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Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 19, 2018

President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Announces Effort That Will Involve Laity, Experts, and the Vatican as U.S. Bishops Resolve to Address ‘Moral Catastrophe’

August 16, 2018

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement after a series of meetings with members of the USCCB’s Executive Committee and other bishops. The following statement includes three goals and three principles, along with initial steps of a plan that will involve laity, experts, and the Vatican. A more developed plan will be presented to the full body of bishops at their general assembly meeting in Baltimore in November.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Two weeks ago, I shared with you my sadness, anger, and shame over the recent revelations concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Those sentiments continue and are deepened in light of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past that are so evident in the recent report. Earlier this week, the USCCB Executive Committee met again and established an outline of these necessary changes.

The Executive Committee has established three goals: (1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints. These goals will be pursued according to three criteria: proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity.

We have already begun to develop a concrete plan for accomplishing these goals, relying upon consultation with experts, laity, and clergy, as well as the Vatican. We will present this plan to the full body of bishops in our November meeting. In addition, I will travel to Rome to present these goals and criteria to the Holy See, and to urge further concrete steps based on them.

The overarching goal in all of this is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

Allow me to briefly elaborate on the goals and criteria that we have identified.

The first goal is a full investigation of questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. These answers are necessary to prevent a recurrence, and so help to protect minors, seminarians, and others who are vulnerable in the future. We will therefore invite the Vatican to conduct an Apostolic Visitation to address these questions, in concert with a group of predominantly lay people identified for their expertise by members of the National Review Board and empowered to act.

The second goal is to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier. Our 2002 “Statement of Episcopal Commitment” does not make clear what avenue victims themselves should follow in reporting abuse or other sexual misconduct by bishops. We need to update this document. We also need to develop and widely promote reliable third-party reporting mechanisms. Such tools already exist in many dioceses and in the public sector and we are already examining specific options.

The third goal is to advocate for better procedures to resolve complaints against bishops. For example, the canonical procedures that follow a complaint will be studied with an eye toward concrete proposals to make them more prompt, fair, and transparent and to specify what constraints may be imposed on bishops at each stage of that process.

We will pursue these goals according to three criteria.

The first criterion is genuine independence. Any mechanism for addressing any complaint against a bishop must be free from bias or undue influence by a bishop. Our structures must preclude bishops from deterring complaints against them, from hampering their investigation, or from skewing their resolution.

The second criterion relates to authority in the Church. Because only the Pope has authority to discipline or remove bishops, we will assure that our measures will both respect that authority and protect the vulnerable from the abuse of ecclesial power.

Our third criterion is substantial involvement of the laity. Lay people bring expertise in areas of investigation, law enforcement, psychology, and other relevant disciplines, and their presence reinforces our commitment to the first criterion of independence.

Finally, I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what my brother bishops and I have done and failed to do. Whatever the details may turn out to be regarding Archbishop McCarrick or the many abuses in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else), we already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership. The result was that scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone. This is a moral catastrophe. It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure.

We firmly resolve, with the help of God’s grace, never to repeat it. I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures. It will take work to rebuild that trust. What I have outlined here is only the beginning; other steps will follow. I will keep you informed of our progress toward these goals.

Let me ask you to hold us to all of these resolutions. Let me also ask you to pray for us, that we will take this time to reflect, repent, and recommit ourselves to holiness of life and to conform our lives even more to Christ, the Good Shepherd.

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 12, 2018

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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August 5, 2018

President of U.S. Bishops Conference issues statement on course of action responding to moral failures on part of church leaders

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement noting the steps the U.S. Bishops Conference will take in addressing the failures of the Church in protecting the people of God.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“The accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church. They cause bishops anger, sadness, and shame; I know they do in me. They compel bishops to ask, as I do, what more could have been done to protect the People of God. Both the abuses themselves, and the fact that they have remained undisclosed for decades, have caused great harm to people’s lives and represent grave moral failures of judgement on the part of Church leaders.

