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Photos of the Week /Photos of the Week
Author:Maria D'Antonio
Photo by Alan M. Dumoff  On Saturday April 25, special needs children, adults and their families came out to a free carnival on the parking lot of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden.  Over 300 enjoyed a sunny spring day with swings, slides, zoo animals and plenty of concessions. The event was sponsored by the Marlton Special Needs Karate Group, local businesses and the cathedral.  Johnson’s Fun Factory Amusements provided the entertainment, along with local donations from Camden businesses  
Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
Catholic Schools/Catholic School News
Photo by Alan M. Dumoff  Bishop McHugh Regional School student Andrew Pfeiffer shows off his science project, “How does the air pressure in a soccer ball affect the distance it will travel?” in a science fair during the Ocean View school’s week of science-related activities last month. Students in grades 2-8 displayed their science projects all week, studied constellations in the mini-planetarium set up in the school library, and star-gazed outside the school at night with members of the South Jersey Astronomers Club.
Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Latest News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
There are more than a quarter million students in New Jersey with disabilities, according to a 2007 Department of Education report.  These young people have special needs related to orthopedic, speech, vision, hearing challenges and other disabilities. Special education programs in four Catholic elementary schools and two Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Camden work to meet the academic, spiritual and social needs of students with special needs. Also, Archbishop Damiano School within St. John of God Community Services in Westville Grove provides early intervention programs that serve children with disabilities from birth to age three and adult rehabilitation services for those with disabilities 21 and older. More than $500,000 from last year’s House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal was directed to these special education programs Elementary special education programs assist students at Our Lady Star of the Sea Regional School (Atlantic City), St. Cecilia School (Pennsauken), John Paul II Regional School (Stratford), and Resurrection Regional Catholic School (Cherry Hill). Camden Catholic High School (Cherry Hill) and Holy Spirit High School (Absecon) provide special education programs for high school aged students. 120 students are served by the school special education programs, 52 of which are in the secondary schools and 68 in the elementary schools. “Because of the support from parishioners through the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal, we are able to provide a nurturing, caring environment that allows students with special needs to flourish,” said Eileen Murtha, director of the special education programs for the diocese. “These young people are an inspiration to all the students in these schools because they know great challenges, yet accomplish and contribute so much.”   Meanwhile, Archbishop Damiano School located on the campus of St. John of God Community Services is an approved, accredited private special education day school serving students with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities ages 3 through 21. Services are provided to families from Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland and Atlantic counties at no cost.  “We provide a nurturing, age-appropriate and positive learning atmosphere that focuses on helping each student reach his or her fullest potential. This is accomplished with certified special education teachers, licensed therapists, skilled paraprofessionals and excellent nursing services,” said Kate Flynn, school principal. The Archbishop Damiano Program includes basic skills instruction, socialization skills, language development and motor development; functional life skills, enabling students to participate in home and community environments; community-based instruction, which extends the typical classroom experience beyond the walls of the school and out into the greater community;  and work adjustment training, which prepares students ages 18-21 for the transition to adult life with a heavy emphasis on employability skills. Presently, there are 185 students that attend Archbishop Damiano School. “Students with special needs are served each year through the generous support of the people of the diocese.  While economic conditions are difficult this year, the need of these students remains as pressing as ever,” said Mariann Gettings, director of the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal. “We are so grateful for parishioners who give witness to their faith by supporting these important programs.” Editor’s note: For more information about the Appeal or to contribute, see www.camdendiocese.org.
Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
Catholic Schools/Catholic School News
Gloucester Catholic High School Forensics Coach Joe McKenna (rear) celebrates with his team after winning the Dr. David T. Coghlan Invitational Forensics Tournament. Seven GCHS students will represent the Diocese of Camden at the National Catholic Forensics Competition in Albany, New York during Memorial Day Weekend. From left: Liz O’Shea, Timothy Scaffidi, Alexis Scaffidi, Alex Flynn, Alexandra Page, Marie Roantree and Nadia Pascetta.
Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Supplements
Vocations — A Supplement to the Catholic Star Herald — stories and recounts of the calling to religious vocations  vocationssupp-web.pdf  
Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Latest News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
As parishes continue to make progress in their preparations for merger, Bishop Joseph Galante has appointed a Diocesan Merger Review Committee to assess their readiness to merge. Fourteen members on the committee will review the preparations made by Priest Conveners and Core Teams who are guiding parishes that will be merging.  At least two review teams of five-seven members will be formed from the committee membership, with each team assigned to a particular merger. The Committee’s members have experience in key areas:  canonical and civil issues, temporalities, clergy issues, liturgical preparation, ministry/formation, and pastoral planning. The Committee members are: — Msgr. Peter M. Joyce, J.C.L. (Chancellor and Vicar for Canonical Affairs) and H. Roberta Small, J.C.L. (Vice Chancellor) — William Murray (Bishop’s Delegate for Temporalities and Financial Officer), Larry Reader (Director of Temporal Services), and Edward LoCasale (Director of Finance) — Father Terry Odien (Vicar for Clergy), Msgr. Robert McDermott (Vicar General) and Deacon Leo McBlain (Director of the Permanent Diaconate) — Stephen Obarski (Director of Worship). — Sister Roseann Quinn, SSJ (Bishop’s Delegate for Lifelong Formation) and Mr. Kevin Connor (Director of Lay Ministry Formation) — Sister Marilyn Vollmer, SSM (Director of Planning) and Sister Antoine Lawlor, IHM (Associate Director of Planning) — Ed Duckworth (Office of Pastoral Planning) Forty Priest Conveners and more than 350 Core Team members from merging parishes have been meeting since fall 2008 to lay the foundations for sacramental life, worship and pastoral ministries in the new parish. They also have been addressing issues related to the care of temporal goods, finance and accounting issues, as well as the range of canonical and civil considerations involved in bringing parishes together. In collaboration with pastors they also have been developing a variety of community-building experiences among merging parishes, extending invitations to worship and pray together, engaging parishioners in suggesting names for the new parish and developing parish mission statements. Each Priest Convener and Core Team has determined the pace, timeline and the number of meetings that have been necessary based on the needs of their parishes. During the next several weeks, some Priest Conveners and Core Teams will be completing their preparations.  