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Diocesan eNews

Author finds One World Trade Center a witness to nation's spirit

MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CNS) -- Fifteen years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks decimated the twin towers in lower Manhattan, the 1,776-foot One World Trade Center rises out of the ground, a palpable symbol of triumph and optimism. 

The tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere is the soaring, storied, centerpiece of a 16-acre complex that includes eight other major structures. "It's a secular site encoded with multiple symbols of faith, hope and love," said Judith Dupre, author of the recently published One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building. 

The volume is a detailed, illustrated exploration of the political, structural and aesthetic forces that clashed, combined and coalesced before the building opened in October 2014. 

Dupre, a Catholic raised in Rhode Island and an architectural historian and best-selling author of lushly illustrated works of narrative non-fiction, spoke to Catholic News Service Aug. 30 at her home in Mamaroneck, a suburb north of New York. She said she was the only writer given unfettered access by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to its site and archives. 

The Port Authority is principal owner of One World Trade Center. The nine-building complex is primarily a commercial site, but includes the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Liberty Park and the not-yet-completed St. Nicholas National Shrine of the Orthodox Church. 

"It's impossible to be on those 16 acres and not remember what transpired there," Dupre said. "We all hold the falling towers in vivid imagination. The new structures are part of a continuum that began on 9/11 and embody a message of faith in the future." 

Pope: God sent his son to show mercy to sinners, not punish them

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God did not send His son into the world to cast off the wicked but to offer them a path to conversion through mercy and love, Pope Francis said. 

Those who object to Jesus' mercy toward sinners often create an "image of God that impedes them from enjoying his real presence," the pope said Sept. 7 at his weekly general audience. "Some carve out a 'do-it-yourself' faith that reduces God to the limited space of their own desires and their own convictions," the pope said. "Others reduce God to a false idol; using his holy name to justify their own interests or even to incite hatred and violence." 

An estimated 25,000 people attended the audience in St. Peter's Square; many visitors were in Rome for the Sept. 4 canonization of St. Teresa of Kolkata. Before delivering his final blessing, the pope called on young people to follow her example and be "artisans of mercy." He asked those who are ill "to feel her compassionate closeness, especially in the hour of the cross." 

In his main talk, the pope reflected on the Gospel story in which John the Baptist, while imprisoned, sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is "the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" 

Detroit parishioners gather on city's streets praying to end violence

DETROIT (CNS) -- In a city with the second-highest murder rate and highest violent crime rate in the country, peace can often feel like a hopeless cause in Detroit. But on a warm August night, with thunderstorms looming, at the corner of Gratiot and McClellan avenues on the city's east side, peace and prayer were on the lips of Detroiters, friends and strangers alike. 

Taking Back the Night is prayer group begun by the Archdiocese of Detroit's Office of Black Catholic Ministries. Its objective is simple: asking God for peace on the streets of the city they love. 

"I just wanted to join with the group in praying for peace; fighting crime, racism and all its effects," said Genevieve Kocourek, a member of St. Augustine and St. Monica Parish on the east side. "A group prayer is great because it brings people together, not just Catholics, but anyone who can join us in praying in public."

The group offered intercessions for loved ones and the community, mixed with Hail Marys and Our Fathers, while people held signs reading "Pray for Detroit" or "Honk for Peace." Many motorists on Gratiot were honking, an encouraging sign for Leon Dixon Jr., director of Black Catholic Ministries. "When I hear a honk, I know what we're doing is right. When they honk, it's a small way to contribute to the prayer," Dixon said. "Events like these are successful, because you're actually being a bold witness to Christ." 

Canadian bishops to hear Dutch cardinal speak on euthanasia

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- When Canadian bishops meet in late September, they will discuss the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. 

Deacon Rene Laprise, communications director for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the bishops will hear about euthanasia in Netherlands from Utrecht Cardinal Willem Eijk, a moral theologian, ethicist and physician. The cardinal will address the bishops Sept. 26, the opening day of the five-day meeting in Cornwall, Ontario. 

