Friday, February 22, 2008

Archbishop Donald Wuerl on the Pope's appeal to young Catholics

Young Catholics will be some of Pope Benedict XVI's most enthusiastic fans when he visits Washington in two months.

David Coyne, 30, Silver Spring, aims to be at the April 17 papal Mass at the new Washington Nationals ballpark.

"I will get a ticket somehow and be there," he said.

Mr. Coyne joined nearly 320 other young people in Ireland's Four Fields pub in Northwest this week to discuss the upcoming papal visit with Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and to get a chance to win tickets to the Mass. . . .

"These are young people who really do have great questions: How shall I live? What's the meaning of life? What's the purpose of life? ... I think they see in the pope answers to those questions because the pope reflects the voice of Christ," Archbishop Wuerl said.

During a question-and-answer session with the young adults, Archbishop Wuerl described his experience with Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, when he served as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

He described Benedict as "extraordinarily learned" and "just a very gentle and kind person" who would greet people at the end of meetings. . . .

He predicted that the papal message in the United States would be the standard Gospel, tracing back to the beginnings of Christianity.

"I look forward to the message he's going to bring. It's going to be rejuvenating. It's going to be a whole renewal of the faith of the people in this community," he said.

Young Catholics eager for pope's visit, by Matthew Cawvey. Washington Times February 22, 2008.

Cardinal Egan on Benedict's address to UN, visit to Ground Zero

This past week, New York 1's Roma Torre interviewed Cardinal Edward Egan on the Pope's impending visit, where he spoke of the Holy Father's intentions for speaking to the UN and his request to visit to the site of the former World Trade Center:

The pope's trip to New York was prompted by an invitation from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Benedict will arrive in New York on April 18 to address the U.N., where he is expected to discuss among other things, the War in Iraq.

"And if that's the Holy Father's intention, which I suspect it is, to speak in favor of peace, then I would have to say it is worth the trip," said Egan.

On the morning of April 20th, the pope, by his own request, will make a visit to the World Trade Center Site.

"I was delighted, but a little taken back," said Egan. "I didn't think that he would do that, but this is not my idea, nor is it my good friend Mayor Michael Bloomberg's idea. This was his request."

The Holy Father will descend the ramp to a shallow pool of water, where there will be a candle. He will be greeted by both the governor of New York and New Jersey, along with Bloomberg, firefighters, police officers and emergency workers.

"We will have representatives of families who have lost loved ones and we will also have representatives of people who were injured as a result," he said. "They will be waiting for him down in Ground Zero when he comes down this ramp."

Tom Stehle, "D.C.'s Music Man"

Tim Drake of the National Catholic Register catches up with Tom Stehle, the pastoral associate for liturgy and music at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Potomac, MD -- and currently serving as the director of music for the Papal Mass in Washington, DC.

Catholic News Service on Pope Benedict and the "City of Immigrants"

According to Benedicta Cipolla, "when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in New York in April, he will find the Big Apple unchanged from papal visits past in at least one regard: It remains a city of immigrants":

The New York Archdiocese, whose jurisdiction includes the three boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, as well as seven counties outside the city, numbers 2.5 million Catholics, an estimated 23 percent of whom are foreign-born. Certain vicariates run higher: 50 percent of Catholics in north Manhattan, for example, are immigrants.

In the Brooklyn Diocese, which encompasses Brooklyn and Queens, 54 percent of the area's 1.3 million Catholics are foreign-born. Overall, 37 percent of New Yorkers were born outside the United States.

The numbers aren't all that different from 1910, when 40 percent of the population was foreign-born, in large part because of immigration from Ireland, Italy, Russia and Austria-Hungary.

According to Fordham University church historian Msgr. Thomas Shelley, the first pastor of New York's first Catholic parish, St. Peter's, reported back in 1785 that fluency in six languages -- English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Irish -- was necessary for the job.

"When New York's Catholic community was no more than 200 people, it was already ethnically diversified," Msgr. Shelley said in an interview.

Today, New York is even more diverse. The Brooklyn Diocese offers Masses in 24 languages and 24 ethnic apostolates serving 18 different groups. In the New York Archdiocese, Catholics can find Masses in 33 languages on any given weekend.

Benedicta Cipolla's article profiles several largely-immigrant populated parishes

The Tidings: "Pope has finger on pulse of U.S. church"

According to Carol Glatz of The Tidings, Pope Benedict's venture to the United States will not be "stepping into the unknown":

Through his many personal contacts with American church leaders and papal diplomats, his past trips to the U.S. and his ability to remember much of what he hears and reads, Pope Benedict has his finger firmly on the pulse of the church in the United States.

