The thoughts and musings of a Roman Catholic in the Archdiocese of Washington.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Catholic Stanard Roundup This Week
First, those evil Republicans are at it again. It seems that Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Daniel Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA) are trying to save the DC Opportunity Scholarships. Don't they know that the NEA and other unions are just trying to stop this waste of money and ensure that everyone suffers equally. Fr. Peter Daly must be really mad about this latest development because he tells us how terrible those Republicans are, and how good the union bosses are, every chance he gets.
Second, the DC Catholic Conference is supporting the DC Defense of Marriage Act (HR 2608) which states: "That in the District of Columbia, for all legal purposes, 'marriage' means the union of one man and one woman." Can you believe that this was sponsored by Rep. Dan Boren (R-OK), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and 30 others.
And you know what the best part was, there was no mention in the Standard that all of the Catholic members of the DC Council voted to recognize same-sex marriages. All are Democrats. Fr. Daly must really be really spitting mad at those Republicans for supporting Catholic beliefs.
Third, the Standard finally got around to printing almost a full page story on how the Bishops have reacted to the Notre Dame scandal. Of course, Fr. Reese supported the visite (what else is new). The Standard was a day late and a dollar short on this one.
We have a number of stories on various graduating classes.
We have a great story about Amanda Herndon, a former special education teacher at Our Lady of Mercy (Potomac MD), who founded the Girls Night Out club, so that young women with special needs can socialize in a relaxed setting with other girls her age. What a great pro-life story. And, Ms. Herndon probably did not even think of it in those terms.
As usual, Trinity College really knows how to insult our faith by allowing Maggie Williams (Class of 77) to not only give the commencement address but also an honorary doctor of laws. Who is she? Well, she was the former chief of staff to Hillary Clinton. Please don't tell me she is not pro-abortion.
Congratulations to Wesley Mann, a senior at St. Anselm's Abbey School, who was named the District's Poetry Out Loud champion. Word!
The centerfold is dedicated to those who have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Congratulations! Live your life by your Roman Catholic faith.
A new Church is being built in Solomons. Wonderful.
But, there are dark clouds ahead for all of us.
Reps. James Sensenbrenner (R-WIS) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) has urged the Most Merciful, Lord High Barack Obama to forgo the rescinding of the conscience clause, which gives federal protection to the conscience rights of health care employees.
I wonder how many of those health care employees, esp. Catholic ones, voted for the Most Merciful. Well, you wanted change. Now you got it. It is possible you may loose your job because of your beliefs. Nice. Reminds me of a Mao's China and Hitler's Germany.
Finally, over 120 priests have convened to discuss the "best effort" to support Catholic education. This article probably would not have been written except for this blog, the posting of the Policy in 2009 paper and the efforts of a number of concerned Catholics (who got hell from their fellow Catholics).
The writing is on the wall folks.
I will discuss more on this later.
But, as Mr. Thomas Burnford (Sec. for Education) said: "the goal is to finalize the policies this summer so some of them can begin to implemented in the schools, this fall."
Have an enjoyable weekend.
Oh, and since every parish is required to have a number of copies (whether they like it or not), pick up your copy on Sunday, if you don't subscribe.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
And the blog name...
Although there was not a huge number of votes, the majority asked for it to remain the same. So, it shall remain as is.
Personally, I don't see myself as angry but more outraged about the lack of leadership in this Archdiocese and how we are becoming more of a social service agency that happens to be based on the Catholic faith, than the Roman Catholic Church, which also happens to run a number of social services.
For those of you are big in the international community, we are becomming basically a NGO or Non-Governmental Agency. No wonder why politicians don't listen to us...they know we are becomming hostage to their grants.
Thank you for voting and reading.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Trinity College - Update
On May 15th, the President of Trinity University, Patricia McGuire pointed to the pro-abortion politicians Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius as good examples of the education provided by the Catholic university. Read more about it here.
At the 2009 Commencement, she said:
The real scandal is the spectacle of ostensibly Catholic mobs camping out at Notre Dame for the specific purpose of disrupting the commencement address of the nation’s first African American president. This ugly spectacle is an embarrassment to all Catholics. The face that Catholicism shows to our new president should be one marked with the sign of peace, not distorted in the snarl of hatred.