The bishops also will discuss the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action that specifically targeted churches and faith-based organizations, reported Canadian Catholic News. 

The bishops will look at the commitments made by Catholic parties to show how they plan to bring their policies in line with the 2007 U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and on the repudiation of the so-called "Doctrine of Discovery" and "terra nullius," which gave explorers the right to seize lands they said were empty, but belonged to native peoples. 

The calls to action also asked that Pope Francis visit Canada to apologize for Indian residential schools. When Catholic entities and bishops responded to the calls to action last March, they pointed out Catholic policies are already in line with the U.N. declaration regarding indigenous peoples' rights to self-determination, self-government, their own institutions and their rights to their cultural traditions and customs, including spiritual beliefs. 

USCCB objects to NIH plan to fund part-human, part-animal embryo research

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops objected to a National Institutes of Health proposal to authorize federally funded research on part-human, part-animal embryos in comments submitted to the agency Sept. 2. 

The bishops made ethical and legal arguments in opposing the plan, saying that such research result in "beings who do not fully belong to either the human race or the host animal species." 

Current NIH guidelines for human stem cell research specifically prohibit introducing human pluripotent cells -- those capable of giving rise to several different cell types -- into nonhuman primate blastocysts, which are cells at an early stage of development. NIH has proposed funding scientists researching such embryos, known as chimeras. The bishops' statement said that while the plan calls for review of some research proposals by a NIH steering committee, "the bottom line is that the federal government will begin expending taxpayer dollars on the creation and manipulation of new beings whose very existence blurs the line between humanity and animals such as mice and rats." 

By funding such research, the bishops argued, the NIH would be ignoring laws that prohibit it. They said such research "is also grossly unethical."

Albany Diocese's TV Mass shifting from broadcast to live-stream

ALBANY, N.Y. (CNS) -- The "Table of the Lord" televised Mass debuted in the Albany Diocese Jan. 8, 1967. On Sept. 18, the Mass will be broadcast on TV for the last time.     As of Sept. 25, the diocese planned to live-stream a weekly Mass through its website, www.rcda.org. Mary DeTurris Poust, diocesan communications director, attributed the change to "the fast-changing nature of visual media and a reallocation of existing communications resources. 

TV viewership is in decline and streaming video is growing exponentially, she explained. "This evolution will enable us to tap into new audiences even as we endeavor to maintain the current audience." 

When "Table of the Lord" began, Father Edward English, then-diocesan director of radio and television, talked about the expense and technical difficulties of bringing the Mass to TV, saying it had only become possible through the "perfection" of videotaping techniques. 

The diocese's first-ever televised Mass was a "pontifical High Mass celebrated by Bishop (Edward) Maginn," reported The Evangelist, Albany's diocesan newspaper. It was concelebrated by priests from Albany and Oneonta, with a choir of Sisters of the Holy Names and a congregation made up of representatives of religious orders serving in the diocese. Altar servers came from area seminaries.

Praying for ‘Daily Bread’

By Father Thomas Mattison, pastor of Christ our Savior Parish in Manchester Center and Arlington.

If God is King and we have aligned our will with His, then, praying for daily bread, like praying for the doing of His sovereign will, is a no-brainer.

There is no kingdom to hunger or famine or drought. All sovereignty is God’s. There is no doubt or fear that His Fatherly will is being done. Even time, which seems to sweep all things away, has no sway in the Kingdom of God. Thus, daily bread is bread enough.

Why on earth, then, pray for anything, since it is all being done by our Loving Father?

Someone said (I cannot recall who it was) that the Lord’s Prayer makes us, just as it did Jesus, partners in the achievement of the Kingdom of God. Our will becomes effective just as and in the same way as does His.

This is the prayer that underlies gratitude. An abundance of bread creates complacency. Total absence of bread creates fear. But daily bread, what we need and when we need it, is something to be grateful for over and over and over again. And gratitude, the school of hope, becomes the tree from which blossoms charity. Daily bread allows one to give away half of today’s ration – or even all of it, because more will be here in another day.

