The National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) announces that on Dec. 10-11, the Diocese of Scranton will hold the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection in parishes throughout the diocese.
Last year, the parishioners in the diocese donated $68,433.29 to the collection. About the upcoming collection, NRRO Executive Director Sister Stephanie Still, a member of the Sisters of the Presentation of San Francisco, said, “The care of our aging religious presents an enormous financial responsibility. It is our privilege to care for those who gave a lifetime of tireless service, and I feel we are deeply blessed by all the U.S. Catholic donors who have steadfastly contributed to this fund.”
Historically, Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests—known collectively as women and men religious—served for little to no pay. With rising health-care expenses, hundreds of U.S. religious communities face a large gap between the needs of their older members and the funds available to support their care. As a result, many now lack adequate retirement savings.
The 2021 appeal raised nearly $28.5 million, and the NRRO distributed funding to 271 U.S. religious communities. Donations also underwrite resources that help religious communities improve elder care and plan for long-term retirement needs.
About the National Religious Retirement Office:
The National Religious Retirement Office coordinates the annual national appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious and distributes financial assistance for retirement needs to eligible religious institutes. To help address the deficit in retirement funding among U.S. religious orders, Catholic bishops of the United States initiated the Retirement Fund for Religious Collection in 1988.
SCRANTON – Everyone is invited to attend a Jubilee Mass for Women and Men Religious who are celebrating milestone ordination anniversaries in 2022 on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.
The Mass will be celebrated at 12:15 p.m.
The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will serve as principal celebrant and homilist for the Jubilee Mass.
For those unable to attend in person, CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton will provide a live broadcast of the Jubilee Mass.
2 0 2 2 J U B I L A R I A N S
SISTERS, SERVANTS OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY (I.H.M.)
Sister Marionette Coll, I.H.M.
Sister M. Celesta Sinisi, I.H.M.
Sister M. Francis Xavier Grieb, I.H.M.
Sister Maria Goretti Timperio, I.H.M.
Sister Geraldine Marie Dranginis, I.H.M.
Sister Mary Pio Ferrario, I.H.M.
Sister Marie C. Moore, I.H.M.
Sister Katherine O’Neil, I.H.M.
Sister Elizabeth M. Pearson, I.H.M.
Sister Janet Rossiter, I.H.M.
Sister Frances E. Russell, I.H.M.
Sister M. Angelique Vannicola, I.H.M.
Sister Marie Estelle Gavel, I.H.M.
Sister Rose Marie Mozzachio, I.H.M.
Sister Mary Ellen Coyne, I.H.M.
Sister Anne McDonald, I.H.M.
Sister Patricia Walsh, I.H.M.
Sister Maryalice Jacquinot, I.H.M.
SISTERS OF MERCY OF THE AMERICAS (R.S.M.)
Sister Miriam Rita Biter, R.S.M.
Sister Aileen Mary Flynn, R.S.M.
Sister Maureen Harrison, R.S.M.
Sister Margaretta Phillips, R.S.M.
Sister Maureen McCann, R.S. M.
Sister Patricia Marie McCann, R.S.M.
Sister Ruth Neely, R.S.M.
Sister Carol Rittner, R.S.M.
SISTERS OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY (S.C.C.)
Sister Teresa Ann Jacobs, S.C.C.
CONGREGATION OF THE PASSION (C.P.)
Brother Andre Mathieu, C.P.
Father Michael Salvagna, C.P.
Father Francis Landry, C.P.
Father Richard Burke, C.P.
Father John Michael Lee, C.P.
SOCIETY OF JESUS (S.J.)
Reverend John J. Begley, S.J. in Priesthood
Reverend James D. Redington, S.J. in the Society
Reverend Ronald H. McKinney, S.J. in the Society
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As Christians await their death and the final judgment of God, the Gospel tells them what they must do to be welcomed into heaven: love others because God is love, Pope Francis said.
In life “we are in the waiting room of the world,” hoping to hear Jesus say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father,” the pope said during a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Nov. 2, the feast of All Souls.
Pope Francis celebrated the Mass with special prayers for the nine cardinals and 148 archbishops and bishops from around the world who died between Oct. 30, 2021, and Oct. 17 this year, including 14 bishops from the United States and four from Canada.
After the Mass, the pope visited the Vatican’s Teutonic Cemetery, a medieval cemetery now reserved mainly for German-speaking priests and members of religious orders.
The Gospel reading at the Mass was St. Matthew’s description of the last judgment when those who fed the hungry, welcomed the stranger and visited the prisoner are welcomed into God’s kingdom, and those who neglected to care for others are sent into “the eternal fire.”
While praying for those who have died, he said, the feast day also is a call to “nurture our expectation of heaven” and question whether one’s strongest desires are for union with God or for earthly status and pleasures that will pass away.
“The best careers, the greatest achievements, the most prestigious titles and accolades, the accumulated riches and earthly gains — all will vanish in a moment,” the pope said.