Wow, 37 people got arrested and it was a mob, including at least one priest and a nun. I guess the prayerful and peaceful commencement ceremony with Fr. Pavone was part of that mob too?
She also stated:
The religious vigilantism apparent in the Notre Dame controversy arises from organizations that have no official standing with the Church, but who are successful in gaining media coverage as if they were speaking for Catholicism. The self-appointed “watchdogs” of Catholic higher education also afflict Catholics in political life, acting as grand inquisitors who appear to want nothing more than to drive all Catholics away from public office. They have established themselves as uber-guardians of a belief system we can hardly recognize. Theirs is a narrow faith devoted almost exclusively to one issue. They defend the rights of the unborn but have no charity toward the living. They mock social justice as a liberal mythology.
I don't see anyone trying to drive away Catholics from public office. Do you?
Some of us do mock the "social justice" crowd. Look at the example of the DC Opportunity Scholarships. Where is the social justice crowd on it? The silence is deafening.
Where are they on tax breaks for parents who send their children to Catholic schools? Or businesses that support them? Silence.
If you are not protesting the School of America's, purchasing Fair Trade coffee and asking for more money for the homeless, then I guess you aren't pro-life enough.
BTW, I know many on the pro-life side who do so much for those who are born. From soup kitchens, to youth groups, to donating money, to helping the elderly person next door by mowing the lawn, shopping or just chatting with them. They don't necessarily do the protest thing, because that just makes you feel good and gives you bragging rights.
Well, I expect that Sebelius will be honored in some way, given the fact that Sen. Pelosi has been. I look forward to seeing the Archbishop's response.
To the person who wrote to me about their particular ministry.
You did not answer the questions I have posed. Stating that someone from the Archdiocese came to visit and that it was a nice visit, does not answer the questions. Therefore, I will ask them again.
First, does the ministry which you wish me to help advertise, ask all participants to be faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church?
Second, does the ministry which you ask me to advertise, believe that not living in the state of grace is acceptable and supported by the parish where it meets?
Third, does the ministry see alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman as acceptable and should be recognized by the state and Church?
Simple yes and no answers will do. I look forward to your reply. Thank you, in advance.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Open Letter to the Catholic Standard
Although this was picked up from the Catholic News Service, I sat there as I read it and shook my head. First, that you would publish a story, which focused on his speech, that could have been easily been found in the Washington Post and the NY Times. If I wanted a pro-Obama slant, I would go there.
But where was the story about the 70 plus bishops (not 50) who spoke out against it? Where was the story about Fr. Father Norman Weslin, the 80 year old priest who was arrested and then tagged? How about the story on Norma McCorvey (aka Roe of Roe v Wade) who is now Roman Catholic and was arrested? These are the things that Fr. Jenkin's has brought on. Where are those stories?
But, to add insult to injury, the story uses the language of the pro-abortionists against us. You may not agree with the tactics of Randall Terry but the author of the uses the term "anti-abortion" not "pro-life" to describe him, and others who protested this terrible episode. Did you guys not read thru the story?
After the story which paints the Most Merciful, Lord High Barack Obama in a favorable light, you then post the Life Issues Forum asking everyone to speak up against the embryonic stem cell research guidelines, which have been proposed by the Obama administration.
The only thing that seemed to be critical of this honor bestowed upon the Most Merciful, Lord High Barack Obama was the lukewarm reminder by our Archbishop that Catholic universities must be one in the faith, the previous week. Although some in the Catholic blog world, praised it, those of us who live here know that this may be how he feels, but nothing will be done to bring into line Catholic universities like Trinity and Georgetown. Heck, if the Archbishop cannot stop Voice of the Faithful from meeting at St. Rose of Lima and Holy Trinity, why should we expect him to do anything about Catholic universities.
I thought you guys had made a turn for the better. I hope that this is a momentary lapse.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day Order
We are organized, Comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers sailors and Marines, who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull and other hinds slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation's gratitude—the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this Order effective.
—General Orders No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic Headquarters.
Friday, May 22, 2009
A Little Humor...
The six-year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."
"Good morning Father Mike," he replied, still focused on the plaque.