Is there not a limit to almsgiving? When does it become reckless and irresponsible? These very questions betray a certain perception that tomorrow and scarcity are more real than today’s generosity. Pray then to tomorrow, or sacrifice something to the god ‘scarcity’ and see what answer you get!

Assuredly, Jesus’ own prayer for daily sustenance did not get answered in the way that one might think. His crucified cry, “I thirst,” suggests that God’s answer to His prayer for daily bread took a different turn than “a chicken in every pot.” But this is just the point about praying Jesus’ prayer with Him, we have to learn it and learn its meaning.

Somewhat along this line is another version of this petition that renders daily as heavenly or more than earthly. On that tack, what we are praying for is not food for the body but food that changes us into something we have yet to know. Some think this might be Eucharistic Bread, the Body of Christ for the Body of Christ, rather than bread for the body of Tom or Dick or Harry. This reading would certainly make sense as a prayer that Jesus and His disciples could and should pray together.     

Moreover, since the prayer for God’s Kingdom has already relativized the “kingdoms” of hunger and earthly bread, there is even more reason to think that this is the real reading.

It is Hobson’s choice on this. 

Father Mattison’s parish website is located at www.christoursaviorvt.com.

Statewide Catholic Homeschool Mass and Picnic

NORTHFIELD—On Sept. 21 there will be a statewide Catholic homeschool Mass and picnic at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 206 Vine St.

The event will begin with Mass at 10:30 a.m. celebrated by Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne. A picnic lunch will follow.

Participants are asked to bring their own picnic lunch; drinks and dessert will be provided.

RSVP with number of attendees to Lori Daudelin in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 802-846-5813.

Diocese of Burlington Domestic Violence Workshop

ESSEX JUNCTION—“Responding to Domestic Violence in Our Communities” is the title of the Diocese of Burlington’s free Oct. 20 domestic violence workshop. 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The workshop will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Family Parish Center, Essex Junction. Lunch will be included.

The event is directed to priests, parish secretaries, parish staff, directors of religious education, youth ministers, lay people and the wider counseling and medical community.

For more information: call 802-658-6110 ext. 1453.

Jubilee for Catechists and School Teachers

BURLINGTON—There will be a Year of Mercy Jubilee for Catechists and School Teachers on Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral.

As the new school year begins, this will be an opportunity to celebrate the Holy Year of Mercy with other Catholic educators. 

Light refreshments will be served after the service.

Jubilee for the Sick 

BURLINGTON—The Year of Mercy celebration in the Diocese of Burlington continues on Oct. 16 with a 3 p.m. Jubilee for the Sick (healing service) at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral.

High School Youth Retreat

NEWARK--There is a high school youth retreat planned for Oct. 22-23 at The Mary Theotokos Monastic Center. 

For more information, contact Bill Gavin, director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Burlington, at 658-6110 ext. 1240, or click here.

Jubilee for Musicians

Jubilee for Musicians
BURLINGTON—Over 300 people attended the Jubilee for Musicians in August at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral.

The event celebrated all music ministers: choir members, cantors, soloists and instrumentalists. Hymns included a variety of styles from chant to contemporary folk, culminating in a grand finale of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. 

Respect Life Month

October is Respect Life Month.

Catholic parishes throughout Vermont will offer prayer, public education and pastoral care initiatives in recognition of Respect Life Month.

The theme this year is “Moved by Mercy” in keeping with the Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis. 

Check your parish bulletin to find out how you can participate, or click here for more information.

Poster and video contest

The deadline for the Life is Precious video and poster contest is Nov. 2. The theme, taken from the words of Pope Francis, is “All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor are masterpieces of God’s creation.” 

There are two divisions: grades 6-8 and 9-12. Prizes are $75 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third.

For more information, e-mail Bill Gavin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call him at 658-6110 ext. 1240, or click here.

Youth Lead

There will be a Youth Lead conference Sept. 30-Oct. 2 to form today’s young Christian leaders for tomorrow. For more information call 658-6110 ext. 1240, or click here.
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