Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rose Hawthorne - Connecticut roots and a "reputation of sanctity"

We just finished reading Rose Hawthorne: Pilgramage of Nathaniel's Daughter by Arthur and Elizabeth Odell Sheehan, an old Vision Book. I like to purchase used hardcover copies of the Vision series books. This one was from the library of Santa Maria School (location unknown). In the spring of 1968, R. Saliano from room 205 took out Ms. Hawthorne's biography 3 times. I hope she didn't wait till the last minute to write her book report (like I used to). She was the only student to check out Rose's story at Santa Maria. It reflects, I think, the general lack of knowledge about this interesting woman.

Rose Hawthorne, or Mother Mary Alphonsa, as she became, was a convert to Catholicism. A story that speaks to today's society, she and her husband struggled in their marriage and ultimately she received permission from her Bishop to separate (her husband was alleged to be an alcoholic and went on to become editor of the Atlantic Monthly Magazine). Moved by the terminally ill poor persons who surrounded her, she created homes and hospitals for them after becoming affiliated with a Dominican order (eventually to become The Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne). The Connecticut connection is that in 1887, she and her husband resided in New London, where they were good friends with Alfred and Adelaide Chappell, whose Catholic faith apparently inspired the Lathrop's to become Catholics. I wonder where in New London the Lathrop's and Chappell's lived?

Rose's cause for canonization is complicated by the relationship with her husband. But I say, what a saintly example of how to live a life of holiness even after an unfortunate separation from your spouse. Her cause for canonization is being tendered by the Rose Hawthorne Guild. It looks hopeful, according to Father Gabriel B. O’Donnell, O.P., the appointed Postulator. The Diocesan phase should be completed this year. It would be wonderful to someday recognize both Father McGivney and Rose Hawthorne as Connecticut saints.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NFP, the new cool

Did anyone else see the new NFP advertising campaign for Natural Family Planning Awareness Week (currently happening) organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops? I am so tickled at how incredibly modern, sophisticated, upbeat and trendy it is, and all conforming with Catholic teaching on marriage and procreation. See, Catholicism can be hip! I want to order a poster and put it on my wall, just so I can be a part of this wonderful and exciting project. Just as good is the poster from 2005. I am so glad they decided to use the picture of me and HeSaid. We are just so into NFP, and I think it really comes through in our picture.
That said, kudos to Bishop Lori for encouraging his diocese to participate in this exciting campaign. That Betty Anne Casaretti, head of their Family Life Ministry, is a real hot shot and totally on the ball. This is generally true of Bishop Lori's entire operation, and demonstrates why he is a rising star in American Catholicism (whatever that is). Check out the website for the Diocese of Bridgeport (and Bishop Lori's blog). It includes homily notes, prayers, links, etcetera related to NFP.

I have to admit, that an enlightened advertising campaign sponsored by a national Catholic organization is more thrilling to me than even the pope's montu proprio last week permitting a more liberal use of the 1960's version of the Latin Mass. I suggest that is because of where I see the battle lines drawn in today's society. No longer is it Protestant vs. Catholic, as in my grandparent's generation, or liberal vs. traditional Catholicism, as in my parent's generation. Those are side shows compared to the secular humanism vs. religious battles being fought today. No longer welcome in the public square, people of faith who wish to speak their mind or influence opinion in the political, social and work arenas are forced to leave their religion at the door, so to speak. Our reference to God and His Providence hold little weight today. The effectiveness of those references have been squandered by scandal and self imposed religious ignorance. To be persuasive, we should always provide social science evidence to support our religious assertions (ie: marriage helps women and children, the poor need our support, abortion is bad for society, etc.). After all, the Second Vatican Council authoritatively wrote, "Methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God." (Gaudium et Spes, 36). But now, people of faith no longer compete on a level playing field in public discourse with other "religions", like secular humanism, consumerism, paganism, socialism, etc. These religions are given a "leg up" because they are not labeled as such. But they are deities in our society, with new monuments built each day (and have more followers in CT than Jesus). They are savy, have control of our media and schools. But Jesus advised us to be as innocent as sheep but still wear leopard prints, or something like that. The point is that we must avail ourselves to hip and trendy advertising campaigns to reach the flock in this modern time, and I applaud, enthusiastically, and loudly, this NFP campaign by the USCCB and the Diocese of Bridgeport. Hurray!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Welcome Back Old Friend

When I was new to my faith about 10 years ago, my fiance and I attended a Catholic homeschool conference at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, I'm sorry, I mean . . . the Conference and Retreat Center at the The Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary (does anyone know who sponsored that event?). At that event, there were guest speakers of all types discussing Catholic family life, homeschooling, curriculum, and liturgy. They had a good turnout, and I recall sitting among the crowd of about 50 people and hearing one speaker opine that the Novus Ordo was not illicit because the Holy Spirit would not lead us astray for 30 years, and we as faithful Catholics must kind of "get over it". At the time I recall sniffing to HeSaid that the Catholic Church had been around for about 2000 years, and that maybe 30 years of an illicit Mass could happen without spiritual intervention. My thoughts in this area were buttressed when I attended my first Latin Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows in Hartford. I didn't become a regular attendant (my tastes run more toward the 30 minute, no-frills Mass usually offered at 7am on Sunday mornings), but I recall wondering if the Catholic Church had indeed created something invalid with the Novus Ordo. My understanding of His Mercy and obedience to the Church have matured over the years, but I had always hoped to see a liberalization or liberation of the Latin Mass in our Archdiocese. As it happens, Pope Benedict XVI felt the same way, and issued a MOTU PROPRIO today (ironically, it is in Latin, so I cannot read it) that, for our purposes, permits priests to perform a traditional Latin Mass without a waiver from Archbishop Mansell.

You can read more local reaction about this in the New Haven Register article.

We know of 4 Latin Masses in Connecticut: At a certain church in New Britain (sorry, does anyone know which Parish this is?), St. Brigid of Kildare in Moodus, Sacred Heart in New Haven, and Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Bridgeport. Please let me know of other licit Tridentine Masses, and I will list them.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Bishops Have a New Advisor

Yesterday, unverified former altar-girl, co-founder of the pro-abortion PAC - Emily's List, and our fair Connecticut Representative to the US House, Rosa DeLauro issued another missile, I mean, missive agitating the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to "mobilize Catholic opinion" against the war in Iraq. Set aside your opposition or support for the war, I find it interesting that the lady who led the charge against Pope Benedict XVI in May for voicing his opinion in the "public square" about pro-abortion politicians somehow thinks she can set the agenda for Catholic bishops. I guess advocacy can only flow one way in Rosa's world. It seems Pope Benedict can't voice his opinion about politics because he is religious, yet she can advise the Catholic Bishops because, well, she is a politician? She and her deanery of 18 rebel Catholic politicians continue to try to mobilize what's left of the Catholic Left - a la Voice Of the Faithful and Call to Action- for 2008. Lucky for them the bishops of the Catholic Conference had previously hired a media director, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, to respond and speak to the great unwashed Catholic laity about accusations made by their elected representatives. I don't know, maybe it is some type of high-handed psychological strategy to send a spokesperson to respond to the 18 high level national politicians. But, sounds more to me like hiding behind the skirts of a hired gun. I mean, I mean, why not use the Conference to coordinate a response by the 18 or so bishops and archbishops (hello, Archbishop Mansell) to the offending politicians? Wouldn't that be a good use of all the teamwork/bonding skills they've learned, or whatever it is they do, at those expensive conferences? Sigh.