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New York City, N.Y., Sep 15, 2014 / 05:39 pm (CNA).- Controversy over the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade continues as the Catholic League has withdrawn its delegation, charging that parade organizers have not fulfilled a promise to include a pro-life Catholic group.

“The decision is disappointing. The Catholic League will always be welcome in the parade,” said parade spokesman William O’Reilly to CNA Sept. 12.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, on Sept. 11 said parade organizers had consulted him about plans to include an LGBT advocacy group under its own banner in the 2015 parade. At the time, he had said he could only support the decision “if there were a formal revision in the parade's rules governing marching units.”

“To be specific, I asked them to pledge that a pro-life Catholic group would also be permitted. I was told that a formal change in the rules had been approved and that a pro-life group would march.

“Now I am being told that the list of marching units is set and that no pro-life group will march in next year's parade. Accordingly, I have decided to withdraw our participation.”

The Catholic League’s small delegation has marched in the parade for 20 years.

The parade has had a long-standing policy that banned most forms of political signs and advocacy, which had resulted in targeting by LGBT activists and their allies in politics, media and business who demanded the traditionally Catholic parade include LGBT advocacy groups.

Supporters of the previous policy included past New York archbishop Cardinal John O’Connor, who died in 2000. The parade committee previously defended the parade against lawsuits aimed to force it to approve LGBT groups’ applications.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade website said that in the early 1990s the parade was “attacked for its traditional values” but noted that organizers’ rights were “upheld all the way to the Supreme Court.”

The parade committee on Sept. 3 announced that the LGBT group Out@NBCUniversal, an employee resource, recruitment and affinity volunteer group for LGBT people and their supporters within the media corporation NBCUniversal, would march in the parade.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will be grand marshal of the 2015 parade. On Sept. 3 the cardinal voiced his “confidence and support” for the parade committee. He said that he and his predecessors have “always left decisions on who would march to the organizers of the individual parades.”

Donohue voiced his own support for Cardinal Dolan, saying his criticism was intended for the parade committee.

“They not only told me one thing, and did another, they decided to include a gay group that is neither Catholic nor Irish while stiffing pro-life Catholics,” Donohue said Sept. 11. “This is as stunning as it is indefensible.”

O’Reilly said that space in 2015 parade is now “full” and any new applications will be for the 2016 parade.

On the question of a pro-life group marching, O’Reilly said an application was “unfortunately” never filed for 2015.

“One still hasn't been. But an application to march in the 2016 parade is certainly welcome,” he said.

Donohue said that there was no reason for a pro-life group to apply “given the reality that there was no public announcement of a rule change.”

“So what about the NBC gay group? How did they know there was a rule change when no other group did?” Donohue asked.

The Catholic League head has previously raised concerns that despite his conversations with parade committee leaders about including a pro-life group, this change was not announced on Sept. 3, but the inclusion of the LGBT advocacy group was.

O’Reilly told CNA he had been unaware of the conversation about including a pro-life group before the Sept. 3 announcement.

“The fault is mine. I was unaware of that conversation at the time of the announcement,” he said. “I apologize if that caused confusion.”

O’Reilly has rejected claims that the parade committee changed its policy due to outside pressure.

Donohue, the Irish Central news website and the New York Times have all reported that NBC had threatened to end its broadcasts of the parade because of the previous policy. Some sponsors, like brewers Guinness and Heineken, have pulled their sponsorship in previous years. The Irish Central reports that the Irish government had also been pressuring the parade committee.

The well-known parade dates back to 1762. The parade’s website says it is the oldest and largest parade in the world, with participants ranging in number from 150,000 to 250,000. The Archbishop of New York traditionally reviews the parade from the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The Archdiocese of New York did not respond to a request for comment.

Cardinal Dolan said Sept. 3 that he looked forward to celebrating Mass in honor of St. Patrick.

He said he prayed “that the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us.”


Vatican City, Sep 15, 2014 / 05:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis’ witnessing of marriages between Catholics who cohabited or who have had annulments is not a change, but is part of the Church’s effort to bring people to Jesus Christ, said two experts on Christian marriage.

“I think there is a perception out there, especially in some media circles, that Pope Francis is trying to undermine what the Church has taught and what the Church has practiced,” Catholic University of America moral theology professor John Grabowski told CNA Sept. 15.

“I see absolutely no evidence of that. When he’s pressed on issues concerning the Church’s teaching on marriage, on sexuality, he is very firm, saying he is ‘a son of the Church’,” Grabowski continued. “What he wants to do is simply put the Church’s focus on mercy, on an encounter with Christ as the heart of its life.”

On Sept. 14, Pope Francis celebrated the marriages of 20 couples from the Diocese of Rome. In his homily, he told them that Jesus Christ “will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of his grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.”