“These failures raise serious questions. Why weren’t these allegations of sins against chastity and human dignity disclosed when they were first brought to Church officials? Why wasn’t this egregious situation addressed decades sooner and with justice? What must our seminaries do to protect the freedom to discern a priestly vocation without being subject to misuse of power?

“Archbishop McCarrick will rightly face the judgement of a canonical process at the Holy See regarding the allegations against him, but there are also steps we should be taking as the Church here in the United States. Having prayed about this, I have convened the USCCB Executive Committee. This meeting was the first of many among bishops that will extend into our Administrative Committee meeting in September and our General Assembly in November. All of these discussions will be oriented toward discerning the right course of action for the USCCB. This work will take some time but allow me to stress these four points immediately.

“First, I encourage my brother bishops as they stand ready in our local dioceses to respond with compassion and justice to anyone who has been sexually abused or harassed by anyone in the Church. We should do whatever we can to accompany them.

“Second, I would urge anyone who has experienced sexual assault or harassment by anyone in the Church to come forward. Where the incident may rise to the level of a crime, please also contact local law enforcement.

“Third, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick’s conduct to the full extent of its authority; and where that authority finds its limits, the Conference will advocate with those who do have the authority. One way or the other, we are determined to find the truth in this matter.

“Finally, we bishops recognize that a spiritual conversion is needed as we seek to restore the right relationship among us and with the Lord. Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality. The way forward must involve learning from past sins.

“Let us pray for God’s wisdom and strength for renewal as we follow St. Paul’s instruction: ‘Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect’ (Romans 12:2).”

10th Sunday after Pentecost (EF)

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July 29, 2018

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 29, 2018

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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July 22, 2018

Obituary: Father Frank Perkovich, 89


Father Frank Perkovich, 89, of Chisholm, died peacefully of natural causes on July 16, in his home. He was born on Dec. 24, 1928, in Chisholm, to John and Jennie Johanna (Lesar) Perkovich. He was a 1946 graduate of Chisholm High School and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on June 5, 1954, by Bishop Thomas Welch.

Father Frank Perkovich
Father Frank Perkovich

Father Perkovich served in several parishes, including St. Michael, Duluth; St. Elizabeth, Duluth; St. Louis, Floodwood; St. Paul, Warba; St. Mary, Marble; St. Joseph, Taconite; Good Shepherd, Duluth; Resurrection, Eveleth; St. Margaret Mary, Duluth; St. Joseph, Gilbert; and St. John, Biwabik. He also served as diocesan director of youth activities; chaplain for the Knights of Columbus, Duluth Council; and Diocesan Presbyteral Council. He retired on July 15, 2004.

Father Perkovich was a Polka Hall of Fame Inductee in 2012. He celebrated his first Polka Mass in 1973, recorded with Joe Cvek and The Polka Mass-ters, and even went on to present the Polka Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. His life and ministry is the subject of a book entitled “Dancing a Polka to Heaven,” edited by Betty Vos.

Survivors include his nephews Michael (Jane), Frank (Jill), Robert (Vicki), and his niece, Mary Elizabeth (Skip Butterfield). He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers John and Louis Perkovich; sister-in-law Dorothy Perkovich; nephew John; and cousins in Toronto, Ontario; Slovenia; and Croatia.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to either of the following that Father Perkovich supported: 1) St. Mary and Joseph’s Log Church Restoration, 509 Sunrise Drive, Carlton, MN 55718 (for more information visit www.stkaterisawyer.com) or 2) the Chisholm Community Foundation, 4 S.W. Third Ave., Chisholm, MN 55719.

At Father Perkovich’s request, there will not be a funeral service. A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, at Rupp Funeral Home & Cremation Service Chapel, Chisholm. 


Young Canadian indigenous celebrate beloved St. Kateri as ‘one among us’

MASKWACIS, Alberta (CNS) — Young. Indigenous. Committed to the Catholic faith.

Three hundred years after her death, St. Kateri Tekakwitha — North America’s first indigenous saint — has become a model for young people, especially in Maskwacis, a community that includes four First Nations south of Edmonton. Each year they celebrate the saint as one of their own.