As a merging parish completes its planning, it will prepare a checklist indicating the specific preparations that have been made. If all is satisfactory, the Diocesan Merger Review Committee will conduct an onsite visit with the Priest Convener and Core Team to confirm that the many tasks involved in preparing for merging have occurred.  A written report addressed to Bishop Galante will indicate the planning and preparations are ready for a final review.  This review will be conducted by the Chancellor’s Office to ensure compliance with canonical and civil law. Following a favorable review by the Chancellor’s Office, Bishop Galante will be notified that a particular parish is ready to merge. At that time he will issue a formal decree establishing the new parish. “The appointment of the Diocesan Merger Review Committee is a major step forward in this diocese’s effort to strengthen parishes, to address longstanding challenges facing the Church, and to improve care to the Catholic people in South Jersey,” said Andrew Walton, spokesman for the diocese. “We commend the Priest Conveners and Core Team members for their dedication, great love for the Church and the great progress that they have made in preparing parishes to come together.” The review by the Diocesan Merger Review Committee is the next step in a parish planning process that began four years ago (see attached timeline). Soon after Bishop Galante’s installation in 2004, he held listening sessions (“Speak Ups”) at each parish and with various groups within the diocese to hear firsthand from the people about their concerns and hopes for the Catholic Church in South Jersey. More than 8,000 men and women— lay, religious and clergy—participated in the more than 140 sessions held in 2005 and 2006. From these sessions, six key pastoral priorities were identified: lifelong faith formation, youth and young adults, compassionate outreach, liturgy, lay ministry and priestly vocations. Yet, given the challenges confronting the Church and because many parishes as presently configured lack the means to address these needs, Bishop Galante announced a comprehensive, multi-phased parish planning process in fall 2006 in order to strengthen and revitalize parish life, to address the decline in the number of diocesan priests available for ministry, to reverse the long-term decline in religious practice, to address population and demographic changes, and to bring financial health and stability to parishes in the six counties of South Jersey. When Bishop Galante announced his intentions for the reconfiguration of parishes in the diocese last April, he indicated that the process of merging parishes could take anywhere from 12-24 months since the needs of each configuration are different.  This allows for an ample period of time to prepare and transition before parishes are formally established by decree.
Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
Youth & Young Adult/Youth and Young Adults News
Catholic youth are invited to participate in an upcoming weekend retreat that will help them spread the love and truth of Christ to others, becoming “true witnesses of the Living Word.” The ADORE Eucharistic Youth Congress will be held from Friday, May 22 to Sunday, May 24 at St. Peter Church in Merchantville. The weekend will be “a way we can reach out to young people…a catalyst for (their) spiritual growth and development,” explained Father Anthony Manuppella, pastor of St. Peter Parish, who is coordinating the event with Mary Help of Christians Crusades, the youth sector of Alliance of the Holy Family International. “It’s an opportunity to be inspired, and make a commitment to their faith.  ADORE will ground young people in the Eucharist, and the Blessed Mother.” Led by “young people evangelizing other young people,” said Father Manuppella, the three-day retreat will include adoration, Eucharistic procession through the streets of Merchantville, the living rosary, talks, live music, skits and short films, workshops, and Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph A. Galante. Bishop Galante said, in a statement promoting the event, that it will “strengthen the convictions of our young people to embrace every person with the love of Christ by preserving his true presence in their hearts and minds, especially through the Eucharist, adoration, the sacrament of reconciliation, and meditation on the life of Christ through the rosary.” Since 2003, ADORE has been held in locales such as San Antonio; Los Angeles; Melbourne, Australia; and Hong Kong. The May 22-24 event is the first ADORE in the state of New Jersey. “We need to hold on to our young people,” said Father Manuppella.  “We need young people spreading the love, faith, and Eucharist.” Early registration before May 8 is $25; after this date, $35. Registration includes meals, and an ADORE kit.  There is also an optional, $50 two-night accommodation fee. For more information, call St. Peter Church, 856-663-1373, or go to http://www.stpeterrcc.com/Adore2009/Adore2009_New_Jersey.htm
Thursday, 30 April 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Testimonials from Parishioners
I wanted to let you know that I love the new functions on the "Around the Diocese". It is wonderful to be able to click and have all my ads pop up and to then be able to update and delete them. WOW! I love it!! I'll be able to save you guys time from deleting my stuff and make quick and easy changes to some stuff that repeats but need a date changed. It really is fantastic. Thank you very much. Have a blessed day, Jessie Volunteer/St. Mary Church
Thursday, 07 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
Front Page of Newspaper/Latest Front Page Images
Thursday, 07 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
Photos of the Week /Photos of the Week
Author:Maria D'Antonio
Photo by Gerald Williams Zack McShane, 14, of Team St. Rose/Christ the King-Haddon Hts./Haddonfield is surprised at the strength of Taylor Jurek,14, of Team St. Bridgets-Glassboro as the two compete at the Junior Youth Group Olympics at St. Michael School, Clayton, on April 26. Around 40 diocesan youth from St. Rose of Lima, Haddon Heights; Christ the King, Haddonfield; St. Margaret, Woodbury Heights; and Sts. Peter and Paul, Turnersville got their game faces on and took part in contests that involved arm wrestling, pie eating, Texas Hold ‘Em poker, Who Wants To Be A Catholic Bazillionaire?, and paper airplane-flying, among others.
