Topic: For the Public

CMSM Executive Director Attends Annual Conference for Child Protection in Rome

Anglophone Safeguarding Conference - 2017 - Rome


Rev. John Pavlik, OFM. Cap., CMSM Executive Director (center, in Franciscan habit), recently attended the annual Anglophone Safeguards Conference in Rome from June 19-22, 2017 at the Gregorian University. This year’s conference, co-hosted by the Episcopal Conferences of Scotland and Malta with the Centre for Child Protection, Gregorian University, Rome, focused on the theme of “Celebrating Hope.” Through keynote speakers, workshops and, most importantly, the opportunity to network and share good practice, the attendees explored the importance of hope for us as a Church working in this very important and sensitive area of ministry. Hope was considered from the perspective of survivors, those working in the Church in safeguarding and for those who offend.


Faith Coalition Takes A Stand Against Gun Violence

from The National Catholic Reporter, June 16, 2017

A coalition of 55 religious groups, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, was already commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12 and the two-year anniversary of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Mother Emanuel) shooting in Charleston June 17 when a Congressman and several others were shot at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. A traveling exhibit, organized by the coalition and Heeding God’s Call, of 58 T-shirts with the names, ages and dates of death for the victims of the two shootings — called A Memorial to the Lost — will be on display there through June 23.

The Faiths United coalition was originally constituted in 2011. Members include the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Franciscan Action Network, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, and a host of other Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups.

Read the full article.

CMSM Congratulates Sister Sharon Dillon, S.S.J.-T.O.S.F., New Executive Director of NRVC

Sr. Sharon Dillon and NRVC Staff

CMSM extends congratulations to the new executive director for the National Religious Vocation Conference. Sister Sharon Dillon, S.S.J.-T.O.S.F. began her work on June 1.

The website “Catholic Profiles” recently published an in-depth interview with NRVC’s new executive director, which gave her the opportunity to convey the good news about those responding to God’s call.

In the above photo, Sr. Sharon is the top row, center.

North Philadelphia Capuchin Priest to Take Over Black Catholics Office

Fr. Richard Owens, OFM Cap.


By Lou Baldwin

Welcome home Father Richard Owens.

Father Owens, a Philadelphia born and bred native and a Capuchin Franciscan priest, has been named director of the archdiocesan Office for Black Catholics, effective July 1. Ordained in 2013, he has been serving as a parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in York, Pa.

He succeeds Deacon William Bradley as director of the office, a post he has held for six years.

Father Owens is the eldest of the three children of Richard and Mary Owens, and he is originally from the former Our Lady of the Holy Souls Parish and then Our Lady of Hope Parish in Nonh Philadelphia.

He is a graduate of Mercy Vocational School (now Mercy Career and Technical School) where he had studied business administration and continued on to La Salle University where he received a degree in management and information systems. He worked for a mortgage firm for two years before entering the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchins.
The seed of his religious vocation really traces back to Mercy Tech and the Sisters of Mercy, especially Sister Ann Provost and Sister Raymond Mary.

Read the full article.

Causes for Sainthood for Three Religious Priests Move Forward

Pope Francis recently advanced the sainthood causes of Wisconsin-born Capuchin Fr. Solanus Casey and Jesuit Fr. John Sullivan. In addition, efforts on the part of the Graymoor Franciscans on behalf of the sainthood cause of their founder, Servant of God Fr. Paul of Graymoor are continuing. We are grateful for their witness to the Gospel of Christ and the charisms of their respective communities and commend the efforts for their eventual canonization to your prayers.

CMSM Executive Director Highlights Networking in Support of U.S. Bishops’ Death Penalty Stance

from Catholic News Service

Capuchin Father John Pavlik, executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, told CNS that networking is a key tool in the toolbox in spreading information opposing the death penalty. CMSM, he said, has a person on staff to monitor issues surrounding justice and peace, and has consistently communicated capital punishment information to CMSM members.

Father Pavlik said he takes inspiration from an Ohio woman whose child was murdered decades ago. The killer was arrested, tried and convicted on a charge of capital murder, “and she has spent the last 25 years advocating against the execution of this man.” The priest also voiced his distaste at the “disregard for life” shown in Arkansas, which he said had tried to execute eight death-row prisoners in such a short time because “the drug (used in the fatal injection) was going to expire.”

Read the full article.

