Catholic Free Press

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  • Jan
  • 10

The call of faith in 2012

Posted By January 10, 2013 | 1:08 pm | Lead Story #2

As an election year and the beginning of the Year of Faith, 2012 saw the Church locally responding to state, national and international challenges. Of  particular concern in Massachusetts was the “Death with Dignity Act,” Question 2 on the ballot, which allowed voters to decide whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state. The question was defeated by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent. Prayers and education were offered to prevent legalization, including the following:
John Wayne Cockfield, a South Carolina Baptist who lost limbs in the Vietnam War, spoke at Blessed Sacrament Parish’s Phelan Center, sponsored by Massachusetts Citizens For Life.
Patrick Derr, philosophy professor at Clark University, spoke at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in West Boylston for the parish’s Respect Life Ministry Lenten program.
More than 50 physician-assisted suicide opponents testified at the Statehouse.
Suicide was addressed at the Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality Conference of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy at the College of the Holy Cross.
The Respect Life ministries of Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Mary of the Assumption parishes in Milford sponsored an end-of-life panel discussion by Dr. John Howland, executive director of the Worcester Guild of the Catholic Medical Association;  Msgr. Peter R.  Beaulieu, director of mission integration and pastoral care at St. Vincent Hospital; Atty. Henry Luthin, acting president of the board of the Pro-Life Legal Defense Fund, and Allison LeDoux, director of the diocesan Respect Life Office.
Three of them gave similar talks at St. James Parish Center in South Grafton, sponsored by the Grafton Catholic community’s Pro-Life and Adult Faith Formation ministries. Dr. Paul Carpentier, president of In His Image Family Medicine in Gardner, replaced Dr. Howland.
St. Anna Parish in Leominster and the local Knights of Columbus Council sponsored a talk by Dr. Mark Rollo, a Fitchburg family practitioner, at the Knights’ hall.
Christ the King Parish in Worcester held a novena to St. Joseph to pray for the sick and as a spiritual response to physician-assisted suicide; hundreds of people attended.
Bishop McManus and educators from several Catholic colleges in Massachusetts signed letters objecting to Question 2. Bishop McManus also addressed a letter to people of the diocese.
The Bishop spoke at the “To Live Each Day with Dignity” conference sponsored by the diocesan Respect Life Office and the Worcester Guild of the Catholic Medical Association at Assumption College. Other speakers were Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center; Richard M. Doerflinger, associate director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Dr. William L. Toffler, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.
Dr. Ira Byock, a Jewish doctor who directs palliative medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., spoke for the White Mass for healthcare professionals, for which Bishop McManus preached.
Mrs. LeDoux was a guest on Teresa Tomeo’s program Catholic Connections on the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network which 1230AM Emmanuel Radio broadcasts locally.
On Election Day opponents of physician-assisted suicide held signs at intersections and polls, urging votes against Question 2.


Another threat to human life and dignity came from the mandate which is part of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or Obamacare. The mandate would require even religious organizations opposed to contraception, sterilization and abortifacients to provide their employees with health plans which cover these things.
On Jan. 20, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced that nonprofit groups that do not provide this coverage because of religious beliefs would get an additional year “to adapt to this new rule.” Bishop McManus said the Administration had cast aside the First Amendment, denying to Catholics and others the free exercise of religion.
There was education about and protests of the “HHS mandate,” including the following:
Bishop McManus’ letter decrying the mandate was to be read in all parishes.
St. Anna Parish in Leominster held a Day for Religious Freedom, with a prayer service and outdoor rally.
Stand Up for Religious Freedom outdoor rallies were held in Worcester and Leominster.
The U.S. bishops, including Bishop McManus, called for repair of the Affordable Care Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled is an acceptable exercise of Congress’ taxing powers.
The diocese participated in the national Fortnight for Freedom (June 21-July 4) with diocesan vespers and adoration, a Mass celebrated by Bishop McManus, and a talk by Christopher Klofft, assistant professor of theology at Assumption College. Parishes also held events.
The diocese responded to Pope Benedict XVI’s challenge for Catholics to renew and share their faith during the universal Year of Faith, which began Oct. 11 and ends Nov. 24, 2013.
In a letter Bishop McManus introduced priests to the Parish Renewal And Evangelization team, a subcommittee of the diocesan Pastoral Council, which is available to help renew parishes, evangelize Catholics and equip them to evangelize others.
Bishops McManus, Reilly and Rueger opened the Year of Faith with a multilingual Mass that drew people from around the diocese to St. Paul Cathedral. Parish representatives picked up banners and prayer cards. The diocesan Year of Faith kick-off for youth was held at St. Rose of Lima Church in Northborough. Other events were held too. Pre-dating the Year of Faith, but geared to explaining the faith, was the DVD series “Catholicism,” by Father Robert Barron, shown in parishes at different times.
Following is a summary of some 2012 events.