Thursday, 07 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Latest News
Author:Rich Luongo
Photo by Alan M. Dumoff  Volunteers pray before serving the first meal on Easter Sunday at the new soup kitchen at Queen of the Apostles Parish, Pennsville. PENNSVILLE — A new soup kitchen that opened on Easter Sunday in Queen of the Apostles Parish Hall could eventually be on its way to self-sufficiency when a garden is started next year. “We’re playing by ear,” said Dr. Patrick Lloyd, director of the kitchen. ‘Right now we’ll serve what the farmers will give to us during the season along with specialties that come in on a weekly basis. We will follow the season.” Lloyd pointed out that a country garden where people will participate is another mission along with the soup kitchen. “We will open up the kitchen and our mission for more involvement,” he added. Father Dennis Bajkowski, administrator of Queen of the Apostles, said the soup kitchen is sponsored by the Outreach Committee and is manned all by volunteers, some who also volunteer at other kitchens. Dinner is served from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 4-5 p.m. on Sundays. “Everything is prepared on the premises and people eat in the parish hall,” said Father Bajkowski, noting that it will take time to straighten out all the priorities before the people can bag their own dinners, which will include fruits, for take-out. “We serve simple meals,” he said; “sandwiches and salads and soups, sometimes chicken.” The pastor explained that the kitchen will be available all year long and, by the end of the year, it will be evaluated and decided whether to open for more days. “We’ve been serving from 8-14 people on each day we’re open,” Father Bajkowski said. “The response has been good.” Other organizations, such as Catholic Charities, will supply goods because Salem County, if not the poorest county in the state, is probably close to it, he noted. “People are in economic distress,” the pastor said, “and this is a way to help them. We don’t ask if they’re needy but if we can at least serve them food for a couple of days a week, they’ll have money to pay their mortgage.” More information can be obtained by calling Dr. Lloyd at 856-371-8949 or check out the website. www.soupkitchenonline.com.
Thursday, 07 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Latest News
The Filipino Apostolate of South Jersey is holding two Santacruzan festivals in the upcoming weeks, in devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the true cross of Christ. Celebrations will be held this Sunday, May 10, 2:30 p.m. at St. Monica Church, Atlantic City, and on Sunday, May 17, 1:30 p.m. at St. Mary Church, Williamstown. The celebrations, to bring together 600-700 members of the Filipino community from around the Diocese of Camden, according to Marvin Alverio of the Filipino Apostolate, will include coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Eucharistic celebration, procession, fellowship, and a cultural presentation in the Filipino tradition. There will also be veneration of a relic of the true cross of Christ. Alverio explained that the Santacruzan festival is not only “to celebrate Mother Mary, our Blessed Intercessor,” but also a time for “parish integration.” Two weeks a month, the Filipino Apostolate holds a Filipino Mass, spoken in their native Tagalog language, at a different parish in the diocese. Every second Sunday, a Mass is celebrated in Cape May, Cumberland, or Atlantic County. Every fourth Sunday, a Mass is celebrated in Camden or Gloucester County. Santacruzan commemorates the discovery of the cross used in Jesus’ death by St. Helena in Jerusalem in 324. The month of May in the Philippines is dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Father Danilo M. Quiray, interim spiritual director of the Filipino Apostolate of South Jersey, said that the celebrations are a chance for the Filipino community “to bring our own identity as Filipinos…called to holiness and unity, and to share it, and to open the celebration to everyone.” For more information, contact Lito and Erlie Mangulabnan, 856-728-4043, or Julien and Binkie Cahanap, 856-366-6773. 
Thursday, 07 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Latest News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
Patrick R. Brannigan, Executive Director, New Jersey Catholic Conference, issued the following statement on May 6.  The recent authorization of marriage between individuals of the same sex in a few states has led some to call for passage of a same sex marriage law in New Jersey. I want to emphasize that the Catholic Church teaches that men and women with homosexual orientations “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in this regard should be avoided” [Catechism of the Catholic Church]. The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against homosexual persons. We must always remember that every person has an inherent dignity because he or she is created in the image and likeness of God and that God loves every person as a unique individual. However, the Catholic Church does not recognize same sex marriage and views the use of the word marriage to describe a same sex relationship as a contradiction of terms. The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives. (Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, July 23, 2003) Rather than attempting to redefine marriage, the State of New Jersey should enforce the State laws that provide protection for same sex partners. First among those laws is the Civil Union Act (NJS 10:5-12) that took effect on February 19, 2007. That Act requires all employers in New Jersey to provide to a civil union partner of an employee any and all employee benefits that the employer provides to the spouse of a married employee. The intent of what the Legislature wanted to accomplish through the Civil Union Act is clear in NJS 37:1-28, 1.f: The Legislature has chosen to establish civil unions by amending the current marriage statute to include same-sex couples. In doing so, the Legislature is continuing its longstanding history of insuring equality under the laws for all New Jersey citizens by providing same-sex couples with the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples who choose to marry. As to the legal benefits, protections and responsibilities of civil union couples, the Legislature also is clear in NJS 37:1-31, 4.a: Civil union couples shall have all of the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, public policy, common law or any source of civil law, as are granted to spouses in marriage. NJS 37:1-32, 5e indicates that civil union couples are entitled to the benefits and protections of “laws relating to insurance, health and pension benefits.” The Civil Union law also lists an array of unlawful employment practices by employers who do not fully implement the Act. The record shows that the Civil Union Act is working effectively, despite the claims of the Civil Union Review Commission which issued a flawed report that accepted as fact numerous unfounded allegations. On November 5, 2008, I testified before the Civil Union Commission that only eight (8) complaints had been filed with the Division of Civil Rights claiming that the Civil Union Act was not working. That small number of complaints actually is testimony that the Act is working. The law is absolutely clear. Civil Union couples have all of the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under law as are granted to spouses in marriage. If Civil Union couples have all of the benefits, protections and responsibilities of marriage, why do we want to redefine marriage? Marriage as a union of one man and one woman has its roots not only in human tradition and history, but also in natural law, which transcends all man-made law. Marriage is a natural institution. Marriage is distinct in essence from every other arrangement because marriage is always between a man and a woman. We call upon the State of New Jersey to preserve the definition of marriage as only a union of one man and one woman.