"Father Mike, what is this?" Fr. Mike said, "Well, Alex, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."
Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque.
Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked, "Which Mass, the 9am or the 11:00am?"
Correction...Latin Mass time at St. John the Evangelist (Old Church) is 8am. Please accept my apologies.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Latin Mass...and other things...
One of my readers (or maybe a couple) have accused me of being an "angry" Catholic. Well, that got me to thinking. Maybe the name of this blog should be changed. So, you get a chance to vote and tell me what you think. No guarantee but who knows.
One of my readers left me a note about a particular ministry at a parish in this diocese. Can you send me an email telling me a little more about it? What are the objectives? Does it promote living a Catholic lifestyle --- not a Cafeteria Catholic lifestyle?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Catholic Schools - 2009 and Beyond
Today, we continue with the drafting of the new Catholic school policy.
According to an article in the Catholic Standard (“After regional meetings...” Page 11 May 14, 2009), we find out the following information:
- There are almost 30,000 students in 98 Catholic schools (K thru 12).
- Of the 8 consultative meetings we have heard about taking place in the Archdiocese to set school policy, apx. 400 people participate.
- Since the 2007 Convocation on education, more than 2,000 people have participated in the consultative process.
So, let’s do some math.
Let’s say that of the 30,000 students in Catholic schools, with three students per family. That means that there are at least 10,000 families and we will say, that each family has two parents. That makes apx. 20,000 adults.
There were apx. 2500 people who participated in the consultations. We know that some were teachers, principals, people w/o children in schools and those with children in schools.
So, even if we say 1500 of the consultation participants were parents, what about the other 18,500? Do they get a say? What about the other Catholics in the Archdiocese, who help to support those schools? Don't they get a say?
To me, this whole process is a sham. There, I said it, a sham.
Look what Thomas Burnford said in the article:
“our experience shows that not every school can continue as it has done in the past, but we do know we can try to equitably distribute the cost of Catholic schools across the archdiocese as best as we can, with the ultimate goal of keeping Catholic schools accessible o as many young people as possible.”
"Our hope is to have final approval in the early summer, so we can begin the process of implementation in the fall.”
There you have it. School closings will take place.
I don't care what spin Ms. Gibbs puts on it, I don't care what spin Mr. Burnford puts on it, ask anyone from the Archdiocese if they will close schools, and they will not answer the question. If there were no school closings, they would come right out and say it.
If your child is in a Catholic school, and it is not doing well financially and/or your facility is in need of major repairs, you may just find yourself at a meeting in January with Thom Duffy (CFO of the Diocese) telling you that your school will be closing.
The Archbishop has done this in Pittsburgh, has done it here, and will continue to do it.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
DC Opportunity Scholarships and the future of Catholic Schools.
Part of the reason for the campaign is due to the fact that almost 900 of the 1700 children who participate in this campaign go to Catholic schools. The loss of these students will of course mean the closing of a number of schools.
Now, where are the liberal Catholics? Where is the social justice crowd? Have you noticed that they seem to be silent on this issue. Go over to the Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Notice all of the public press releases before the election. Notice the number now? (Very few.) Notice how many have to do with giving parents an option to send their children out of failing schools. (None.)
Catholics on the left are very, very silent on this issue. I guess that Catholic education, which I thought was part of the larger social justice issue because they keep talking about money for schools and not for bombs, just isn’t that important when it comes to parents making a choice.
Now, for those of you who do not know, the Most Merciful, the Lord High Barack Obama, has given his blessing, thru his minions, that those who are currently in the program may stay. Those who are not, well, you get to suffer in a system that spends over $11,000 per year per student and still wants more.
Again, it always makes me ask: How many parents of the 800 students voted for the Most Merciful? How many administrators and educators who staff those Catholic schools voted for him? Is this the change you expected?
The next time you go to the voting booth remember who did this to you: The Most Merciful, Lord High Barack Obama and his minions.
PS: For those who keep talking about the cost of educating a child, the DC Opportunity Scholarships cost only about $7500 per student with Catholics picking up the rest of the tab. So, the issue is not about cost, but something much deeper and much more disturbing.
Monday, May 18, 2009
What Fr. Jenkin's has Wrought.
