The Vatican released the working document for the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment on June 19 (in Italian). The document has three primary sections: recognizing, interpreting and choosing with regard to vocation in life.
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri introduced the working document, noting, “The Synod’s primary aim is to make the whole Church aware of her important and not at all optional task of accompanying every young person, without exclusion, towards the joy of love; secondly, by taking this mission seriously, the Church herself will be able to reacquire a renewed youthful dynamism; thirdly, it is also important for the Church to take this opportunity to carry out vocational discernment, so as to rediscover how she can best respond today to the call to be the soul, light, salt and leaven of our world.”
If you are attending the Pre-Assembly Workshop and/or National Assembly, reserve your hotel room by July 6 to get our special conference rate of $135/night and to guarantee a room. “Youth & Religious Leadership Together: Discerning in Missionary Discipleship,” is July 31-Aug. 3, in St. Louis, Missouri. Learn more here. If you have questions, please contact Susan Gibbs.
Nearly 700 people attended an international conference on consecrated life, held in Rome from May 3-6 by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL). Pope Francis addressed participants on May 4. His off-the-cuff remarks focused on the Holy Spirit and discernment. According to Catholic News Service, he said, “What are the things the Spirit wants to stay strong in consecrated life? Prayer, poverty and patience.”
Cardinal João Braz De Aviz, prefect of CICLSAL, gave the closing remarks. According to Zenit, Cardinal De Aviz, said, “We need to keep journeying together, in a synodal manner, because the Holy Spirit speaks only where there is harmony of fraternal life.”
On a very windy but joyful day in Center Valley, Pa. on April 4, 2018, DeSales University faculty, administrators, delegates from universities spanning several states, representatives from several religious communities and more gathered for the inauguration celebration as University alumnus and former CMSM President Rev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS formally began his tenure as the University’s fourth president. It was a joyful celebration for all, capped by Rev. Greenfield’s thoughtful and visionary inaugural address, which can be viewed in the video below.
Pope Francis released an Apostolic Exhortation today, on the observed Feast of the Annunciation, Gaudete et exsultate: On the call to holiness in today’s world. He writes that he does not intend the document to be a “treatise.” Rather, “My modest goal is to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities.”
He notes that holiness grows through “small gestures” and is for each of us: “We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.” (14)
In the central portion of the document, he discusses each of the Beatitudes, which are, he writes, “Like a Christian’s identity card. So if anyone asks: ‘What must one do to be a good Christian?’, the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives.
“The word ‘happy’ or ‘blessed’ thus becomes a synonym for ‘holy.’ It expresses the fact that those faithful to God and his word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness.” (para. 64)
Dominican Father Robert Christian, O.P., a member of the Western Dominican Province (Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus) was named auxiliary bishop of San Francisco by Pope Francis on March 28, 2018. A native of the San Francisco area, Fr. Christian was serving as Master of Students for the province at the time of his appointment. He also has been a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.
In a statement posted on the Dominican website, Fr. Mark Padrez, O.P., prior provincial of the Western Dominican Province and president-elect of CMSM, said, “This appointment is a recognition of Fr. Robert’s deep love for Christ and the Church, and also a recognition of the Order’s deep roots in the Church in the Bay Area.”
Read more about Bishop-elect Christian and his appointment in Catholic San Francisco. His ordination will be in the next few weeks.
The Vatican announced on March 7 that Pope Francis has approved decrees of miracles for five individuals, including Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero, opening the way for their canonizations. Pope Paul VI will be canonized in Rome in October; the date for Archbishop Romero has not yet been announced.
Blessed Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), Supreme Pontiff
Blessed Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, Archbishop of San Salvador (El Salvador), Martyr
Blessed Francesco Spinelli, diocesan priest and founder of the Institute of the Sister Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament
Blessed Vincenzo Romani, diocesan priest
Blessed Maria Catherine Kasper, foundress of the Institute of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ
Pope Francis, who visited Colombia in early September, spoke on September 9 to priests, religious, seminarians and their families in Medellin. The Pope spoke of a “contagious apostolic zeal” that results from knowing and encountering Jesus, saying that “making him known by our word and deeds is our joy.” Comparing the Church of Colombia to “Jesus’ vine”, Pope Francis explained that the health of the vine is gauged by the harvest of genuine vocations despite today’s cultural crisis. This vine, he said, needs to be pruned of its imperfections through an “intimate and fruitful union with Jesus.”
Above: Bob Bozek with CMSM Executive Director Fr. John Pavlik at a farewell reception in his honor at the CMSM National Office in July. Bob’s last official day in the office was August 31.
Few of our Conference members have been around for all or even most of the seventeen years that Bob Bozek worked with us. A brilliant, learned and talented man and cleric, Bob contributed immensely not only to the daily work of the Conference but also to such latent tasks that researched and composed documents; responded knowingly to correspondence with the Vatican including officials with such titles as under-secretaries and secretaries and prefects; advised wisely on expressions chosen in official documents; cited the Canon Law codes appropriate to any major development or project; and, perhaps most tellingly, assisted in myriad ways with and remained fully aware of the intricacies of statements and standards and citations regarding our CMSM Instruments of Hope and Healing.
A professional with a perfectionist edge, everything that Bob composed and/or edited was completed to his highest standards. He became the institutional memory of the Conference, often pointing out that before being ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington his heart had long been oriented to affiliation with the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Even though Bob had served a Cardinal in the Archdiocesan offices and spent some years in Rome, he was content and happy to work diligently for us everywhere, feeling welcomed, respected, and affirmed. He is truly a good, even a great man. We will lament the loss of his institutional memory and his wisdom, but we wish him a happy and refreshing retirement in Florida.
Below are some photos from Bob’s farewell party in late July, at which we also wished a fond farewell to Sr. Grace Hertzog from the staff of our partners at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious who share our common office space in Silver Spring, Md. Bob’s last day was August 31.
We commend to your prayers the late Fr. Michael Crosby, O.F.M. Cap. Crosby died August 5 at age 77, following months of battling cancer of the esophagus. A distinguished theologian and friar for over 50 years, Crosby’s books and lectures on church reform and biblical discipleship made his name known to Catholics across the country. He also proved a familiar and formidable figure in the boardrooms of corporate America through his dogged pursuit of socially responsible practices. The National Catholic Reporter’s Brian Roewe has offered an obituary tribute to his life and work.