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Monday 3 August 2015

And you still think he is a Catholic?

VIP Article--for all readers to read and consider

and another vip article

The Latino Priest Shortage in America

In 2015, only 14% of those men ordained are Latino. In my diocese alone, there are two Latino priests active in ministry, and in this state, there are 168,806 Latinos. Even if I divide this number by four, as there are four dioceses in this state. that means there could be 42,201 Latinos in this diocese.

This information can be found on this site.

The two priests here who are Latino include one who is near 6, or so, and a brand-new priest, who actually was from another state, another diocese, originally.

One must ask the question as to why there are so few men in the priesthood from Latino backgrounds.

Latinos make up 34% of the Catholics in this nation. One can immediately see the discrepancy in the statistics.

One may surmise that Latino children do not come into contact with Latino priests, because of the great shortage. One may surmise that the lack of Latino men finishing college is another problem, as a large number of the ordinands went to college before seminary finishing either a BA or higher degree. One could surmise that the number of ordinands with both parents Catholic, 94%, has something to do with the lack of the nurturing of a vocation.

Perhaps the greatest shock in statistics is the fact that less than half of the ordinands went to Catholic schools-49% of diocesan priests only going to elementary Catholic schools, only 43% going to Catholic high schools, and only 45% going to Catholic colleges. The statistics for religious priests is slightly higher in all categories than for secular, or diocesan priests.

The Catholic school system has failed in providing priests. One may ask why, but the fact that 34% of the Catholics in America are Latino and only 14% of this year's ordinands are Latino, must be a question addressed by all Catholics in America.

Georgetown has another interesting survey here.

Obviously, if there are less and less Latino priests, young boys and men will not meet Latino priests.

But, I do not think this is the problem. The problem is that Hispanic men do not go to college or finish college.

The problem is the lack of Latino men going on for higher education of any type of degree. America is only the 10th country in the world for graduation of students. 10th! And, about 11% of Hispanics (Latinos) graduate from college, even in 2014 with the vast majority of Hispanics graduating being Latinas, the women, not the men, leading the statistics. See the second chart.

In addition to the enrollment chart, one must know that Latinas graduate at a higher number than Latinos.

Here is one California statistic on graduating Hispanic men and women.

Men and women of the same race graduate at similar rates in the CSU system. The numbers fluctuate among men and women from separate races, according to a Campaign for College Opportunity study.

Of the four races discussed in the study, Latinos showed the largest percentage difference with 47 percent of women graduating compared to 39 percent of men. White women graduate at the highest rate at 61 percent, while only 55 percent of white men graduate.

The report also found that for every 100 Black women who graduate from a CSU, only 45 Black men do the same. Also, for every 100 Latina women that graduate, only 51 Latino men receive a degree.

These statistics will effect the number of men who go into the seminary or desire to go in. How dioceses can encourage young Latino men to go and to finish college may be part of the problem.

But, as 94% of the ordinands noted, both parents of this great majority are Catholic. Maybe this is the real issue. Something for dioceses to consider, as the lack of Latino priests will only exacerbate the problem.

Here is one diocese's statistics revealing the priest shortage, which is repeated in most places in America.

104, 300 Catholics, in an overall population of 784,000. 94 diocesan priests, and 3 religious priests.

1,075 Catholics per priest.

But, in England and Wales, there is one priest per 740 Catholics, but much less in the rural dioceses.

In the entire world, in 2012, there were 414,313 Catholic priests, total with an estimated 1.76 billion Catholics, including those most likely in China and Korea. You can do the math.

Why we should all be praying and encouraging young men to become priests.

"My Bible Passage" and Meditation for The Day

I think many of us, when we came to Christ, either as re-verts or converts, have a favorite Scripture passage which marked our life decision to follow Our Lord.

I have two. The first is from today's Gospel. God reminds me that I only have a few talents, like five loaves of bread and two fish, and nothing else. But, God, can and does multiple our talents, which He gave us in the first place, and feed many people, if we are willing to be humble.

The second "personal passage", which is the call of Matthew, shows me daily the need to consecrate myself to God over and over to do His Will without knowing exactly what that means.

I am amused when people ask me if I have a business plan for the house of prayer. The apostles and St. Paul had no business plans for spreading the Gospel. The key for them and for me must be complete dependence on Providence, working as hard as one can but realizing that God is the only one Who can do the seemingly impossible.

Matthew 14:13-21 Douay-Rheims

13 Which when Jesus had heard, he retired from thence by boat, into a desert place apart, and the multitudes having heard of it, followed him on foot out of the cities.