Thursday, 07 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
Clergy Assignments /Clergy Assignments
Author:Maria D'Antonio
Bishop Galante announces priest personnel appointments as follows:  Bishop Galante has appointed Rev. Msgr. James P. Curran to a second six-year term as pastor of St. Mary Parish, Gloucester City effective Jan. 13, 2009 to Jan. 12, 2015.  Bishop Galante has appointed Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. Morgan to a second six-year term as pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, Cherry Hill effective April 21, 2009 to April 20, 2015.  Father Pankiras Arulappan from Chaplain, Kennedy Health System, Stratford and In-Residence, St. Lawrence, Lindenwold to Outside of Diocese (Latin Archdiocese of Trivandrum, Kerala, India), effective May 3.  Father John P. Connors from Outside of Diocese, Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas to Leave-of-Absence for Health Reasons, April 17.  Father Massimo S. Fasciglione from Administrator, St. Veronica, Delair to Administrator, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Ocean City, May 15.  Father William F. Moore to Administrator, St. Veronica, Delair. Father Moore continues in his position as Pastor of St. Cecilia, Pennsauken and also as Convener in the merging of the parishes of St. Cecilia, Pennsauken and St. Veronica, Delair, May 15.
Thursday, 07 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Latest News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
We know well how important priestly ministry is to parish life. Yet, priests also are needed as chaplains to serve Catholics and non-Catholics who might not be directly connected to a parish.  According to Susanne Chawszczewski, certification and education coordinator for the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, more than 450 priests nationally serve as chaplains in  hospice, mental health, rehabilitation and retirement homes, prisons, military and veteran groups, and hospitals. Most priest chaplains are in hospital ministry.   “Care of the sick and dying is so important.  It is important to have ministers available to serve the needs of these patients,” said Chawszczewski. According to the NACC, while parish priests often care for hospital patients, the increased burdens on their time serving parish needs means that the ministry of dedicated, credentialed chaplains is more important than ever. “While over the last several decades there has been increased lay involvement in chaplaincy work, the role of the priest chaplain has not diminished, but is held with continued importance because of the spiritual and sacramental needs of Catholics who are ministered to in hospitals,” said David Lichter, executive director of the NACC.  “Just as there is a shortage of priests in parishes, it is also the case that finding qualified, certified priests to serve in hospitals is a critical challenge. While the numbers of priests available to serve as chaplains has diminished, the need has not.” Chaplains typically obtain certification through a process that involves extensive training and preparation, including graduate theological education, clinical training, and normally 1,600 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education.  In the Diocese of Camden, 17 priests serve as hospital chaplains at 15 medical centers in South Jersey:  Cooper University Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and Virtua Health (all in Camden), Burdette-Tomlin Cape Regional Medical Center (Cape May Court House), Kennedy Health System (Cherry Hill), South Jersey Healthcare (Elmer),  Atlantic Care Regional Medical Center (Mainland Division), Betty Bacharach Rehabilitation Center (Pomona), Memorial Hospital of Salem County,  Shore Memorial (Somers Point), Kennedy Health System (Stratford), South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center (Vineland), Virtua West Jersey (Voorhees), Kennedy Health System (Washington Township Division) and Underwood Memorial (Woodbury). The hospital chaplaincy program is funded through the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Last year, more than $600,000 was disbursed from the Appeal in support of hospital chaplaincy. “The Church is not apart from the people. We need to care for those in and outside of our parishes, including those who find themselves needing medical care,” said Father Steephen Chellan, chaplain to Cooper Medical Center in Camden. “Parishioners’ contributions to the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal are very vital, very essential in order to maintain this important ministry.” The theme of the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual this year is “Disciples on the Journey: Walking the Talk.” The Appeal director sees hospital chaplaincy as a vivid reminder of the demands of discipleship. “When I think of chaplaincy, I cannot help but think of Jesus in the Gospels who reminded his disciples, ‘When I was in prison, you came to me; when I was sick, you visited me.’  The Appeal helps support a ministry that Jesus himself called attention to.  Our support of the Appeal, then, helps give evidence of our discipleship and commitment to the Gospel,” said Mariann Gettings, director of the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal. “We are grateful for the support, but even more so are the patients that receive the care of our hospital chaplains at such a crucial juncture in their lives.” 
