Month: September 2011

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.  

My motto  “Be happily and uncomplicatedly

Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe  _____________________________________________

Why Do They Hate Us?

On September 4, in Kottenkulangara within the southwestern Indian state of Kerala, twenty masked Hindu extremists destroyed the altar, confessionals and vestments in Our Lady of Vailankanni parish church. This was two days after Christians in another part of India welcomed a court decision, mandating that the National Human Rights Commission compensate victims of anti-Christian violence. (Three years ago 300 villages were attacked with 70 people killed. Later that year, because of violence, 25,000 Christians fled for their lives.)
Recently, in the Nigerian city of Jos, Muslim militants launched a series of attacks on Christians and killed 14 people.
 Beijing is tackled the country’s embattled Catholics. In China, there are an estimated eight million Catholics who have to worship secretly because they refuse to join the state controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. The US-based Cardinal Kung Foundation stated there are 25 Chinese bishops either in jail or under house arrest.
The Pew Research Center Forum lists these eight countries as having very high hostilities towards Christians: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia. Thirty other countries are listed as having high hostility.
Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne, representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, reported that over 100,000 Christians are killed annually. “Every five minutes,” he said, ‘a Christian is killed for his faith.”
This is puzzlement for me. We Christians don’t have suicide bombers and extremists who attack people of other faiths and destroy their places of worship. Throughout history, Christians universally have been the selfless providers of healthcare, education, food, housing and welfare for all people. We still are today.
I can’t say we weren’t forewarned because St. Luke records Christ as saying, “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.” And in the year 210, Tertullian said, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Four hundred years later, St. Gregory the Great added an optimistic note when he wrote “Change the wicked and they will be no more. The wicked who have been changed will be no more, not because they will altogether cease to exist in their essential being; they will cease to exist in their state of ungodliness.”
Are we hated merely because we are different? Is there jealousy because of our enjoyment and devotion of our Faith? Do they resent us because they are beneficiaries of our goodness? I don’t know. Send me your thoughts to share with other readers. (

Other recommended Catholic blogs

Shower of Roses

Wildflowers and Marbles

– American Papist

Recommended readings

-“Make-Up Orthodoxy” in August-September The Catholic World Report.
– “Rights of Conscience” in August 1-8 America.
Liberal education and the priesthood” in August-September Homiletic & Pastoral Review.

– Andrew Bacevich on the Information Age” in August 12 Commonweal.

Roster of Joyful Catholic Priests

The media loves to publicize bad priests, and we should give recognition to our Joyful Catholic Priests. Send me your recommendation for ones you think merit membership in this splendid group. (

Rev. Robert Aufieri (NYC)
Fr. John M.Bauer (MN)
Rev. Edward Gorman, O.P. (DE)
Fr. Andrew Gries (DC)
Msgr. Edward Filardi (MD)
Fr. Raymond Kemp (DC)
Archbishop Jerome Listecki (MN)
Bishop Dennis Madden (MD)
Fr. Joseph Marini (CA)
Fr. John Mericantante (FL)
Msgr. Thomas Modugno (NYC
Rev. John O’Donoghue (TX)
Msg. Paul L. Rohling (AL)
Fr. Matthew Ruhl, S.J. (KS)
Fr. Michael Scanlon (OH)
Rev. Richard Trout (FL)
Rev. Hayden Vaverek (NYC)
Rev. Malcolm Sylvester Willoughby, O.P. (DC)
Canon Stuart Wilson (London, UK)


You can’t win’em all

In June, a women’s Catholic Book Club in Hawaii ordered copies of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholic for discussion at their next meet. They were to send me their comments. Since then, there has been such resounding silence I feared a tidal wave had swept these Grande Dames of the Islands into the sea.
However, via the grapevine, I learned they survived the rigors of reading the book. However, I hear that two are being treated for shock and another has joined Jehovah’s Witness.

News flashes

-So far this year, in Indonesia there have been 17 attacks on churches by the Islamists.
– In Nigeria, Muslim extremists have caused 300 deaths, destroyed 300 homes and driven 14,000 people from their homes.
– Zhen, a 17-year-old Catholic in Shenzhen, China, sold one of his kidneys for $4,000 so he could buy an Apple iPad 2.

– In less than two weeks, car bomb attacks have hit three churches in the northern Iraq city of Kirkuk. Also, there were coordinated bombing in 17 other cities, killing 63 people and injuring 250.
(Comment: We Americans can take little pride in having devastated this country with a cost that could have modernized our rail system, built new bridges, improved our educational system, etc.)

Today’s Martyrs

 After Muslim militants in Nigeria had killed two of their children, Pastor Jams Musa Rike held the hand of his dying wife who had been shot and slashed with a machete. Before attacking her, the extremists told her, “We are going to kill you – now see how your Jesus will save you.”
Pastor Rike’s comforting words to his wife were, “Hold on to your faith in Jesus, and we shall meet and never part again.”

My favorite priest, layperson, breathing saint or organization

Joseph M. Sullivan, Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, has made (and continues to make) a great contribution to our Church. He is a renowned and much respected national leader in Catholic social services. For the 62 parishes of the Brooklyn West Vicariate he was Vicar for Human Services.

