Friday, July 17, 2015

Another neat thing about the ordination

     Bishop Malesic continues to impress me with the personal choices that he made for his Ordination Liturgy.  He chose as Readers Sister Catherine Meinert, S.C., Provincial Superior/President of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill (the largest community of Women Religious in the Diocese whose members have and continue to serve and befriend the Diocese) and a lovely, humble person, and Justin Chovanec, a fourteen year old young man from the Diocese who did an outstanding job and was thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of the festivities. 
His story is interesting.  His mom, Toni, is Youth Minister in Mount Pleasant, and on the day of Bishop Malesic's announcement, ran into him at the Pastoral Center.  They spoke, she told him about herself and her family (she and her husband, Mike, have three boys), and she wished him well.  He made a point of calling her as preparations were getting underway to ask her permission to ask her son, Justin, to be a Reader.  She said yes, and he called Justin personally and spoke to him for awhile and made his request.  Justin, obviously, said yes.  I spoke to him before the Liturgy and told him not to be nervous.  He looked and acted anything but nervous.  The honor quite literally, made his day. It touched my heart, too, for I married his mom and dad and baptized Justin and his older brother.

     The selection of Gift Bearers also had a nice local touch: the new Bishop's Secretary, Lauretta Gordon (who is usually behind the scenes) and Sheila Murray, the Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese (who usually does not have a liturgical role in things).  He also chose two students from our Catholic High Schools - Kaylee Ermine, a recent graduate from Geibel and Romano Sebastiani, a representative from Central.

     Again, the choices in themselves are great, but the personal touch that he brings goes a long way and affirms the people of God in this local Church.


     Last evening I went out to dinner in Greensburg and as I was arriving, Bishop Malesic and Msgr. Larry Kulick were leaving the restaurant.  They came over and we spoke for awhile in the parking lot by my car.  They were on their way home from a Mass for Slovak Day at Kennywood, a local amusement park near Pittsburgh.  As we were talking, a car stopped for the stop sign and the passenger lowered the window and yelled out "Hello!  Welcome to the Diocese!"  People are already responding.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Local Connections

     There were a number of "pointed hats" (bishops/abbots) with local ties in attendance at Bishop Malesic's Ordination on Monday.

     First of all, Archbishop Chaput began his homily at the Ordination with reference and gratitude for his ties with the Greensburg Diocese.  He was ordained as a priest in Kansas by the late Cyril J. Vogel, the Bishop of Salina, Kansas some forty-five years ago.  Bishop Vogel was a priest of our diocese who was consecrated (in those days it was a consecration) in Blessed Sacrament Cathedral before going to Kansas.  I was a young high school seminarian when I attended his consecration.  (Somewhere in my things I have a few black and white photos from outside the Cathedral).  The Archbishop, who is a Capuchin Franciscan, also remembered that long before his time, the Abbot of Saint Vincent encouraged the Franciscans to make the move to Kansas in order to minister to the faithful in that part of the country.

     Standing outside of the Cathedral this past Monday were two local boys who made good: Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, the Abbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey for the past twenty-five years and a native of South Greensburg with roots in Everson (on the right)... and Bishop Lawrence Persico, a priest of our diocese and native of Monessen before being named the Bishop of Erie (on the left).

     Also in attendance and recognized in his remarks by Bishop Malesic, was Bishop Gregory Mansour.  Bishop Mansour, before being named Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron in Brooklyn, New York in 2004, served for many years as pastor of the Maronite Rite Catholic parish of Saint George in Uniontown, and often as a young priest attended our gatherings and is well known to our priests.  It was good to see him again.
     There were two others who have ties to the area that, I understand, wanted to be present but could not.  One is Cardinal Adam Maida, retired Archbishop of Detroit, who was a priest of Pittsburgh and was born in Vandergrift in our Diocese.  His plans changed and he could not attend.  And the other is Archbishop Joseph DeAndrea (seen below with our Holy Father), whose health prevented him from travelling from Rome.  The Archbishop, originally from Italy, was a priest of our Diocese for many years before entering the Vatican Diplomatic Corps.  He is now retired and is a Canon at Saint Peter's Basilica with residence in Vatican City.  He had wanted to be present to join in the festivities.
     We are grateful to all of the bishops for joining us on this wonderful occasion.

