Friday, October 11, 2013

Mlitary Catholics Face Second Weekend without Mass

Catholic Priests Remain on Furlough Due to Government Shutdown

Catholic military personnel facing 2nd Sunday without Mass

WASHINGTON, D.C.—With no end in sight to the federal government shutdown, dozens of Catholic priests under contract with the United States military remain on furlough, denied access to the bases and military populations they serve. Mr. John Schlageter, General Counsel of the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS), said that if the shutdown continues through the weekend, as now seems likely, those furloughed priests will not be able to celebrate Sunday Mass.  Additionally, unless the issue is resolved, Confessions, Baptisms and any other sacraments celebrated by furloughed priests will be denied for the second week in a row.  As many as 50 U.S. military installations around the world are affected.

Mr. Schlageter said:

“This means those Catholics in uniform served by a furloughed contract priest will again be unable to attend Mass in the base chapel this coming Sunday and every Sunday for as long as the government is shut down or until another resolution is found. This sad state of affairs is contrary to our nation’s most basic principles. Military personnel enjoy, like all Americans, the First Amendment guarantee of the ‘Free Exercise’ of their particular religious faith. That right continues to be denied for Catholics.”

Active-duty Catholic Chaplains, who were never affected by the Oct. 1 shutdown, are still providing their pastoral services as usual. Other priests who serve the military in a civilian capacity as “General Schedule” (GS) employees of the Department of Defense were brought back to work this week after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a recall of all DoD personnel. Furloughed contract priests, however, remain in limbo. Under an 1870 law, the Anti-Deficiency Act, they are prohibited from providing contractual services in the event of a government shutdown.

Legislation meant to address this legal stumbling block and restore those contract priests to pastoral service is now winding its way through Congress. Last night, the U.S. Senate passed by unanimous consent an amended version of House Concurrent Resolution 58. The resolution, introduced by Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and passed 400-1 by the House on Saturday, calls for continued performance of religious services on military installations during the shutdown. The amended resolution has been sent back to the House for further consideration and possible final passage. The congressional action follows publication of an op-ed by Mr. Schlageter bringing public attention to the shutdown’s impact on the Catholic military population. Pending final action, the contract priests remain on furlough.

His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, called on the nation’s leaders for immediate action to resolve the impasse.

Archbishop Broglio said:  

"It seems beyond the pale of belief that elected officials are taking so long to resolve this denial of constitutional rights to the men and women in uniform.  It is not a controversial issue, but merely a lacuna in an old law that could be fixed to respond to current situations.  I continue to hope for the good will of those in Congress and the Administration."

In key event for Year of Faith, original Fatima statue to visit Vatican October 12 and 13, Pope Francis to offer Marian conscration


Vatican City, 11 October 2013 (VIS) – This morning, a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the key event of the Year of Faith, the Marian Day, which is scheduled to take place in Rome on 12 and 13 October. The speakers at the conference were Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Bishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arena, and Msgr. Graham Bell, respectively president, secretary and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation.

In his address, Archbishop Fisichella, stated that at the beginning of the Year of Faith it was decided that it would be fundamental to retrace the history of our faith, and for this reason Benedict XVI placed in the foreground the figure of Mary, who represents for believers the first response of complete and total faith, in which we fully abandon ourselves to God. Therefore, on Saturday 12 October the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima will arrive in Rome, and will return to Fatima on Sunday evening. The archbishop emphasised the importance of this event, recalling that “the statue never leaves the shrine, except in the case of entirely exceptional and extraordinary events. The last time was during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 when, on 13 May, Blessed John Paul II carried out the act of consecration to the Virgin. … The date of 13 October has been chosen as it recalls the final appearance of the Virgin to the three shepherd children in 1917”.

As is traditional in these events, on Saturday morning there will be a pilgrimage to the Tomb of Peter and in the afternoon, Pope Francis' catechesis. In the afternoon St. Peter's Square will open to pilgrims at 2.30 p.m. At 3 p.m. there will be a moment of reflection, and at 4 p.m. the procession of the Virgin around the square will begin. In accordance with tradition, pilgrims are asked to wave with white handkerchiefs as the statue of the Virgin of Fatima passes. At 5 p.m. the Holy Father will greet the statue of the Virgin in front of the Basilica. Following a moment of prayer in St. Peter's Square, the statue will be transported to the Santuario del Divino Amore, where an all-night prayer vigil will take place. On Sunday morning, the Virgin will return to the Vatican where the procession across St. Peter's Square will be repeated at 9.30 a.m., followed by Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. Finally, the Pope will carry out the act of consecration to the Virgin and will pray the Angelus with the pilgrims present.

It is expected that over 150,000 pilgrims from all over the world will participate, with international representations from 48 countries.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

U.S. House of Reps Passes Resolution Allowing Mass on Military Bases

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Resolution to Allow Mass on Military Installations During Government Shutdown

Vote follows op-ed by AMS General Counsel John Schlageter on non-active duty priests banned from bases

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The United States House of Representatives today voted 400-1 to pass House Concurrent Resolution 58 calling on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to allow the continued performance of religious services on military installations during the government shutdown. The resolution was introduced by Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) in response to an Oct. 3 op-ed by Mr. John Schlageter, General Counsel of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) in which he disclosed that non-active duty Catholic priests have been ordered not to work—or even volunteer—on military installations for the duration of the shutdown, making it impossible for servicemen and women at some locations to attend Mass this weekend.

