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February 2010
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March 2010

The New York Times vs. Pope Benedict XVI

Newspaper Both Archbishop Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio have written and preached some hard hitting criticism impugning the accuracy and objectivity of the New York Times on the matter of the pope's involvement with child abuse scandals in Germany and around the world.

Bishop DiMarzio Calls Upon the Priests and Parishioners to Besiege the New York Times

Archbishop Dolan's Blog on the New York Times, Pope Benedict and Fair Reporting

Be clear, no one criticizing the Times intends to minimize the tremendous damage done to the children, the priesthood and the Church by the abuse committed by the clergy - but, misrepresenting the facts and assuming guilt by innuendo are not worthy of an American newspaper.

Still Time for Incarnation-St James School in Trenton

Clock_test_109919 Supporters of Incarnation St. James School in Ewing were given a reprieve of their school's closing based on the encouraging results of fundraising so far - $ 102,000 in less than one month.

That's 1/3 of the funds needed to close the projected operational budget deficit next year, including a small emergency fund. The second urgent requirement is to boost student enrollment to 160 students.

Read the article in the Trenton Times: Reprieve for Incarnation / St. James Catholic School Ewing

More Pictures of Holy Cross Palm Sunday Procession

It is PALM (or Passion) Sunday After All!

Palm Branches Waving and Being Blessed At Holy Cross Palm Sunday Procession

Here are a couple more photos of Palm Sunday's procession courtesy of Sean Smyth.

Despite the wind, the candles we carried did not blow out!

Palm Sunday Procession Crosses Bridge from Sea Bright to Rumson NJ
Procession Leaders Wait for the Rest of the Procession to Cross the Bridge

Young people carry banners in Palm Sunday Procession Holy Cross Rumson
  With Police escort, the Procession heads by the Sea Bright Service Station on the way to the Bridge.

We actually distributed some palms to passers-by this year.


I think everyone loves when we cross the Bridge.

This photo courtesy of Lori LaPlante

Crossing the Shrewsbury River in Palm Sunday Procession 2010


Monastic Hermitages - Small Is Enough

The next time you're convinced that you absolutely must have more space for whatever reason, think of the Carmelite Monks in Wyoming.

Their monastery is literally bursting at the seams, but not because each monk has a personal, luxurious space. They are presented with the pleasant problem of young vocations to the point that the monastery needs to expand.

Take a look though at the personal living spaces of the monks, who are being accomodated temporarily in portable monastic cells. It struck me that the enclosures are not much bigger than some lawn storage sheds.

Sometimes enough is enough.

Monastic hermitages of Carmelite Monks in Wyoming, USA

Monday of Holy Week - Lazarus Causes A Commotion

Scholars agree that it was Jesus' raising of Lazarus that finally marked him for death and set the plans in motion to silence him forever. Jesus' fame already widespread, became even greater after this miracle, and his criticism of religious leaders of the day stirred hatred and conspiracy. In this morning's gospel, Jesus dines with Lazarus while a curious crowd, including some of the Scibes and Pharisees, seek a glimpse of the new celebrity.

This etching by Rembrandt depicts the drama of Jesus' raising of Lazarus and the almost dream like sleep of death from which Lazarus is beckoned by Jesus.

Rembrandt_etching Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead 


Palm Sunday Procession From Sea Bright to Rumson

It surely was windy and brisk today, so the weather might have made our faithful participants step a bit more lively than usual as we braved the winds and crossed the Shrewsbury river from the Eastern part of our parish (Seabright) to the Western portion in Rumson.

Thanks to the Children's Choir who chanted as we made our way across the bridge, and to our altar servers and all those who made what is becoming a traditional procession on Palm Sunday. Thanks to the mayor and town council of Seabright and to the police departments of both Rumson and Seabright for ensuring the safety of our Holy Week procession.

Palm Sunday Procession across the Seabright Rumson Bridge at Holy Cross IMG_1698   

Holy Week 2010

Christian_012000671  Please take some time to enter into the events of the Lord's passion and death during Holy Week, not only in private prayer and devotion, but by praying one of the liturgies at Holy Cross with fellow parishioners. 

Tonight we have the Stations of the Cross with fathers and children after a frugal lenten "dinner." The dad and children from each family have drawn and colored a Station of the Cross and these images will serve as the focal point for our meditations in the Church at 7 PM. Everyone is invited. Some of the drawings are poignant --- the children get Jesus' passion.

Check the bulletin for the schedule during Holy Week, especially the Triduum, the most sacred days of the church's calendar. This year at the Easter Vigil, we will welcome into the Catholic faith and baptize our RCIA candidates and catechumens, 12 new disciples. 