Thursday, 07 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report
News/Latest News
Author:Bishop Joseph A. Galante
The bishop honors this year’s recipients, and reflects on his 5 years in Camden and the challenges facing the church  Photo by Largemoor Film Service, Inc.  Bishop Joseph A. Galante poses for a photo with Kevin Hickey, director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden, and Justice for ALL honorees at the awards dinner held Thursday, April 30, at the Adelphia Grand Ballroom, Deptford. Pictured with the bishop are, from left, Kevin J. Connor (The Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio Award for Leadership); Jesuit Father Jeff Putthoff (The Msgr. Michael Doyle and Msgr. Robert McDermott Award for Parish and Community Ministry); Hickey; Nelva Josefina Ancona Paraison (The Peter J. O’Connor Award for Social Justice); and Bill Klatt (The Sister Grace Nolan Award for Social Ministry).  Bishop Joseph A. Galante prepared the following remarks for the Justice for ALL dinner April 30, at the Adelphia Grand Ballroom, Deptford.  Good evening. I am delighted to be here for the annual Justice for ALL dinner. I am honored to share the stage with this year’s honorees—Kevin Connor, Nelva Ancona Paraison, Bill Klatt, Father Jeff Putthoff—and to be with all of you, including past honorees, whose commitment to social justice is so encouraging and life giving. This year, this event happily falls on the fifth anniversary of my installation as seventh bishop of Camden. When I came to the diocese five years ago, I must say I didn’t know that much about it. I knew the Atlantic City Expressway and the Garden State Parkway. I said my objective once I arrived here would be to learn about the diocese and its needs by doing a lot of listening: listening to the people, the priests, deacons, religious, seminarians and laity. I spent 15 months and met more than 8,000 men and women at more than 140 Speak Ups. At these Speak Ups, I was moved by the love our people have for their faith. I heard and saw so much that is good in this diocese and in its people. I also heard a yearning in the people for us to do more. They told me over and over that they want better liturgy, more opportunities for lay ministry, more vocations to priesthood and religious life. They said they want increased opportunities for youth and young adults and lifelong faith formation. They said we must do more to reach out with compassion to Catholics who have left the faith, as well as to the poor and alienated, the marginalized, and the forgotten. And yet, I soon discovered that many of our parishes were not in a position to address the priorities the people said were most important. For me, my consecration as bishop requires me not to be first an administrator or a corporate manager, but a shepherd who takes seriously his obligation to serve the needs of the people and to lead people to Jesus. Before I was installed, I hardly could have imagined taking on an initiative like the planning process we are in now. Yet, after spending time with the people and getting to know their needs, after seeing up close the challenges we are facing as a Church, I knew things could no longer be deferred. We know well what those challenges are. They’re facing most Northeast dioceses: There has been a sharp decline in the number of diocesan priests available for ministry, from a peak of 350 in 1970 to 152 today and 85 or fewer in six years. This is not just a hypothetical. This is a fact and it concerns me deeply. Mass attendance also is down sharply, from 74 percent in 1960 to about 23 percent today. There are far fewer Catholics—about half—in the pews today then there were four decades ago. This isn’t my opinion. This is a fact and it concerns me deeply. Catholics are leaving the faith they were raised in. The Pew Forum survey that was released just this week found that far too many Catholics raised in the faith leave it before they move into adulthood. Those who have left the Catholic Church outnumber those who have been received into the Church by nearly a four-to-one margin. Of those who said they left the Church, most said they did so because they stopped believing in Church teaching—and it is doubtful that they ever were formed deeply enough to know what the Church actually teaches. Many say they left because they found that their spiritual needs were not being met. Of those raised Catholic who leave the faith, almost three quarters do so before age 24. This isn’t fiction. This is a fact and it concerns me deeply. There have been shifts in population from one area of the diocese to another. In Camden County for example, most municipalities have smaller populations than they did in 1970. The population of the six counties of South Jersey also is becoming much more diverse, especially seen in the dramatic growth of the Hispanic population and other newcomers. Yet these new Catholics are not being fully served by the Church. This isn’t speculation. This is a fact and it concerns me deeply. One third of our parishes are in such financial difficulty that they are having difficulty meeting their most basic financial obligations, like paying utilities and employee benefits. Hiring qualified staff to carry out pastoral priorities like compassionate outreach, youth ministry, ministry to seniors and newly married couples is impossible for these parishes. This isn’t an exaggeration. This is a fact and it concerns me deeply. All of these things concern me, so much so that I knew in conscience that I could not push them off onto the next bishop of Camden. I knew how great the challenges would be, but I also knew that even greater would be the benefits to the Catholic people if we could work together to lead people back to Jesus. I knew how great the opportunities would be to further the Church’s mission if we could help Catholic people grow in the Faith so that it can be lived more fully in love of God and neighbor. That is why we have taken on this initiative to strengthen parishes. It is necessary that we do it and that we do it now. It has now been a year since I announced my intentions for the reconfiguration of parishes. When we are through, we will have 68 parishes served by at least 107 churches. We’ll have fewer parishes, but with God’s grace, we’ll have stronger parishes, new growth, new life and improved care to the people of South Jersey. I want to thank our Priest Conveners and the more than 350 Core Team members who have given generously of their time and talent to prepare parishes for merger. I am so encouraged by your dedication and faithful service. I want to thank the members of the Diocesan Merger Review Committee that I have appointed this week for their willingness to serve and who soon will conduct onsite visits of those parishes who have completed, or are nearly completed, their preparations for merger. They will report back to me on these parishes’ readiness to merge and, if all preparations have been made, decrees will be issued formally establishing the new parishes. I want to thank the people of the diocese for your patience and understanding during this time of change. I am grateful for your expressions of support and encouragement. For those who are opposed and angry, I want you to know that I have heard you and understand your feelings. I know that some of you may not be able to accept the need to address these challenges, to address them now, or to address them in this way. Even if we can’t always agree, let us in our disagreement be patient and charitable with one another, let us recall the bonds of our baptism, the dignity we share, the communion we have by being one with Jesus in the Eucharist. Let us love one another as brothers and sisters who love Jesus and His Church. Much has been accomplished as our first parishes ready for