Young people from Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Parish in Maskwacis, Alberta, perform a play based on the life of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. It was part of a July 14 Mass and celebration honoring North America’s first indigenous saint. (CNS photo/Andrew Ehrkamp, Grandin Media)

“It’s such a blessing to have a native saint. Most of our people don’t understand or know what is a saint; that’s one of the things we want to have out there,” said Karen Wildcat, who organized the fifth annual St. Kateri Gathering July 14 at Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Parish.

“If they can only come to understand how important that is, that we do have a saint that we can pray to and offer sacrifices and fasting. We could help our community more to know the humble life she lived,” Wildcat said.

Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” St. Kateri was born in 1656 in upstate New York to a Catholic Algonquin mother and a Mohawk chief. After her baptism, she lived a faith-filled life until her death from tuberculosis in 1680 at age 24.

For five years now, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Parish has been celebrating her life with Mass and a traditional lunch of soup and bannock. This year, kids in costume performed a play based on the life of St. Kateri, a visual display that Wildcat said is crucial for her community.

“For most of our native people, you need to see things to be able to understand. It’s important because she was canonized as our native saint, and she’s for Mother Earth and the environment, and our native people are really sacred about the land and the water and the air.”

Children said they were learning more about the young saint with a background similar to their own.

“She shows respect for everyone,” said Issac Ermineskin, a ninth-grade student who was taught about St. Kateri in his parish youth group and acted in the St. Kateri play with his 10-year-old sister, Bobbi-Ann. “Not all natives like Christianity, but I do.”

What did Bobbi-Ann learn from St. Kateri? “To love others and to be peaceful.”

Many indigenous people can relate to St. Kateri as they come to know more about her, said Father Susai Jesu, who led this year’s Kateri Gathering in Maskwacis.

“The indigenous people begin to feel ‘Wow, she is one among us.’ She went through all kinds of trials of life and she has been a model. They feel affiliated in their blood. She is a part of us,” said Father Jesu, pastor at Sacred Heart, an Edmonton parish with a large indigenous congregation.

Wildcat learned about St. Kateri at a conference in Ottawa nearly two decades ago. The event included a side trip to the St. Kateri shrine in Kahnawake, Quebec. Years later, Wildcat was asked by Mary Soto — the founder of the Kateri Gathering — to help organize the event in Maskwacis.

Miracles and answered prayers continue to be attributed to St. Kateri.

Father Glenn McDonald, a guest speaker at this year’s Maskwacis gathering, said St. Kateri’s intercession alleviated the depression of one of his former parishioners — and helped him heal from his own bouts of eye cancer.

“I asked St. Kateri to help me because I was scared, but I didn’t see how” she was going to do that, said Father MacDonald, who feared he would be blind in one eye. His last surgery was on St. Kateri’s Canadian feast day, April 17.

Father Jesu said he, too, relies on St. Kateri’s intercession. In 2012 he asked for her help in his attempt to get a traditional First Nations drum through customs. Jesu and 12 indigenous leaders from Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan, were en route to Rome for her canonization ceremony.

“Kateri was there to help us go through this process and [we] eventually saw her guiding presence there,” Father Jesu said. “We drummed and sang. The whole world was watching it. There were lots of people singing, but nobody had a drum.”

On a larger scale, Father Jesu noted St. Kateri’s canonization continues to help heal the relationship between indigenous people and the church, after years of abuse in residential schools.

“I think Kateri herself, as a saint now, [is] interceding with our Lord Jesus Christ for reconciliation and to feel they are all part of the church. We all belong to one faith as a family of God,” he said.

For Father MacDonald, St. Kateri’s canonization bodes well for a future apology by Pope Francis for the abuse suffered by indigenous people. A personal apology from the pope on Canadian soil is one of the calls to action stemming from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined the legacy of the residential schools in Canada.

Father MacDonald said he’s confident an apology will happen soon, noting that St. Kateri — considered a model of holiness — was brought to the faith by Jesuit missionaries, and Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope.

— By Andrew Ehrkamp / Catholic News Service
Ehrkamp is news editor of Grandin Media, based in Edmonton, Alberta.