Joy and Sadness - the ordination


     The excitement on this past Monday afternoon at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg was palpable.   Laity from parishes within the Diocese of Greensburg and friends from the Diocese of Harrisburg joined with other guests, priests from both diocese and beyond as well as Archabbot Douglas Nowicki from Saint Vincent, Archbishop Vigano, the papal Nuncio and bishops from the Pennsylvania diocese gathered to welcome, ordain and install Bishop Edward Charles Malesic as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg.  The initial procession began at 2:00 pm with the entrance procession beginning at 2:30 pm and ending about three hours later.  The Rites of the Church, celebrated within the Eucharist, were a beautiful expression of Faith lived in fullness.

     Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M.Cap of Philadelphia was the main ordaining bishop, and he was joined by Bishop Emeritus Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg and Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Harrisburg.  As mentioned, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States represented our Holy Father and read for us the letter from the Holy Father calling the Bishop-elect to the episcopal ministry and naming him the fifth Bishop of Greensburg.  Nearly twenty bishops, over two hundred priests, and laity and Religious filled our small Cathedral - upstairs and down.   The setting was grand, the service uplifting (though long), the music tremendous (in his comments the bishop said that he had heard that the choir was good ... and then said to them "And you are GOOD!") and the prayerful joy was contagious.

     Archbishop Chaput gave the homily.  He has an easy style, much like a good teacher.  He used the Church's homily on such and occasion, with his own comments interspersed.  He said that the bishop is "raised" by an act of the Church and of the Holy Spirit to the office of bishop.  This raising is not to set him higher than the rest of us but to be a sign of Christ before us.  He said that Edward Charles Malesic is presented as an example of the love of Jesus ... a crystal clear icon (image) of Christ to his Church.  As an aside, he pointed out that being "raised up" allows you to be open to be "shot down" - making you a target, and encouraged all present, especially the priests who at times can be super critical, to be patient and understanding, supportive and forgiving of our new bishop, who, like us, is not perfect.

     He pointed out that Jesus was sent by the Father to redeem the human race, and that Jesus sent the twelve into the world filled with the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel, to sanctify and govern the Church.  The Apostles chose helpers by the laying on of hands and sent them to help us find salvation and ourselves go forth and proclaim the Good News to the world.  He said that "Jesus chooses Edward to be his sacramental presence in the Church.

     He also mentioned that the title of bishop is one of servant ... with a good understanding coming from the Franciscan tradition that calls their leader a "guardian", caring for and protecting those under their care.  That is what a bishop should be.  He told Bishop Malesic to "love all who God places in your care".

     And in closing he said to him:  "You are a good man.  The Lord calls you to be a holy bishop.  in your weakness you have God's promise of the Holy Spirit.  He will make you strong and will make you clearly the presence of Jesus Christ in our midst.  May God bring to completion the good work he has begun today."

    Following the homily comes a series of questions of the Bishop-elect in regard to his duties, and the promises that he makes.   Then, as the bishop-elect lies prostrate on the floor, the Church prays the Litany of Supplication, invoking the saints of God for the man. 
Immediately follows "the" moment of ordination, when first Archbishop Chaput and then the other bishops present "lay their hands" on the head of the bishop and pray the Prayer of Ordination. 
The bishop's head is then anointed with the Sacred Chrism, used also in Baptism and Confirmation.

     The new bishop is presented with the Book of the Gospels as well as his signs of office: the ring, the miter (the hat) and the crosier (staff).  He is then led to the Cathedra (the chair) and is seated, to the applause of all, thus accepting his installation as our bishop. 
The other bishops present then share a sign of peace, before the liturgy proceeds.

     After Communion, to a hymn of praise , the new Bishop goes through the Church giving his first blessing as a bishop.  Bishop Malesic also went to the choir loft

Photos by Mary Seaman of the Diocesan Communication Office
where many from his parish in York Haven were seated (best seats in the house) and to the lower level where there were many following the celebration.  He gave brief remarks, filled thanksgiving, with teaching, and with humor.  These remarks led to the final blessing and dismissal.

     It was a glorious day, one that will be remembered in this Diocese, and one that gives us hope and confident assurance for the days ahead.  Our Shepherd is one of us, a pastor and fellow journeyer, and will walk with us on the road to salvation.  Together ... Let us Serve the Lord with Gladness.


