Pope Francis has named a Filipino archbishop who helped rebuild the church in Haiti after its devastating January 2010 earthquake, as the Holy See’s representative to the United Nations in New York. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, 55 the nuncio to Haiti, was appointed permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, replacing Indian Archbishop Francis Chullikatt. He entered the Vatican diplomatic corps in 1990 and served in Madagascar, Bulgaria and Albania, then worked at the Vatican Secretariat of State. From 2006 to 2008 he worked at the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission at the United Nations. Named nuncio to Haiti in 2008.
Pope Francis has appointed three priests of the Archdiocese of New York to be auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese. They are Msgr. John Jenik, 70, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Parish in the Bronx and vicar for Northwest Bronx; Father John O’Hara, 68, vicar for planning; and Father Peter Byrne, 62, pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in New York City. The appointments were announced June 14 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The three men will be ordained as bishops Aug. 4 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan greeted the appointments “with much joy” and described the three men as “seasoned pastors of the archdiocese, with years of acclaimed ministry in all areas of the archdiocese.
Although the Legionaries of Christ have returned to a normal form of self-governance, the Vatican named a top canon lawyer as a special adviser to the religious community. Jesuit Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, former rector of Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and canon law consultant to various offices of the Roman Curia, will support the Legionaries “in overcoming the institutional crisis that has taken place in the last few years,” according to an announcement from the Legionaries’ headquarters July 3.
Pope Francis has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of Baltimore as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts. Bishop Rozanski will succeed Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell, 76, whose resignation was accepted by the pope. The appointment was announced June 19 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop Rozanski, 55, was ordained a priest for the Baltimore Archdiocese in 1984. He became an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese in 2004. Mark Rohlena, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, has been named director of the Office of Domestic Social Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, effective in August. He will oversee USCCB efforts in the area of domestic social development, with a special emphasis on poverty. Rohlena succeeds Kathy Saile, who left the USCCB in December to become associate director for government affairs at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.
Saying they wanted to “look forward with renewed commitment,” the Camillian Fathers and Brothers elected a 59-year-old Brazilian as superior general seven months after the previous superior was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping. Camillian Father Leocir Pessini president of the order’s 56 hospitals in Brazil, was elected by members of the order’s extraordinary chapter June 18 in Rome. “The election took place on the first ballot and by a very large majority — a sign of the unity of the chapter members,” according to a press release from the order.
Pope Francis has named Msgr. Steven Raica, 61, chancellor of the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, to be the bishop of Gaylord, Michigan. A native of Michigan ordained for the Lansing Diocese, Bishop-designate Raica has served as chancellor since 2005, his second time in the diocesan post. He previously was chancellor from 1997 to 1999. His appointment to Gaylord was announced June 27 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. His episcopal ordination and installation Mass will be August 28 at St Mary Cathedral in Gaylord. He succeeds then-Bishop Bernard Hebda, who last September was named coadjutor archbishop of Newark, New Jersey. “As I prepare myself to serve the people of God in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula as a new bishop, I offer my praise and gratitude to the Lord Jesus whose presence in my life has enabled me to experience an abundance of life,” Bishop-designate Raica said in a statement. He thanked Pope Francis “for entrusting me with this honor and great responsibility.”
Pope Francis has named three auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Hong Kong, including the diocesan vicar general, the head of Opus Dei for East Asia and the former regional superior of the Franciscan friars. The appointment of the three auxiliaries for the diocese, which has an estimated 547,000 Catholics, was announced at the Vatican July 11. They will assist Cardinal John Tong Hon, who turns 75 July 31. The three new auxiliaries are: Bishop-designate Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, 67, who was born in Shanghai and worked for an import-export company before entering the seminary and being ordained to the priesthood in 1978. After a two-year assignment as a pastor, he was sent to Syracuse University in the United States to earn his master’s in social communications. He returned to Hong Kong as diocesan communications director; Bishop-designate Stephen Lee Bun Sang, 57, a native of Hong Kong who studied in England, first at Oxford Polytechnic then at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. In the course of his studies, he came into contact with and joined Opus Dei. After working as an architect in London and Hong Kong, he entered the seminary and was ordained a priest for Opus Dei in 1988; and Bishop-designate Joseph Ha Chi-shing, 55, also a native of Hong Kong, where he attended Catholic schools. He entered the Franciscans and made his vows in 1988. After studying at the diocesan seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1990.
PRIZE Papal astronomer wins recognition for excellence in communication
A papal astronomer has won recognition for his ability to communicate accurately and clearly the discoveries of planetary science to the general public. U.S. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, a planetary scientist and meteorite expert at the Vatican Observatory, was awarded the prestigious Carl Sagan Medal for “outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist,” said the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, which chooses the annual prize winner. In addition to significantly contributing to the public understanding of and enthusiasm for planetary science, Brother Consolmagno “occupies a unique position within our profession as a credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief,” the division said in a press release July 2. Through his many books, public lectures, interviews and multimedia presence, Brother Consolmagno “has become the voice of the juxtaposition of planetary science and astronomy with Christian belief, a rational spokesperson who can convey exceptionally well how religion and science can coexist for believers,” it said. A native of Detroit and graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Jesuit astronomer has been at the Vatican Observatory since 1993, where he is now coordinator for public relations.