Bishops from around the world coming to Rome consistently have expressed awe and admiration for the pope's remarkable depth of knowledge, his familiarity with everyday events worldwide, and his recollection of minute or even obscure facts and past events.

"He has always been amazingly well-informed on the U.S.," said U.S. Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, who studied under the future pope in the 1970s.

According to Carol, the Pope's prior occupation as Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presented him with many opportunities to acquaint himself with the challenges facing the Catholic Church in America:
The congregation has weekly meetings with experts on current prominent topics --- such as advances in medicine --- and it also receives regular reports from the world's bishops. . . .

As head of the doctrinal congregation and as pontiff, Pope Benedict has always had Americans on his staff. For instance, U.S. Archbishop James Harvey is one of his private secretaries, and the former San Francisco archbishop, Cardinal William J. Levada, is now head of the doctrinal congregation.

People who know Pope Benedict say he is a good listener and accessible, and it made meetings with him as head of the doctrinal congregation a positive experience.

"Not only was he present, as opposed to having just someone from the office meet (us), but he would listen, he would respond to questions, and he would seem to already have considerable knowledge of whatever the issues we brought to discuss," said Archbishop [Donald W. Wuerl of Washington].

He said bishops' group talks with Cardinal Ratzinger began with a prayer and with him asking participants what their issues and concerns were "rather than give a talk to us first."

"He didn't come to the meeting with an already formed vision of what was happening. He listened, and he responded across the board," the archbishop said.

The pope's ability to see things from so many points of view is also a sign of his having "a very wide vision" and sources of information that "were of considerable breadth," the Washington archbishop said.

Now that he is pope, the Holy Father can rely on a vast array of resources on the United States, from papal nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, in Washington and Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's observer at the United Nations in New York, to talks with U.S. Bishops themselves during their ad limina visits to Rome -- not to mention the reporting of L'Osservatore Romano and correspondence from thousands of faithful.

As Cardinal Ratzinger, the Pope has visited the United States "at least 5 times."

(On Ratzinger's prior visit to New York city, where he spoke at a conference on "biblical interpretation in crisis" arranged by Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus (then a Lutheran pastor) and tangled with ACT-UP gay rights demonstrators (as recolleded by Alice von Hildebrand) see: Pope Benedict XVI: Grace Under Fire Against The Grain August 31, 2007).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

F.C. Zeigler Company Refurbishes 1938 Chalice for Papal Visit

The F.C. Ziegler Company in Tulsa, OK was given the honor of refurbishing a 1938 chalice to be used during Benedict's papal tour of the United States. Catholic News Service ' Marilyn Duck interviews Don Taylor, who is overseeing the project:

"When you get a piece like that, and you know who will use it and who has used it in the past, I'm absolutely nervous, yes," said the member of St. Cecilia Parish in Claremore, northeast of Tulsa.

The chalice has been housed at the Vatican's embassy in Washington and has been used by previous popes who visited the United States, including Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II.

A Ziegler's customer who lives in Washington and has worked with the apostolic nuncio recommended the family-owned Tulsa firm as "the best in the industry," Taylor told the Tulsa World daily newspaper. [...]

The restoration by Taylor and his team included removing the rubies, sapphires and glass medallions that adorn the chalice and cleaning and polishing it before recoating the sterling silver chalice with a 24-carat gold finish. On Feb. 19, the chalice was supposed to be on its way back to Washington.

The chalice was manufactured in London in the spring of 1938. Taylor estimated it would cost $12,000-$15,000 to create such a chalice today.

It is typically cleaned once or twice every week by nuns, Taylor said, and the finish simply had worn off. The restoration was to make it "look like it did when it was new," he said.

See also:
  • Tulsa firm refinishing chalice for pope's visit, by Bill Sherman. Tulsa World February 15, 2008.
  • The F.C. Ziegler Company - "In 1929, during the birth of the Great Depression, [F.C. Zeigler] started a jewelry manufacture and repair shop. During World War II, local priests asked if he would begin making chalices and other sacred vessels. Considering it his duty to the Church, he said yes."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Benedict to visit President Bush, White House during Papal Visit

Pope to Visit White House on First Papal Trip to U.S. Fox News. February 15, 2008:

WASHINGTON — Pope Benedict XVI will visit the White House April 16, meeting during his first trip to the United States since becoming the leader of the Catholic Church in 2005, administration officials said.

"The President and the Holy Father will continue discussions, which they began during the President's visit to the Vatican in June 2007, on their common commitment to the importance of faith and reason in reaching shared goals," according to a news release.

