Friday, June 26, 2009

34 archbishops to receive pallium, symbol of metropolitan authority

On June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict XVI will impose the pallium, symbolic of metropolitan authority, on 34 archbishops who were appointed during the course of the past year. The pallium, a thin strip of white wool, is a liturgical vestment worn by metropolitan archbishops. It is conferred on newly appointed archbishops each year on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, which is a holiday at the Vatican.

Among those receiving the pallium this year are several prelates from the US: Archbishops Gregory Ayrmond of New Orleands, Robert Carlson of St. Louis, Timothy Dolan of New York, George Lucas of Omaha, and Allen Vigneron of Detroit. Also included is Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, the newly installed leader of England's Catholic hierarchy, will also receive the pallium. Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, who enjoyed the title of archbishop while working as secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, will now wear the pallium because he has become a metropolitan in his new role as Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka.


The Pallium - History and Present Use

In my first post on the NLM,

I want to look at the pallium, which has seen a recent change introduced at the installation of our reigning Pontiff, Benedict XVI. (The lambs of whose wool this year's new pallia will be made were blessed this Monday, at which occasion the Holy Father wore a beautiful old papal stole again, this time of Leo XIII).

Let us begin by looking at the history of this parament. To this end I will give a translation of parts of the pertinent chapter from the book by Fr. Joseph Braun, Die liturgischen Paramente in Gegenwart und Vergangenheit (The Liturgical Paraments in Present and Past), which has been reprinted by German Catholic publisher Nova et Vetera as recently mentioned by Shawn.

"The time at which the pallium was introduced can not be determined. According to the liber pontificalis, it was already in use at Rome in the second quarter of the 4th century; for it tells us that Pope Marcus († 336) had granted the pallium to the bishop of Ostia as consecrator of the popes. However reliable this information may be, in any case the pallium must have been used at Rome well before the beginning of the 6th century; or else the author of the liber pontificalis, who lived at the beginning of the 6th century, could not have possibly ascribed its concession to the bishop of Ostia to a po pe from the first half of the 4th century. But also the safely attested concessions of the pallium from the first half of the 6th century - e.g., in 513 St. Cæsarius of Arles was granted the pallium by Pope Symmachus - prove that the pallium had come into use at Rome at the latest in the course of the 5th century.

"In the occident, it was always solely the pope who was by his own right entitled to wear the pallium; all others were always only allowed to use it by a special grant conceded by him. Some examples of such concessions of the pallium are already f ound in the 6th century, especially in the pontificate of Gregory the Great. Above all it were papal vicars and metropolitans who were deemed worthy of the honour of the pallium, but probably also simple bishops, suffragans of the metropolia of Rome as well as bishops not belonging to that circumscription, of which latter the first one to obtain the pallium was Syagrius of Autun at the hands of Gregory the Great. The pallium had certainly not yet become a general decoration of archbishops by the turn of the 6th, but probably not even in the eighth century. In any case, as we can see from the correspondence of St. Boniface with Pope Zachary, during their lifetimes there was no obligation for m etropolitans to petition Rome for the pallium. Such an obligation can only be demonstrated in the second half of the 9th century and must therefore have come into practice approximately between 750 and 850. Its introduction had as purposes a deeper connection of the metropolitans with the See of Peter, the centre of unity and ecclesial life, the elimination of self-aggrandising efforts of some metropolitans of that ti me and a new consolidation of the system of metropolitans, which had gotten into dissolution and decay."

After explaining more about the history of the use of the pallium, we then come to the point that immediately concerns us here:
"Very interesting is the history of the formal development of the pallium. Having without a doubt originally been a cloth folded together in the shape of a strip, it w as according to all evidence already in the 7th, yes in the 6th century a mere white band. It was put on by laying it around shoulders, neck and breast in such a manner that from the left shoulder one of its ends hung down forward, the other one backward. Pins for fastening the pallium were not used inititally, they only came into use probably in the 8th century, probably in connection with a new manner of putting on the pallium: letting fall down both ends in the middle of breast and ba ck, instead of directly from the left shoulder as heretofore, an innovation which of course demanded the use of pins. The change was in itself not very significant but the first step to the later complete reshaping of the pallium. The next step consisted in giving to the pallium permanently, by sewing it together accordingly, the form which it otherwise only acquired through putting it on [sc. in the new manner described before]. When this step occurred cannot be determined exactly, but in any case soon after that first step, and at the earliest likely outside of Rome, where the pallium already in the 9th century, it appears, obtained a fixed form. The third and last step was to transform the pallium to a formal ring, furnished with a vertically hanging strip at the front and the back. The left half of that ring was composed, in memory of the h eretofore usual form, of a double layer of cloth. Put on, the pallium, which may be called T-shaped in opposition to the previous Y-shaped one, now lay upon the upper arms, not as previously upon the shoulders. The modern pallium was now essentially completed, it only needed to reduce its measures. This decrementation began approximately in the 14th century, but became more pronounced only since the end of the 15th, until finally in the course of the 17th century the pallium had arrived at the dimensions of today and a further shortening was not possible any more. An overview of this transformation of the pallium can be seen on this image:

"As for the material of the pallium, from time immemorial it was normally made of white wool, but even in the 10th century other material was not inadmissible per se, as can be deduced from a bull of John XV to Archbishop Liavizo of Hamburg.

"As decoration of the pallium, only crosses had ever been employed. In the beginning, two only were applied, one on the front and one the back end. A greater number of crosses seems only to have become common during the 9th century, but a determined precept about their number did not exist in the entire middle ages. Even the pallium of Archbishop Klemens August of Cologne († 1761) still showed eight crosses, not six like today.

"Concerning the colour, the crosses on the older monuments are normally blackish, but red ones do also occur. The medieval liturgists mostly describe the crosses as red. On the few remains of pallia which have been preserved from the middle ages, the crosses are mostly black resp. dark blue; they are red on the fragment of a pallium from the 15th century in the Trier cathedral museum. Of the eight crosses of the pallium of the Archbishop Klemens August two were black, the other ones red. In short, also regarding the colour of the crosses until the most recent times there was no fixed rule, only that they were either black (dark blue) or red, but not of another colour.

"The pins, with which the pallium was fixed in the 8th century, remained even when the pallium had taken on a fixed form, initially perhaps still to affix the pallium to the chasuble. Later, and thus at least already about 1300, they were mere decoration, which is why now loops were attached at the crosses to receive the pins."