SPORT AND DIPLOMACY INTERFAITH CRICKET MATCH TO COMBAT SLAVERY
A cardinal and an ambassador are using cricket to help fight human trafficking. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Australia’s Ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy, have helped organize a cricket team in the Eternal City. Ravasi opened a Vatican press conference on the “cricket initiative” on June 23 by emphasizing the importance of sports in world culture. Then, in the presence of Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and His Excellency John McCarthy, Australian Ambassador to the Holy See since 2012, he went on to present the St. Peter’s Cricket Club’s ecumenical “Tour of Light.” The idea of Ambassador McCarthy, “The Tour of Light,” from September 12-20, will culminate in a charity match between the St. Peter’s Club and an Anglican team, on September 19 at the Kent County Cricket Club in the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral.
The St. Peter’s team, whose patrons are Cardinals Ravasi and George Pell (formerly of Melbourne, Australia, now in Rome), consists of two priests, four deacons, and seven seminarians — eight Indians, two Sri Lankans, one each from Pakistan, England, and Ireland. The team’s manager is Eammon O’Higgins, LC, from Ireland. Entrance to the match will be free but with a bucket collection, and a gala dinner afterwards. Proceeds from both will go to the Global Freedom Network, a joint Vatican-based Anglican-Roman Catholic charity, working to combat slavery and human trafficking (www.gfn2020.org).
Sainthood Cause “Fastest Nun in the West” on path for sainthood. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA) has received approval from Rome to open a sainthood cause for a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati who ministered to people on the frontier in the Southwest in the 1870s and 1880s. Italian-born Sister Blandina Segale worked with the poor and immigrants, and her ministry of 140 years ago remains relevant today, said Santa Fe Archbishop Michael Sheehan.
Sister Blandina had several encounters with the notorious Billy the Kid and his band of outlaws, according to her published letters. It is the first time in the more than 400-year history of the Church in New Mexico that a decree opening a canonization cause has been issued. Born in 1850, in Cicagna, Italy, she was baptized Rosa Maria Segale. At age 16, she entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and in 1872 was sent to work in the western United States, arriving first in Colorado. In 1877 she was sent to Santa Fe, where she co-founded public and Catholic schools. Her work in the territories is well documented in At the End of the Santa Fe Trail, a published collection of her letters to her sister, who also was a Sister of Charity.
Vatican media A lord in the service of the Pope Lord Patten, the former chairman of the BBC Trust, is to take on a new role advising Pope Francis on improving the Vatican’s media operations. Lord Patten said the part-time role was “important and challenging” and would look at developing the Roman Catholic church’s media outlets, including digital. The Tory peer will chair an advisory committee over the next year which is expected to report in the summer of 2015. He said the post was unpaid. Lord Patten said the committee would look especially at developing a digital strategy and ways for the Church to speak to an audience beyond practising members of the faith. Lord Patten recently waded into the heated debate about the former British colony Hong Kong and the territory’s relationship with Beijing by accusing China of trying to undermine judicial independence in the global financial centre. —George Parker (Financial Times)
Obituaries Cardinal Bernard Agre Pope Francis praised the generous and faithful service of the retired archbishop of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Cardinal Bernard Agre, who died on June 9 at age 88. The cardinal died at a hospital in Paris, where he had been receiving care after lingering ill health. The cardinal’s death leaves the College of Cardinals with 213 members, 118 of whom are younger than 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. In a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Jean-Pierre Kutwa of Abidjan, Pope Francis said the late cardinal served the Church “with faith and generosity,” and worked passionately to “proclaim the Gospel and for people’s human and spiritual development.” Cardinal Agre faced a number of pastoral problems linked to increasing economic, political and religious tensions in western Africa. He headed the Archdiocese of Abidjan from 1994 to his retirement in 2006, a period of painful political transition following the end of President Felix Houphouet-Boigny’s 33-year-rule in 1993.
Father Alvaro Corcuera Martinez Father Alvaro Corcuera Martinez, who actively led the Legionaries of Christ for seven years after the resignation of its disgraced founder, died June 30 in Mexico City after a long battle with cancer. He was 56. Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, who was elected general director of the order in February, urged members to pray for the repose of the soul of Father Corcuera, who served as director “during the nine most difficult years in our history.” Father Corcuera was elected head of the Legionaries in 2005 and was technically still general director until Father Robles-Gil was elected, although Father Corcuera was granted what was described as a sabbatical in 2012. Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, who was papal delegate for the order at the time, said he had invited Father Corcuera to take a year off out of concern that a climate frequently marked by “suffering and misunderstanding” over the Vatican-ordered reform might harm the leader’s health. The Legionaries said Father Corcuera was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in January 2013.