14 And he coming forth saw a great multitude, and had compassion on them, and healed their sick.

15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying: This is a desert place, and the hour is now past: send away the multitudes, that going into the towns, they may buy themselves victuals.

16 But Jesus said to them, They have no need to go: give you them to eat.

17 They answered him: We have not here, but five loaves, and two fishes.

18 He said to them: Bring them hither to me.

19 And when he had commanded the multitudes to sit down upon the grass, he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes.

20 And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up what remained, twelve full baskets of fragments.

21 And the number of them that did eat, was five thousand men, besides women and children.

Luke 5:27-32 Douay-Rheims

27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom, and he said to him: Follow me.

28 And leaving all things, he rose up and followed him.

29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house; and there was a great company of publicans, and of others, that were at table with them.

30 But the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying to his disciples: Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

31 And Jesus answering, said to them: They that are whole, need not the physician: but they that are sick.

32 I came not to call the just, but sinners to penance.

And, one of my favorite saints is today:

St Oswald (c.604 - 642)

Saint Oswald was born at the very beginning of the 7th century. He was the youngest son of the pagan Ethelfrid, the first king of a united Northumbria. After his father’s death in battle, the young Oswald fled to Iona for safety and was baptised there and became a devoted Christian.
In 633 Oswald returned to Northumbria to regain his father’s kingdom. It was said that he set up a wooden cross as his standard and dedicated himself and his people to God’s protection before engaging himself in battle with the occupying Welsh King Cadwallon, not far from the present Hexham. He defeated and killed Cadwallon and at once invited the monks from Iona to begin the evangelisation of his kingdom which extended from the Forth to the Humber. After initial difficulties, the monk Aidan was sent to lead these Irish missionaries and Oswald found him to be both a valued adviser and a good friend. Oswald took seriously the work of bringing Christianity to his people and was even known to accompany Aidan on his missionary expeditions and to act as interpreter during the time Aidan was learning the language of the English. He was also well known both for his personal prayerfulness and his charity to those in need.
Sadly the reign of King Oswald lasted only eight years. In 642 he was killed in battle by Penda the pagan king of the Mercians. It was said that as he fell in death he was heard to pray for those who died with him. Oswald was a popular hero and his reputation as a saint was widespread even into mainland Europe.
Middlesbrough Ordo

Thoughts on Prayer

In this post, I look at two aspects of prayer. The first part is self-explanatory. The second revolves around understanding stigmatics.

Firstly, this post comes from a discussion I had with a friend on intercessory prayer. She is involved in doing reparation for members of her family who have fallen away from the Faith. As Christ told us, some prayer needs to be coupled with fasting, or, to extrapolate, other penances. My friend and I discussed how real prayer, entering into the spiritual world in order to do reparation, or intercede for others, is downright exhausting. (Actually, doing manual labor, such as laundry, or cleaning, or gardening, is a rest from intense prayer, and if one is doing this in silence, prayer continues, but at a lesser intensity.)

This is why scheduling and pacing prayer, as in the Benedictine day, an example given below, is so important. One needs breaks of other work, but one needs to keep up the prayer by pacing it throughout the day. This idea came from the genius of St. Benedict. Here is an example from a monastery in America.

Through the Day

Sunday Schedule

4:00 A.M. - Vigils (choral office in church) lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes.

6:00 A.M. - Lauds (in church) followed by breakfast for guests from 6:30 to 7:10 am in the monastic refectory.

8:45 A.M. - Terce (in church) lasts about 10 minutes.

9:15 A.M. - Conventual Mass (Eucharist) followed by refreshments in the Guest Reception Area.

11:30 A.M. - Sext (in church) lasts about ten minutes, followed by Light Meal in the monastic refectory, 11:45 to 12:30 P.M.

4:00 P.M. - None (in church) lasts about ten minutes, followed by Main Meal in the monastic refectory.

5:30 P.M. - Solemn Vespers and Benediction (in church) lasts about 45 minutes.

7:30 P.M. - Compline (in church) lasts about 15 minutes, followed by Nightly Silence.

Daily Schedule

4:00 A.M. - Vigils (choral office in church) lasts about one hour.

5:45 A.M. - Lauds (in church) lasts about thirty minutes, followed by Mass. Breakfast for guests in the Guest Breakfast Room from 7:00 - 7:45 A.M.

8:45 A.M. - Terce (in church) lasts about ten minutes.

9:00 A.M. - Work meeting for guests outside the Gift Shop. Work for All.