"These goals include advancing peace throughout the Middle East and other troubled regions, promoting inter-faith understanding, and strengthening human rights and freedom, especially religious liberty, around the world."

Both the president and first lady Laura Bush will receive the pope, the White House said.

Benedict will visit the United States April 15-20, traveling first to Washington, where he will also make a stop at the Catholic University of America. He will then travel to New York, stopping at the United Nations on April 18 to deliver an address the U.N. General Assembly. He also will visit Ground Zero and hold mass at Yankee Stadium.

The trip also falls on the three-year anniversary of Benedict's becoming pope, following the death of Pope John Paul II.

Friday, February 15, 2008

National Catholic Register on "The Year of Benedict"

The editors of the National Catholic Register predict that 2008 may very well be "The Year of Benedict" -- eclipsing even the candicacy of politician-superstar Senator Barack Obama and the downfall of baseball legend Roger Clemens:

After all, the Holy Father is just going to visit and make some remarks. And besides, he’s mostly of interest to Catholics — while these other events are of interest to all.

But we know better. As inspiring as even we find Barack Obama’s story and speeches, the future is not his. History has seen the rise and fall of many ideologies of exploitation. The abortion industry is ascendant now, and Obama is a close ally of the abortion industry. But in years to come his adamant opposition to the right to life, up to and including babies in the last stages of pregnancy, will be seen as shameful rather than inspirational. Obama’s embrace of the abortion industry is so extreme, he even voted against a bill that would protect babies accidentally born alive during abortions.

If history has taught us anything, it is that the truth endures despite the intellectual fads (and abuses) that rise and fall. And defending truth, in season and out of season, is what Pope Benedict has devoted his life to. But don’t take our word for it. When Pope John Paul II visited Toronto in 2002, the media made the mistake of expecting the visit to be no big deal. How wrong they were.

“John Paul, we have a confession to make,” went one Toronto Sun editorial. “We underestimated you. Thanks. Thank you for reminding us, regardless of our religion, about the importance of duty and determination. About the power of faith and the power of God. Thank you for bringing to Toronto those hundreds of thousands of wonderful and sincere young people.”

Later, they explained that the Pope towers above politicians: “The irony is that what critics see as the Pope’s weakness is his greatest strength. John Paul has proven what politicians say but don’t mean: If you are true to yourself, and if your heart is pure, people will respect you, even if they disagree with you. ... And because John Paul, throughout his papacy, has been true to himself, he towers above politicians when it comes to public respect. ... May God bless him and keep him with us for many years to come.”

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Baltimore Catholics can Request Papal Mass Tickets Online

Catholics in the diocese of Baltimore, MD can request tickets online, reports Laureen Miles Brunelli ( Baltimore):

Baltimore Catholics can request tickets this week for the two public Masses Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to celebrate during his U.S. visit in April. On February 6 at 9 a.m., Archdiocese's website will accept applications for the tickets to papal Masses in Washington DC (April 16) and New York (April 20).

The tickets are free; however, the New York tickets requires that ticket holders travel on the Archdiocese's chartered bus at $52 a person. Those registered in a parish in Baltimore's Archdiocese will receive preference. Applicants will need to provide their name, address, birth date and parish.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Diocese of Charlotte: 100 Tickets Available for New York Mass

The Diocese of Charlotte has 100 tickets for a Mass with Pope Benedict XVI to be held April 20 in New York, the News & Record reports:

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte received the tickets from the Archdiocese of New York, which is hosting a portion of the pope's visit, which will also wind through Washington .

Online applications are being accepted through midnight Tuesday at Tickets will be distributed randomly so everyone has the same chance of getting one. . . . More Details.

Meet Thomas Stehle . . .

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Thomas Stehle, music director for the papal mass in Washington:

When Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass for 45,000 people at the new ballpark in Washington, D.C., a musician from Western Pennsylvania will lead the hallelujahs.

Thomas Stehle, a Butler native, will oversee a 250-voice choir, a gospel choir, a multicultural choir, a children's choir and an orchestra at the April 17 Mass. He's in sensitive negotiations with yet-to-be-identified famous singers. This is on top of his duties as director of music at a parish in Potomac, Md.

The papal post came as a surprise to Mr. Stehle, who hadn't applied. He expected it to go to a director at the cathedral or the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

"When I first heard that the pope was coming, there was a little sense of relief that I wasn't in a position where I would necessarily be called to do this," he said. "It's a wonderful honor, but the responsibility is tremendous."

He was prepared for it, he said, by years of service at parishes in the Pittsburgh area. . . . [More]