Hundreds of Catholic leaders, including representatives of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, gathered at the US Capitol in mid-July to demand an end to detention of immigrant children. Later, in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, scores were arrested in the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda while praying, singing, and chanting. CMSM member Fr. Mike Barth, ST, offered a blessing.
Topic: For the Public
Renew the Face of the Earth: An Urgent Catholic Call to Energy Transition
“Lord send out your spirit and renew the face of the Earth.” – Psalm 104
Following Pope Francis’ meeting on June 13-14, 2019, with major fossil fuel executives and investors at the Vatican, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) announced support for Pope Francis’ recent urgent plea to these companies and investors to a renewable energy transition. In support of this global effort, our members, who are leaders of men’s religious institutes in the United States, issued a statement that calls upon the U.S. Senate to pass the International Climate Accountability Act, the companion to the recently passed Climate Action Now Act (HR9). We also support an equitable pricing mechanism on carbon pollution along with financial resources toward a national transition to a renewable energy economy.
CMSM President Brother Larry Schatz, FSC, said, “The journey toward holiness calls us to ongoing transformation and conversion. There are pivotal moments in our personal and social experience that determine the well-being of our fellow brothers and sisters, as well as the earth. Motivated by our Holy Father, our collective discernment has illuminated one of those moments for a renewable energy economy. Let us enter, be transformed, and grow toward holiness together.”
As Catholic leaders, the members of CMSM call on our fellow Catholics and interfaith partners to take the lead in this area through prayer, local energy transition (ex. Catholic Energies program), and congressional advocacy until our earth is sustainably renewed.
A new apostolic letter issued today by Pope Francis, Vox estis lux mundi, expands the Church’s response to abuse by establishing worldwide standards for reporting abuse against minors and vulnerable adults, including by bishops and religious superiors.
CMSM welcomes the guidance provided by the document and will undertake a review to ensure the national safeguarding standards for religious institutes of men in the United States reflect the new provisions in this document.
CMSM is committed to prevention, accountability, healing and reconciliation, and has worked since 2002 through its members, the leaders of men’s religious institutes, in partnership with other national organizations, to promote the protection of minors. Efforts include education, awareness, the development of national standards for religious institutes, a National Advisory Council of experts, and a Director of Safeguarding Initiatives.
Deacon Steven DeMartino is the new Director of Safeguarding Initiatives for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. He will focus on promoting and sustaining a culture of safety with men’s religious institutes in the United States, and will build upon safeguarding efforts undertaken by CMSM since 2002.
Deacon DeMartino is a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of New York. He has deep experience with priest wellness, and mental and behavioral health concerns.
He has been active in Chapter and Assembly facilitation for Religious institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, served on several review boards for Religious, provided consultation to leadership teams of Religious Institutes, taught at the seminary level, and is engaged in parish ministry and retreat work.
Prior positions include coordinator of the vocations office for the Catholic Foreign Missionary Association, assistant vice-president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, and leadership roles at several behavioral health care centers.
He holds a bachelor’s in psychology from SUNY Buffalo, and an MPA from CUNY Baruch College, and has several certifications in counseling. He has supported leadership teams and Religious in both planning and direct support on safeguarding.
May 1 is the third annual Religious Brothers Day. In anticipation of this annual celebration of the life and vocation of Catholic religious brothers, CMSM has launched a new website, religiousbrothers.org. This site includes information about brothers, links to community websites, profiles, and upcoming events, such as the 2020 National Brothers Symposium.
Religious brothers and their supporters are invited to join in the conversation on social media. Share your prayers, vocation, celebrations, and thanks to Brothers who have made a positive difference in your life. #religiousbrothersday
Dominican Father Mark Padrez is the new executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, effective April 1, 2019. He had been serving as president of CMSM and just completed his second term as provincial for the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
Brother Larry Schatz, FSC, Visitor for the Christian Brothers of the Midwest, assumed presidency of CMSM. He had been vice-president.
Born and raised in Nogales, AZ, in 1963, Father Padrez was a student at the University of Arizona when he met the Dominicans at the university’s Newman Center. He joined the Order in 1987 and made his first profession the next year. After studies at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, CA, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. He served at Holy Rosary Church, Antioch, CA, and at the Newman Center at the University of California of San Diego. He also served as the director of vocations, then socius of the Province before being elected as Prior Provincial in 2011. He was re-elected in 2015.
As president-elect and then president of CMSM, Mark was deeply engaged in the mission of CMSM and in projects such as the transition to our new national office. He also represented CMSM in meetings with Vatican dicasteries, most recently in March 2019, and the USCCB. He is the first Hispanic executive director of CMSM.
The executive committee of CMSM’s Board of Directors is in Rome for CMSM’s annual visit. Over the next week, the leadership team will meet with leaders of several Vatican offices whose work relates to the life and ministry of men religious. They will share updates and concerns from CMSM members in the United States and get updates from the dicasteries.
On the trip this year are Fr. Mark Padrez, OP; Bro. Larry Schatz, FSC; Fr. Tim Kesicki, SJ; and Br. Sean Moffett, CFC.
CMSM released the following statement this week following Pope Francis’ remarks on abuse against women religious by some clergy:
We are grateful to Pope Francis for shining a light on the tragic mistreatment of women religious by clergy wherever it has occurred. This abuse against our sisters in faith and service is inexcusable and indefensible. We call for an end to abuse wherever it occurs. We stand in solidarity with women religious who give so selflessly to raise up those in need across the globe. May we also always raise up their gifts and dignity.
New CARA research released for the World Day of Consecrated Life on Feb. 2, suggests good news for religious vocations. Catholic News Service reports that CARA researchers found 240 men and women had professed religious life in 2018, up from 200 in the prior survey. Seventy-one percent of CMSM major superiors responded to the annual survey this past fall.
Among the findings for men religious:
- Average age of responding religious of the 2018 Profession Class of 2018 was 38 years old
- Average age when they first considered a religious vocation: 18
- 78% of men and women religious were encouraged to consider religious life. For men, 51% were encouraged by a parish priest, 46% by a friend, 39% by a religious brother or sister, 38% by their mother, and 37% by their mother
- Ethnicity: 61% Caucasian; 17%, Asian/Pacific Islander; 12%, Latino; and 10% African/African American/Black
- 90% grew up Catholic
- 54% finished college before entering religious life
In releasing the report, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, spoke to those discerning a vocation to consecrated life: “Oftentimes, those discerning a vocation search for the perfect community. The Lord, who created every heart, knows of the way he is calling each person to serve him. Trust that he will lead you to the vocation that is perfect for you.”
CMSM is launching a new safeguarding webinar series in mid-February. Open to CMSM member institutes and their staffs, the free monthly webinars will cover communications, pastoral care, the use of restorative justice for community healing, and file reviews. Email us for details and registration information. The first webinar is Feb. 14.