Now let us consider, in the light of this historical development, the pallium as recently adopted by the Supreme Pontiff. Let me say in advance, however, that this is in no way intended to be a criticism of our gloriously reigning Holy Father, who was, u
pon his election to the pontifical throne, presented with the new design as a fait accompli, and whose careful and patient reform of the reform, beginning by a reorientation of the sacred liturgy, I fully support. This is only about the new papal pallium itself as a new form for an ancient piece of vesture. Likewise, I am not commenting on the aesthetics of the new design or on the reenforced likeness to the eastern omophorion, but purely on its relation to the historical developement of this parament in the West. This is how it now lo oks:

Obviously, the earliest form was adopted. The question already arises whether the readoption of this form, which has not been worn in the West since the eighth century, i.e. for almost 1300 years, discarding a continuous development of 1000 years, does not constitute a form of antiquarianism. Furthermore, even though the earliest form has been adopted, the pins have remained. As we have seen, the pins only
appeared when there was need for them, because the ends of the pallium did not hang down directly from the shoulder anymore, but from the middle, to which they were fixed by these pins. The continued use of the pins together with a form that was worn before the use of the pins first arose seems inconguous. They serve no purpose, and while that is not necessarily an argument against them and they did not serve a practical purpose in the pallium as worn until 2005 and still worn by metropolitan archbishops, there they represent, as so many elements of paraments, the vestige of a former use. But in returning to a form used before the first appearance of the pins, these become anachronistic. Likewise, the change in the colour of the cross appears somewhat arbitrary. A s we have seen, the earliest monuments only show black crosses, and there never was a fi xed rule until relatively recently, when the colour was settled on black. To choose red for all the crosses seems unmotivated. The same could be said of their number. When a pallium of this form was worn, it was adorned by only two crosses. The five crosses we now see are without example. Lastly, the introduction of a special form of the papal pallium as opposed to that of the metropolitans is without precedent and runs counter to that deeper bond of unity which is to be symbolised by the concession of the pallium to the metropolitans. These are some considerations which might be taken into account when evaluating the introduction of this new form and the desirability of its continued use. Obviously, as mentioned above, there are also other considerations. Also, it should again be stressed that these somewhat critical thoughts about the new form of the pallium do not in any way detract from the immensely praiseworthy work of a gradual reorientation and re-reform of the liturgy, which His Holiness has begun to undertake.

On a different note, concerning the use of the pallium by metropolian archbishops, Fr. Braun writes, of the law then applying:

"Also regarding the days, the use of the pallium by archbishops and bishops is restricted. It is only on certain high feasts named in the Pontificale and very special o ccasions, as the conferral of Holy Orders, the Consecration of a bishop and the blessing of abbots and nuns, on which they may wear this vestment, unless more has been conceded to them by special privilege."

This rule, certainly known to our ceremonialists, seems to have fallen into oblivion, since, as far as I know, it doesn't apply any more under the new Pontificale. This can be seen by the pictures of the two pontifical Masses below, celebrated by Msgrs. Piñera and Prendergast, who each wore their pallium on a day not specified under the old rules. This is not to criticise these bishops, who were certainly and understandably unaware of the rule. However, I believe in the context of a Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite the old Pontificale should be followed, and the pallium therefore only be worn on the days there specified.




Form and use of the mo

dern pallium

The modern pallium is a circular band about two inches wide, worn about the neck, breast, and shoulders, and having two pendants, one hanging down in front and one behind. The pendants are about two inches wide and twelve inches long, and are weighted with small pieces of lead covered with black silk. The remainder of the pallium is made of white wool, part of which is supplied by twolambs presented annually as a tax by the Lateran Canons Regular to the Chapter of St. John on the feast of St. Agnes, solemnly blessed on the high altar of that church after the pontifical Mass, and then offered to the pope. The ornamentation of the pallium consists of six small black crosses -- one each on

the breast and back, one on each shoulder, and one on each pendant. The crosses on the breast, back, and left shoulder are provided with a loop for the reception of a gold pin set with a precious stone. The pallium is worn over the chasuble.

The use of the pallium is reserved to the pope and archbishops, but the latter may not use it until, on petition they have received the permission of the Holy See. Bishops sometimes receive the pallium as a mark of special favour, but it does not increase their po

wers or jurisdiction nor give them precedence. The pope may use the pallium at any time. Others, even archbishops, may use it only in their respective dioceses, and ther

e only on the days and occasions designated in the "Pontificale" (Christmas, the Circumcision, and other specified great feasts; during the conferring of Holy orders, the consecration of abbots, etc.), unless its use is extended by a special privilege. Worn by the pope, the pallium symbolizes the plenitudo pontificalis officii (i.e. the plenitude of pontifical office); worn by archbishops, it typifies their participation in the supreme pastoral power of the pope, who concedes it to them for their proper church provinces. An archbishop, therefore, who has not

received the pallium may not exercise any of his functions as metropolitan, nor any metropolitan prerogatives whatever; he is even forbidden to perform any episcopal act until invested with the pallium. Similarly, after his resignation, he may not use the pallium; should he be transferred to anotherarchdiocese. He must again petition the Holy Father for the pallium. In the case of bishops, its use is purely ornamental. The new palliums are solemnly blessed after the Second Vespers on the feast

of Sts. Peter and Paul, and are then kept in a special silver-gilt casket near the Confessio Petri until required. The pallium is conferred in Rome by a cardinal-deacon, and outside of Rome by a bishop; in both cases the ceremony takes place after the celebration of Mass and the administration of the oath of allegiance.