CMSM Representatives Participate in annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days

EAD 2017 Witness
Hundreds of advocates from various Christian denominations, including representatives from CMSM, gathered in Washington, D.C. this past weekend for Ecumenical Advocacy Days, with a focus on education and skills training for a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill to promote a moral federal budget.
The Lobby Day included a press conference rebuking the Trump administration’s plan to curtail funding to human needs services in the U.S. and around the world, while increasing an already exorbitant Pentagon budget. 7 clergy and religious leaders, including four Catholic leaders (3 associated with Catholic men’s religious organizations), also participated in a planned prayer witness inside the atrium of a Senate Office Building and were arrested while praying, for refusing to disperse when ordered by U.S. Capitol Police. The seven were processed and released about eight hours later. The goals of the direct action were to better illuminate the immoral budget proposal, take risks together to build trust and momentum in the movement, as well as to energize other Christian leaders for creative and courageous mobilizing back home.
Pictured below are the 7 leaders shortly before their arrest. (Photo from Disciples Church Justice Action Network). A video of the event is also available.
EAD 2017 Witness

CMSM Statement on U.S. Bombing in Syria

Syria and Iraq

U.S. Bombing in Syria: We Must Break Free from Retaliation

President Trump recently launched 59 cruise missiles at an air base in Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack within Syria. We, who are called to be Catholic religious leaders, mourn for all those that died in both of these incidents, and we denounce this use of violence which only exacerbates the habits and structures of violence. In fact, these habits and structures are part of the core root causes of this conflict, which has already killed over 300,000 people and led to almost 5 million refugees and 7 million internally displaced persons.

The President has continuously emphasized the “rule of law” and yet in this case it appears that he obtained no congressional approval, nor did he allow for formal due process investigating the facts of the incident. We strongly support the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ investigation into this incident and call on all parties to provide access.

As Christians, we go deeper and turn to the example of Jesus who courageously resisted injustice, even with his very life, and offered compassionate and merciful justice humanity could not imagine. This week we enter into the Paschal Mystery of Jesus facing the violent structures of Jerusalem, risking his life, and providing a way to overcome through his nonviolent cross.

Pope Francis has clearly said that, “countering violence with violence leads at best to forced migrations and enormous suffering, because vast amounts of resources are diverted to military ends and away from the everyday needs of young people, families experiencing hardship, the elderly, the infirm and the great majority of people in our world. At worst, it can lead to the death, physical and spiritual, of many people, if not of all” (Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace, Jan. 1, 2017). Thus, he called on all persons, especially government officials to use the Sermon on the Mount as the manual for peacemaking and to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their responsibilities.

CMSM Executive Director Fr. John Pavlik, OFM Cap., says, “Our hearts were broken as we learned of the suffering inflicted upon Syrian families and children with chemical weapons. And our hearts were wounded a second time in a violent response with cruise missiles bombing, destroying, and killing yet more. The US response manifested strong military power but showed nothing of a united will to lift, rescue, and save suffering people from the ravages of war. The US can be so much better than this.”

The issue we must face is not simply chemical weapons, but war itself along with the habits and structures of violence that enable it. The U.S. has too often been involved in killing thousands in recent wars, especially civilians and children, as we have seen most recently in Mosul, Iraq and our direct support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen. As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” on April 4th, we are reminded of his words that “war is not a just way of settling differences,” and it cannot be “reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love.” Hence, we recommit to Vatican II’s call that “it is our clear duty to strain every muscle to outlaw war” (Pastoral Constitution, 81). Further, we commit to Pope Francis’ call to make “every effort to build peace through active and creative nonviolence” (Nonviolence: Style of Politics for Peace) as we create a “culture of nonviolence…that has produced decisive results” (Letter to Bishop Cupich, Apr. 4, 2017).

Papal Message to U.S. Religious Brothers

Pope Francis smiling

The following is the text of a letter CMSM received from the U.S. Apostolic Nunciature carrying greetings from Pope Francis in anticipation of Religious Brothers Day on May 1, 2017. A downloadable version of the letter is also available.

Dear Father Pavlik,

I have been asked to forward to you the following message from the Secretariat of State as the Church in the United States prepares to celebrate “Religious Brothers Day”:

As the Church in the United States prepares to celebrate the first annual “Religious Brothers Day,” His Holiness Pope Francis sends cordial greetings to America’s communities of brothers, together with his prayerful good wishes for the spiritual fruitfulness of their varied apostolates. Conscious of the immense contribution made by generations of brothers to the growth of the Church in the United States through their schools, hospitals and other forms of religious and social outreach, the Holy Father trusts that this day of recognition will confirm them in their distinctive witness of consecrated life and their generous service to God’s Kingdom. He likewise expresses his hope that their prophetic testimony to evangelical fraternity and ecclesial communion will act as a leaven for the renewal of the Church in America and the building up of an ever more just society, respectful of the dignity and aspirations of all God’s children. Commending America’s religious brothers to the paternal intercession of Saint Joseph the Worker, His Holiness affectionately imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of abiding joy and peace in the Lord.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State

With cordial regards and assuring you of my prayers, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nuncio