This is the consequence of what Fr. Jenkin's has done.
Our friends over at Les Femmes, have an even more chilling story:
Dear Friends, I just spoke by phone with a friend, Sonny Torres, who went to Notre Dame this weekend with his wife Karen to protest the university giving Obama an honorary degree and a platform for promoting his policies which include murdering unborn children. Neither of my friends had any intention of getting arrested, but the Lord apparently had other plans.
After six hours of joining in the protests off campus, Karen and Sonny left to begin their long ride back to Virginia. But they got turned around and pulled into the parking lot of a credit union bordering the university campus to get their bearings. As they did, they noticed a group of police cars gathering and officers putting up barricades which appeared to mark the route of the Obama motorcade. So Karen and Sonny got out and Karen pulled out her sign, a half posterboard sheet, that read, "Shame on Notre Dame!"
(Read more at http://lesfemmes-thetruth.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-free-speech-dead-in-south-bend.html)
Friday, May 15, 2009
New Catholic Scouting Religous Awards
According to the website:
This religious activity honors those men and women who led heroic lives of faith. Their words, their deeds, and their devotion to prayer and to the sacraments, inspire all American Catholics. In the church calendar for the United States, some have the rank of "Saint" and are venerated by the universal church. Some have the rank of "Blessed" and are venerated by the local church. Some have the rank of "Venerable" and, while on the way to becoming a "Saint", may be venerated by Catholics. Most of these men and women lived and worked in North America in what is now the United States. Some others never set foot in America, however they had a huge impact on the Catholic American landscape. All of them sought to follow Jesus.
The goal of this activity is to share the lives of several Saints so that the youth might relate to what these people have done and maybe look to these individuals as role models.
My Scouting friend has informed me that for 2009, a new series of activities were issued covering such saints as St. Francis Xaviar Cabrini and Blessed Damien of Molokai.
If you are a Scout leader this may be a great activity at a meeting or at a religious event. Click here for more information.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Policy in 2009 - The Future of Catholic Schools (Continued)
If you want to see the entire Policy in 2009 document, please go to Restore DC Catholicism and then Current Announcements.
I wrote to Ms. Gibbs, the Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington DC, the following note:
Recently, you sent out an email in response to a broadcast message regarding the possible closing of Catholic schools.
In that email, you stated that the information was incorrect. You discuss at length the process by which you consulted with individuals and groups in dealing with Catholic education. As you stated, most of this information was already discussed in previous Catholic Standard articles and on the Archbishop's Letter on Education.
However, you did not address two issues in the original email. First, why was this not open to the larger Archdiocese for input? Why are comments from Catholics, not invited by their pastors, not being accepted for consideration? Second, and more important, the issue of the closing/merger of Catholic schools.
Are you willing to state that there will be no announcements of closings/mergers of Catholic schools in the near future -- either this school year or next (2009-2010)?
Are you willing to state that the Archdiocese will not change the assessments for parishes for Catholic education either this school year or next?
I will be happy to print your response in full in my blog.
I was quite surprised that I received a response from Ms. Gibbs. Here is her response in full:
The process was discussed in the archbishop’s pastoral, which was widely distributed last August and remains available online at www.adw.org, in addition to the Catholic Standard (which also has printed numerous articles about the Catholic schools and consultation that began in October 2007).
Further, over 12,000 lay people were invited to participate in the surveys, focus groups and consultations, which is quite significant (and information provided in a follow up email already). While all principals, for example, were asked to participate in the surveys, most of those invited were randomly selected parents and parishioners from school and parish lists.
The discussions and consultations over possible policy options have solely been about broad level policy. There was no discussion on specifics at all. It is unfortunate that anyone would have suggested otherwise.
This must be turning into a bit of a public relations headache for the Archdiocese. Angry parents, blog postings, etc. Not what they had hoped for.
I find it interesting that she stated there were no discussion about specifics, but you can be the judge on that if you read the paper.
Most important, note which questions were not answered -- those dealing with school closures/mergers.
It tells me that this is coming.
I have heard various people say it will be Montgomery County. Others say that PG (or Prince George's) will be first.
One friend event told me that it will take place as soon as June.
