Posts Tagged ‘Diocese of Brooklyn’

Reconciliation Monday

Monday, April 14th, 2014

I hope that our non-Catholic friends will pardon many of us Catholics today.  They will probably sense that we’re a bit jittery:  This is Holy Week, and, today is Reconciliation Monday throughout all five boroughs, Long Island, and seven counties north of the Bronx, reaching almost to Albany.  Sometime this week, especially today in the Archdiocese of New York, Diocese of Brooklyn, and Diocese of Rockville Centre (as every parish in those three dioceses has confessions available from 3:00-9:00) many of us will approach the sacrament of penance to conclude Lent and be ready for Easter.

So, we’re a little nervous.  Going to confession is like a trip to the dentist:  we know it’s good for us, and we sure feel better afterwards, but we’re anxious about doing it.

The simple truth is, we are sinners.  We Catholics – - like all Christians, and our Jewish neighbors – - acknowledge that our sins not only offend our loving God and harm ourselves, but that they hurt everybody else.

We claim to be people of love, and, I’m afraid, sometimes are hateful; we pretend to be selfless, and often are the opposite; we say we’re honest, and on occasion lie and cheat; we’re supposed to be for peace, and end-up fighting and arguing. We say we’re humble, but are all too often cocky and arrogant.  As is evident from what Pope Francis expressed Friday, we remain sickened and sorry for such a horror as the abuse of minors by priests, and negligence by bishops, however tiny a percent of clergy they may be.  We have disregarded the commandments, the beatitudes, the Bible, and the teaching of Jesus and His Church.  We admit it.  We’ve hurt God, ourselves, and our neighbors.  We’re sorry.

We know God forgives us when we ask Him to, because He told us so.  We experience that in Confession.  We find it hard at times to forgive ourselves.  And we ask those whom we have offended to pardon us for our failure to practice what we preach.

I guess that’s why we describe ourselves as “practicing Catholics,” because we keep trying to get it right.

So, this week finds us somber, as we recall what our sins did to Jesus that first Good Friday.  Jesus, on his way to His cross, fell three times, which means, in the Bible, “a lot.”  We slip and fall a lot too!

But, this Holy Week finds us ultimately joyful, grateful, renewed as we celebrate His resurrection from the dead this Easter Sunday.

Today finds us jittery as we prepare for confession on this “Reconciliation Monday.”

So, to our non-Catholic friends who read this blog, I say thanks for your patience with us, not only today, but every day, as we often stumble and fall in what I hope is our ongoing journey to follow Jesus more faithfully and generously.

And, to my fellow Catholics, I strongly urge you to take advantage of this most wonderful sacrament.  If you’re in New York, Brooklyn, or Rockville Centre, stop by any Church between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. today, and a priest will be waiting to hear your confession.  If you’re outside the New York metropolitan area, I am sure your local parish will have additional opportunities to receive the Sacrament.

Happy Passover to our Jewish neighbors!

Happy Holy Week and Easter to our Christian neighbors!

HHS Mandate Decision

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Did you hear about the decision last week by U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan in the lawsuit brought by the Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, (the agency coordinating our Catholic healthcare in the archdiocese) and three plaintiffs from the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, against the administration for the unconstitutional HHS mandate?

You probably did not, as there seems to have been virtually no mention of the decision – in favor of the archdiocese, by the way – in any local newspaper or on television.  As far as I can tell, and I’ve looked rather carefully, there hasn’t even been a story in the New York Times, which couldn’t wait to publish an editorial this past October, admonishing the bishops, when a federal judge in Missouri found for the administration and dismissed a similar case brought by a private, for-profit, mining company.   (The Times also didn’t have much to say last week, when the appeals court temporarily blocked the bad Missouri decision the Times had gushed over.)

(UPDATE: The Staten Island Advance DID publish a story last week.  My apologies to Maura Grunlund for not remembering!)

Judge Cogan’s decision last week turned back a motion by the administration to have our lawsuit dismissed.  You’ll remember, perhaps, that back in May, the Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, and Catholic Health Systems of Long Island filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn, one of more than two dozen similar lawsuits filed around the country that day.  These lawsuits argue that the mandate from Health and Human Services would unconstitutionally presume to define the nature of the Church’s ministry, and force religious employers to violate their conscience or face onerous fines for not providing services in our health insurance that are contrary to our consciences and faith.

The judge’s decision doesn’t settle the case, but allows the case to proceed so that it might be heard in court.  (Two of our original co-plaintiffs, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, have been dismissed from the suit, as the judge found that their insurance plans would not presently be affected by the HHS mandate.  The Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, and CHSLI remain as plaintiffs.)   That’s significant, because the administration has been successful in getting some of the other cases dismissed, but in his decision Judge Cogan found that there was very real possibility that we plaintiffs would “face future injuries stemming from their forced choice between incurring fines or acting in violation of their religious beliefs.”

And what of the administration’s contention that the suit should be dismissed because they were going to change the HHS mandate to address the concerns of religious employers? As Judge Cogan wrote, “…the First Amendment does not require citizens to accept assurances from the government that, if the government later determines it has made a misstep, it will take ameliorative action. There is no, ‘Trust us, changes are coming’ clause in the Constitution.”

Bravo, Judge Cogan!

Of course, there is still a long way to go before these cases are final, and it would be our hope that the administration will be true to their word and amend the HHS mandate so that it does provide a real religious exemption and freedom of conscience protection.

Until then, we will continue to seek justice in the courts.  Thanks to last week’s decision in Federal Court in Brooklyn, it looks like we will have that chance.  We’ll keep you posted.

Inter-Diocesan Partnership

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

The following press release was  published in this week’s edition of The Long Island Catholic and The Brooklyn Tablet.  I thought you might want to see it in advance of next week’s edition of Catholic New York:

NEW INTER-DIOCESAN PARTNERSHIP FOR THEOLOGICAL AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION

September 29, 2011 – The Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre, today announced the formalization of a new initiative of inter-diocesan partnership to share personnel resources and facilities to prepare future and present clergy, as well as other Catholic leaders, for various kinds of service in the spirit of the New Evangelization called for by the late Blessed John Paul II.

As a first step in what is being called, “The New Partnership in Theological and Spiritual Formation for the Priests, Deacons, Religious and lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre,” the three dioceses have agreed to a single program of priestly formation for college seminarians and pre-theologians at the Cathedral Seminary Residence of the Immaculate Conception, Douglaston, New York.  This college and pre-theology program began the 2011-2012 academic semester with eighty students from the three dioceses as well as from the dioceses of Rochester, Scranton and Syracuse.

Secondly, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, of the Archdiocese of New York, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre have appointed Reverend James Massa, a priest from the Diocese of Brooklyn and lately on the staff of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, to the newly created position of Coordinator to develop the plan for the New Partnership.

Among the tasks assigned to Father Massa is the furthering of discussions about a single graduate-level program in priestly formation for the region.  “The sharing of resources includes enhancing and opening up to other dioceses the excellent theological programs offered at all three centers of learning – Huntington, Dunwoodie and Douglaston,” said Father Massa.

For the past six years, Father Massa served as Executive Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC.  There he coordinated national dialogues and meetings between Catholic leaders and scholars and their counterparts in other religious communities.  Father Massa earned a doctorate in theology from Fordham University, where he studied under the late Cardinal Avery Dulles.  He served on the faculty of the Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, MA from 1996-2001 and on the faculty of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York from 2001 – 2005.

In the coming months, the three diocesan bishops will announce further plans to implement the new partnership, especially as it pertains to the ongoing formation of priests and deacons and the graduate-level programs of priestly formation.

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