Jesuit Father Philip L. Boroughs, 32nd president of the College of the Holy Cross, assumed office. He was elected in May to succeed Jesuit Father Michael C. McFarland, who retired. He was installed in September.
The first Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians met at Christ the King Church in Worcester, having just received a temporary charter.
Bishop McManus blessed the new food pantry in the parish center of Blessed John Paul II Parish in Southbridge.
Father Andrew Apostoli, Franciscan Friar of the Renewal and vice postulator of the cause for canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, spoke at St. Joseph Church in Fitchburg to benefit WQPH 89.3 FM radio (Queen of Perpetual Help). The affiliate of EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network is housed at the former Madonna of the Holy Rosary Church in Fitchburg. WQPH began broadcasting in November.


Bishop Rueger observed his silver jubilee as a bishop humbly, avoiding the limelight. Pope John Paul II promoted him to auxiliary bishop Feb. 14, 1987.
A scholarship in the name of J.D. Power III was established for the Adopt-A-Student Program, to be funded by his family’s donation. Local Catholic school graduate David Power founded J.D. Power and Associates.
St. Bernadette Parish in Northborough held its 20th annual Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette.        Fred and Patty Eppinger, of St. Philip Parish in Grafton, were named chairs of the Partners in Charity appeal, with their children: Katie, Andrew and Lauren. The appeal ended the year with gifts and pledges totaling $4,835,997, which was $111,645 more than last year, but short of the goal of $5 million.
Hannah Wyman, a fifth-grader at St. Anna Elementary School in Leominster, showed President Barack Obama how to play the video game she created, which was exhibited at the White House Science Fair. She was grand prize winner in the 9-to-12 age group for Microsoft’s first U.S. Kodu Cup. David Gardiner, a St. Anna’s fourth-grader, won first prize in that age group.
Deacon Christopher C. Meyers, 57, died Feb. 29, shortly after arriving for his new assignment at an orphanage in Guatemala. He previously served St. Christopher Parish in Worcester.


Assumption College President Francesco Cesareo and Father Benoit Griere, superior general of the Augustinians of the Assumption, established a student program in Rome which is set to begin this spring.
Bishop McManus joined people of St. Anna Parish in Leominster for their 75th anniversary Mass, one of several anniversary events throughout the year.
The largest Cursillo weekend in the diocese in 30 years was held in Charlton with 42 candidates and 16 team members.
Father Peter P. Hamernik, 85, former pastor of Holy Cross Parish, East Templeton, and St. Stanislaus Parish, West Warren, died March 14.
The 12th annual Worcester Diocesan Catholic Men’s Conference, held at the DCU Center, featured Mass celebrated by Bishop McManus and the following speakers: Joe Lombardi, New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach; George Weigel, theologian and syndicated-columnist; Father Larry Richards, an inner city pastor from Erie, Penn.; Mark Nehrbas, a lay evangelist and director of spiritual renewal conferences at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and Father Dwight Longenecker, a married priest from Greenville, S.C., formerly an Anglican priest.
At the annual Mass for Life for the Feast of the Annunciation at St. Paul Cathedral, Bishop McManus presented the diocesan pro-life awards to Father William G. O’Brien, Lee Crowley, Sandra Kucharski, Pauline Morris, and Emily Holmquist.
Teresa Tomeo, the host of the Catholic Connection on EWTN radio, kicked off the first fundraising campaign for Worcester’s Catholic radio station, 1230 AM Emmanuel Radio.
Anna Maria College in Paxton withdrew its invitation to Victoria Kennedy, U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s widow, to be commencement speaker and to receive an honorary degree, following concerns Bishop McManus expressed about honoring Catholics who stand in public opposition to some Church teachings.


Assumption College celebrated the dedication of its new Tinsley Campus Ministry Center attached to the chapel with a ribbon-cutting, unveiling of the Saint John’s Bible, Mass celebrated by Bishop McManus and blessing of the building.
Assumptionist Father Philip E. Bonvouloir, 82, in residence at Saint Anne-Saint Patrick Parish in Sturbridge, which he once pastored, died April 29 at the rectory after a brief illness. Among his assignments were teaching and administration at Assumption Preparatory School in Worcester and serving as Catholic chaplain at the American Embassy in Moscow.


Nuns who experienced the miracle that led to Pope John Paul II’s beatification spoke at the Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality Conference. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, healed of Parkinson’s disease in 2005, and Sister Marie Thomas Fabre, then her superior and now Mother General of the Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity in France, were in the United States for the first time. They also spoke at St. Paul Cathedral and St. Stephen Elementary School in Worcester, St. Joseph Elementary School in Webster and the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge.        A presentation about the Sisters of Mercy by lay associate Mary Conway drew Bishop Rueger, other clergy, religious and laity to Sacred Heart-St. Catherine of Sweden Parish, where the sisters once staffed Sacred Heart School.
The Massachusetts State Council of the Knights of Columbus honored Thomas and Virginia Boland and their children, James, Meaghan and Michael, of St. Bernadette Parish in Northborough, as Family of the Year, and Stefani Giegucz, of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Westborough, as Altar Server of the Year, at the Knights’ annual convention in Hyannis.
Msgr. Joseph V. Sirios, 87, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Worcester from 1989 to retirement in 2007, died May 12 at UMass Memorial Medical Center. He had earlier pastored Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Gardner.
Assumption College’s 95th commencement featured Brian Kelly, alumnus and head football coach at the University of Notre Dame.
Anna Maria College gave Sister Barbara Flynn, a Sister of St. Anne who taught there and was on the board of trustees, an honorary doctorate at its 63rd commencement.
Paul E. Farmer, founding director of Partners in Health, spoke at the 166th commencement at the College of the Holy Cross and received an honorary degree, as did former president Father McFarland.
In May and June, 14 men were ordained priests or transitional or permanent deacons for the diocese.


