March 2014

One of the main reasons the Archbishop gave for the parish closings and consolidations in the Batesville deanery was a lack of priests. The restructuring was supposed to help alleviate the problem. Instead of alleviation it seems it has exacerbated the problem. The administrator of the newly formed All Saints parish lasted all of three months.
According to the local newspaper he has decided “to leave the active priestly ministry.”

A pdf of the article can be found here

I can’t find any info on the Archdiocese website other than his bio.
“2011, (July), pastor, St. Joseph, St. Leon, St. John the Baptist, Dover, St. Paul, New Alsace, and St. Martin, Yorkville; 2014, administrator All Saints, Dearborn County; 2014, leave of absence.”

I know this man’s parents. They bought his ordination present at my store. Their happiness when he was ordained was something I will never forget. I can’t imagine what they are going through now.

Driving down Smithville Road today, I and the rest of the east side of Dayton saw on the sign in front of Immaculate Conception School in all-caps:


Immaculate Conception School is tied to Immaculate Conception Parish, which is clustered with St. Helen parish.  Immaculate Conception is the site of-choice of the AOC for ordinations up in the Dayton area.

You may remember Democrat Mayor Nan Whaley as the Emily List-endorsed, NARAL-supported, NARAL-twitter pal and retweeter, pro-LGBTQXXXBDSMWHATEVER, leading proponent behind the city of Dayton’s “domestic partner registery” and, according to her website, parishioner at Corpus Christi Church, Dayton, Ohio. Mayor Whaley, as an elected leader, holds positions in opposition to the three non-negotiables all Catholic must support in the public square.  (I let her know it too, when she visited my front porch seeking my support in her [at the time] upcoming election bid.)  Mayor Whaley would easily fall within the same political spectrum as the Cuomos, the Kennedys, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Martin O’Malley, Kathleen Sebelius, etc.

Apparently City of Learners is a program (with vague goals) to promote education that was started up by Mayor Whaley and Immaculate Conception School was one of a couple Catholic schools that are participating as sites for “listening sessions.” (Chaminade Julienne High School was selected as the site for the listening session for “private school issues.”) Immaculate is the site for “east side neighborhoods.”  The committee of City of Learner participants is a list of “who’s who” for the Dayton area.

For a moment, I imagine myself in the role of someone who has the authority to decide what messages get placed on the letter-board next to the road in front of the Catholic school.  Then I imagine putting a ‘welcome’ to one of those names- Whaley, Pelosi, Sebelius, etc. on the sign in front of my Catholic school on one of the most prominent roads in the eastern half of the city.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting by any means that the school should not participate in the program or that the school shouldn’t be polite to the Mayor or even that they couldn’t put up a welcome of some sort to the program and its “listeners” on their sign, but to go to the extent of including the “WELCOME MAYOR WHALEY…” on their prominent sign, was just too much, given the positions she advocates.  So am I to guess that the person who is responsible for the letter board sign was just unaware of all the Mayor’s public positions or were those public positions the reason her name got included on the sign out front?  I guess I should just be thankful they didn’t give her an honorary degree, right?

Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxillary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, will be visiting the Cincinnati Archdiocese and confirming 31 Confirmandi at Holy Family Church Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, the 29th of March at 10 AM. There will be a luncheon in the basement of the church immediately following the Confirmation.

As a US prelate, Bishop Perry has developed a reputation for leading by example in his support for a more faithful and sacred celebration of the liturgy (here). He recently visited the Athenium in 2013 (here and here).

For a quick example of the Bishop’s teaching and style, here is a brief talk His Excellency gave in 2012 on Men and the Mass.

Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, known to Italian-Americans as St. Joseph’s Day. The day’s open-house celebrations, featuring tables of traditional Italian food and scores of cousins, were a staple of my youth in Rochester, New York. Here’s Fisheaters with some background:

St. Joseph’s Day is a big Feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph’s intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honor, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick’s Day.

Today, after Mass (at least in parishes with large Italian populations), a big altar (“la tavola di San Giuse” or “St. Joseph’s Table”) is laden with food contributed by everyone (note that all these St. Joseph celebrations might take place on the nearest, most convenient weekend). Different Italian regions celebrate this day differently, but all involve special meatless foods: minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs (the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered St. Joseph’s floor), seafood, Sfinge di San Giuseppe, and, always, fava beans, which are considered “lucky” because during the drought, the fava thrived while other crops failed (recipes below).