Joy and sadness - part 1

   As I was leaving the Public Reception Monday evening following the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Edward Malesic, I spoke to a woman seated on a bench just outside of the Center where the reception was being held.  She looked a little tired and a little sad.  When I mentioned what a glorious day that it had been, she agreed but added how sad she was ... then telling me that she was from the Harrisburg Diocese.  Our gain is their loss.  I heard this repeatedly at the Evening Prayer and reception on Sunday evening and at the Ordination on Monday.  People from Holy Infant parish where the bishop has served for eleven years and those who know him from his days in the Harrisburg Diocese, shared their reluctance to "let him go".  I made it a point to thank them "for preparing him well" for his new role as our bishop, and to assure them that we are deeply grateful.

     A tremendous amount of hard work went into making these last few days memorable in the life of this local church.  The Diocese of Greensburg has been in existence since 1951, and this is only the fifth time that we have welcomed a new shepherd.  It is understandable then that our excitement and celebrations be expressive of our gratitude for the past, our joy in the moment, and our hope for the future.  I, for one, am deeply grateful to so many who served the task of making these transitional days a wonderful experience of Church at its finest.  And personally, I am humbled by the care shown to those of us who have some difficulty in getting around (I've been using a walker of late), and we were treated, as always, with wonderful care.

     The festivities began on Sunday evening with Evening Prayer and a public reception at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensburg.  Retiring Bishop Lawrence Brandt was celebrant and Bishop-elect Malesic preached, before making his Profession of Faith and taking his Oath of Fidelity before a packed house.  Bishop Ronald Gainer of Harrisburg and Archabbot Douglas Nowicki of Saint Vincent were also present for prayer and fellowship.

     Bishop Malesic has an easy style and a great sense of humor, and his homily brought attentive listening as well as frequent laughter.  He spoke of how nervous he was after receiving the call from Archbishop Carlo Vigano regarding the Holy Father's choice of him as Bishop of Greensburg.  "Could I really do this?" he asked himself.  "Could I be a good bishop?"  He spoke of the confident reassurance that the many prayers and thoughts offered to him brought into his life, and his experience of the power of prayer that was so tangable.  He spoke clearly of our need to place our trust in Jesus.  He reminded us that Jesus wants our faith "stretched and strengthened", because faith leads to salvation.  When we can say "Jesus, I trust in you" we find the heart of our faith.  He said that the goal of faith is the salvation of souls, and that this is essential "stuff". [When I met with him at the reception I mentioned that I can't remember hearing an episcopal sermon referring to faith and salvation as "stuff" - how refreshing and down to earth.] 

When asked about his "vision" for the diocese, he message is right on point:  that the Lord invites us to "deepen our faith and share it ... live out our lives as faithful witnesses."  He asked for patience and forgiveness, understanding and prayer.  God will provide what we need despite ourselves.

     An excellent public reception was held in the parish hall, where the bishop greeted all present, including toward the end of the evening, yours truly.  He never showed a bit of tiredness or stress.  As I heard from many sources ... "We have a winner".

photos taken by Elisa Esasky of the Diocesan Communications Office
More on the Ordination in the next post.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Coat of Arms of Bishop Edward C. Malesic, J.C.L.

     In accordance with the heraldic tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, the coat of arms of a bishop is normally composed of the following elements:
  1. a SHIELD with its charges (symbols) coming from family, geographic, religious and historical meanings and/or referred to the name of the bishop;
  2. a GOLDEN PROCESSIONAL CROSS, with one traversal (cross) bar, to represent the rank of the bishop, "impaled" (placed) vertically behind the shield;
  3. a GREEN HAT called a galero with 12 attached tassels (six on either side), ordered 1,2, and 3 from the top;
  4. a SCROLL (banderole) with the motto, written in black, below the shield.
     The coat of arms of Bishop Malesic employs a GOTHIC shaped shield, frequently used in Roman Catholic heraldry, and a BOTONNY processional cross with FIVE RED STONES to represent the five wounds of Christ.

     For his episcopal MOTTO, Bishop Malesic has chosen a verse from Psalm 100, verse 2, a psalm of thanksgiving that invites all nations to praise God.