St. Anne Parish in Manchaug was merged with St. Mark Parish in Sutton. Our Lady Queen of Heaven Mission in South Royalston was merged with its mother parish, Our Lady Immaculate in Athol. The closed churches are called chapels.
Mercy Centre for youngsters with developmental disabilities celebrated its past 50 years.
The Catholic Free Press began offering the entire newspaper online through the eEdition. In the fall the Annual Directory went online too.
St. James Parish in South Grafton celebrated its 125th anniversary at a Mass with Bishop McManus.


Carl E. Paulson, 98, of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Upton, the artisan who fashioned stained glass windows in some diocesan churches, died July 1 at home.
Jesuit Father John E. Brooks, 88, the longest serving president of the College of the Holy Cross, died July 2 at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
The St. Anne Novena at St. Anne Shrine in Sturbridge opened a year-long celebration of the 125th anniversary of the novena and of St. Anne and St. Patrick Parish, which shares the grounds with the shrine.
North American Martyrs Parish in Auburn dedicated the Kateri Tekakwitha Senior Housing Facility, which it erected by collaborating with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Father Arthur A. Ouillette, 88, former diocesan director of sacred music, died Aug. 16 in St. Vincent Hospital. He had served in the Pacific Theater of War with the Naval Air Transport Command before becoming a priest. He pastored St. Pius X Parish in Leicester, St. Mary Parish in Southbridge, and St. Mary Parish in Jefferson.
Father Urbain J. Gionet, 90, pastor emeritus of St. Camillus de Lellis Parish in Fitchburg, died Aug. 16 in Auburn. He also pastored St. Francis Xavier Parish in Bolton.
Bishop McManus announced that Pope Benedict XVI had named Msgr. James P. Moroney a Prelate of Honor, the second level of monsignor. In September Msgr. Moroney was installed as 20th rector of St. John Seminary in Brighton.


Nativity School of Worcester, an independent Jesuit school for boys in grades 5-8, kicked off its 10th anniversary with a Mass. The incoming class was named for Jesuit Father John E. Brooks.
Patrick Coffin, host of Catholic Answers Live, spoke at Anna Maria College for the kick-off for Emmanuel Radio’s radiothon.
Bishop McManus rededicated an old school building, refurbished as the Good Shepherd Parish Center in Linwood.


Bishop McManus celebrated Masses for consecrated life, the 125th anniversary of St. Joseph Parish in Webster and the 100th anniversary of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Worcester.
He presented retired religious awards to Sister Rosa Maria Serra, of the Xaverian Missionary Society of Mary; Sister Marie Therese Flattery, of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, and Sister Anne Marie Boudreau, of the Sisters of St. Anne.
The 55th annual Red Mass awardees were: John M. Griffin, Distinguished Attorney Award; Rose Marie Carelli, Catholic Layperson Award; Sumner Silver Jr., Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan Ecumenical Award, and Ellen Katuska, Bishop Timothy Harrington Scholarship.


Norman and Carol Boudreau, of St. Joseph Parish in Fitchburg, received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the Catholic School Department at the St. Paul Consortium Dinner. Mr. Boudreau is a founding member of the consortium, aimed at strengthening North County schools.
Father Bernard Kambale Musondoli, a Congolese Assumptionist studying at Assumption College, was ordained in the college’s chapel.
St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School received the trophy at the Adopt-A-Student program’s first talent show, which raised about $3,500. Winners were St. Peter-Marian junior Youngsoo “Simon” Ra, first place; Holy Name senior Michael Skrzek, second place; St. Peter-Marian senior Dezi Garcia, third place.


Father William J. Gallagher, 95, the oldest priest in the Worcester Diocese, died Dec. 19 at the St. Francis Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. He was born in Cork, Ireland, went to seminary in France and, during World War II, helped Allied prisoners escape from the Nazis. He later pastored St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Baldwinville.
Father Lowe B. Dongor, wanted on a charge of being a fugitive from justice, was returned to the United States after turning himself in to authorities in the Philippines. He had fled there after being charged with possessing child pornography and larceny of more than $250 from St. Joseph Parish in Fitchburg, where he was associate pastor.
Bishop McManus presented Erik G. Wexler, St. Vincent Hospital president and CEO, with a $25,000 pledge to help furnish a chapel in the hospital’s cancer center, which is under construction.             St. Michael the Archangel church building and attached rectory in Mendon were sold to the town of Mendon for $360,000 to house a new town library.
The diocese reported that it finished the fiscal year on Aug. 31 with an operating surplus of $109,804 after expenses of $26,037,091.