Some media reports have focused on whether some of the couples had annulments or had lived together before marrying. Time magazine claimed that the marriages “hint at coming changes” on divorce and remarriage. The New York Times claimed that the weddings mean that Pope Francis “looks past tradition.”

However, Grabowski said he saw no concrete evidence that the Pope is “instituting any kind of sweeping changes.”

In fact, the Pope’s actions in marrying cohabiting couples reflect common Catholic practice.

“It’s not just Pope Francis, it’s the whole Church who wants to encourage people who are living in a way that contradicts their baptismal dignity to stop living that way,” the professor said.

Catholic teaching holds that cohabitation is “objectively, morally wrong” and on a practical level undermines the prospects of success for marriage. Studies indicate that couples who cohabit before marriage show more propensity to divorce than couples who do not.

Grabowski noted the U.S. bishops’ 1999 document on marriage preparation and cohabiting couples.

That document noted the destructive impact of cohabitation and the steps couples can take to change their situation before marriage. These steps included ceasing a sexual relationship until the wedding and going to confession “to try to begin their marriage on a new footing so that this harmful practice doesn’t end up undermining their chance at a happy, successful marriage,” Prof. Grabowski said.

Msgr. Joaquín Llobell, author of the book “Marriage Procedures in the Church,” stressed that marriage and the family “are the first means of God to make us happy here on Earth and to take us to Heaven.”

He explained that the Catholic faith sees a distinction between a divorce and a recognition of an invalid marriage, commonly known as an annulment.

Civil divorce “breaks a valid marriage.” By contrast, to annul a marriage doesn’t “break that which existed.” Rather, it is a declaration from the Church that a marriage “was never valid” to begin with.

A man with a previously annulled marriage “will be getting married for the first time” because that previous union was not valid due to a defect in him or in the woman with whom he attempted to enter a martial union. These defects can include matters of intention, like the rejection of having children as a purpose of marriage, or conditions such as mental illness that prevent a true marriage from being joined.

Msgr. Llobell is a canon law professor who has taught at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and has served on the tribunal for the Apostolic Signatura.

“What Pope Francis has said most often since becoming Pope is that God is merciful, that we humans exist because God has created us as a manifestation of God’s mercy. Therefore the Church, which is the instrument that God gives us to save us, cannot not be merciful. It is always profoundly merciful,” the monsignor told CNA ahead of the Sunday weddings.

He said the Church is also merciful in cases of alleged marriage nullity, though these cases are “complicated.”

If the Church thinks a marriage is valid, it “cannot but say the truth to its child: ‘Your marriage isn’t invalid and therefore you can't get married a second time’.”

“And that is said with love, explaining why, and with a mercy that is compatible with the truth.”

The marriage of cohabiting couples should also not be misinterpreted, Grabowski advised.

He said that a Church marriage for a cohabiting couple is “not a validation of cohabitation” but “a removal of cohabitation.”

“It’s enabling them to move out of a state that objectively contradicts their Christian profession and their Christian baptism,” he said.

The professor noted that canon law “speaks of the freedom of the baptized to marry” and that the Church and its ministers cannot “put any obstacles in the face of that.” He said individual priests who have barred cohabiting couples from marrying in their parish have been corrected by their bishops.

This does not mean that Catholics want to encourage couples to cohabit, he explained.

“We don’t want to impinge or impede the freedom of the baptized to marry and to move out of what is an objective state of sin,” he added.




Seeing the Face of Christ in the Poor

Each Sunday, we hear St. Vincent’s name mentioned along with St. Louis and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne during the Eucharistic prayers. St. Louis we know was the King of France. We know St. Rose was a teacher and brought education to all children, especially the Native American Indians. We have heard of St. Vincent and we know he is associated with the poor and that the St. Vincent de Paul Society provides resources to those in need. St. Vincent was involved in the formation of priests and set up missionaries to go out among ordinary people and tell them about Jesus. About 150 years after his death, his missionaries came to the St. Louis area. They asked his intercession on their great mission of reaching out to the people in the wilderness of St. Louis, asking him to be our patron. 

In 1581, St. Vincent de Paul was born to poor farmers. He was the third son and learned how to tend the animals. His father thought this would be good for him, but Vincent was smart and everyone noticed. The neighbors convinced his father to send him to school and let one of his other brothers tend the animals. Therefore, Vincent went away to school. He got along very well and taught others. His teaching ability would become an asset to him and allow him many opportunities to bring others to Christ. Although, he lived almost 500 years ago, St. Vincent had a very interesting life. While making a journey by boat to a new city where he was assigned, St. Vincent was captured by pirates and sold into slavery. After years as a slave, his master decided to help him escape and chose to go with him. St. Vincent’s Christian example would lead his master to repent and return to the Catholic Church. 