"Serve the Lord with Gladness"
     From the point of view of the observer, the left side of the shield represents the COAT OF ARMS OF THE DIOCESE OF GREENSBURG.
     The GREEN SURFACE of the arms is charged with a "fess" or band across the center, the upper side crenellated gold (yellow), commemorating the Revolutionary War general, Nathaniel Greene (1742-1786) for whom the city was named.  The crenellated "fess" recalls the German word for "burg", meaning a fortified place, or walled city, and thus represents the See of Greensburg.
     The crenellated "fess" is charged with a BLUE, FIVE POINTED STAR from the arms of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and commemorates Bishop Hugh L. Lamb, who was an auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia prior to being appointed the first Bishop of Greensburg.  On either side of the star are two DOUBLE TRAVERSED CROSSES, tinctured (colored) red, derived from the arms of the Benedictines, whose members have labored for more than a century and half in what is now the Diocese of Greensburg.
     In the "chief" or upper portion of the shield are two YELLOW (gold) CROSSES.  The two sides of each limb are concave and the extremity convex, commemorating that portion of the Diocese of Pittsburgh that in 1951 became the Diocese of Greensburg.
     The base of the shield is charged with a GOLD (yellow) CHRISTOGRAM (Chi Rho) symbolizing the Holy Eucharist, the dedicatory title of the cathedral of the Diocese of Greensburg.  The first two letters of the Greek words for Christ (XP) are combined to form the Christogram.  It may be read as the Latin word for "Pax" (peace), a further allusion to the Benedictines' years of labor in the Diocese of Greensburg.
     Looking at the shield from the point of view of an observer, the RIGHT SIDE is occupied by the PERSONAL ARMS OF BISHOP MALESIC.
     This part of the shield is embossed in BLUE (azure), the color of the sky, which symbolizes the direction of the soul's ascent toward God and away from worldly values, therefore, the color represents the path set by the spiritual virtues, raising a person from the things of the earth toward the incorruptibility of heaven.
     The CHEVRON is a heraldic device best described as an inverted "V" and is one of the most ancient figures in heraldry.  Frequently, in Roman Catholic Church heraldry, it signifies the rafter which supports the roof of the church as a source of protection for the community of faith gathered under it.  The THREE SHAMROCKS represent the Cathedral in Harrisburg, dedicated to St. Patrick, where Bishop Malesic was ordained to the priesthood by the imposition of the hands of Cardinal William H. Keeler, at that time Bishop of Harrisburg.  The CHEVRON is in SILVER (argent), the color of transparency, also of truth and justice, fundamental requirements of the Bishop's pastoral service.
     The CROWN above the chevron is the symbol of Bishop Malesic's given name, after St. Edward "The Confessor" (d.1066), King of England who gave witness to his Catholic faith through his life.  The crown also recalls Mary, Queen of the Apostles, upon whose intercession Bishop Malesic relies.
     The LINDEN TREE below the chevron expresses the Slovenian heritage of Bishop Malesic's father.  The linden tree is considered the national tree of Slovenia and is also a symbol of joy and safety.  The community often gathered under the shade of the linden tree for fellowship and community discussions.
The arms of the Diocese of Greensburg were devised at the time of its establishment in 1951
by William F. J. Ryan (1903-1981) of New York, N.Y., and West Chatham, Mass.
The personal arms of Bishop Malesic were devised by Renato Poletti of Rome, Italy,
in consultation with Bishop Malesic after his episcopal appointment on April 24, 2015. 
The impalement of the arms of the Diocese of Greensburg
with the personal arms of Bishop Malesic was undertaken by Mr. Poletti.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First impressions

     With his ordination just days away, I thought that I would share with you a few observations of my first impressions of Bishop-elect Edward Malesic.  These are random thoughts and observations of what I have heard and experienced.

     Soon after the announcement from Rome and the press conference here, I sent a brief note of congratulations and welcome to the Bishop-elect, extending the best wishes and prayers of myself, the parish family and the diocese.  It was not long afterwards that I received a handwritten and hand addressed note from the Bishop-elect thanking me and expressing his joy at joining us in the Greensburg diocese.  I was impressed that in his extremely busy schedule he wrote to me.

     As mentioned in a previous post, we recently ordained four permanent deacons on the 14th of June.  I know for a fact that the Bishop-elect, without fanfare, called each of the men the night before ordination to wish them well and assure them of his prayers.  I understand that he did the same the following week before priesthood ordinations with those three men.  A nice touch.