I believe that it will take place next school year, probably in January or February. It will not give the parents much time to organize. In addition, they will also say it comes from the pastor, therefore, it will take the heat off of the folks in Hyattsville. This has been their modus operandi (a little Latin for those of you in Takoma Park) in the past. Heck, the Archbishop did this at length in Pittsburgh. Schools were cut but the social justice funding increased. (Like education is not a social justice issue.)
Be prepared and think about what your response would be to it. (Note, I am not advocating violence, destruction of property or the breaking of the any law but there are actions you can take that will get their attention.)
If you attended any one of these meetings, I would love to hear from you and would be happy to post your thoughts.
If you did not get a chance to attend, but feel that you can provide input, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and by the way, let all of your fellow Catholics in this Diocese know about this!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Policy in 2009 - The Future of Catholic Schools (A Continuation)
For a copy of the Policy in 2009, created by the Archdiocese, you may go to Restore DC Catholicism.
The following email was distributed to a number of people by someone regarding the Policy in 2009. Here is what I have:
THE ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON D.C. IS CURRENTLY CONDUCTING “CONSULATION MEETINGS” in order TO CLOSE OR CONSOLIDATE THE PARISH SCHOOLS IN Montgomery Co. and northwest D.C.. These meetings have been not publicly announced; they have not been mentioned in either the Catholic Standard or your Parish Bulletin, even though you WILL BE directly affected by the Archdiocese plan. The closing of schools is not parish or school generated; this is from the Archdiocese with only minimal input from parents and parish administrators. Every school and parish in Montgomery County and upper Northwest D.C. will be affected. You need to be informed before it is too late. For more information on thishttp://awashingtondccatholic.blogspot.com/ or callJane Belford or Tom Burnford at the Archdiocese. 301-853-3800 they are conducting the consolation meetings. An arbitrary date of May 9 has been set by the Archdiocese. Ask to have this date extended, so all Catholic parents and parishioners can be part of the process. Ask to have the “consultation meetings” open for all, not just a few chosen individuals.
Without the backbone of Parish Parochial Schools the religious and social fabric of our community is enormously affected. The role of the Parish and the Parish priest is greatly diminished. The transmission of our Faith is adversely affected.
Susan Gibbs, the Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington DC, responded with the following email as well as an article from the Catholic Standard (which is not attached here):
It recently came to my attention that you received an email with incorrect information about the Archdiocese of Washington and its Catholic schools. It is unfortunate that this would have been circulated. Of course, readers of the Catholic Standard, which has extensively covered Catholic education in the archdiocese, including recent consultations to develop general school policies, would already know the information you received was wrong. For others, I have attached an April 1 article from the Catholic Standard that may be of interest.
In fact, the most recent consultations (those referenced in the email you received) are simply the latest step in an 18-month process to develop general school policies in four key areas: Catholic identity, academic excellence, affordability and accessibility. The goal is to strengthen Catholic schools and the support for Catholic schools across the archdiocese now and into the future.
The process began in October 2007 when Archbishop Wuerl convened a Convocation on Catholic Education, with clergy, principals and parishioners from all across the archdiocese. The four key areas were identified at that meeting, and also were discussed in Archbishop Wuerl’s 2008 pastoral letter on education, available on the Archdiocese of Washington’s website, http://www.adw.org/.
Following the convocation, task forces were formed to focus on each key area. More than 50 people were part of these groups, which undertook significant research into local and national practices, policies and recommendations. In addition, nearly 1,600 priests, educators, parish staff and parents responded to surveys about Catholic education and policy. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a nationally-recognized Catholic research non-profit, also conducted a series of focus groups with local clergy, educators and parents.
In addition, the Priest Council, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Archdiocesan Administrative Board, independent school leaders and the Board of Education all have been consulted. All of this input became the foundation for draft school policy options in the four areas of Catholic identity, academic excellence, affordability and accessibility. Draft policies were developed and over 1,000 people – clergy, educators, parents and other parish representatives – from all over the archdiocese were invited to review the draft options and provide feedback and suggestions at a series of eight meetings held in April. The meetings were in DC, Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and St. Mary’s County.
In addition, participants were invited to follow up and share any additional thoughts about the draft policy options via email.