Stratford Caldecott – Leading Catholic Writer Is Mourned
A leading British Catholic writer, Stratford Caldecott, has died too young, at age 60, after a long struggle with cancer. He leaves his wife, Leonie, and three daughters. Catholics around the world expressed their condolences following the death of the accomplished theologian, author and editor from pancreatic cancer on Thursday, July 17. He was the G. K. Chesterton Research Fellow at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford, co-editor of Magnificat UK and publisher of the journal Second Spring. He also served on the editorial board of the international theological journal Communio. His books include Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education, Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education and The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision Behind the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. He was able to complete a final book before his death, Not As the World Gives: The Way of Creative Justice, published by Angelico Press. He also wrote a powerful essay on dying for The Imaginative Conservative. He came to global prominence in the months before his death when family members launched the #CapForStrat campaign, inviting actors playing superheroes in Hollywood films to send messages of support. American Catholic writer Kathy Schiffer described him as a “a giant in the Catholic world.” She wrote in a blogpost: “Caldecott’s intellectual accomplishments, however significant they may be, are overshadowed by the great faith which guided him as he lived his life and awaited his death.” American priest Fr. Dwight Longenecker paid tribute to Stratford’s “sure, constant and quiet faith.” He wrote: “Strat didn’t really fit in in English Catholic circles because he actually did something. “He didn’t wait to be asked and didn’t wait to be thanked. He organized international conferences. He started publishing houses, intellectual journals and worked tirelessly editing, writing, encouraging writers and quietly building up an impressive and powerful body of work.”
The pope stopped outside their house Pamela Mauro, an Italian woman who lives in southern Italy, thought it was unlikely that Pope Francis would stop at her house during his June visit to Calabria, “but seeing how he is, I decided to try anyway.” Mauro’s parents, and her sister Roberta, who is severely disabled, live just outside Sibari on the main road Pope Francis traveled June 23 on his way to a Mass with an estimated 250,000 people. She and her family put up big signs on the road, asking Pope Francis, “Stop.” Another said, “There’s an angel waiting for you here.” And yet another said, “Dear Pope, bless and embrace little Roberta.” Shortly before the Pope was due to pass, the family went to the edge of the road, bringing Roberta with them on a reclining wheelchair. Pope Francis did indeed stop his car. He got out of the car and blessed and caressed Roberta. He blessed the others, shook hands, posed for photos and put up with some ear-piercing shouts of approval, mostly “Bravo, Francesco.” The Italian newspaper Il Gazzettino posted a story and photographs on their website and Ivan Parfenie posted a video on YouTube. —Cindy Wooden
Up Close and Personal
Pope’s Cousin found Francis in Wonderful Form
Jorge Bergoglio — not the Pope, but his cousin who lives in the Argentine city of Cordoba — came to Rome with two of his three children and was able to greet Francis during last Wednesday’s General Audience, June 25. On Thursday, June 26, he attended the Mass at Saint Martha’s and had breakfast with the Holy Father. He found him in “wonderful” form. He never thought that his cousin, Jorge Mario, would be Pope. “When I was told, I ran out into the garden of my house as if I had had a fit of madness,” he recalled to the ZENIT news agency.
On Saturday, June 28, he was received in a small but heartfelt reception by the mayor and the municipality of Santena, in northern Italy, 21 kilometers from the city of Turin. Photos were taken, then a dinner was held with the Bergoglios and members of the family who live on this side of the Atlantic — some 100 persons. The Pope’s cousin said that now it is not only an honor, but also a responsibility, for all the members of the family to have a Bergoglio who is Pope.
Mr. Bergoglio, what happened in Santena?
Jorge Bergoglio: I was received in the municipality of Santena in a brief but heartfelt ceremony, with the mayor, recalling our countries and with the ritual photos.
How many Bergoglios are there?
This evening we are going to have a dinner with some one hundred persons. In Argentina, we had a party last September and we were 390, and the census of the Bergoglios indicates that we are just over one thousand.
How was your meeting in the Vatican with your cousin, the Pope?
First we attended the General Audience, in a privileged place, where the so-called “kissing of the hand” takes place; then we were at the Mass in Saint Martha’s. We were a small number of people, some 50. After the Mass we were able to talk with him, give him presents and things sent to him by the family in Cordoba, and then we had breakfast there in Saint Martha’s.
You had not seen one another for about two years. What did Francis say to you?
He said to me: “I am very happy; I see you looking very well, and he asked us about ourselves and about the family.” He was happy, very happy. We see that he needs some family spirituality also.
Had you thought that he could be elected Pope?
No, it was a very big surprise. When I was told, I ran out in to the garden of my house, it seemed like a fit of madness, no? And then a sort of responsibility came for the whole of our family, which is so numerous – a greater commitment in the individual and public life of each one.
Did you play together when you were kids?
No, I met him as a grownup, when he came as the Superior of the Jesuits of the city of Cordoba and then, all the cousins met him and we dined together. We also attended audiences in Buenos Aires, always in contact, communicating with one another. He was always very likeable and very profound.
How did you find him now?
Wonderful, a man who radiates happiness, affection, spirituality, simply fantastic.
Do you see a difference from the Bergoglio you knew?
There has been an extraordinary transformation. His message hasn’t changed; it’s the same as ever. Meanwhile, he has realized that he has a very great ambit of influence, and that he can do many things, because he is the greatest spiritual leader of the world. Two of my children are with me overwhelmed by having had the opportunity to be with him. —H. Sergio Mora (Zenit)