Early this summer, in the Buffalo News he wrote, “For most Catholics there can be no sacrament that better summarizes an attitude of welcoming our LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) brothers and sisters than those of Jesus, ‘Love one another as I have loved you’”  What a gutsy statement! As stated in America magazine, “There is nothing wrong with telling people that they are loved and lovable. And that all are, indeed, welcome.”
If Saint Basil were around today, he would enjoy Bishop Sullivan. Back in the year 360, the saint wrote, “The Christian directs every action, small and great, according to the will of God, performing the action at the same time with care and exactitude, and keeping his thoughts fixed upon the One who gave him the work to do.”
(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference

Interesting sayings

Believe me, don’t wait until tomorrow to begin becoming a saint.
Saint Theresa of Lisieux (1897)

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord. The one, who by word, action or deed rejoices not in himself but in his Creator, rejoices in the Lord. Come, let us rejoice in the Lord. The one for whom God is always his only and complete happiness rejoices in the Lord.
Saint Peter Chrysologus (died 450)

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.
Will Rogers

All things dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot.

Each nasty little hornet
Each beasty little squid
Who made the spiky urchin
Who made the sharks? He did!
Monty Python


– To be a Joyful Catholic, one cannot believe in solipsism.
Reginald Smithson, Berkeley, CA

– Thanks you for reminding us of the suffering Christians. This is the case of any Christian in Muslim, Marxist, Communist countries – when will people pay attention?

– The New York Times (10/9) The Pew Research Center Poll showed that one-half of the Catholics don’t understand Communion.

– Thank you for the gift of joy in our hearts, even in not so good times.

Chuckle time

A priest parked his car in a no-parking zone because he was short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter. He put this note under the windshield: “I have circled this block 10 times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.”
When he returned, he found a citation from the police officer with this note: “I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation.”

Michael J. Sheehan Archbishop of Santa Fe

Why they’re leaving the Church

(part 2 of 4)

(Let’s be aware of these problems
and consider how we Joyful Catholics can help in the solution)

  Recently I learned that my beautiful 24-year-old god-daughter has left the Church to take part in another religion. With open frankness, she told me that she no longer felt ‘at home’ in the Catholic Church. “Each Sunday, I entered the church a stranger,” she said, “and walked out a stranger.” She wanted the feeling of being a loving and loved  member of a spiritual family.

By contrast, in the Presbyterian Church she now attends, she feels like a welcomed and cared-about member of a happy community. Unfortunately, in my many decades of attending Mass, I have  found this Catholic hermit behavior to be true. The usual attitude of a parishioners is to acknowledge only those they know, and after Mass to get to the car as fast as possible with the impression of “Thanks God, that’s done.”
As Russell Moore in Touchstone magazine said, the difference between the Catholics and the Evangelicals isless theological than cultural.

In the first chapter of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics I tell of visiting in Fayetteville, NC, and being delighted with the reception at Mass.
The ushers and church members greeted me like rich relative. When I sat down and picked up the prayer book, I realized I was in an Episcopal church. I  hurried and left to get to the Catholic Church, a block away, to be scolded by the usher for being late and treated like a suspicious stranger by others. I felt at home.

In 1940, Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel, the
French laywoman, writer and mystic, wrote, “The Kingdom
of God is the encounter between God and humanity composed of one person, plus another, plus another. It does not emerge form an anonymous mass.” In his London (UK) parish, Canon Stuart Wilson occasionally cuts his homily to five minutes to allow time for each parishioner to meet a stranger. “Tell them about you,” he instructs, “and find out something about them.” Instantly, the church becomes alive with happy talking and an invisible cloud of communal love encompasses the church. There, if you are in a hurry to leave after Mass, you have to wiggle through many  parishioners who are visiting in the vestibule and out on the sidewalk. I double-dog-dare you priests to have the back-bone to do this. Don’t be chicken.
Give it a try and let me know the results.

Sr. Melannie Svbobodo, S.N.D

As Sr. Melannie Svbobodo, S.N.D., said, “Our church has to be more than a loving community of fellow believers. It must be a loving community whose love extends beyond its own members.” And what can we Joyful Catholics do to help solve this problem of lacking spirit of  community within our Church? As an example, how about committing to meeting a  stranger at each Mass? I have done this with mixed results, mostly positive.  Some sorrowful souls want to be left as hermits. Give me your thoughts.

             Other recommended Catholic blogs

Happy Catholic

The Crescat

Domine,da mihi hanc aquam!


Recommended readings

Check out the pamphlet, Discover the Catholic Church,  published by Liturgy Trainings Publications.  It is an excellent piece, especially for those why might be interested in
knowing about our Faith.

“The buck stops where?” in August U. S. Catholic.

“Liberal education and the priesthood” by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. in the August-September Homiletic & Pastoral  Review.

                         Roster of Joyful Catholic Priests

The media loves to publicize bad priests, and we should give recognition to our Joyful Catholic Priests. Send me your recommendation for ones you think merit membership in this splendid group. (

Rev. Robert Aufieri (NYC)

Rev. Edward Gorman, O.P. (DE)

Fr. Andrew Gries (DC)

Msgr. Edward Filardi (MD)

Fr. Raymond Kemp (DC)

Bishop Dennis Madden (MD)

Fr. Joseph Marini (CA)

Fr. John Mericantante (FL)

Msgr. Thomas Modugno (NYC)

Fr. Matthew Ruhl, S.J. (KS)

Fr. Michael Scanlon (OH)

Rev. Richard Trout (FL)

Rev. Hayden Vaverek (NYC)

Rev. Malcolm Sylvester Willoughby, O.P. (DC)

Canon Stuart Wilson (London, UK)