For Those Who Read the New York Times

Today the Director of the Holy See Press Office released this official response to the article in the New York Times alleging a virtual co-conspiracy of the Vatican with the "tragic case" of Father Lawrence Murphy of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee:

The following is the full text of the statement given to the New York Times on March 24, 2010:

The tragic case of Father Lawrence Murphy, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, involved particularly vulnerable victims who suffered terribly from what he did. By sexually abusing children who were hearing-impaired, Father Murphy violated the law and, more importantly, the sacred trust that his victims had placed in him.

During the mid-1970s, some of Father Murphy’s victims reported his abuse to civil authorities, who investigated him at that time; however, according to news reports, that investigation was dropped. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was not informed of the matter until some twenty years later.

It has been suggested that a relationship exists between the application of Crimen sollicitationis and the non-reporting of child abuse to civil authorities in this case. In fact, there is no such relationship. Indeed, contrary to some statements that have circulated in the press, neither Crimen nor the Code of Canon Law ever prohibited the reporting of child abuse to law enforcement authorities.

In the late 1990s, after over two decades had passed since the abuse had been reported to diocesan officials and the police, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was presented for the first time with the question of how to treat the Murphy case canonically. The Congregation was informed of the matter because it involved solicitation in the confessional, which is a violation of the Sacrament of Penance. It is important to note that the canonical question presented to the Congregation was unrelated to any potential civil or criminal proceedings against Father Murphy.

In such cases, the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties, but recommends that a judgment be made not excluding even the greatest ecclesiastical penalty of dismissal from the clerical state (cf. Canon 1395, no. 2). In light of the facts that Father Murphy was elderly and in very poor health, and that he was living in seclusion and no allegations of abuse had been reported in over 20 years, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggested that the Archbishop of Milwaukee give consideration to addressing the situation by, for example, restricting Father Murphy’s public ministry and requiring that Father Murphy accept full responsibility for the gravity of his acts. Father Murphy died approximately four months later, without further incident.

Archbishop Chaput on the New Health Care Legislation

Clipboard07  The archbishop has some sobering words for the not-so-Catholic Catholic Health Association.

But the actions of the Catholic Health Association (CHA) in providing a deliberate public counter-message to the bishops were both surprising and profoundly disappointing; and also genuinely damaging.  In the crucial final days of debate on health-care legislation, CHA lobbyists worked directly against the efforts of the American bishops in their approach to members of Congress.  The bad law we now likely face, we owe in part to the efforts of the Catholic Health Association and similar “Catholic” organizations. 

Read the Archbishop's entire column here.

Spring Cleanup Collection Thank You

Spruce2_010158 Thanks to those who donated to the collection for Spring cleanup. There are a lot of things to take care of after all the turbulent weather we've had, not the least are repairs to the grass from the snow and plows and staking some of our trees which are very definitely leaning WEST. Re-tooling our mechanical equipment for lawncare is always costly, and in recent years, the damage to our sprinkler system over the winter months has been problematic.

The special collection will ease the shortfall in recent weekly offerings which were down partly because of the very bad weather.

Thanks again! Spring may really be here.

Executive Order to Limit Abortion?

Scrolls_000004_0002 Ironic that our president has promised to sign an executive order limiting the scope of the legislation he twisted so many arms, and dangled so many carrots to pass. In viritually the first act of his taking office, he rescinded a previous executive order which forbade the use of federal funds for non-governmental organizations which offered or promoted abortion as a means of population control. President Obama's administration has also made the "morning after" pill available at all US military bases around the world. Many believe that despite its name, it may work not only as a contraceptive, but as an abortifacient as well.

Executive orders come and executive orders go. The US Bishops have issued a statement asking us to remain vigilant that the legislation already passed protects individual consciences and refrains from funding abortions as federal policy.

Our Help In Time of Trouble Now - Our Eternal Salvation in Times To Come

Today's Lectionary Readings

Today's readings highlight Jesus' role as Savior and Redeemer. The three men in the fiery furnace were visited by a messenger, one tradition has that it was Michael the Archangel, to unbind their ropes and protect them from the flames.

In today's gospel, Jesus is not simply messenger, but God and Redeemer. Sent by, yet one with the Father not only to be with us in times of trouble, but to save us from the ultimate fiery furnance and lead us to the heavenly home he has prepared for us.


Testimony Then and Testimony Now

Today's Lectionary Readings

Swear_Bible_120360 Today's readings highlight the importance of testimony in ancient societies. Two adult male witnesses (females were thought to be unreliable witnesses) spoke truth. The letcherous elders trying to convict Susanna by their false testimony were discovered by Daniel with clever cross-examination one-on-one. The Jews in John's gospel demand to verify Jesus' testimony, but Jesus proclaims himself as the only witness to his Word and their truth by the Signs (miracles) he works.