      It has been announced that the Bishop-elect has chosen as his residence the vacant rectory of the Church of Saint Paul in the See city of Greensburg.  Having been pastor there for over eight years, I can attest that it is a nice house that should serve him well.  He announced that following his ordination, he will appoint a group to review what to do with the present Bishop's Residence, which was a bone of contention for some a few years ago.  A good move.

     On the day of the announcement, the Bishop-elect visited the Pastoral Center, the Cathedral, but also included in his scheduled afternoon visits an unannounced stop at the local Saint Vincent de Paul Store in Greensburg, greeting staff and patrons in a cordial exchange.

     A schedule of parish visits has been published that allows him to see a wide area of the Diocese and greet our people.  Included in those visits are stops at our one Newman Center, Saint Thomas More University Parish at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) (the Bishop served in a number of campus ministry positions in his priesthood) as well as a number of parishes that have had difficulty in recent years dealing with restructuring and realigning, which shows his care for all God's people (I hope he is allowed to be their Shepherd that evening without getting an earful).

     The new bishop's Coat of Arms was announced today, and his motto is "SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS".  Over these weeks I have often checked out the web site and Facebook page and the bulletins for Holy Infant's Parish in York Haven, where Bishop-elect Malesic has served as pastor for the last eleven years.  Father Ed, as his parish family lovingly call him, by all accounts is much loved and will be greatly missed.  It is clear from watching his farewell video and his celebration of liturgy that his episcopal motto is one that he has been living fully for many, many years.

     I, for one, look forward to meeting him personally, and working with him in the joyous task of "serving the Lord with gladness" as we shepherd the flock of Greensburg.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

God gifts us because He delights in us.

     On the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Entrance Antiphon, quoting from psalm 18, said:

"The Lord became my protector.
He brought me out to a place of freedom;
he saved me because he delighted in me."
     Also for that Sunday the Collect prayed:
"Grant us, O Lord, we pray,
that the course of our world
may be directed by your peaceful rule
and that your Church may rejoice,
untroubled in her devotion."
     As people of faith we have a different world view, a different moral compass, and a deeper appreciation for life than the average ordinary Joe.  The reasons are simple: we are not the center of the Universe, nor even the center of our own universe.  We place our trust in a Higher Power, a seek a greater good, we have a life giving Creator and God who invites into a deep and personal relationship with Him that is our very life.
     Our world is speedily taking a path in another direction, one devoid of that reliance upon a Higher Power and with a tendency to acknowledge God only in terms of our weakness or desperation.
     The prayers above place our trust in a spirit of prayer squarely in the hands of God.  May our course be directed by God's peaceful rule.  May the Church rejoice in her untroubled devotion.  May the salvation and freedom that we enjoy be rooted in his "delight of me".  Let us remember this as we face the challenges to morality and life, to freedom, both religious and civil, and to a higher realm that requires faith.
     In the Diocese of Greensburg we are on "Ordination Countdown".  Next Monday, July 13th at 2:30 pm at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, our new Shepherd will be ordained and installed.  We wait in great anticipation.  This time leading up to the big day is relatively quiet.  As it is revealed, I will share it with you.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Orders

      There are seven sacraments celebrated within the Catholic Church, and of those seven, two are seen as sacraments of service or vocation: Marriage and Holy Orders.

      The Sacrament of Holy Orders sets aside members of the Church through ordination to serve in specific ministry in the Church.  There are three orders of ministry found in Holy Orders: bishop, priest and deacon.  The fullness of priesthood is found in the Order of Bishop.  Bishops are chosen from among the priests of the Catholic Church, and are usually leaders or Shepherds of territorial units called diocese.  Bishops celebrate the seven sacraments, including the administration of Holy Orders solely reserved for the bishop and also the ordinary administrator of the Sacrament of Confirmation.   The bishop is seen as a successor of the Apostles and is one in unity with the successor of Peter who is the Pope.