History and antiquity

It is impossible to indicate exactly when the pallium was first introduced. According to the "Liber Pontificalis", it was first used in the first half of the fourth century. This book relates, in the life of Pope Marcus (d. 336), that he conferred the right of wearing the pallium on the Bishop of Ostia, because the consecration of the pope appertained t

o him. At any rate, the wearing of the pallium was usual in the fifth century; this is indicated by the above-mentioned reference contained in the life of St. Marcus which dates from the beginning of the sixth century, as well as by the conferring of the pallium onSt. Cæsarius of A

rles by Pope Symmachus in 513. Besides, in numerous other references of the sixth century, the pallium is mentioned as a long-customary vestment. It seems that, from the beginning, the pope alone had the absolute right of wearing the pallium. Its use by others was tolerated only in virtue of the permission of the pope. We hear of the pallium being conferred on others, as a mark of distinction, as early as the sixth century. The honour was usually conferred on metropolitans, especially those nominated vicars by the pope, but it was sometime

s conferred on simple bishops (e.g. on Syagrius of Autun, Donus of Messina, and John of Syracuse by Pope Gregory the Great). The use of the pallium among metropolitans did not become general until the ninth century, when the obligation was laid upon all metropolitans of forwarding a petition for the pallium accompanied by a solemn profession of faith, all consecrations being forbidden them before the reception of the pallium. The object of this rule was to bring the metropolitans into more intim

ate connection with the seat of unity and the source of all metropolitan prerogatives, the Holy See, to counteract the aspirations of various autonomy-seeking metropoli

tans, which were incompatible with the Constitution of the Church, and to counteract the evil influences arising therefrom: the rule was intended, not to kill, but to revivify metropolitan jurisdiction. The oath of allegiance which the recipient of the pallium takes t

oday originated, apparently, in the eleventh century. It is met with during the reign ofPaschal II (1099-1118), and replaced the profession of faith. It is certain that a tribute was paid for the reception of the pallium as early as the sixth century. This was abrogated by Pope Gregory the Great in the Roman Synod of 595, but was reintroduced later as partial maintenance of the Holy See. These pallium contributions have often been, since the Middle Ages, the subject of embittered controversies, the attitude of many critics being indefensibly extreme and unjustifiable.

Character and significance

As early as the sixth century the pallium was considered a liturgical vestment to be used only in the church, and indeed only during Mass, unless a special privilege determined otherwise. This is proved conclusively by the correspondence between Gregory the Great and John of Ravenna concerning the use of the pallium. The rules regulating the original use of the pallium cannot be determined with certainty but its use, even before the sixth century, seems to have had a definite liturgical character. From early times more or less extensive restrictions limited the use of the pallium to certain days. Its indiscriminate use, permitted to Hincmar of Reims by Leo IV (851) and to Bruno of Cologne by Agapetus II (954) was contrary to the general custom. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, just as today, the general rule was to limit the use of the pallium to a few festivals and some other extraordinary occasions. The symbolic character now attached to the pallium dates back to the time when it was made an obligation for all metropolitans to petition the Holy See for permission to use it. The evolution of thi

s character was complete about the end of the eleventh century; thenceforth the pallium is always designated in the papal Bulls as the symbol of plenitudo pontificalis officii. In the sixth century the pallium was the symbol of the papal office and the papal power, and for this reason Pope Felix transmitted his pallium to his archdeacon, when, contrary to custom, he nominated him his successor. On the other hand, when used by metropolitans, the pallium originally signified simply union with the Apostolic See, and was the symbol of the ornaments of virtue which should adorn the life of the wearer.

Formal development

There is a decided difference between the form of the modern pallium and that in vogue in early Christian times, as portrayed in the Ravenna mosaics. The pallium of the sixth century was a long, moderately wide, white band, ornamented at its extremity with a black or red cross, and finished off with tassels; it was draped around the neck, shoulders, and breast in such a manner that it formed a V in front, and the ends hung down from the left shoulder, one in front and one behind (see illustration). In the eighth century it became customary to let the ends fall down, one in the middle of the breast and the other in the middle of the back, and to fasten them there with pins, the pallium thus becomingY-shaped. A further development took place during the ninth century (according to pictoral representations, at first outside of Rome where ancient traditions were not maintained so st

rictly): the band, which had hither to been kept in place by the pins, was sewed Y-shaped, without, however, being cut. The present circular form originated in the tenth or eleventh century. Two excellent early examples of this form, belonging respectively to Archbishop St. Heribert (1021) and Archbishop St. Anno (d. 1075), are preserved in Siegburg, Archdiocese of Cologne. The two vertical bands of the circular pallium were very long until the fifteenth century, but were later repeatedly shortened until they now have a length of only about twelve inches. The illustration indicates thehistorical development of the pallium. At first the only decorations on the pallium were two crosses near the extremities. This is proved by the mosaics at Ravenna and Rome. It appears that the ornamentation of the pallium with a greater number of crosses did not become customary until the ninth century, when small crosses were sewed on the pallium, especially over the shoulders. There was, however, during the Middle Ages no definite rule regulating the number of crosses, nor was there any precept determining their colour. They were generally dark, but sometimes red. The pins, which at first served to keep the pallium in place, were retained as ornaments even after the pallium was sewed in the proper shape, although they no longer had any practical object. That the insertion of small leaden weights in the vertical ends of the pallium was usual an early as the thirteenth century is proved by the discovery in 1605 of the pallium enveloping the body of Boniface VIII, and by the fragments of the pallium found in the tomb of Clement IV.


There are many different opinions concerning the origin of the pallium. Some trace it to an investiture by Constantine the Great (or one of his successors); others consider it an imitation of the Hebrew ephod, the humeral garment of the high priest. Others again declare that its origin is traceable to a mantle of St. Peter, which was symbolical of his office as supreme pastor. A fourth hypothesis finds its origin in a liturgical mantle, which, they assert, was used by the early popes, and which in the course of time was folded in the shape of a band; a fifth says its origin dates from the custom of folding the ordinary mantle-pallium, an outer garment in use in imperial times; a sixth declares that it was introduced immediately as a papal liturgical garment, which, however, was not at first a narrow strip of cloth, but, as the name suggests, a broad, oblong, and folded cloth. Concerning these various hypotheses seeBraun, "Die liturgische Gewandung im Occident und Orient," sect. iv, ch. iii, n. 8, where these hypotheses are exhaustively examined and appraised. To trace it to an investiture of the emperor, to the ephod of the Jewish high-priest, or to a fabled mantle of St. Peter, is entirely inadmissible. The correct view may well be that the pallium was introduced as a liturgical badge of the pope, and it does not seem improbable that it was adopted in imitation of its counterpart, the pontifical omophorion, already in vogue in the Eastern Church.


