Photo Credit: Vatican Radio

“The challenge is to rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and journey, the beauty of faith and of the beauty of the encounter with Christ. Even in this world of communications, the Church must warm the hearts of men and women. Do our presence and plans measure up to this requirement or do we remain technicians? We hold a precious treasure that is to be passed on, a treasure that brings light and hope. They are greatly needed. All this, however, means that priests, religious and laity must have a thorough and adequate formation.

“The great digital continent not only involves technology but is made up of real men and women who bring with them their hopes, their suffering, their concerns and their pursuit of what is true, beautiful and good. We need to bring Christ to others, through these joys and hopes, like Mary, who brought Christ to the hearts of men and women; we need to pass through the clouds of indifference without losing our way; we need to descend into the darkest night without being overcome and disorientated; we need to listen to the dreams, without being seduced; we need to share their disappointments, without becoming despondent; to sympathize with those whose lives are falling apart, without losing our own strength and identity (cf. Pope Francis, Address to the Bishops of Brazil, 27 July 2013, n. 4). This is the path. This is the challenge.”

Address of the Holy Father to the Participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications
21 September 2013

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We Need Saints

Source: CNS

Source: CNS

We need saints without cassocks, without veils.
We need saints with jeans and tennis shoes.
We need saints that go to the movies,
that listen to music, that hang out with friends.

We need saints who put God in first place,
ahead of succeeding in any career.

We need saints who look for time to pray every day
and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity,
and all good things.

We need saints, Saints of the 21st century
with a spirituality appropriate to our new time.

We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor
and to make the needed social change.

We need saints to live in the world, to sanctify the world
and to not be afraid of living in the world by their presence in it.

We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs,
that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods.

We need saints that love the Eucharist,
that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends..

We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theater.

We need saints that are open, sociable, normal,
happy companions.

We need saints who are in this world
and who know how to enjoy the best in this world
without being callous or mundane.

We need saints.

Adapted from a poem inspired by Pope John Paul II

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Credit: Diocese of Dallas

Credit: Diocese of Dallas

This morning, our Holy Father Pope Francis appointed Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Mark Seitz as the seventh bishop of the Diocese of El Paso. Bishop Seitz succeeds Bishop Armando Ochoa who was named Bishop of Fresno in December 2011.

Bishop Seitz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 10, 1954. One of ten children, +Seitz felt called to the priesthood from an early age. After being appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Dallas, Seitz recalled: “Nothing seemed like it could compare to the chance to give my life to God in this way and to serve people by offering them the greatest of His gifts.”

The bishop-designate entered seminary after high school, attending Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, a Masters of Divinity, and a Masters in Theology from the University of Dallas. In 1985, Bishop Seitz received a Masters in Liturgical Studies from St. John’s University.

Bishop Seitz was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Dallas on May 17, 1980 at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Okauchee, WI by Bishop Thomas Tschoepe. Since that time, he has served as pastor of parishes throughout the Diocese of Dallas, adjunct professor teaching Liturgy and Sacramental Theology at the University of Dallas, assistant spiritual director for seminarians, and Vice-Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary. In 2004, Pope John Paul II elevated then-Father Seitz to “Prelate of Honor to His Holiness” (Monsignor).

When he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Dallas in March 2010, Bishop Seitz told the people of the diocese, “God is the Lord of my life. I have learned through the years that following Christ is an adventure filled with totally unexpected dips and turns. When you give your life to His service you better learn to enjoy the ride.”

With this morning’s appointment, that ride just got a little more interesting.

Situated on the banks of the Rio Grande, the Diocese of El Paso encompasses 26,686 square miles of western Texas and serves roughly 686,000 Catholics–according to official diocesan statistics. Like many dioceses in the Southwest, El Paso has a difficult pastoral challenge of ministering to immigrants entering the United States from Mexico. In 1987, the Diocese began providing legal assistance to refugees and undocumented immigrants through its Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services. Since its founding, DMRS has provided legal assistance and other services to an estimated 31,000 immigrants. That number is only expected to increase over the next few years, especially if Congress passes some form of comprehensive reform of our nation’s immigration laws in the coming days and weeks.

Bishop Seitz brings with him some great gifts that will serve the Catholics in the border diocese well. In a statement released this morning, Bishop Kevin Farrell, Bishop of Dallas, said:

“I happily congratulate Bishop Mark Seitz and applaud the decision of our Holy Father to appoint him to lead the Catholic faithful in this important border diocese. Bishop Seitz’ ability to speak Spanish will be a tremendous asset but he also possesses a prayerful, pastoral manner, keen theological insight and deep devotion to our Church. His years as a hard-working pastor in the Diocese of Dallas will serve him well as he leads his new diocese and I wish him many blessings in this new chapter of his ministry. I know he will be a tremendous blessing to the people of the Diocese of El Paso.”

Let us all keep Bishop Seitz in our prayers as he takes on this incredible responsibility; he’s going to need them. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide him in his work that he may be a caring shepherd to the Diocese of El Paso, ministering to the needs of the people he will serve.

Did you know? El Paso means “The Passage” in Spanish.

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fr-barber-014-copy-3This morning, Pope Francis named a fellow Jesuit, Fr. Michael Barber, S.J. as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Oakland. He will be ordained to the episcopacy and installed on Saturday, May 25th at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Here is some brief background information on Bishop-elect Barber:

  •  Born on July 13, 1954 in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Entered the Society of Jesus in 1973
  • Received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and History from Gonzaga University
  • Studied theology at Regis College at the University of Toronto, Canada
  • Ordained a priest for the Jesuits on June 8, 1985
  • In 1989, obtained Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome

In his time as a priest, Bishop-elect Barber has served as a missionary in Apia, Western Samoa, Assistant Professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Chaplain at the University of Oxford in England and Bursar of the Jesuit community at Campion Hall, Director of the School of Pastoral Leadership for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, professor and spiritual director at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, and Director of Spiritual Formation at Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton in the Archdiocese of Boston. Barber has also served as a Chaplain for the U.S. Navy since 1991. Besides English, he speaks Italian, Spanish and Latin.

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Bishop-elect Walkowiak

Credit: Diocese of Cleveland

This morning, Pope Francis appointed Fr. David Walkowiak, 59, as the twelfth bishop of the 182,000 member Diocese of Grand Rapids. At the same time, the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop Walter Hurley, who will turn 76 on May 30th.

Bishop-elect Walkowiak was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Cleveland in 1979. Since his ordination, he has held various posts around the Diocese, including serving on the faculty of St. Mary Seminary in Wickliffe,  as well as in the Chancery offices as Vice Chancellor of the Diocese. Until his appointment this morning, Fr. Walkowiak served as Pastor of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Chagrin Falls. He also served as an associate judge on the tribunal for the Province of Cincinnati.

Bishop-elect Walkowiak will be ordained to the episcopacy and be installed as the Bishop of Grand Rapids on Tuesday, June 18th (his 60th birthday) in a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Andrew.

More to come.

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