The goal of this extensive planning process has been to renew and strengthen our efforts to pass on the faith. As Archbishop Wuerl stated in his 2008 pastoral letter, Catholic Education: Looking to the Future with Confidence, "Catholic education is the responsibility of the whole Church....We look to the future of Catholic education throughout our archdiocese with the hope to renew in the hearts of all the members of this Church a sense of ownership of all of the expressions of education, particularly our schools."
Thank you and please keep reading the Catholic Standard for its ongoing coverage of this extended planning process.
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Washington
As I see it, the only thing that she attempted to correct was the consultation part, not the closing of schools.
In fact, I have heard from two different people, who attended two different meetings and both came to the same conclusion: the Archdiocese of Washington DC would close/merge schools.
I also spoke to a third person who attended a meeting (not certain which one) and when the question was posed about the closing of schools, the person did not answer the question.
Tomorrow, my letter to Ms. Gibbs and her response.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Archbishop Wuerl, Notre Dame and some odds and ends
Question: Did anyone who wrote to the Archdiocese get a response? Please let me know if you did.
If you want to see the whole document, please go to Restore DC Catholicism and then Current Announcements.
Archbishop Wuerl and Notre Dame
Well folks, I was fooled. I did not think that Archbishop Wuerl would come out against the visit of the Most Merciful, Lord High Barack Obama and his visit to Notre Dame. I will have to admit, I was wrong about him. Here is his statement:
When asked about the Notre Dame event, which has spurred a small but intense movement of angry Catholics, Wuerl said the school should not have honored Obama but that he was not in favor of rescinding the invite. (Newseek)
(Note: A couple of hundred thousand, plus 70 bishops are not a small movement but who's counting.)
Do I need to say more?
Archbishop Wuerl and Refusal of Communion
This is a topic, I have written about (and so have hundreds of others) regarding his refusal to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians. Well, Ed Peters (Cannon Lawyer), goes into some detail on this and really shows that the Archbishop's arguements do not hold water. (H/T to Fr. Z's blog.)
Archbishop Wuerl and VOTF
For over a year, I have been asking, pleading and almost begging that the Archbishop put his foot down on Voice of the Faithful -- a dissident group -- about meeting on Church property. In fact, regarding any dissent groups.
Well, you dissenters don't you fret now, because if you missed the meeting on May 7th at St. Rose of Lima in Gaithersburg, you can still catch it at Holy Trinity on May 12th.
Finally, I would like to thank all of my readers. This site hit the 20,000 plus mark.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A Mother's Day Story -- Coming to Terms & Choosing Not to Abort.
Nancy Mayer-Whittington, whom I had the pleasure to recently meet, has written a book entitled, For The Love of Angels, about her experiences and co-founded a support group entitled Isaiah's Promise.
Anna Lise "Cubby" LaHood (co-founder of Isaiah's Promise with Nancy) and her husban Dan, are lay Missionaries of Charity. They operate the St. Joseph House, which provides respite and day care for children with sever disabilities.
"People think that your life is over when you have a handicapped child," Mr. Lahood says. "It's a cultural view to eliminate them as undesirable. They don't know what the demands are and what the rewards are."
The St. Joseph House is on my contribution list of good Catholic charities (not to say that there are not hundreds of others). You can make a contribution to them at: 1505 Cody Drive. Silver Spring, MD 20902.
To read more about this, go to the Washington Times. It's the cover story of their Sunday section.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Policy for 2009 - My Recommendations
If not, you may write to them at email@example.com. Do you have thoughts on what you have read? Do you agree or disagree with this? Then let the Archdiocese know firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your views need to be heard by Saturday, May 9th. Don't wait.
To Whom It May Concern:
The Archdiocese of Washington DC has laid out their vision of Catholic education in the near future -- one of fewer Catholic schools, and in many instances, each school supported by multiple parishes. While at the same time, the other "social services" provided by the Archdiocese will increase.
Although this may seem like the appropriate action in the near term, in the long term this is a mistake from which we probably will never recover.
A good, solid Catholic education lays the foundation for Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the Church. Of course, this does not mean that every Catholic parent who sends their children to public schools fails in teaching and upholding the faith. And of course, not every child that attends Catholic school will remain faithful to the Church.
