Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Best Blog Day

Sr. Anne Flanagan, blogger of "nunblog" (see “My Blog List” at right) sent me an article that told us which times and days of the week are best to enter a blogpost…if we want a shot at having a popular one, that is: It says that Thursday posts made after lunch or work are most frequently read. Doesn’t that boost our faith in the conscientiousness of the workforce?
     So instead of mornings, as I had promised you, I am entering my posts in the evening. But I’m pulling away from the pack and staying with Wednesday. That’s the day that the Pauline Family remembers together how Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus, imaged God’s care for them by providing for their needs. We say that if he did such a good job back then, he probably will do just as well by us. It appears he has teamed up with St. Paul the Apostle to meet our spiritual and mission based needs, but he seems to take charge of our prayers for our material needs and for our donors.
     So Wednesday it is. Make it popular by sharing it with a friend or two as you pray with Joseph for their needs:  

Read on….

National Catholic Development Conference, Chicago

 The National Catholic Development Conference drew hundreds of Catholic fundraisers from all over the country to Chicago, Sept. 19-22. Apart from the unique opportunity it gave me to learn and network, I was able to attend for two practical reasons. Sr. Rose Pacatte, director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, was the featured speaker the last day, so the NCDC board generously invited me to participate gratis; and a couple from San Antonio offered to cover my airfare, because they intuited how I could serve my community with what I gleaned. I stayed with our sisters who have a PBM Center and convent four blocks from the hotel downtown. It couldn’t have been more ideal.

I didn’t starve either, as you can see. I skipped the evening galas, though—the intense days started with 7:30 A.M. Mass, so I was beat. Monday, however, was different, because music maestro Riccardo Muti had just arrived from Italy to assume the podium of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and he was holding a free concert in Millennium Park, a few blocks from our sisters. What a treat, made extra special since my sister, Sr. Frances, another Daughter of St. Paul, is recently assigned to Chicago. Police estimates had the lot of us at 25,000.

I ended my stay with a trip to Old Town, where I did my eight dollar share to support the city economy. St. Michael’s Church had been gutted by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, but the outer walls still stood. So it was reconstructed and is staffed by the Redemptorists. By the way, a few years ago Mrs. O'Leary and her cow were officially exon-erated from responsibility for the blaze.    
     Besides serving as a rich learning experience, the conference led me into new, mutually beneficial relationships with other organizations, as we plan to work more closely with our sisters in Latin America and bring our own facilities into more stable condition. It opened my eyes to the challenges we all face in Catholic development, as well as to the potential for working together for the good of our world.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

AlberioneFilm @ the Holy Family "Triduum"

Canfield, Ohio, near Youngstown is home to the priests and brothers of the Society of St. Paul. Every September, though, their bucolic, sprawling acreage is overrun by upwards of 250 members of the Holy Family Institute--and their offspring--for a triduum, or three-day retreat/conference/"fiesta." These married people, many of them couples, constitute one of the secular, or in this case, aggregated, institutes of the Pauline Family. That is, they are novices and professed lay people from all over the country, who make vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in keeping with the purposes of their married life, growing in holiness and witnessing to the Gospel in their lives, often in or through the media.

The dates of their rendezvous this year were Sept. 17-19. A special feature was the visit of the crew preparing the new documentary on our--and-their--Founder, Bl. James Alberione, SSP. The videographers and Sr. Helena Burns, FSP, taped dozens of couples' testimonies about Alberione and the Holy Family Institute, along with interviews with several SSP members, two Sister Disciples of the Divine Master (yes, another Pauline congregation) and Fr. Michael Harrington, a recently professed member of the Institute of Jesus the Priest (you guessed it--another institute founded by Alberione, this one for diocesan clergy). Learn more:

Couples renewed their marriage vows, two women entered the novitiate, and others either renewed temporary vows as HFI's or pronounced perpetual vows. What an inspiring witness!

It was my first time with them in such a large group. I knew some from Louisiana and one from California, and it was great to reconnect and catch up a little on old "news." I know, Facebook would really help here. That's my next move. To link up with the film experience they were having, I gave a 40-minute presentation on the origins of the Pauline film apostolate. Of course, I showed the preview of the documentary. (To watch it, scroll down this page and click on the photo of James Alberione toward the right side of the page.) My presentation 
is available at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Afternoon Tea with the Daughters honors Dr. Mary Ann Glendon

The early autumn weather was perfect, the raffle baskets, enticing, and the antique table settings, exquisite. One glitch: In planning, we hadn't accounted for the New England Patriots' Home Opener the same day. That alone made the presence and jovial mood of our 110 friends even more impressive.
The members of our Boston community turned out en masse to park cars, register names, serve tables, sit with guests, and conduct tours of our chapel and publishing house afterward for those who could put in the extra 40 minutes.
    There was a dual purpose to the event. We honored Dr. Mary Ann Glendon with the first-ever Cordero Award, given to "Catholics who have striven to uplift the human spirit and to recognize the dignity of the person in or through the media." The award is named for M. Paula Cordero, who helped establish the Daughters of St. Paul in the U.S. in 1932. Dr. Glendon is the Learned Hand Law Professor at Harvard Law School and served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Her teaching, whether at Harvard or in her books and articles, provided us with the incentive to honor her with the award. Wikipedia describes her as a "pro-life feminist."
     The event also launched the Education Fund for our sisters and novices. In proposing the idea for a fund raising event, Sr. Margaret Timothy, provincial superior, remarked, "I'm tired of having to choose between fixing the roof and educating our sisters!" She outlined  for our guests the purpose of our education: to meet the evangelization needs of a new generation using the modern means of communication. Today that means the digital world. So we work toward degrees in philosophy, theology, communications, administration, the arts, marketing, and languages. Scholarships accounted for, that requires about $75,000 anuually. And that's just to continue what we've been doing. How many more we could train if we had the resources!
 One man got the message. An anonymous donor pledged $100,000 if we could raise a matching amount by year's end. Well, seeing as we netted about $23,000 from the day, that leaves us with $77,000 to go. Cardinal Sean O'Malley wrote, "I am pleased to support this effort and encourage you all to do so." Here's how: Or contact me: We join our prayers for you to those he promised to offer for you , too.