12:40 P.M. - End of work period.

1:00 P.M. - Sext (in church) lasts about ten minutes, followed by Main Meal in the monastic refectory.

3:30 P.M. - None (in church) lasts about ten minutes.

5:20 P.M. - Exposition and Eucharistic Adoration (in Church).

5:50 P.M. - Vespers (in church) lasts about thirty minutes.

6:20 P.M. - Light Meal until 6:50 P.M. in the monastic refectory.

7:30 P.M. - Compline (in church) lasts about fifteen minutes, followed by Nightly Silence.

Most nights, I try to be in bed by half-past nine so that I can get up early, or as God asks, very early, like three or four, to pray intercessory prayers for certain people

Real prayer is not merely saying words or sitting in silence. although that can be part of the day.

Intercessory prayer reminds me of a wrestling match. One enters into prayer knowing that God asks for suffering for those for whom one prays. Intercessory prayer can be very tiring.

My friend recalled prayer times when she was drained. Sometimes, if God wants a concentration of prayer, He will allow her to become ill with severe arthritis, so that she cannot do anything for three days but pray.

Last week, when I had that histamine reaction, God wanted me to stop doing things, including talking, and be quiet in intercessory prayer. I had become too busy.

The prayer of quiet demands attention and focusing. I compare it to the August chorus of birds in the early morning, now about five.

Early in the summer, in late May, early June, the chorus resounds with the songs of hundreds of birds, starting about half-past three in the morning. Now, in late summer, the songs of a few birds, a cardinal or two, a few robins, sing in a schola rather than in a chorale. But, these animals focus on their songs, intent on praising God, as they do at this time of year. This focusing only lasts a short time, Then, these birds rest, do a few "chores", fly about, and rest again, eating as well in between singing. But, the morning chorus only happens once a day, a focusing of song.

Birds sing all day, but at times, their song is more intense than at other times.

So, too, with some intercessory prayer, which can be a real struggle. And, what those who do not understand the contemplative life do not know, is that even encounters with God can be exhausting.

Again, I refer to the limp of Jacob.

Why a contemplative does not "work" in the world is that he IS working, on the threshold of the spiritual world, praising God, interceding, listening.

This takes time and energy.

Secondly, some people with whom I have spoken, do not understand the life of the stigmatic.

The stigmatic has crossed over the threshold of the spiritual world because Christ has invited them to be one with Him in His Passion. Those who do accept these graces of complete union in the physical suffering of Christ mirror what the contemplative experiences spiritually, without the signs and physical suffering at this level of intense pain. The stigmata is a great gift of love.

The stigmatic intercedes when in union with Christ, carrying on, as St. Paul noted, the sufferings of Christ in this world. Such special souls allow their bodies to be one with Christ, for a day, or longer. The example of Padre Pio, Francis of Assisi, (the first recorded stigmatic), Marthe Robin, and many others provides an example of intense intercessory prayer of love.

They become one with Christ in love, not only for the Savior, but for those for whom they suffer in intercession.

I am astounded when Catholics think that the life of the contemplative nun or monk or priest or lay person is an easy life, without work. Prayer is work. And, it can be exhausting, as my friend said.

Those who only value work which is physical and has monetary reward simply do not understand the ways of God in deep prayer.

The stigmatic teaches us the extreme of the loving union of those who intercede for us daily.

UPDATE: After I wrote this post, I checked my e-mail, and lo and behold--synchronicity.

Here is the note:

Prayer Takes Effort by The Hermit

I may be wrong but I think nothing needs so much effort as prayer to God. If anyone wants to pray, the demons try to interrupt the prayer, for they know that prayer is the only thing that hinders them. All the other efforts in a religious life, whether they are made vehemently or gently, have room for a measure of rest. But we need to pray till our dying breath. That is the great struggle. ~Sr. Benedicta Ward, SLG; The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks


Bishop Rosario Pio Ramolo, of the diocese of GorĂ© in the south of Chad, said that in the last few months “attacks have multiplied in Chad, causing the more than seventy deaths and two hundred wounded.” The violence has occurred mainly in the capital N’Djamena and in the areas bordering Nigeria.

and right here at home...

The next blast came from a trash can outside Holy Cross Catholic at about 8:40 a.m. as Monsignor John Anderson was helping pass Communion.

"I was right in the middle of saying the words 'take and eat, this is my body,' and there was a pow! I mean, I knew it had to be more than a gunshot," Anderson told the Las Cruces Sun-News newspaper ( "I didn't know if it was a shotgun blast, I didn't know what. But it was very loud, and I just kept on saying the words."

and here more...