     The priesthood sees the one ordained as an elder or presbyter of the People of God, reflecting both the ancient Jewish priesthood in the Temple as well as the work of Jesus Christ as priest.  Saint Thomas Aquinas said that "Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a prefiguration of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ."  The priest in his ordination shares in the fullness of the priesthood which is found in the bishop.  They are not independent agents or freelancers, but their authority to minister within the Church comes from their unity with their bishop.  The priest celebrates the sacraments (except Holy Orders and normally Confirmation) as well as presides over liturgical services.

     The diaconate is described as an order of service in three areas: the Word, the Liturgy and Charity.  There are presently within the Catholic Church both transitional deacons (proceeding on toward priesthood) and permanent deacons (who may be married).  Deacons proclaim the Gospel and preach and teach at Mass, assist at Mass, is an Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion.  He can baptize, witness the sacrament of Matrimony, preside over funeral rites outside of Mass and lead the faithful in various services.  Deacons were first set apart for service by the Apostles in chapter 6 of the Acts of the Apostles.

     These explanations were longer than I had planned but only scratched the surface for what Holy Orders entails.  My reason for going into this is that in the Diocese of Greensburg, we have the rare experience of celebrating the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders with a month of this summer of 2015.

     On Saturday, June 14th, four men were ordained for the permanent diaconate by Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.  They joined two other permanent deacons for our diocese ordained during Bishop Brandt's tenure.

The deacons are Steve Black, Mike Orange, Bill Newhouse and Jeff Cieslewicz
along with Bishop Brandt.
     On Saturday, June 21st, three men were ordained as priests for the Diocese of Greensburg by Bishop Brandt at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.  They joined five others who were ordained to the priesthood during the eleven years of Bishop Brandt's tenure.
Newly ordained priests - Fathers Anthony Klimko, James Morley and Eric Dinga
along with Bishop Brandt.
     And now on the 13th day of July, we have the joy of witnessing the ordination and installation of our new Shepherd, Edward C. Malesic as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg.  This will complete our celebration of Holy Orders in this small but blessed diocese.  Bishop-elect Malesic will be ordained by Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M.Cap, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Philadelphia as Principal Consecrator along with Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt and Bishop Ronald W. Gainer (the Bishop of Harrisburg - Bishop-elect Malesic's home diocese) as Co-Consecrators.

      In the next few weeks I will be sharing thoughts and information regarding the ordination of Bishop-elect Malesic, and I hope that you can share in our joy at his arrival in the Western part of this great Commonwealth and in this great Diocese.  Please pray for him, and please pray for us.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An evening to say thanks

     On Tuesday evening of this week (June 30th) there was a gathering of the priests of the Diocese of Greensburg as well as our deacons and their wives to say thank you to our retiring bishop, Lawrence E. Brandt.  The evening took place at the Bishop Connare Center in Greensburg, and began with Evening Prayer led by the bishop, followed by refreshments and dinner.  It was an informal and relaxing evening, allowing those in attendance to express their gratitude to Bishop Brandt for his eleven years of service as our Shepherd.  Bishop Brandt spoke at the dinner of the various programs and experiences of these past eleven years, and of his gratitude to the laity and priests and deacons for their prayers, collaboration and support.  In this period of transition as a diocese, as we await the ordination of our new bishop, Edward C. Malesic on July 13th, we ask for your continued thoughts and prayers, and ask for a prayer for Bishop Brandt as he begins his retirement.

Junipero Serra

    Today in the United States we remember Blessed Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest and missionary from Spain  and Mexico who founded the Spanish Missions of California and brought the Faith and established not only Missions but the beginnings of towns and cities throughout the region.  Father Serra dedicated his life to bringing the love of Christ to the hearts of the native populations.  He is remembered as the founder of the Missions from San Diego to north of San Francisco.  There is a statue of him in Statuary Hall in the United States Capital (with some controversy from those who want to rewrite and distort history).

     I mentioned at Mass this morning that this was a uniquely special celebration of his feast, because today we honor him as a Blessed in the Church, but within a few short months, during his September visit to this country, Pope Francis will canonize Father Junipero Serra to the ranks of the saints in a ceremony at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, the first canonization held in the United States.  Father Serra is buried at the Mission of San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel, California.


     The Collect for the Mass today prayed:

"O God, who by your ineffable mercy
have been pleased through the labors
of your priest Blessed Junipero Serra
to count many American peoples within your Church,
grant by his intercession
that we may so join our hearts to you in love,
as to carry always and everywhere before your people
the image of your Only Begotten Son."