merger. I am greatly encouraged by the progress that has been made. Yet, more work lies ahead. Even so, I know that even in the challenges ahead, in the hard work ahead, we have reason for hope. Not wishful thinking, but authentic hope that comes from our Christian faith. The hope that comes from uniting our suffering, cares and concerns to Jesus’ own suffering so that we, too, may rise with Him. As the Second Vatican Council in Gaudium et spes said, “The Church, sharing in mankind’s joys and hopes, in its anxieties and sadness, stands with every man and woman of every place and time, to bring them the Good News of the Kingdom of God, which in Jesus Christ has come and continues to be among them.” It goes on to say, “In the midst of mankind and in the world she is the sacrament of God’s love and, therefore, the most splendid hope, which inspires and sustains every authentic undertaking for, and commitment to, human liberation and advancement.” If we believe that the Church is the People of God, then we must be the ones who share in each other’s joys and hopes. We must stand with every person to bring them the Good News of Jesus. We must be the sacrament of God’s love in the midst of poverty, oppression, discrimination, and every kind of injustice. We must be the hope that inspires and sustains our brothers and sisters, by living the Gospel and carrying out the implications of our faith and the implications of our sacramental life. By baptism, we are given a new identity in Christ. As I said recently, the Catholic faith we profess cannot be just for Sundays, conveniently tucked away in the pew until we return the following week. It must permeate our life. In order to be morally coherent our faith and life must be integrated, so much so that our faith is elemental to our identity as persons. Our Catholic faith and identity should not be taken on and off like a coat or hat, or when pressured, covered up. Our Catholic faith and identity should suggest who we are, what we believe and how we act. Catholics often say, “We have the Eucharist.” Indeed we do. We have Jesus present in a most special way in the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of our Christian life. Yet, the Eucharist is never inwardly focused. At the end of every Mass we hear these words, “The Mass is ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Or, more literally, from the Latin, Ite missa est: Go, you are sent. Implicit in our Eucharistic celebration, then, is a sending forth. We recall Jesus’ own words on the evening of that first Easter, when he appeared to the disciples and said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (Jn 20:21). Here we have the necessity to go beyond ourselves, beyond our own needs, concerns and interests. We are called to “permeate society with the Gospel” (GS 40), not just by teaching the Gospel but by living it, by caring for the needs and concerns of others, by our solidarity with the poor and most marginalized, by pursuing the good of all, by pursuing justice for all. As Pope John Paul II said, “It is not possible to love one’s neighbor as oneself and to persevere in this conduct without the firm and constant determination to work for the good of all people and of each person, because we are all really responsible for everyone.” (Encyclical Letter, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 38) That is why I am delighted to be here this evening to commend in a special way this year’s honorees for being faithful to your Catholic identity, for living your faith and for seeking justice not for a few, or for some, but for ALL God’s children. I commend Catholic Charities, our executive director Kevin Hickey—and all those here who serve Catholic Charities as employees and volunteers—for the wonderful work you do every day, often quietly, to meet pressing human needs, to uphold human dignity, and to serve one another in Jesus’ name. Finally, I thank our sponsors and all of you here tonight who have joined us for this year’s event. Your ongoing support of Catholic Charities is essential in the Church’s effort to serve men, women and children in South Jersey whose need is even greater during these difficult times. As we consider the work that lies ahead in revitalizing parish life, in living out our Catholic identity and the implications of our faith, let us thank God for all that has been accomplished here. As we consider the great challenges and work ahead, and if we become frustrated or impatient, wondering sometimes if our work is bearing fruit, let us recall the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero:   “It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view… We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”  May God continue to guide you and bless you. Thank you.
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Letters to the Editor/Latest Letters to the Editor
  Editor:   Bishop Galante’s column in the Star Herald on April 24 was inspiring! As a spiritual leader of our diocese he shows such a clarity of truth, showing all of us how we must follow the teachings of our church under Pope Benedict. Sometimes I wonder if he feels a little bit “lonely at the top” when so many disrespect him (including most of the university heads who should know better). It appears that the bishop represents a minority of U.S. bishops these days of social and moral teachings. I’m so happy that many in my family live in this diocese. Please know that there are many faithful in the diocese who stand behind him and pray for him each day.   John and Eleanor Oelkers Cape May Court House ------------------------------------------------------------- Editor:   Thank you dear Bishop Galante for the wonderful column “Catholic A Mere Label?” You gave us good instruction on how to be a good Catholic. We will pray to be strong and faithful from the opposing forces. Many times I feel like storming the White House because of what they are doing to our country. I shall pray for our pope, bishops to lead us through these changing times. God bless you, Bishop Galante.   Catherine Farrell Haddon Heights ------------------------------------------------------------- Editor:   I want to applaud Bishop Galante’s column regarding Georgetown University’s scandalous behavior. While we may not be a “Christian” nation, in that we are the melting pot for every aspect of life, we are a God-fearing nation. No one is above our Lord and no flag or other artifice can replace Him. If the truth be known there are probably very few truly “Catholic” colleges or universities in the country. I would also like to be counted among those who are edified by Ms. Mary Ann Glendon’s declining to accept the “Laetare Medal” from Notre Dame.   Denise F. Cocciolone President, National Life Center Woodbury  
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Catholic Schools/Catholic School News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill, celebrated its second annual Irish Festival and Derby Day on Saturday, May 2. Pictured are Pat O’Brien, left and Meg O’Glinchey, right. Photos by Alan M. Dumoff
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Catholic Schools/Catholic School News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
Photo by Peter Sánchez  Katelyn Reiss, an eighth grader at Resurrection Catholic School in Cherry Hill, was recently named the winner of a statewide essay contest sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, New Jersey State Council. This year’s theme of the essay contest was “If I Had The Right To Vote.”  Standing with Katelynn are her grandfather, Deacon Charles C. Reiss, of Queen of Heaven Parish, Cherry Hill; Ernie Barrett, Grand Knight of the Queen of Heaven Council of Knights of Columbus; her father, Chuck; her mother, Mary Jo; and her grandmother, Marylou McCoog.  