From St. Catherine

God the Father spoke to Catherine of Siena and this selection from the Dialogue seems particularly poignant for today. I do not think any commentary is necessary.

How sin is more gravely punished after the Passion of Christ than before; and how God promises to do mercy to the world, and to the Holy Church, by means of the prayers and sufferings of His servants.

"And I wish you to know, My daughter, that, although I have re-created and restored to the life of grace, the human race, through the Blood of My only-begotten Son, as I have said, men are not grateful, but, going from bad to worse, and from guilt to guilt, even persecuting Me with many injuries, taking so little account of the graces which I have given them, and continue to give them, that, not only do they not attribute what they have received to grace, but seem to themselves on occasion to receive injuries from Me, as if I desired anything else than their sanctification.

"I say to you that they will be more hard-hearted, and worthy of more punishment, and will, indeed, be punished more severely, now that they have received redemption in the Blood of My Son, than they would have been before that redemption took place -- that is, before the stain of Adam's sin had been taken away. It is right that he who receives more should render more, and should be under great obligations to Him from whom he receives more.

"Man, then, was closely bound to Me through his being which I have given him, creating him in My own image and similitude; for which reason, he was bound to render Me glory, but he deprived Me of it, and wished to give it to himself. Thus he came to transgress My obedience imposed on him, and became My enemy. And I, with My humility, destroyed his pride, humiliating the divine nature, and taking your humanity, and, freeing you from the service of the devil, I made you free. And, not only did I give you liberty, but, if you examine, you will see that man has become God, and God has become man, through the union of the divine with the human nature. This is the debt which they have incurred -- that is to say, the treasure of the Blood, by which they have been procreated to grace. See, therefore, how much more they owe after the redemption than before. For they are now obliged to render Me glory and praise by following in the steps of My Incarnate Word, My only-begotten Son, for then they repay Me the debt of love both of Myself and of their neighbor, with true and genuine virtue, as I have said to you above, and if they do not do it, the greater their debt, the greater will be the offense they fall into, and therefore, by divine justice, the greater their suffering in eternal damnation.

"A false Christian is punished more than a pagan, and the deathless fire of divine justice consumes him more, that is, afflicts him more, and, in his affliction, he feels himself being consumed by the worm of conscience, though, in truth, he is not consumed, because the damned do not lose their being through any torment which they receive. Wherefore I say to you, that they ask for death and cannot have it, for they cannot lose their being; the existence of grace they lose, through their fault, but not their natural existence. Therefore guilt is more gravely punished after the Redemption of the Blood than before, because man received more; but sinners neither seem to perceive this, nor to pay any attention to their own sins, and so become My enemies, though I have reconciled them, by means of the Blood of My Son. But there is a remedy with which I appease My wrath -- that is to say, by means of My servants, if they are jealous to constrain Me by their desire. You see, therefore, that you have bound Me with this bond which I have given you, because I wished to do mercy to the world. "Therefore I give My servants hunger and desire for My honor, and the salvation of souls, so that, constrained by their tears, I may mitigate the fury of My divine justice. Take, therefore, your tears and your sweat, drawn from the fountain of My divine love, and, with them, wash the face of My spouse.

"I promise you, that, by this means, her beauty will be restored to her, not by the knife nor by cruelty, but peacefully, by humble and continued prayer, by the sweat and the tears shed by the fiery desire of My servants, and thus will I fulfill your desire if you, on your part, endure much, casting the light of your patience into the darkness of perverse man, not fearing the world's persecutions, for I will protect you, and My Providence shall never fail you in the slightest need."

What I Am Reading

right now, and what I can recommend highly:

Complete Works Of Elizabeth Of The Trinity, Volume 1: Major Spiritual Writings; ICS Publications: 1984

Complete Works Of Elizabeth Of The Trinity, Volume II: Letters from Carmel; ICS Publications: 1995

Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 1901-1940, and the Consequences for World War II by Jorg Muth; Denton: University of North Texas Press: 2011

The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena (Again....) Tan Classics: 2010

The Virtue of Trust (Again...): Paul de Jaegher; London: Burns, Oates and Washbourne Ltd.: 1932

I am waiting for this one from a friend--

Total Resistance: H. Von Dach; Snowball Publishing: 2010

....and I am also waiting for

 Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies: Meri Raffetto

....and for sanity, I am about to read, for the umpteenth time,

Lord of the World.