In addition, schools help keep parishes vibrant and going. Events are centered around the school and people become involved for years in helping the school and parish, even after their children have long graduated. They become close friends, sponsors at Confirmation, going to their weddings, and sadly, at each others funerals. I know all too well about that.
By reducing the number of schools, we will find more and more Catholics leaving the Church and those who stay will have less and less of an understanding of our faith. If you think that things are bad now, it will only get worse. In 20 or 30 years, we will be no better off than the Episcopalians and other mainline Protestant churches -- wracked with schism, and even emptier facilities.
Therefore, I would like to recommend the following:
1. Reduce monies slated for Catholic Charities by 10% to 15% based on the Forward in Faith allocation. According to the Archdiocese, $20 million has been slated for this. A reducation will give you $2 to $3 million dollars.
2. Reduce monies slated for the Multi-Cultural Apostolates by 20%. This will raise apx. $3 million dollars based on the allocation in Forward in Faith. You can do most of this by closing the Lay Leadership Institute and selling the McCarrick Center in Wheaton. My sources tell me that there you are not seeing the benefit as originally envisioned. Don't let it become a sink hole.
3. Parish Sharing. Allow all parishes which exceed their Forward in Faith contributions to keep 80% of those funds, instead of 20%. Those with schools can put the funds back into the schools by increasing the amount of tuition assistance.
This will increase the amount designated for education by an additional $3million -- my rough estimate.
If you are going to close schools, then put all of the schools on the block, do not keep some off limits. My sources tell me that St. Catherine in Wheaton is one of those off limits. What makes that school off limits but not every other school?
You may say that the mission of the Church is to help and that by cutting these services, you will hurt people, that I am not Catholic and that I do not care. In some instances, the government provides these services. Let them handle it for the short term. That will also serve as a wake up call to them, that they need the Catholic Church's social services and Catholic education.
By building up Catholic education, you are actually helping people in the long term. You are not only providing a good Catholic education for the children, but good jobs (with benefits) for teachers, support staff, etc., as well as, contractors who may need to do various jobs around the school plant. You will also increase the involvement of parents and others in the life of the school and the Church as a whole, which not only means funding but also volunteer hours.
I look forward to your response.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Policy for 2009 - Let Your Voice Be Heard
If not, you may write to them at email@example.com.
Do you have thoughts on what you have read?
Do you agree or disagree with this? Then let the Archdiocese know firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a moment to review the summary on yesterday's and Saturday's posting.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Policy for 2009 - Summary (Continued)
Do you have thoughts on what you have read? Do you agree or disagree with this? Then let the Archdiocese know email@example.com
In Part 3: Academic Excellence, the Archdiocese of Washington DC sets out the overarching policy on Curriculum Standards, Instructional Standards, Assessments, Professional Standards, Student Life, etc. Nothing that you would not normally expect.
In Part 4: Affordability and Accessibility, we find probably the most interesting information.
The writers refer back to the October 2007 Convocation for Catholic Education, which identified a new model for Catholic funding. At that time, they members felt that the traditional model of one parish, one school was unworkable, and that
a new model should be developed that would recognize the need to more equitably distribute the cost of Catholic education, i.e., that funds be made available from across the whole archdiocese to assist students in attending all of our Catholic schools.
A couple more excerpts from this:
“we cannot save every Catholic school, and cannot guarantee that every child will receive a Catholic school education.”
“support for schools cannot continue to be funneled as subsidies to a few struggling schools…consensus that tuition assistance is the correct approach going forward.”
(Now, in a much earlier posting, I fully agreed with the new tuition assistance model. It makes more sense and keeps more children in school, which in turn, means that more parents are involved. )
“the root of the financial difficulties…is the fact that there is substantial gap between what families and parishes provide in tuition and other support, and the actual cost of operating a school and maintaining the facilities.”
I would agree to that point but we did not get into that situation overnight. It has been a long process in which the Church has not marketed the benefits of a Catholic education, and that the teaching of the faith has been watered down over the years, so Catholics don’t see the real need to spend time or $$$ on education. An hour a week at CCD class and Mass once a week is all you need. No Catholic literature, no Catholic books, nothing else. And when you are done w/ elementary or high school, who cares about Sunday Mass, except on Christmas and Easter.
