Lex Cordis Caritas - The law of the heart is Love

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October 09, 2011
A classic book that was required reading when I was in high school was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. When I read it in the late 1960s, part of the fascination with the story was the fact that the year 1984 seemed such a long way off into the future. For today’s high school students, 1984 is ancient history, so I’m not sure how many of them are reading the book by that name.
September 25, 2011
Last weekend I attended the annual meeting of the Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Also attending were our Springfield Section Representatives, Jim and Mary Comerford, and their son, Father Christopher Comerford, pastor of St. Elizabeth Parish in Granite City, and our local prior (chaplain), Father Christopher House. We also had three priests inducted into the Order as new members: Msgr. Carl Kemme, vicar general; Father David Hoefler, pastor in Effingham and Shumway and dean of the Effingham Deanery; and Father Daren Zehnle, my priest secretary, master of ceremonies and associate vocation director. I have been a member for many years and the order does important work for the church in the Holy Land, so I want to tell you about them.
September 11, 2011
Sunday, Sept. 11, marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Most people remember exactly where they were when hearing of this dreadful news. I was pastor of St. Constance Parish in Chicago at the time, and had just finished celebrating the 8 o’clock morning Mass. I came back to the rectory for some breakfast, turned on the television, and watched the shocking events unfold on live television. People came to church to pray throughout the day as they did not know what was happening and were turning to God in this time of crisis. Our parish was just under a landing pattern for O’Hare Airport, so the silent skies were eerie as all flights were canceled for about 10 days.
August 28, 2011
This column comes to you from Madrid, Spain, where I have attended World Youth Day with Pope Benedict XVI for a gathering of one and a half million pilgrims from 193 countries from around the world. Among those participating are almost one hundred young people and adult leaders from our Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, including Father Brian Alford, Father Chris Brey, Father Nnamdi Moneme, Father Daren Zehnle, and seminarians Steve Arisman and Hyland Smith.
August 14, 2011
The month of May is traditionally associated with honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, September celebrates her birthday, October has the feast of the Holy Rosary, and December venerates the patroness of our country, our diocese and our cathedral, the Immaculate Conception, but August also has some several beautiful celebrations devoted to the Blessed Mother.
July 31, 2011
The newest gambling casino in Illinois opened on July 18 in Cook County at the new Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. News reports said that so many people wanted to check out the new gambling palace, in fact, that casino management ended up advising potential guests to “consider delaying their visit” after the facility’s parking lots were overwhelmed and traffic was paralyzed along River Road for hours at midday.
July 17, 2011
The beginning of this month saw the transfer of several of our clergy to new assignments. Transitions of this sort are rarely easy for the priests or for the parishioners. It is a good sign that people love their priests and hate to see them go. It is also a good sign that priests love their people and hate to leave. Yet, we priests know that when we were ordained we promised obedience for the sake of the mission, and the very word “mission” is all about being sent out to preach the Gospel.
July 03, 2011
This past June 22 marked the first anniversary of my installation as Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. It’s hard to believe the time has gone by so quickly. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun! Also, I guess, when you’re busy, which I certainly have been. In the past 12 months, I have visited 70 out of our 130 parishes and have administered the sacrament of confirmation 54 times (always singing in my homily as I do!).
June 19, 2011
Most people in Illinois are probably aware that the state legislature passed and the governor signed a new law that legalized civil unions effective June 1. Did you know that the full title of the new law is the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act? If not, you might be wondering why the Catholic Charities of the dioceses of Springfield in Illinois, Peoria and Joliet recently went to court to seek a declaratory judgment and an injunction to allow Catholic Charities to continue to provide foster care and adoption services as it has for decades. You might think that foster care and adoption services offered by religious organizations under contract with the Department of Children and Family Services should be forced to place children with civil union couples if you didn’t know that the new law was also designed to protect religious freedom.
June 05, 2011
Last Monday I offered the Holy sacrifice of the Mass at Calvary Cemetery in Springfield for Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Since, in a sense, there is no recognition here on earth that is sufficient to honor our dead soldiers for their brave sacrifices, we might ask, what kind of reward awaits them in heaven? This question leads us to reflect on what awaits each one of us when we die.