The table — which is always blessed by a priest — will be in three tiers, symbolizing the Most Holy Trinity. The top tier will hold a statue of St. Joseph surrounded by flowers and greenery. The other tiers might hold, in addition to the food: flowers (especially lilies); candles; figurines and symbolic breads and pastries shaped like a monstrance, chalices, fishes, doves, baskets, St. Joseph’s staff, lilies, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, carpentry tools, etc.; 12 fishes symbolizing the 12 Apostles; wine symbolizing the miracle at Cana; pineapple symbolizing hospitality; lemons for “luck”; bread and wine (symbolizing the Last Supper); and pictures of the dead. There will also be a basket in which the faithful place prayer petitions.

And here’s your host in a 2005 piece for Catholic Exchange:

Coming two days after the more widely — and raucously — celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, Italian families would honor the patron saint of workers and the protector of the family by laying out “tables” of sweets, breads and greens. On a nearby credenza always stood a statue of St. Joseph, the child Jesus in one hand and a lily in the other.

The lily detail has a fascinating history. In the Protevangelium, an apocryphal gospel attributed to St. James, an angel reportedly requested that all the walking sticks of eligible widowers in greater Jerusalem be collected and brought to the Temple. Joseph’s staff burst into flowers, just as Aaron’s did in the Old Testament, signaling that he was to be Mary’s groom. Statues of St. Joseph have included lilies ever since.

St. Joseph’s Day itself was like an open house, with family and friends dropping by my grandmother Nani’s, Aunt Mary’s or mother’s house, grabbing a bite to eat and coming and going as they pleased. Ideally, the parish priest would kick things off with a prayer to bless the table.

All this saintly celebrating so close to St. Patrick’s Day didn’t always sit well with my Irish friends. It was as though the Italians were encroaching on their calendared turf. In reality, though, St. Joseph’s Day has been celebrated in the US for decades by families with roots in the old country, especially Sicily.

The Cincinnati Enquirer runs a story in this morning’s edition on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s new requirement that teachers assent to Church doctrine via the new contract. Your host is quoted. Kudos to Archbishop Schnurr for taking a bold stand. Here’s a snippet:

The contract for the 2014-15 school year explicitly orders teachers to refrain “from any conduct or lifestyle which would reflect discredit on or cause scandal to the school or be in contradiction to Catholic doctrine or morals.” It goes so far as to ban public support of the practices.

Principals in the 94 Archdiocese-supervised schools in Southwest and Central Ohio began receiving the new employment agreements Thursday. More than 2,200 Greater Cincinnati parochial teachers will be affected by the new contract, the Archdiocese estimates.

High-profile teacher lawsuits and controversies at Greater Cincinnati area Catholic schools in recent years have, at least in part, led to the larger, more detailed contract, Archdiocese officials said.

Under the new contract, teachers are expressly prohibited from: “improper use of social media/communication, public support of or publicly living together outside of marriage; public support of or sexual activity out of wedlock; public support of/or homosexual lifestyle; public support of/or use of abortion; public support of/or use of a surrogate mother; public support or use of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination.”

Read related posts here, here, and here.

Update, 8 March 2014: Enquirer reporter Michael D. Clark pens a follow up piece on the popularity of the new contract with parents.

Or, more precisely in one instance, heresy.

Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel releases the schedule for its Lenten series of speakers, beginning with Brennan Hill, co-author of a notorious book and video series on the Catechism that aimed to muddle its doctrines shortly after its release, on “The World of Jesus: Son of Joseph and Mary, Son of God,” and featuring Ken Overberg, S.J. on — wait for it — “The Life and Death of Jesus: An Alternative to Atonement Theology.” Because what better way to prepare yourself for the paschal mystery than by denying Christ’s salvific action on the cross?

By contrast, nearby St. Mary of Hyde Park and St. Cecilia (of Oakley) release their rock-solid lineups here and here, respectively. St. Mary’s lineup is especially encouraging; not so long ago its Lenten series was downright Bellarminesque.

1. Mandate, with dubious liceity, that all parishes play a recording of the Archbishop’s CMA pitch in place of the homily on the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, i.e., this morning.
2. Have the Archbishop refer three times on the recording to the embarrassing, misplaced 70s mantra of “being Church.”
3. Sync the recording to last Sunday’s readings.
4. Wonder why priests and parishioners greet the advent of the annual CMA like a visit from the IRS or a trip to the dentist.

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