Quantico Marine Base will have Masses Provided by Contract Priest During Government Shutdownt


Attention Editors:

               It has come to the attention of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA that contrary to earlier reports, Masses will in fact be held as scheduled this weekend at Marine Corps Base Quantico. In spite of the government shutdown, the terms of his contract allow the priest there to perform his pastoral duties because of the way the contract is funded. Nonetheless, many Masses at other installations remain cancelled due to the shutdown. The op-ed issued by the archdiocese on Oct. 3 is thus revised as follows:

Shutdown Impacts Chapel Services
By John Schlageter

                If the government shutdown continues through the weekend, there will be no Catholic priest to celebrate Mass this Sunday in the chapels at some U.S. military installations where non-active-duty priests serve as government contractors.  

                Military personnel enjoy, like all Americans, the First Amendment guarantee of the “Free Exercise” of their particular religious faith.  But because military personnel are considered a “captive audience,” the laws of our country require the government to provide access to that faith.  This is why we have a military chaplaincy.  This all becomes very clear when one thinks of a military family stationed in Bahrain or Japan.  They cannot walk down the street to the local synagogue, church, mosque, etc.

                There is a chronic shortage of active duty Catholic chaplains. While roughly 25% of the military is Catholic, Catholic priests make up only about 8% of the chaplain corps. That means approximately 275,000 men and women in uniform, and their families, are served by only 234 active-duty priests.  The temporary solution to this shortage is to provide GS and contract priests.   These men are employed by the government to ensure that a priest is available when an active duty Catholic Chaplain is not present.  With the government shutdown, GS and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer.  During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.

                As an example, if a Catholic family has a Baptism scheduled this weekend at an Air Force base that is staffed by a GS or contract priest, unless they can locate a priest who is not a GS or contract priest, the Baptism is most likely cancelled.    If you are a Catholic stationed in Japan or Korea and are served by a Contract or GS priest, unless you speak Korean or Japanese and can find a church nearby, then you have no choice but to go without Mass this weekend.  Until the Federal Government resumes normal operations, or an exemption is granted to contract or GS priests, Catholic services are indefinitely suspended at many of those worldwide installations served by contract and GS priests.

                 At a time when the military is considering alternative sources of funding for sporting events at the service academies, no one seems to be looking for funding to ensure the Free Exercise rights of Catholics in uniform. Why not?

*John Schlageter is General Counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 13: Fatima, Pope Francis and Medjugorge?

The leaks about what the Pope will say on October 13 are already making the rounds in the blogosphere. On that date, the Holy Father will stand before the image of Our Lady of Fatima and will consecrate the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He will most likely speak about the place of private revelation and how the focus of salvation is upon Christ. He may also share the results of the commission on the Medjugorje apparitions and inner locutions. Sources are saying that the verdict will be negative. I hope that enthusiasts will have sufficient faith to accept what it said with holy obedience and religious assent.
- Father Joe Jenkins on Facebook

Food for Furlough at Chesapeake Cares in Huntingtown, MD on October 7

In response to the federal government shutdown, Chesapeake Cares Food Pantry is holding a special event, Food for Furlough, on Monday, October 7 from 2-4 PM. This will be a food distribution event to serve those in need that have been impacted by the recent shutdown.

6045 Solomon's Island Rd
(behind the Counseling Center building)
Huntingtown, MD 20639

Here are a couple of quick facts about the event:

1.Even if the shutdown ends by Monday, employees still may be struggling or waiting for information on when they will be paid.
2.We will NOT be checking for federal ID's. Anyone who shows up will receive food. When Jesus fed thousands, He just fed them - He didn't ID them first.
3.There is a large percentage of Calvert County residents that are federal employees or their workplace will be affected by the shutdown.

Here is how you can help:

1. Spread the word on social media. Continue to spread the word all weekend. Share it, like it, repost it, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
2. The best way people can help right now is to make a financial donation instead of a food donation. The EHCC website will have a special donation page.
3. Pray.

If you or someone you know (family, friend, neighbor) has been placed on furlough, please encourage them to attend on Monday. You do not have to be currently receiving groceries from any food pantry. You do not have to live in Calvert County.

Families will be asked their name and number of people living in their household. No one will be asked further information. If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance after Monday, please visit Chesapeake Cares on Tuesday evening from 5:30-7:30 PM or Thursday morning from 9:30 AM -12 noon.

This event provides a tremendous opportunity for Chesapeake Cares to provide hope in the midst of unsure times. I look forward to partnering with each of you in prayer this weekend as we do as Jesus did - we will feed them.

A Different Kind of "Francis Effect"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"The court is the leprosy of the papacy."

I have experienced sometimes in the Church what Pope Francis describes as "curia-centric" behavior, where the faithful end up going away from centralized bureaucracies feeling treated as if they were an unwanted nuisance but in more recent years less so in Rome and more so elsewhere..

"No, there are sometimes courtiers in the curia, but the curia as a whole is another thing. It is what in an army is called the quartermaster's office, it manages the services that serve the Holy See. But it has one defect: it is Vatican-centric. It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I do not share this view and I'll do everything I can to change it. The Church is or should go back to being a community of God's people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God. The Church is this, a word not surprisingly different from the Holy See, which has its own function, important but at the service of the Church. I would not have been able to have complete faith in God and in his Son if I had not been trained in the Church, and if I had not had the good fortune of being in Argentina, in a community without which I would not have become aware myself and my faith. " ( Pope Francis in La Reppubblica interview)

As Pope John Paul II taught, sins are personal before they are social. So too with the spiritual leprosy of "Vatican-centric" personalities, and the Vatican is not the only place where you can find such.

Thank you for visiting.


Kamsahamnida, Dziekuje, Terima kasih, Doh je, Grazie, Tesekur, Gracias, Dank u, Shukran

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