjoyable close to the day.
I was to be in Springfield today for a meeting, but - given the situation with my car - will remain here in Effingham. This will give me a welcome opportunity to finish reading Caritas in veritate.

07 July 2009

At long last!

Caritas in veritate, the third Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, has finally been released this morning.

I have only been able to read the first three pages so far today, but I already like it very much. Consider these little gems:

"Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. John 8:22)" (1).

"All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never
abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person" (1).

"Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love" (3).

"A Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance" (4).

In my free moments this morning I will be happily reading this encyclical. After Mass this morning I worked on the high school Mass schedule for the coming year and in an hour I will have lunch with a friend. I've been invited to the lake this afternoon - an invitation that I am happy to accept - and will then go to soccer practice. Dinner will be had at Buffalo Wild Wings. After that, it's back the encyclical.

Thank you, Holy Father, for this timely treasure!

05 July 2009

An evening in Springfield

I am fortunate enough to have been able to spend this evening Springfield with some good friends whom I have not seen in some time (Brian particular wants me to mention him in this post).

I am in Springfield on my way to Quincy in the morning for a planning meeting for an upcoming Teens Encounter Christ retreat. I will be the spiritual director of a TEC retreat July 18-20. Please keep this retreat and its participants in your prayers.

A priest-friend and I went to the roof of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to watch the fireworks launched (this word came from Brian, who teaches English and is commenting as I type this post) from the Capitol lawn.

It was a foggy evening, which made for good fireworks viewing and this shot of the capitol dome:

Were today not Independence Day, one might have thought the Capitol was beseiged.

I will sleep in tomorrow morning - a most welcome thought - and leave for my meeting. I will celebrate a quiet Mass upon my return to Effingham tomorrow night.

04 July 2009

Good news

Tuesday morning will see the publication of Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical letter, Caritas in veritate. (There is still some question as to whether the English title will be translated as Love in Truth or as Charity in Truth. I prefer the latter.)

For those like myself who prefer something more than a simple print out of the text (nevertheless, you can be certain I will print a copy as soon as it is available), Ignatius Press will publish the encyclical in three different formats. You can pre-order the hard copy now.

You have to see this!

Capello tip to Mac at Mulier Fortis.

03 July 2009

Good reading

The Catholic Education Resource Center provides links to several good items this week:

Around the blogosphere

Over at Adam’s Ale, Fr. V. has an interesting post on the four forms of nudity in art.

Fr. Schnippel offers a few reflections on the Apostle of the day, Saint Thomas.

Fr. Barron on Independence Day

In honor of the day

Holy Mother Church celebrates today the Feast of my favorite Apostle, Saint Thomas the "Doubter," a moniker for which he is somewhat deserving but not entirely.

If you have not yet done so today, be sure to read again Pope Benedict XVI's catechesis on Saint Thomas. Here, a teaser:
The Apostle Thomas' case is important to us for at least three reasons: first, because it comforts us in our insecurity; second, because it shows us that every doubt can lead to an outcome brighter than any uncertainty; and, lastly, because the words that Jesus addressed to him remind us of the true meaning of mature faith and encourage us to persevere, despite the difficulty, along our journey of adhesion to him.

An anniversary

One year ago today I set out on pilgrimage with my young companions for the World Youth Day 2009 in Sydney, Australia, with a pleasant stop in Hawaii on the way.
Many happy memories fill my heart this day!

02 July 2009

A pleasant lunch hour

The Pastor and his father left yesterday for a week of vacation with the rest of their family in one of the northern states. Yesterday also saw the return of a retired priest who is retired in Denver and celebrates this year his Golden Jubilee as a priest.

This son of the parish returns every summer for four weeks or so and offers his kind and generous assistance to us. He is always most welcome and brings with him a good dose of light-hearted humor.

This morning he mentioned that one of his classmates would be speaking downtown over the lunch hour at the rally for Trails Recreation Effingham County and he invited me to join him. Not only would the three-block walk give both of us a bit of exercise but, he said a great smile forming on his face, they would be serving free hot dogs. I could help but chuckle at this bit of child-like enjoyment and happily joined him.

Congressman John Schimkus was on hand to announce a hefty federal grant for the project to create a biking and walking trail between Effingham and Teutopolis.

After the speeches were concluded I visited with the Congressman and his staff, particularly to see if the 19th District included Virden. At the moment it does not, though it did some years ago; they are hopeful it will be returned to the 19th District. Apparently the Congressman for the district in which I will soon be residing is not of the same mind as Mr. Schimkus on many important issues, a bit of information I was unhappy to receive.

Both the Congressman and his staff thanked me – and through me, the Catholic Church – for our great efforts for the Pro-Life movement; I thanked the Congressman and his staff for their support of us.

Afterwards I visited with a few other people for a good length of time, most discussing my coming move and the effect it will have on many people with whom I have become rather close and most fond of, and on me personally.

It was a very good afternoon and I am glad I was talked into going for a hot dog. Ah, the simple things in life!

On this day

The great Battle of Gettysburg was fought on this day in the year 1863. Pat McNamara has a great post today concerning the general absolution given the soldiers just before the battle.

01 July 2009

Papal Intentions for July

General: That the Christians of the Middle East may live their faith in full freedom and be an instrument of peace and reconciliation.

Mission: That the Church may be the seed and nucleus of a humanity reconciled and reunited in God's one and only family, thanks to the testimony of all the faithful in every country of the world.

The encyclical cometh

The long-awaited third encyclical letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, titled Caritas in veritate (Love in Truth), will be released on Tuesday, 7 July 2009:
VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a
.m. on Tuesday 7 July a press conference will be held to present Benedict XVI's
new Encyclical "Caritas in veritate".

Participating in the conference will be: Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino and Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", and Stefano Zamagni, professor of political economy at the University of Bologna, Italy and consultor of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.