The omophorion of the Greek Rite -- we may here pass over the other Oriental rites -- corresponds to the Latin pallium, with the difference that in the Greek Rite its use is a privilege not only of archbishops, but of all bishops. It differs in form from the Roman pallium. It is not a circular garment for the shoulders, with short pendants before and behind, but is, like the original Roman pallium, a broad band, ornamented with crosses and draped loosely over the neck, shoulders, and breast. The only change in the omophorion has been the augmentation of its width. We find distinct testimony to the existence of the omophorion as a liturgical vestment of the bishop in Isidore of Pelusium about 400. It was then made of wool and was symbolical of the duties of bishops as shepherds of their flocks. In the miniatures of an Alexandrian "Chronicle of the World", written probably during the fifth century we already find pictorial representation of the omophorion. In later times we meet the same representation on the renowned ivory tablet of Trier, depicting the translation of some relics. Among the pictures dating from the seventh and eighth centuries, in which we find the omophorion, are the lately discovered frescoes in S. Maria, Antiqua in the Roman Forum. The representation in these frescoes is essentially the same as its present form. Concerning the origin of the omophorion similar theories have been put forth as in the case of the pallium. Attempts have been made to prove that the omophorion was simply an evolution of the ordinary mantle or pallium, but it was most probably derived from the civil omophorion, a shoulder garment or shawl in general use. We must suppose either that the bishops introduced directly by a positive precept as a liturgical pontifical badge a humeral cloth resembling the ordinary omophorion and called by that name, or that the civil omophorion was at first used by the bishops as a mere ornament without any special significance, but in the course of time gradually developed into a distinctively episcopal ornament, and finally assumed the character of an episcopal badge of office.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

God's presence evident in all creation, Pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Pope Benedict XVI said God's presence as an orientation toward love is evident in all things, from the farthest galaxies to the human identity or "genome".

The pope spoke about the relationship between God and man at his noon blessing June 7, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

"God is totally and only love, love that is pure, infinite and eternal. He does not live in splendid solitude, but instead is an inexhaustible source of life that unceasingly gives itself and communicates itself," he said.

The pope said God's identity can be grasped when looking at the "macro-universe" of planets, stars and galaxies, and also at the "micro-universe" of cells, atoms and particles.

"All that exists carries the imprint of the Most Holy Trinity, because it all comes from love, tends toward love and is driven by love, naturally with different degrees of awareness and freedom," he said.

The best evidence that human beings are made in the image of the Trinity is that "only love makes us happy, because we live to love and to be loved," he said.

"Using an analogy suggested by biology, we would say that the human being carries in his very `genome' the profound trace of the trinity, of God-love," he said.

The pope said God's presence in all of creation was well expressed in Psalm 8: "Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!"

Pope to Youth: Be Witnesses of Christ's Love

LEDNICA, Poland, JUNE 9, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is appealing to young people to choose Christ in a message sent to some 80,000 participants in an annual youth gathering in Lednica on Sunday.

The Pope's message was sent to Archbishop Henryk Muszynski of Gniezno, the archdiocese that encompasses Lednica, traditionally recognized as the site where the country's ruler first embraced Christianity in 966 leading to the "baptism of Poland."

The Pontiff called on youth to be witnesses of the love of Christ in all areas of life, including their schools and universities, Vatican Radio reported Sunday.

He stated, "Choose Christ so that in each moment of your life -- whether happy or difficult -- you will have the interior certainty that he sustains you with the grace and power of the Holy Spirit."

The Holy Father also affirmed that Christian youth are called to renew the choice for Jesus as the "supreme value in life."

This choice, he added, should continually become more "conscious, mature and responsible."

Benedict XVI recalled his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who was for the youth of the world "an incomparable guide" and continues being a source of inspiration.

Last Wednesday, in the general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope gave a special greeting to the youth who were traveling from Rome to the Lednica gathering, encouraging them to be united with Christ through Baptism and to choose him "consciously as the way and the goal of life's journey."

The Lednica youth gatherings have been taking place since 1997.

40 Hours Devotion Taken up in St. Mary Major!

Ambassadors Come to Adore the Lord

ROME, JUNE 9, 2009 ( Thousands of the faithful are approaching Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where the age-old tradition of the 40 Hours Devotion has been taken up in preparation for this Thursday's feast of Corpus Christi.

The basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary is part of the Pope's traditional celebration of the feast of the Body of Christ; there, Benedict XVI will give the blessing with the Blessed Sacrament at the end of the procession that starts after Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

The archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, Cardinal Bernard Law, has promoted the 40 Hours Devotion.

The period of adoration began Monday morning with a solemn Mass presided over by Cardinal Law. It will end Thursday.

"If we want to be salt of the earth, as Jesus tells us, we should be light of the world; then our 'yes' should be like that of Jesus," he said in his homily. "Above all in the Eucharistic mystery we encounter the 'yes' of the Lord Jesus. In his death, in his cross, we understand the infinite love that God has for us through the cross."

With this love, Cardinal Law added, we "thus become the salt and light of the world."

Bringing the nations

Dozens of groups and religious communities have taken an hour of adoration at the basilica. Today, ambassadors from various nations accredited to the Holy See were among the adorers.

Paraguay's ambassador, Gerónimo Narváez Torres, told ZENIT: "Today is the third time that we ambassadors are praying together. This is very important because this world that is so conflictive and full of problems among nations needs the prayer of the ambassadors from distinct parts of the world."

His wife, María Graciela, affirmed that even though not all of the ambassadors before the Holy See are Catholic, prayer brings them to find a "common point among all religions."

"This initiative is fantastic," she added. "Hopefully it continues forever."

Monsignor Adriano Pancelli, master of liturgical ceremonies at St. Mary Major, told ZENIT that the initiative aims to remind Catholics of the central role of the Eucharist.

"It's enough to look at the lives of the saints," he said. "The Eucharis is the living rock of the Church. It's about adoring the Blessed Sacrament and feeling that the Lord is present. The most sublime, most high, most true and effective mystery."

Statue of Pope John Paul II unveiled at City of Hope

DUARTE - On April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II, a longtime sufferer of Parkinson's disease, died at 84 years old. But walk the gardens of City of Hope and the pontiff, smiling and with arms wide open, looks alive and well - albeit, in white marble.

A statue of the former head of the Catholic Church was dedicated Monday at a private ceremony in City of Hope's Rose Garden for nearly 400 people, which included donors, medical staff, a famous singer and, of course, some religious figures.
Renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli performed. Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, a Vatican statistician who flew in from Rome, blessed the statue.

Nurses and doctors took a break from work to sneak a peak or listen to the music.

The statue is a towering addition to a medical center that hopes to not only treat cancer, but also give its patients hope.