But the Gospel of Matthew makes clear what will last, he said: love and care for others, especially the poor and those usually discarded by society.
And, he said, the Gospel also explains that God’s final judgment is not like a civil court where the judge or jury sifts through every piece of evidence and weighs them all carefully.
In the divine tribunal, the only thing that counts “is mercy toward the poor and discarded: ‘Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,'” the pope said. “The Most High is in the least, he who inhabits the heavens dwells among the most insignificant to the world.”
Jesus’ measure is “a love beyond our measures, and his standard of judgment is gratuitousness,” he said. “So, to prepare ourselves, we know what to do: love those who are on his priority list, those who can give us nothing back, those who do not attract us” and do so without expecting repayment.
Too often, Pope Francis said, instead of living the Gospel, people try to water down the words of Jesus.
“Let’s face it, we have gotten pretty good at compromising with the Gospel,” saying, “‘Feeding the hungry yes, but the issue of hunger is complex, and I certainly can’t solve it!'” or “‘Welcoming migrants yes, but it is a complicated issue, it concerns politics,'” the pope said. With little objections “we make life a compromise with the Gospel.”
“From simple disciples of the Master, we become teachers of complexity, who argue a lot and do little, who seek answers more in front of the computer than in front of the crucifix, on the internet rather than in the eyes of our brothers and sisters,” he said. Believers become experts “who comment, debate and expound theories, but do not know even one poor person by name, have not visited a sick person for months, have never fed or clothed someone (and) have never befriended someone in need.”
The Gospel teaches people how to live while awaiting death and God’s judgment — “loving because he is love,” Pope Francis said. God “waits for us among the poor and wounded of the world. And he is waiting to be caressed not with words but with deeds.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The saints were not “starched,” picture-perfect conformists, Pope Francis said; they were “countercultural and revolutionary.”
The multitude of men and women honored on the feast of All Saints lived according to the Eight Beatitudes, which made them decidedly out of place in the world, Pope Francis said Nov. 1 before reciting the Angelus prayer.
With thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, including runners who had participated in the 10k All Saints’ Day race, Pope Francis also encouraged people not only to visit the burial sites of their loved ones the following day, the feast of All Souls, but to go to Mass and pray for them as well.
Talking about saints and the day’s Gospel reading of the beatitudes, Pope Francis focused particularly on “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
Everyone says they want peace, he said, but often what they mean is they want “to be left in peace, to have no problems, just tranquility.”
But, if one reads the beatitudes in the Gospel, he said, they will see that Jesus does not say, “Blessed are those who are at peace,” but blessed are “those who make peace, the constructors, the peacemakers.”
“Indeed, peace must be built, and like any construction it requires effort, collaboration, patience,” he said. And it requires acts of justice and mercy.
While many people today try to convince everyone that only power and force can guarantee peace, the teaching of Jesus and the example of the saints show “peace is not achieved by conquering or defeating someone, it is never violent, it is never armed.”
To begin to sow peace, Pope Francis asked people to look at themselves and ask, “In the places where we live, study and work, do we bring tension, words that hurt, gossip that poisons, controversy that divides? Or do we open the path to peace: Do we forgive those who have offended us, care for those who are at the margins, redress some injustice by helping those who have less? This is building peace.”
At the end of his midday talk, the pope asked for prayers for his trip Nov. 3-6 to Bahrain so that his meetings with local Christians and with Muslim leaders would promote, “in the name of God, the cause of fraternity and peace, which our times so desperately and urgently need.”
And “please,” he said, “don’t forget martyred Ukraine; let us pray for peace, we pray that in Ukraine there would be peace.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – During the month of November, Pope Francis is asking people to pray for children who are suffering because of poverty, war and exploitation.
“Let us pray for children who are suffering, especially for those who are homeless, orphans and victims of war. May they be guaranteed access to education, and may they have the opportunity to experience family affection,” the pope said in a video released Oct. 31.
In the video message released by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, the pope explained his November prayer intention: “For children who suffer.”
“An abandoned child is our fault,” the pope said in the message.
“Each marginalized child, abandoned by his or her family, without schooling, without health care, is a cry! A cry that rises up to God and shames the system that we adults have built,” he insisted.
Pope Francis noted that there are millions of boys and girls around the world living “in conditions very similar to slavery.”
Yet, they are human beings with names and faces and an identity that God gave them, he said. And they have a right to an education and “to feel the love of a family so they know that God does not forget them.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The COVID-19 pandemic has weakened many parishes, but that community “in the midst of homes, in the midst of people,” is still an essential place for nourishing and sharing faith, Pope Francis told Italian young adults.
The parish is “the normal environment where we learned to hear the Gospel, to know the Lord Jesus, to serve with gratuitousness, to pray in community, to share projects and initiatives, to feel part of God’s holy people,” the pope told leaders of the young adult section of Italian Catholic Action, a parish-based program of faith building and social outreach.