The veracity of the Scriptures themselves rests on testimony, of eyewitnesses, not to the resurrection, but to its sequellae. It is no coincidence that the empty tomb is discovered by women and it is two women who testify about it to the apostles - Jesus has turned testimony on its head.

Just as the early church grew by testimony, so must the modern church - our testimony. We attend mass, fast, pray and perform acts of charity to give testimony to our faith in Jesus Christ.



These Works That I Perform Testify On My Behalf

Today's Lectionary Readings

Jesus' words in John's gospel in this morning's reading, highlight the importance of the seven miracles or "signs" that Jesus worked to authenticate his ministry and divine origins. 

In no other gospel does Jesus speak so openly and directly about his relationship with the Father as he does in John. Most scholars agree that John's gospel was written decades later than the earliest gospels and for that reason is the fruit of seasoned theological reflection about Jesus' identity and the beginning of a theology of the Trinity. It is for this reason, perhaps, that the Church selects readings from John's gospel during special times of the year, especially Holy Week and Lent. 

Imagemax20kb,120888,en  One of the oldest fragments of John's gospel dates from c. 125 AD and contains verses from Chapter 18 vv. 31 - 38, the Passion narrative. In these few verses, Jesus appears before Pilate and thought fragments are missing,  Jesus' words "I have come into the world testify to the truth" are met with Pilate's rejoinder, "What is truth?"

All things considered, an amazing fragment to survive all these years. Pilate's cynical question is still asked today, and for believers, Jesus' reply is the only true answer.

Spring Bloom Bulletin

It's so rewarding to see the beginnings of the fruits you planted last of the most exciting things about Spring.

What survived in the garden, what looks like it's thrived, what's new.

At the end of the season last year, we planted many, many bulbs all over the campus. Most of them were supposed to be "deer resistant" and despite the presence of numerous empty holes appearing over the course of the winter, many if not most of the bulbs seem to be coming up. There should be a decent display of daffodils along the front of school on Rumson Road, as well as along the parish field.

Blanket flowers, nepeta, sedum, dianthus and iris are already sprouting and most if not all of the roses, many of which are heirloom varieties, survived the turbulent winter weather and are covered with tiny leaf buds. 

It's too soon to tell if our annual re-seeders will make a comeback, but we'll  be watching for cosmos, balsam and petunias.


IMG_1644 IMG_1641 IMG_1648 IMG_1643     IMG_1656
A few of the hundreds of daffodils along Rumson Road 

St. Patrick Enliven the Church, Rekindle the Faith

My maternal grandfather, whose parents came from Ireland,  used to called St. Patrick's day a celebration for Irish amateurs. I think he resented the casual, easy-going appropriation of Irish heritage by those who had not suffered the discrimination and hard times which greeted many of our Irish immigrants. Not only were Irish immigrants mocked for their cultural differences, but especially for their steadfast Roman Catholic faith, which made their patriotism and loyalty to America suspect.


 We are all too familiar with the purgation and purification which is going on in the Church because of the sexual abuse by clergy and subsequent mismanagement by bishops. Perhaps because of the litigious nature of our society and the precedent set by the settlement of the early abuse claims with large monetary rewards, the crisis hit America first and particularly hard. We are now seeing similar instances of abuse exposed in Ireland and other countries in the European Union. 

The Catholic faith in Ireland, already threatened with the hubris that can come from a prospering economy, was dealt a blow from within by the revelations of the extent of the abuse and complicity of the bishops in covering it up. The result has been a rapid secularization of the Irish, especially of the younger generations, never seen since the time of Patrick.

On this feast of Patrick bishop and saint, let us keep alive the true spirit of the Irish, the spirit nourished by the presence of Christ always with us, in nature and others to be sure, but crucially in the Church and the Eucharist. This spirit, hopeful even in adversity, can sustain us now and forever. Easter follows Lent.

They Shall Not Hunger Or Thirst

Today's Lectionary Readings

Christian_012000681 They Shall Not Hunger Or Thirst (Isaiah 49:10) from today's first reading is a promise taken up and fulfilled by Jesus. Those who eat His flesh and drink His blood will never hunger or thirst again. What consoling words.

As Holy Week approaches, the daily mass readings will point out Scripture passages which show Jesus to be the fulfillment of the promises made by God through the prophets.

Receiving the Eucharist prayerfully and gratefully is a lifelong blessing, but one to be especially favored during Lent.