The St. Vincent de Paul Chapel at the Cardinal Rigali Center

Everywhere St. Vincent lived and worked the example of his life would bring others to Christ. He was a tutor in a very rich household. He affected the parents of the children he tutored. In the 1500’s, dueling was the answer to any offense. Honor was everything. One day, the father of his students was in church praying before going off to duel. St. Vincent convinced the father that taking another’s life in a duel was cruel and God did not approve. The father amended his ways and followed the example of St. Vincent. The father and mother became St. Vincent’s greatest supporters and after the mother’s death, the father would go on to become a priest. 

This was the effect St. Vincent had on people. People would change their behaviors and amend their ways to live according to the church doctrines and follow the ways of Christ. St. Vincent had no desire to be rich or famous. Although he had influential friends, he was happy to stay working with the poor in every community. In a time when people lived extravagant lives with no regard to how the poor people lived, he would remind them of the vast differences in lifestyles. He found priests to be missionaries and formed Lady’s Charities. While volunteering for these charities, wealthier women would work alongside not so wealthy women to feed and shelter the poor. They founded hospitals and orphanages. Where there was a need, St. Vincent found ways to go to these people and meet them where they were. One day he decided to visit the prisoners who served their sentence rowing the large ships. The inhumane way in which these prisoners were treated saddened and shocked him. He appealed to the ship owners and gained permission to take care of these men. It was difficult work, but St. Vincent managed again to con-vert souls and bring more people to the Church. He said to his followers, “Love makes us see God and nothing else but God in each of those whom we love.” St. Vincent gave his life for others and taught everyone by his exam-ple. 

Each month our Pope has special intentions. He has general and missionary intentions. In September 2012, he asked God to send: “Help for the poorest Churches that Christian communities may have a growing willingness to send missionaries, priests, and lay people along with concrete resources to the poorest Churches.” On September 27, we celebrate St. Vincent de Paul’s feast day. This is an appropriate time to ask God to help the poorest. St. Vincent would approve, he once said, “By mutual support the strong will sustain the weak, and God’s work will be accomplished.” St. Vincent wants everyone to be an example of Christ in the world. To love all people as God loved us. --- Alethea Paradis, M.T.S.


St. Vincent de Paul's Legacy

Jesus said, “this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12) As Christians we are called by these words of Christ to love and care for one another. The greatest way to outwardly express our love for one another is through charity- by donating our time, talent, and treasures to those in need.

There are many ways to get involved in the Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Louis that help the poor,
abused, neglected, elderly, disabled and lonely in our community, and one way is through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. 

“Serving Christ’s needy is the first purpose of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides services in crisis intervention, housing, criminal justice ministry, transportation, and health.

Photo courtesy of svdpstlouis.org

Most parishes have a Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference, which are “chapters” of the Society. To find volunteer opportunities with your parish SVDP conference, you can call your parish office or look at the list of SVDP conferences.

To volunteer or donate to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul call 314.881.6000 or donate online.


Read more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.



Our Lady of Sorrows
9/15/2014 12:00:00 AM
The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows commemorates the seven great sorrows which Mary lived in relation to Her Son, as they are recorded in the Gospels or through Tradition. Today we are invited to reflect on Mary's deep suffering:1. At the prophecy of Simeon: "You yourself shall be pierced with a sword - so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare." (Luke 2:35).2. At the flight into Egypt; "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt." (Mt 2:13).3. Having lost the Holy Child at Jerusalem; "You see that your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow." (Luke 2:48).4. Meeting Jesus on his way to Calvary; 5. Standing at the foot of the Cross; "Near the cross of Jesus there stood His mother." (John 19:25).6. Jesus being taken from the Cross; 7. At the burial of Christ.Prior to the Second Vatican Council, there were two feasts devoted to the sorrows of Mary. The first feast was insitituted in Cologne in 1413 as an expiation for the sins of the iconoclast Hussites.  The second is attributed to the Servite order whose principal devotion are the Seven Sorrows.  It was institued in 1668, though the devotion had been in existence since 1239 - five years after the founding of the order.

First Reading - 1 Cor 11:17-26, 33
9/15/2014 12:00:00 AM
11 But yet neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, so also is the man by the woman: but all things of God. 13 You yourselves judge: doth it become a woman, to pray unto God uncovered? 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that a man indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the church of God. 17 Now this I ordain: not praising you, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18 For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you; and in part I believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies: that they also, who are approved, may be made manifest among you. 20 When you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord' s supper.21 For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God; and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not. 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. 24 And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. 25 In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.26 For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.33 Wherefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 



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