A Buddha sits in a garden at the center. There's also a synagogue. A statute of the Virgin of Guadalupe stands near the new papal one.

Local businessman Gaetano D'Aquino, who spearheaded the donation of the statue and whose sister suffered from cancer, wanted to give the City of Hope patients a symbol of caring.

"When people are sick, they need help," said D'Aquino, the president of Duarte-based Italian food and wine importer, D'Aquino Imports Co., Inc. "They need faith."

About a year ago D'Aquino approached his friend, Michael A. Friedman, president and CEO of City of Hope, with the idea of donating a statue of the Pope John Paul II to the medical center.

D'Aquino, himself a fan of the former pope, commissioned Giuliano Ottaviani, a sculptor based near Milan, Italy. It took Ottaviani four months to make the 9-foot, 14,000-pound marble statue, which was shipped from Italy to the port of Long Beach in a crate and mounted at the medical center last week.

A handful of donors, mostly from the Italian-American community, donated nearly $100,000 for the statue.

Sister Regina Marie, a Carmelite nun from the nearby Santa Teresita Medical Center, attended the ceremony with three other nuns. She said she met the former pope in 1995 in Rome and stood inches from him. The statue, she said, is a "wonderful" depiction of the man some consider a saint.

"He was a herald of hope, always," Marie said, as attendees snapped pictures before the statue. "He was not afraid to let the world see him suffer."

Benedict XVI announces special year for priests, warns of ‘dilution’ of priestly ministry

.- Meeting with members of the Congregation for Clergy this morning, the Holy Father announced that the Church will celebrate a special year for priests beginning on June 19, 2009. The year will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Vianney, Cure of Ars.

Pope Benedict received representatives from the congregation’s full assembly, which is currently focused on how the three offices (tre munera) of the priest make him a missionary within the Church.

In his address, the Pontiff emphasized the constant struggle for moral perfection that dwells “in every truly priestly heart.” In support of this tendency toward spiritual perfection, the Holy Father announced that he has “decided to call a special ‘Year for Priests’ which will run from June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010.”

He noted that the year also marks the “150th anniversary of the death of the saintly 'Cure of Ars', Jean Marie Vianney, a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock."

The Pope will inaugurate the Year on June 19 by presiding at Vespers in St. Peter's Basilica, where the relics of the 'Cure of Ars' will be brought for the occasion by Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, France.

During the course of the Year, Benedict XVI will proclaim St. Jean Marie Vianney as the patron saint of all the priests of the world. A "Directory for Confessors and Spiritual Directors" will also be published, as will a collection of texts by the Holy Father on essential aspects of the life and mission of priests in our time.

The year will close June 19, 2010, with Pope Benedict presiding at a "World Meeting of Priests" in St. Peter's Square.

Speaking to the Congregation for Clergy, the Holy Father also mentioned the ecclesial communal, hierarchical and doctrinal dimensions that are “absolutely indispensable for any authentic [priestly] mission,” and which guarantee “spiritual effectiveness.”

He explained that the mission is ecclesial “because no-one announces or brings themselves, ... but brings Another, God Himself, to the world. God is the only wealth that, definitively, mankind wishes to find in a priest.”

"The mission is 'communal',” he continued, “because it takes place in a unity and communion which only at a secondary level possess important aspects of social visibility.”

He added that the “'hierarchical' and 'doctrinal' dimensions emphasize the importance of ecclesiastical discipline (a term related to that of 'disciple') and of doctrinal (not just theological, initial and permanent) formation."

The Pope also stressed the importance of priestly formation which must maintain “communion with unbroken ecclesial Tradition, without pausing or being tempted by discontinuity. In this context,” he continued, “it is important to encourage priests, especially the young generations, to a correct reading of the texts of Vatican Council II, interpreted in the light of all the Church's doctrinal inheritance."

In conclusion, the Holy Father warned of the “dilution” of priestly ministry. He explained that the without priests, “there would be no Eucharist, no mission” or the Church. “It is necessary then, to ensure that 'new structures' or pastoral organizations are not planned for a time in which it will be possible to 'do without' ordained ministry, on the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the promotion of the laity, because this would lay the foundations for a further dilution in priestly ministry, and any supposed 'solutions' would, in fact, dramatically coincide with the real causes of the problems currently affecting the ministry."

Year of Priests to help rediscover beauty and identity of the priest

.- The Cognregation for the Clergy has issued a letter to the bishops of the world noting that the Year of Priests, decreed by Pope Benedict XVI to take place June 19, 2009 through June 19, 2010, is an occasion for “rediscovering the beauty and importance of the priesthood and the ordained,” as well as for promoting vocations.

The letter signed by the Congregation’s prefect Cardinal Claudio Hummes invites bishops to utilize the Year of Priests as an opportunity to raise awareness among “the entire holy people of God: consecrated men and women, Christian families, those who suffer, and above all, young people who are so sensitive to great ideals lived out with authentic courage and constant fidelity.”

Likewise, the cardinal writes, the Year of Priests will be a privileged occasion “for a theological-spiritual deepening and pastoral ministry, of benefit first of all to priests themselves, called to renew their awareness of their own identity, and consequently, to reinvigorate the missionary zeal that springs forth from divine intimacy, from ‘being’ with the Lord.”

After encouraging the use of the media to announce the Year of Priests and the resources at, the cardinal urges priests to remember that the initiative by Benedict XVI is an event that “should be experienced above all as an interior renewal in the joyous rediscovery of one’s own identity, of the fraternity of the priesthood and of the sacramental relationship with one’s own bishop.”

Cardinal Hummes also reported that during the Year of Priests a new Directory for Confessors and Spiritual Directors will be published, as well as a collection of texts by Benedict XVI on certain essential aspects of the life and mission of priests in today’s world.


VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 6 p.m. on Friday 19 June, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Benedict XVI will preside at Second Vespers to mark the opening of the Year for Priests, which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Marie Vianney “Cure of Ars”.


Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009. The year will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father on June 19, 2010.

With the announcement of this Year for Priests, the Pope has declared St. John Vianney the Universal Patron of Priests on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of the Curé d’Ars.

On this website you will find a number of resources to aid your parish’s celebration of the year for priests. There is also information regarding events for priests that will occur throughout the Year for Priests.

Please pray for our priests that they might always be faithful to their sacred calling.

Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI

Announcing the Year for Priests

Your Eminences,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,

I am glad to be able to welcome you at a special Audience on the eve of my departure for Africa, where I am going to present the Instrumentum Laboris of the Second Special Assembly of the Synod for Africa that will be held here in Rome next October. I thank Cardinal Cláudio Hummes for the kind words with which he has interpreted the sentiments you share and I thank you for the beautiful letter you wrote to me. With him, I greet you all, Superiors, Officials and Members of the Congregation, with gratitude for all the work you do at the service of such an important sector of the Church's life.

The theme you have chosen for this Plenary Assembly "The missionary identity of the priest in the Church as an intrinsic dimension of the exercise of the tria munera" suggests some reflections on the work of these days and the abundant fruit that it will certainly yield. If the whole Church is missionary and if every Christian, by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation quasi ex officio (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1305), receives the mandate to profess the faith publicly, the ministerial priesthood, also from this viewpoint, is ontologically distinct, and not only by rank, from the baptismal priesthood that is also known as the "common priesthood". In fact, the apostolic mandate "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole of creation" (Mk 16: 15) is constitutive of the ministerial priesthood. This mandate is not, as we know, a mere duty entrusted to collaborators; its roots are deeper and must be sought further back in time.

The missionary dimension of the priesthood is born from the priest's sacramental configuration to Christ. As a consequence it brings with it a heartfelt and total adherence to what the ecclesial tradition has identified as apostolica vivendi forma. This consists in participation in a "new life", spiritually speaking, in that "new way of life" which the Lord Jesus inaugurated and which the Apostles made their own. Through the imposition of the Bishop's hands and the consecratory prayer of the Church, the candidates become new men, they become "presbyters". In this light it is clear that the tria munera are first a gift and only consequently an office, first a participation in a life, and hence a potestas. Of course, the great ecclesial tradition has rightly separated sacramental efficacy from the concrete existential situation of the individual priest and so the legitimate expectations of the faithful are appropriately safeguarded. However, this correct doctrinal explanation takes nothing from the necessary, indeed indispensable, aspiration to moral perfection that must dwell in every authentically priestly heart.

Precisely to encourage priests in this striving for spiritual perfection on which, above all, the effectiveness of their ministry depends, I have decided to establish a special "Year for Priests" that will begin on 19 June and last until 19 June 2010. In fact, it is the 150th anniversary of the death of the Holy Curé d'Ars, John Mary Vianney, a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock. It will be the task of your Congregation, in agreement with the diocesan Ordinaries and with the superiors of religious institutes to promote and to coordinate the various spiritual and pastoral initiatives that seem useful for making the importance of the priest's role and mission in the Church and in contemporary society ever more clearly perceived.

The priest's mission, as the theme of the Plenary Assembly emphasizes, is carried out "in the Church". This ecclesial communal, hierarchical and doctrinal dimension is absolutely indispensable to every authentic mission and, alone guarantees its spiritual effectiveness. The four aspects mentioned must always be recognized as intimately connected: the mission is "ecclesial" because no one proclaims himself in the first person, but within and through his own humanity every priest must be well aware that he is bringing to the world Another, God himself. God is the only treasure which ultimately people desire to find in a priest. The mission is "communional" because it is carried out in a unity and communion that only secondly has also important aspects of social visibility. Moreover, these derive essentially from that divine intimacy in which the priest is called to be expert, so that he may be able to lead the souls entrusted to him humbly and trustingly to the same encounter with the Lord. Lastly, the "hierarchical" and "doctrinal" dimensions suggest reaffirming the importance of the ecclesiastical discipline (the term has a connection with "disciple") and doctrinal training and not only theological, initial and continuing formation.

Awareness of the radical social changes that have occurred in recent decades must motivate the best ecclesial forces to supervise the formation of candidates for the ministry. In particular, it must foster the constant concern of Pastors for their principal collaborators, both by cultivating truly fatherly human relations and by taking an interest in their continuing formation, especially from the doctrinal and spiritual viewpoints. The mission is rooted in a special way in a good formation, developed in communion with uninterrupted ecclesial Tradition, without breaks or temptations of irregularity. In this sense, it is important to encourage in priests, especially in the young generations, a correct reception of the texts of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, interpreted in the light of the Church's entire fund of doctrine. It seems urgent to recover that awareness that has always been at the heart of the Church's mission, which impels priests to be present, identifiable and recognizable both for their judgement of faith, for their personal virtues as well as for the habit, in the contexts of culture and of charity.

As Church and as priests, we proclaim Jesus of Nazareth Lord and Christ, Crucified and Risen, Sovereign of time and of history, in the glad certainty that this truth coincides with the deepest expectations of the human heart. In the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, that is, of the fact that God became man like us, lies both the content and the method of Christian proclamation. The true dynamic centre of the mission is here: in Jesus Christ, precisely. The centrality of Christ brings with it the correct appreciation of the ministerial priesthood, without which there would be neither the Eucharist, nor even the mission nor the Church herself. In this regard it is necessary to be alert to ensure that the "new structures" or pastoral organizations are not planned on the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the proper promotion of the laity for a time in which one would have "to do without" the ordained ministry, because in that case the presuppositions for a further dilution of the ministerial priesthood would be laid and possible presumed "solutions" might come dramatically to coincide with the real causes of contemporary problems linked to the ministry.

I am certain that in these days the work of the Plenary Assembly, under the protection of the Mater Ecclesiae, will be able to examine these brief ideas that I permit myself to submit to the attention of the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, while I invoke upon you all an abundance of heavenly gifts, as a pledge of which I impart a special, affectionate Apostolic Blessing to you and to all your loved ones.

Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI
to the Members of the Congregation for the Clergy
on the Occasion of their Plenary Assembly

Monday, 16 March 2009

Please Pray for Priests
Dear Lord,
we pray that the Blessed Mother
wrap her mantle around your priests
and through her intercession
strengthen them for their ministry.
We pray that Mary will guide your priests
to follow her own words,
“Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).
May your priests have the heart of St. Joseph,
Mary’s most chaste spouse.
May the Blessed Mother’s own pierced heart
inspire them to embrace
all who suffer at the foot of the cross.
May your priests be holy,
filled with the fire of your love
seeking nothing but your greater glory
and the salvation of souls.
Saint John Vianney, pray for us.