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Catholic Schools/Catholic School News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
CNS photo/Jonathan Tramontana  Singer Taylor Swift performs at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Va., April 28. By Gretchen R. Crowe Catholic News Service  ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Sweat pouring down his face and an “I heart TS” tattoo on his upper arm, Geoffrey Oldland touched the hand of country and pop sensation Taylor Swift not once but twice, as she bid the students of Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria a heartfelt goodbye after a 70-minute private concert. “It was awesome,” said Oldland, a senior who sat in the third row for the show Swift performed April 28 for the school that won a Verizon text-messaging contest. Deafening cheers erupted from the students as they welcomed the 19-year-old star onto their auditorium stage and proceeded to jump up and down for the better part of the next hour. Even teachers got into the show, clapping along and taking pictures on their cell phones as Swift played a list of hits, many off her second and most recent album, “Fearless.” “I can’t believe it was real,” said Fiona Carroll, following the show. “I got chills,” added Ellie Goelz. Principal Tim Hamer said Swift’s song, “The Best Day,” was true for the school. “This was very much the best day for us,” he said. “It’s very much a David and Goliath story,” with a Catholic high school winning a contest in which thousands of schools — many of them much larger — participated. As Ireton students waited for the concert to begin, they could hone their texting skills even further by sending messages to their friends via their cell phones and having them appear on a screen behind the stage. That’s all part of Swift “going mobile” on her U.S. tour, with opportunities for fans to win additional texting contests, download songs and virtually sing with the star. In the nearly three years since Swift released her first single, “Tim McGraw,” the artist has experienced a dramatic rise to fame. Swift was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for best new artist and won album of the year for “Fearless” at the 44th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in April. Her first single from that album, “Love Story,” has earned accolades from both country and pop audiences — and got wild applause at the end of her show at Bishop Ireton. As one student said: “It’s Taylor Swift! We all love her.”
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Catholic Schools/Catholic School News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
The Paul VI High School girl’s soccer team collected small snacks for former Paul VI soccer players who are away at college. They mailed care packages to all respective colleges that the former Lady Eagles are now attending. Pictured from left are Brittany Ratcliffe, Rachel Reustle, Deandre Turchi, Becky Sparks, Jocelyn Rhea and Rachel Bruce.
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Catholic Schools/Catholic School News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
Students of St. Michael the Archangel Regional School in Clayton present a check for a $3,875 donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of Briana Glacken, who died recently at the age of 9. Pictured with the students are Shannon Friel, mother of Briana and Chandra Rulf, a representative of the society. Briana was the niece of Lisa Latch, the school physical education instructor. Briana Glacken never met or played with any of the students at the new St. Michael the Archangel Regional School in Clayton, but the students have thought about her a great deal recently. Briana, who was the cousin of the St. Michael school’s physical education instructor, Lisa Latch, died at age 9 from Leukemia. Led by the SMRS Student Council, students decided to undertake a fundraising drive during the Lenten Season to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Briana’s name. The original plan was to collect pocket change as donations with a target goal of $200 in total from each class of the school. However, the pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters totalled $3,800. “It’s like Pennies from Heaven”, said Latch, who helped oversee the fundraising project. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of these students and their parents, and proud of their commitment to help in the fight against childhood Leukemia and Lymphoma. I’ve nearly cried more than once, when on a couple of different occasions, some of the younger students held out a handful of tightly clenched pennies, and said to me, ‘Miss Latch, I brought these for Briana.’” Janice Bruni, principal, said, “It just shows the values these kids are learning at an early age. They understand that they are helping a good cause, and displaying characteristics that will help them throughout their lives, such as faith, charity, and resolve. Faith that they and their pennies can make a difference in battling this disease, charity in that it is good and noble to help others, and resolve to see this fundraising campaign through to the end and constantly challenge themselves to achieve a higher level.” Some students gave up snacks altogether for Lent, in turn donating their snack change to the project the students dubbed Briana’s Buddies. 
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Youth & Young Adult/Youth and Young Adults News
Author:Maria D'Antonio
By Jessica Roxburgh Catholic News Service  WASHINGTON — Since March 1, Jon Leonetti and Jesse Weiler have been walking across America to call on young Catholics and people of all faiths and none to live life in a new way. Leonetti and Weiler have been speaking at churches, schools and youth gatherings, encouraging young people to turn away from the false messages offered by the popular media and turn their lives toward Christ through a life of prayer. Leonetti and Weiler, both 23, intend to walk nearly 3,600 miles across America through 12 states. They left Los Angeles March 1 and hope to reach Ocean City sometime in August. Editor’s Note: You can follow Weiler and Leonetti as they walk across the country on their blog at www.soulywalking.com. To send a prayer intention, e-mail them at soulywalking@catholic.org 
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Columns/Teachable Moments
Author:Msgr. Thomas J. McIntyre
Hope has to be one of the least appreciated virtues. Perhaps that’s the reason why Pope Benedict XVI has invested so much of his time and thought on the concept. His encyclical is so easy to read and is ever motivating. And his trip to America this year rode the waves of its uplifting value. For hope is the virtue that sustains us when we no longer enjoy the ecstasy of the mountaintop. Hope is the special attribute which enables us to patiently endure when faith in God is difficult and love of God’s created is even a greater chore. Consider this — there are times when every one of us gets a glimpse of our eternity. These are those special occasions when we become creatively absorbed to the point that we wish the hands of the clock would just stop. These are those unique moments which lend such credibility to St. Paul’s musing that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived the destiny God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). Now I believe that if language about eternity is to mean anything at all, it must refer to some actual concrete reality. A person cannot hope for that which he or she has no knowledge or experience at all. Yet the experience cannot be complete for one does not hope for that which is already fully possessed. What then are these special glimpses? Well, I have already hinted at creative absorption. Work has a way of nobly focusing our energies in such a way that existence becomes very meaningful. Pope John Paul II was very clear in articulating the sacredness of work. The genius and talent of a skilled artisan painstakingly applying his trade shows the contentment that honest labor provides. What did the saints say? Laborare est orare (To labor is to pray). We become captivated too in the special and personal relationships which love and friendship provide. We even talk about being held in the contemplation of another as time freezes into a momentary grasp of heaven. And haven’t we all been moved by the sheer logic of one of Beethoven’s famous symphonies? His Eroica, or the easily recognizable Fifth, or the power and majesty in his choral symphony, the Ninth. An appreciation of art, music and beauty has a way of connecting us with our transcendent selves. Finally, prayer itself, those deep moments of meditative presence when Infinity gently floods the hidden recesses of a very finite soul, provides yet another opportunity of pushing out beyond the material limitations of what can be a one-dimensional and shallow existence. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could stay absorbed in such magical moments? Like a child who yearns to hold onto the fleeting joys of new Christmas presents, no sooner do we find ourselves captivated than the passing hands of the clock rob us of the precious nature of such time. Is it any wonder St. Augustine lamented that his heart would not rest until “it rests in Thee, O Lord.” I have heard the eternal described as the “ground of each person’s being” and the “the root of all experience.” In varying degrees of intuition, we become conscious of such a spiritual cord. When? Well, when we genuinely work, love, appreciate beauty and enter into deep prayer. And because we have experienced such intuitive glimpses of what heaven holds for us, to that degree we have hope and are able as people of faith to relate the fullness of life, joys and tears to the future life of Resurrection. 