Also, we have not invested in the long term. A friend of mine in another Archdiocese tells me that his Diocese hired a grant writer for a period of two years for a group of schools. The purpose was to apply for grants whenever possible, as well as, help to market to alumni. Although it did not bring in a high ratio, it did bring in two dollars for every one dollar spent.
The goal of the Archdioces is to raise a total of $6million for education. There is a $2.4 million dollar gap.
How are they planning on raising this money? There are a couple of ways.
Currently all parishes are assessed a certain percentage of the offertory income. They have proposed only options and of course, there is one they recommend.
Option 1: Increase the current education assessment on parish offertory by 50%. So, if they assess, let’s say 2%, they would increase the assessment to 3%.
Option 2: Increase the assessment by 50% to all parishes which directly sponsor a school or “support a regional school” and increase the assessment by over 400% to parishes w/o a school. Note that this is the recommended choice.
They will also focus on Archdiocesan Fundraising. There are two options.
First option is to conduct an archdiocese wide capital campaign to raise funds for tuition assistance. This would only begin after Forward in Faith has been completed but it may be started quietly before Forward in Faith has been completed.
The second option would be a second collection with each parish assessed a certain amount of $$$.
The report continues to discuss Tuition Assistance, school fundraising (in which endowments seem to be discouraged), communications, etc.
However, there are a number of other interesting items to come out of this section:
School representatives are to schedule routine opportunities to discuss how to build a shared sense of community, leverage shared resources, and reduce costs with all parishes within 10 driving miles of the school.
If a minimum of 65% of the enrolled students in one school can be accommodated by excess capacity in a Catholic school within 10 driving miles, pastors, principals and other parish representatives have an obligation to meet…to pursue opportunities to pool resources and next steps.
All Catholic elementary schools…are encouraged to partner with other…schools within a region. Recognize the advantages and manage the regionalization of two or more schools to ensure long-term Catholic, excellent, affordable and accessible schools are sustained and sought.
My thoughts on how they can make up these funds tomorrow.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Policy for 2009 - Summary
The document Policy for 2009 by the Archdiocese of Washington is broken up into four parts:
Part 1: Catholic Identify
Part 2: Governance
Part 3: Excellence
Part 4: Affordability and Accessibility
Catholic Identity discusses what it means to be a Catholic School (elementary and secondary only). It covers the following topics:
- Defining Catholic Schools
- Designation as a Catholic School
- Standards for all Catholic Schools
- Communion and Cooperation with the Bishop
- Appropriate Celebration of Sacramental Life
- Environment permeated with the Gospel Spirit
- Teaching of the Faith
In Part 2: Governance, we find Levels of Affiliation (types of schools), Education Leadership, Advisory boards, and the process for a new school.
The types of schools were briefly discussed in Archbishop Wuerl’s Letter on Education. Here are the types of schools owned and operated by the Archdiocese (but different from independent Catholic schools, such as a Stone Ridge):
- Parish Schools
- Interparish School (parish school supported by multiple parishes)
- Regional Scool (one school designated for, and run by, multiple parishes according to a formal written agreement)
- Separately incorporated regional school (school serving multiple parishes and incorporated as a separate archdiocesan corporation with an appointed board of directors such as Mary of Nazareth School)
- Consortium Schools
Friday, May 1, 2009
Policy for 2009 Meetings
The report was part of a 1.5 hour presentation given by Jane Belford, the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Tom Burnfor (Secretary of Education) and a couple of others from the Diocese.
During this session, a very brief, hurried and confusing slide presentation was given with a focus on finances. At the end of the presentation, the stakeholders were given 10 to 15 minutes to discuss and answer a series of questions, apx. seven in total. Each group of 5 or 6 individuals was then given one or two minutes to report on the discussion.
The basic feeling was that we will not have parish schools, except for the wealthier ones but schools supported by multiple parishes.
So, what can you do?
Demand a copy of this Policy 2009 paper from the Archdiocese. Ask you pastor for a copy of it. Share it with your friends, esp. those with children in Catholic Schools.
Over the next few days, I will focus on Policy Options 2009.