A Priest’s Prayer
Loving Father,
I praise you, I love you, I adore you.
Send your Holy Spirit to enlighten my mind
to the truth of your Son, Jesus,
Priest and Victim.
Through the same Spirit guide my heart to his Sacred Heart,
to renew in me a priestly passion
that I, too, might lay down my life upon the altar.
May your Spirit wash away my impurities
and free me from all my transgressions
in the Cup of Salvation,
Let only your will be done in me.
May the Blessed Mother of your dearly beloved Son,
wrap her mantle around me and protect me from all evil.
May she guide me to do whatever He tells me.
May she teach me to have the heart of St. Joseph, her spouse,
to protect and care for my bride.
And may her pierced heart inspire me
to embrace as my own your children
who suffer at the foot of the cross.
I humbly cry to her:
please be my consoling mother,
and help me to be a better son.
Lord, make me a holy priest,
inflamed with the fire of your love, seeking nothing
but your greater glory and the salvation of souls.
I humbly bless and thank you, my Father,
through the Spirit, in Christ Jesus,
your Son and my brother.
O Mary, Queen of priests, pray for us.
Saint John Vianney, pray for us.

As Year of St. Paul Comes to End Catholics Can Still Learn Through Television Series

WATERTOWN, MA (JUNE 9, 2009) - For Catholics who are still interested in learning more about St. Paul during the Pope-declared Pauline year, Fr. Jeffrey Mickler offers a television series which teaches about the life, times, and spirituality of St. Paul. The show is hosted by Fr. Mickler who has extensive radio, television, publishing, and internet experience.

The series is called “St. Paul, The Man and His Message”. This series currently airs on CatholicTV, a nationally-broadcasted television station headquartered near Boston. CatholicTV also streams its broadcast 24 hours a day at

This series is designed to help the viewer understand St Paul's thought, appreciate his life, and come to imitate him today.

Fr. Mickler is a priest of the Society of St. Paul. The Society of St. Paul is made up of priests and brothers and was founded in 1914 by Blessed James Alberione. This Society dedicated to St. Paul ministers in media in 30 countries.

“St. Paul, The Man and His Message” airs each week on CatholicTV at the following times (Eastern): Tuesday-4:30PM; Wednesday-11AM; Friday-6PM; Saturday-5:30PM.

About CatholicTV:
CatholicTV provides family-friendly, religious, news, and educational programming 24 hours daily. Founded over 50 years ago, CatholicTV is available in selected areas on cable in the United States and Canada, via Sky Angel and online via a live stream anytime, everywhere at the station's web site Father Robert Reed, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, is the Director of CatholicTV. Click here to paste this into your browser to find out how to watch CatholicTV where you live:

Obama Appoints "Abortion Reduction" Catholic to HHS Faith Office

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 9, 2009 ( - The bevy of dissident Catholics appointed to leading positions in the Obama administration has swelled even further following President Obama's nomination of Alexia Kelley, a co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CAGC) and an ardent Obama supporter, to head the faith office at the Department of Health and Human Services. Voices on both sides of the abortion debate responded with criticism to news of the nomination: though claiming to reject abortion, Kelley has advocated in favor of "abortion reduction" techniques while treading carefully around the legality of the procedure.

Obama nominated Kelley this week to head the Health and Human Services department's Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships office, which coordinates the federal government's relations with, and funding of, faith-based organizations in health matters including "family planning" grants.

A former advisor to John Kerry's presidential campaign, Kelly and CACG are generally affiliated with the Democratic Party and promote "abortion reduction" tactics. Since its inception, CACG has alienated itself from pro-life Catholic conservatives by carving out what it calls a "middle ground" on the abortion issue, claiming that Catholics could support the more pro-abortion candidate in good conscience.

CACG clashed with pro-life Catholics soon after its inception when a 2006 CACG booklet titled "Voting for the Common Good: A Practical Guide for Conscientious Catholics" drew ire from Catholic leaders as it claimed that social justice issues, such as war and poverty, were on an even moral keel with abortion.

“Despite what Catholics in Alliance says, there is a moral hierarchy of issues, and as important as ending poverty is, it does not rival the right of a child to be born," said Catholic League president Bill Donohue in criticizing Kelley's booklet.

In 2004, when Pope Benedict XVI presided at the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pontiff stated that a Catholic would incur guilt of cooperation with the evil of abortion if he or she voted for a pro-abortion advocate without "proportionate reasons."

In the same document, "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion," Ratzinger noted that "not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia," citing war and the death penalty as examples of less important issues. "There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia," Ratzinger wrote.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, clarified the matter further in a November interview with “Inside the Vatican,” saying: “a good citizen must support and vote for the candidate who most supports the inalienable dignity of innocent and defenseless life, and the integrity of marriage.”

“To do otherwise, is to participate, in some way, in the culture of death which pervades the life of the nation and has led to so much violence,” he added.

Donohue pointed out that CACG urged the Senate to raise the minimum wage, while making no statement concerning the partial-birth abortion ban. The group has also been criticized by pro-lifers for supporting embryo-destructive stem-cell research.

"The best Catholics in Alliance can do is say it is opposed to abortion," said Donohue. "But it makes it painfully clear that it will never join any effort to ban any abortions, including partial-birth."

Liberals and pro-abortion Catholic groups are also displeased with the nomination, decrying Kelley's lack of unequivocal support for abortion, and her acceptance of the Church's teaching against contraception. Catholics for Choice president Jon O'Brien criticized Kelley's leadership of CACG for focusing "on reducing the number of, not the need for, abortions."

Ironically similar to the complaints of pro-life Catholics, O'Brien warned against Kelley's equivocating approach to the abortion debate.

“Rhetoric around 'finding common ground' (or common good, as Ms Kelley would have it) and 'reducing the need for abortion' has framed the abortion debate for the past few months," said O'Brien. "While this rhetoric and subsequent efforts may indeed help to move us past the culture wars over abortion and contraception, it is dangerous when these efforts devolve into an abandonment of ideals."

Former president of Catholics for Choice Frances Kissling also lambasted the choice in a Salon article, expressing particular concern over Kelley's opposition to contraception. One of the few groups voicing support for the nomination was the "progressive" group Catholics United, who lauded Kelley's "common ground" ethos.

Discussing the quarrel over Kelley's selection in a column for Inside Catholic, Deal Hudson said many of Kelley's seemingly Catholic policies amounted to "lip service to Church teaching" maintained in order "to have any credibility as a Catholic organization."