Meeting thousands of young adults Oct. 29, Pope Francis said he knows that in most cities and towns the parish church is not the center of religious and social life like it was when he was growing up, but “for our journey of faith and growth, the parish experience was and is important, irreplaceable.”
With its mix of members, the pope said, the parish is the place to experience how “in the church we are all brothers and sisters through baptism; that we are all protagonists and responsible; that we have different gifts that are all for the good of the community; that life is vocation, following Jesus; and that faith is a gift to be given, a gift to witness.”
Part of that witness, he said, is to show concretely how faith leads to charity and a desire for justice.
In the neighborhood, town and region, “our motto is not ‘I don’t care,’ but ‘I care!'” the pope said.
The “disease of not caring” can be “more dangerous than a cancer,” he told the young people. “Human misery is not a fate that befalls some unfortunate people, but almost always the result of injustices that must be eradicated.”
Pope Francis urged the young people not to be frustrated or put off by the fact that in their parishes “the community dimension is a bit weak,” something “which has been aggravated by the pandemic.”
Learning to see each other as brothers and sisters, he said, does not begin with some parish meeting or activity, but with each person through prayer and, especially, through the Eucharist celebrated and shared in the parish.
“Fraternity in the church is founded on Christ, on his presence in us and among us,” the pope said. “Thanks to him we welcome each other, bear with each other — Christian love is built on bearing with each other — and forgive each other.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – With a renewed membership, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors met at the Vatican in late October and laid the groundwork for devising an annual report on child protection efforts by the Catholic Church globally.
Oblate Father Andrew Small, commission secretary, told reporters Oct. 28 that members also looked at the commission’s new relationship to the disciplinary section of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and continued their efforts to promote greater transparency and fuller reporting to victims about the outcome of their cases.
“In our engagement with victim survivors, the acknowledgement of the wrong that was done to them is primary, being listened to, being believed,” Father Small said. “There’s nothing that takes the place of being believed and heard.”
But, he said, “seeing the wrongdoer continue to flourish at times or to appear without sanction is also very painful,” so victims are understandably confused or upset when they are not informed about actions taken by the church against an accused offender.
Because the commission is not involved in individual investigations and disciplinary procedures, Father Small said he could not comment on the case of Bishop Michel Santier of Créteil, France. When the Vatican announced in 2021 that the bishop was retiring, the bishop had said it was for health reasons. No one contradicted him publicly until mid-October when the Diocese of Créteil confirmed he had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct and disciplined by the Vatican.
The Vatican still needs to find a way to be more open while respecting local laws that protect the reputation of someone who is not guilty of a civil crime but may have violated church law, Father Small said.
If the church cannot figure that out, he said, not only will it be bad for the institutional church, “but it will be continually painful for the victims, who are the source and summit of the commission’s focus.”
When Pope Francis reorganized the Roman Curia, he linked the commission to the disciplinary section of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Father Small, writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said the move ensures the commission “would maintain its independence as an advisory body to the pope, with access to the bodies that exercise leadership within the church and with the mandate to oversee the adequacy of the church’s policies and procedures in the area of abuse prevention and safeguarding.”
So, Father Small wrote, the commission “will continue to be led by a president delegate, appointed by the pope and reporting directly to the pontiff. And decisions regarding the personnel, the members of the commission, as well as the proposals it produces, will remain independent of the dicastery. Pope Francis has been very clear that the independent voices of the members of the commission and those it serves should not be compromised.”
U.S. Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston has been president of the commission since its establishment in 2014.
During the commission’s meeting Oct. 27-29, it also announce the launch of a fund to help finance the establishment of “suitable centers where individuals who have experienced abuse, and their family members, can find acceptance and an attentive hearing, and be accompanied in a process of healing and justice, as indicated in the motu proprio ‘Vos Estis Lux Mundi.'”
Father Small told reporters that he believed 70 to 80 of the 114 bishops’ conferences in the world do not have stable, publicly accessible reporting mechanisms called for in Vos Estis, mainly because they do not have the resources. But with major funding from the Italian bishops’ conference and contributions from others, those listening and reporting posts will be established.
As for the annual report on the church’s child protection efforts worldwide, a report the pope asked the commission in April to develop, Father Small said commission members outlined a design for the report.
The first section, he said, would summarize reports bishops give to the commission while making their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican regarding their guidelines and implementation of Vos Estis.
For the second section, commission members will divide into teams to look at the church in specific geographical areas, focusing on giving a broader overview of child protection efforts in Africa, in Asia and Oceania, in Europe and in the Americas.
A third section will look at how dicasteries of the Roman Curia are including safeguarding in their activities; for example, how the Dicastery for Clergy promotes safeguarding awareness in seminaries, he said.
The final section will look at broader church efforts to protect children in the world by, for example, rescuing child soldiers, protecting migrant and refugee children, ensuring their safety in orphanages and foster care homes.
While Father Small said the commission should have something to give the pope in 2023, he does not expect to collect enough “actionable data” to begin doing a full annual report until 2024.