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Columns/Growing in Faith
Author:Michael M. Canaris
The saint we are quick to associate with animals, birdbaths, and lawn ornaments was truly one of the most revolutionary and significant spiritual forces in the history of Christianity. Born Giovanni Bernardone to a wealthy mercantile family in the town of Assisi, he was given the moniker Francesco (basically Italian for “Frenchy”) because of his father’s cosmopolitan love for all things Gallic, including the young boy’s mother. Francis benefited from the stature of his father’s thriving cloth business, enjoying the company of the social elite and living a life of relative luxury, even through his brief military career. However, like Paul, Augustine, and innumerable others, Francis’ life was radically reoriented after an encounter with the Risen Christ. While praying in the dilapidated Church of San Damiano, Francis had a vision of the Crucified Jesus above the altar audibly entreating him to “Rebuild my Church.” The mandate which Francis took literally at first by working to repair ruinous chapels throughout the region would later take on a more widespread and universal meaning. Francis’ father strongly disagreed with his son’s choice to work on such a mission, and demanded he give up such a foolish enterprise. In response, Francis renounced his familial ties and inheritance, going so far as to remove the very clothes he had received from them, laying them on the ground in front of the bishop. Naked and smiling, he shocked the secular and ecclesiastical leaders of the town.  This demonstration of Francis’ utter trust in God and disregard for human adulation led G.K. Chesterton famously to call him a “troubadour and a clown of God.” In 1208, St Francis was particularly struck by the reading of the 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel at Mass. Hearing Christ send his disciples into the world “with neither gold nor silver nor copper…nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staff” (Mt 10:9), Francis immediately robed himself in a plain peasant sackcloth and knotted cord and with bare feet began to preach repentance and fraternal peace among people throughout Umbria and central Italy. His transparency and humility attracted likeminded men to share in his vocation and embrace a life of poverty. Choosing not to be ordained a priest, he rather named the group fratres minores, minor brothers. My own mentor Cardinal Avery Dulles was very fond of the anecdote often attributed to Francis where a pair of humble friars were working in the fields, helping others earn their daily bread. When the younger brother asked Francis why they were not trying to evangelize the men around them, the founder of the order is supposedly to have replied “Preach the Gospel always, use words when necessary.” It is clear to see that every moment of Francis’ life was an attempt to show others the immeasurable love and self-gift of God and to imitate such com-passion (literally “suffering with them”). St. Clare and her sister St. Agnes were so moved by the friars’ care for the poor, leprous and hungry of the region that they followed Francis’ pattern of life, forming a sister community, the Franciscan Order of Poor Ladies, better known as the Poor Clares. After meeting with Pope Innocent III in Rome, Francis traveled to Egypt and spent time in the court of the Muslim sultan, Al-Kamil. His fascinating encounter foreshadowed some of the benefits and challenges of interreligious dialogue, which are more widely recognized today. While the sultan was not converted to Christianity, many accounts speak of his genuine esteem and affection for Francis. He is even reported to have asked the saint to pray for his guidance in seeking God’s will and discerning the Truth. In Christmas of 1223, Francis sought to celebrate the Lord’s birth with the villagers of the region by representing some of the elements of the narrative in a more tangible form. By gathering animals and building a crèche, he was responsible for the creation of the nativity scenes which adorn Christian homes throughout the world to this day. In the twilight of his life, Francis was also reported to be one of a very few saints to have the rare condition of the stigmata. In such a case, a particular person’s close relationship to Christ manifests itself physically in his or her body. Francis’ hands and feet were said to display the wounds of the crucifixion, and his side to bear a gash resembling that made by the lance which pierced Jesus. Before he died in 1226, he composed a beautiful song praising nature entitled the Canticle of the Sun.  In addition, his life’s work is embodied in another well-known prayer popularly (but not definitively) attributed to him: Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace.... Buried in Assisi, Francis’ tomb remains a popular site for pilgrimages and those seeking miraculous intervention in their lives. Francis was canonized in 1228 by Pope Gregory IX. The saint’s feast is Oct. 4 and the church commemorates his stigmata on Sept. 17. In a 1939 Apostolic Letter (Licet Commissa), Pope Pius XII named Sts. Francis and Catherine of Siena co-patrons of Italy. Michael M. Canaris of Collingswood is a Ph.D. candidate in systematic theology at Fordham University.  
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