Hudson noted "the delicate situation Kelley was required to navigate by leading a Catholic organization - with access to chanceries and parishes - which supported the Obama-Biden ticket." "Everything depended upon maintaining the illusion that Catholics in Alliance was against abortion while making the abortion reduction pitch to protect the Democratic ticket from pro-life criticism," he said.

Hudson expressed doubt that Kelley was as "anti-abortion" as her left-leaning detractors claimed.

"O'Brien, [Frances] Kissling, and their comrades think Alexia Kelley is unsympathetic with their aims," wrote Hudson. "I hope they are right, but from my vantage point, the language they cite from Kelley and Catholics in Alliance was a political tactic to operate as a Catholic organization supporting the Democratic Party ticket - nothing more."

The Catholic Church is embracing the digital revolution : American Papist, Thomas Peters

The Catholic Church is embracing the digital revolution as a tool for evangelization and catechesis. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this on May 24 in his message for the 43rd World Day of Communications:

In this year’s message, I am conscious of those who constitute the so-called digital generation and I would like to share with them, in particular, some ideas concerning the extraordinary potential of the new technologies, if they are used to promote human understanding and solidarity. These technologies are truly a gift to humanity and we must endeavour to ensure that the benefits they offer are put at the service of all human individuals and communities, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Bishop Loverde of Arlington echoed these sentiments in his recent Arlington Catholic Herald column:

The Pauline Year is a particularly appropriate time to consider the efforts we make to communicate our Catholic identity. Let us remember that Christ told us to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). In the time of Saint Paul, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was spread by the missionary journeys of the apostles, often on foot, to the farthest reaches of the known world. These apostles, and Saint Paul in particular, spread the message of Christ using the means available at the time. Today, the development of social networking sites and new media provides us with innovative means to communicate and address critical issues in society, including the preeminence of the family, the sanctity of life, human sexuality, human rights, hunger and poverty. As members of the Catholic Church, we have the advantage, indeed the obligation, to use these new technologies to glorify the Lord.

In honor of this year's World Communications Day, Pope Benedict XVI launched a new Web site,, and a Facebook application in order to evangelize the world, especially today’s youth. The Pope teaches us that “Undoubtedly, wise use of communications technology enables communities to be formed in ways that promote the search for the true, the good and the beautiful, transcending geographical boundaries and ethnic divisions” (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, January 25, 2009). He invites all of us to reach out to others through these new means of communication to form friendships and foster understanding and solidarity in the world.

Within the last decade, a Catholic blogging community has developed to bring an authentically Catholic identity to cyberspace. One of the preeminent Catholic bloggers makes his home here in the D.C. Metro area. Thomas Peters has authored the award winning American Papist blog since 2005. He moved to Washington D.C. from Michigan two years ago. In addition to winning numerous blog awards he has appeared on CNN, BBC World News, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show & MSNBC, and has also appeared in or been quoted by Our Sunday Visitor, The Boston Globe, National Catholic Reporter, EWTN Global Radio, Catholic News Agency, News Busters, LifeSiteNews, Inside Catholic, Busted Halo, Holy Smoke, The Huffington Post, Catholic Online, Catholic Culture, Catholic Exchange, National Catholic Register, etc. I recently had the opportunity to interview Thomas about his life as a young Catholic blogging star living in D.C.

Q: You have become one of the premier Catholic bloggers in the nation in an amazingly short time. What do you think is the key to your rapid rise in readership? What do you offer that some other blogs might not?

A: AmP's rise to prominence has certainly been dizzying. At current levels, AmP is a 3-million visit per year blog. That's a lot of people. It's hard for me to pin down what has accounted for its success, but some good circumstances certainly helped. AmP has a two-level approach, I try to keep track of most "important" things, so people are at least aware of what is going on, and second I do "megacoverage" of what I consider to be a very important story. Thus, visitors can have some confidence that they'll be aware of most the important things happening and, if they are interested, they can also get the latest and most detailed information for a critical story, which often includes exclusive information.

Q. Is there a certain demographic that you target in your blog?

A: I began AmP as a "youth blog" for young adults, focusing on stories that I think interest my generation more, but I also have a high ideal for what youth are capable of understanding, so as its worked out that I talk about pretty much everything. I do, however, typically have a bit more media and humor than your average "news" blog.

Q: Has your move to the Washington D.C. area changed the focus of your blog?

A: Since coming to Washington DC there is certainly more politics. It’s the name of the game in this town. DC has incredible opportunities for meeting important figures both in politics and the Church. The Pope visited last year. I met and talked with Archbishop Burke in May. I think it would be foolish not to take advantage of these opportunities when they are a short bus ride away. DC also has a singular network of young Catholic professionals, so I'd say my coverage has benefited from that group of friends and the fascinating things they are doing. As I often say, blogging for me is a way to continue and begin real life conversations.

Q: What is your favorite Catholic thing to do in the Washington D.C. area?

A: DC has so many great Catholic events that it's hard to choose. I'd say the yearly Vigil of All Saints put on by the Dominican Friars near CUA is one of my favorites. In early October look at for details! It's packed so count on getting there early.

Q: Is there a saint that you turn to for intercession for your blogging efforts?

A: I like praying to the "four Thomases", as I call them. St. Thomas the Apostle for courage to spread the gospel far and wide, St. Thomas Aquinas for wisdom to articulate the faith clearly, St. Thomas of Canterbury for determination in compromising nothing in pursuit of the truth, and St. Thomas More (my patron saint) for the prudence to judiciously decide how to say things properly. They've kept me in pretty good shape.

Q: Do you have any goals or plans for future development of your American Papist site?

A: I can't answer anything specifically, but it has become clear to me in the last couple months that AmP is getting too big to be a one-papist project. I'm looking into ways to bring some of my trusted friends on board as content editors/contributors and yes ... comment moderators. Of course I should talk to them more about that possibility first. But I think such assistance would really help me multiply my effectiveness in delivering the content that AmPsters have come to expect.

In addition to the blog, American Papist has a presence on the social networking site Twitter as well as Facebook. You can even buy American Papist gear to show you are a fan. It is an informative and entertaining blog that deserves a bookmark.

I hope to highlight other Catholic bloggers in the future. In the meantime, check out the links on the sidebar. When used wisely, Catholic blogs can offer support and spiritual growth for a faithful Catholic community.