Bishops Aren’t Important – II

July 29, 2006

After writing this post, several people asked about stats on some other diocese statistics. First, I need to make a clarification regarding St. Louis. In the stats for each diocese I included diocesan and religious seminarians for the diocese which in the case of St. Louis really made the numbers look incredible. There are 48 diocesan seminarians and 290 religious seminarians. Does anyone know what the religious seminaries are (there are 2)? Several diocese on these lists were taken from Gerald’s “Bishop Hall of Fame“. Based on the numbers I have calculated so far, it seems like a few general hypothesis can be made. First, a diocese with a priest/parishioner ratio of under 1000 is downright amazing because that basically means that every parish could have a pastor. Numbers under 2000 show a relatively healthy diocese as long as the number of seminarians is steady or increasing year to year. Numbers over 2000 should be a warning sign. Places like Dallas and LA with off-the-wall numbers of 12,000+ Catholics to priests should be marked on a map with “There be dragons here” and considered hostile mission territory.

One thing to note about stats like this is that what you see is the result of long term administration. A solid bishop coming into a situtation in decay can’t fix everything in a couple of years. For example, Colorado Springs is at the bottom of this list because for twenty years the bishop wasn’t concerned about vocations and said he saw himself in the mold of Cardinal Mahoney. Three years ago, when our new bishop arrived, there were only 3 seminarians and the vocation director position was a part time job filled by a parish pastor. We now have 13 seminarians and six more going through discernment. The vocation director is a priest working full-time in this position.

If you are in a diocese with a good bishop and also with a vocations shortage, please get involved with your local Serra Club. If there isn’t one there, start one. You should also start a vocations committee in your parish. The bishop can’t do it all by himself.

Active Priests: 63
Seminarians: 7
Ordinations in 2005: 3
Total Catholics: 40,000
Catholics to Priests: 216

Active Priests: 50
Seminarians: 17
Ordinations in 2005: 1
Total Catholics: 55,400
Catholics to Priests: 1108
Active Priests: 47
Seminarians: 14
Ordinations in 2005: 3 (2 diocesan)
Total Catholics: 67,000
Catholics to Priests: 1426
Active Priests: 103
Seminarians: 6
Ordinations in 2005: 0
Total Catholics: 197,000
Catholics to Priests: 1913

Active Priests: 60
Seminarians: 10
Ordinations in 2005: 0
Total Catholics: 137,000
Catholics to Priests: 2283

Active Priests: 508
Seminarians: 112 (95 diocesan)
Ordinations in 2005: 12
Total Catholics: 1,320,000
Catholics to Priests:2598
Active Priests: 185
Seminarians: 35
Ordinations in 2005: 3
Total Catholics: 500,000
Catholics to Priests: 2703
Active Priests: 119
Seminarians: 6
Ordinations in 2005: 1
Total Catholics: 342,000
Catholics to Priests: 2874
Active Priests: 576
Seminarians: 503 (340 are diocesan)
Ordinations in 2005: 28 (17 diocesan)
Total Catholics: 2,348,000
Catholics to Priests: 4078
Active Priests: 364
Seminarians: 35 (21 diocesan)
Ordinations in 2005: 6
Total Catholics: 1,557,000
Catholics to Priests:4277
New York
Active Priests: 534
Seminarians: 49 (37 diocesan)
Ordinations in 2005: 7
Total Catholics: 2,542,000
Catholics to Priests:4760

Active Priests: 73
Seminarians: 17
Ordinations in 2005: 0
Total Catholics: 356,000
Catholics to Priests: 4877

Colorado Springs
Active Priests: 32
Seminarians: 13
Ordinations in 2005: 1
Total Catholics: 167,000
Catholics to Priests: 5219

Getting the Word Out – and Helping Others at the Same Time

July 28, 2006

So you own a Catholic store and you really wish that more people would shop there. One question you might want to ask is what are you involved in in your diocese that would give more people contact with your store?

If your contribution to the Church is solely showing up on Sunday for Mass and running your store, very few people will know you are there. You have to network with local Catholic organizations and sometimes that means getting involved in them.

For example, your parish may have an apologetics club. Get involved. You will probably learn something about the Faith and at the same time have the opportunity to let people know about your store and also that you can supply the club with material at a discount since they will be buying multiple copies of books.

You could also get involved with a local Serra club (not Sierra) to help support and encourage priestly vocations. This is a great way to get to know your future deacons and priests and develope relationships with them that will benefit both you and them in the future – they know they have a trustworthy source for Catholic products and you are that source.

I also suggest that you advertise on at least a few parish bulletins. This helps out the parish by helping them cover the costs of the bulletin and establishes some goodwill with the pastor. I realize that the return on bulletin ads is very small but it is the goodwill and potential ways you can work with the parish that are important.

Let’s Head Over to the Shooting Gallery

July 28, 2006

The latest Catholic Carnival is up!

New Payment Method Accepted

July 22, 2006

PaPal payment processing(Vatican Information Service) – After several months of development in conjunction with Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the Holy See has announced a new payment system for Catholic businesses throughout the world. The new PaPal(r) system, while superficially similar to other payment processors, will have several features that the Holy See is sure will make it as big a hit with Catholics as St. Joseph House selling kits*.

The first feature is that the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, the developers of the Vatican website, will be offering daily prayers for everyone using the new service.

Second, all users will have the option of having a penny of each transaction given directly to the “Peter’s Pence” fund.

Finally, all message sent using the PaPal(r) system will contain a brief Faith fact to help catechize those using the processor. The Faith facts are being developed with the help of Catholic Answers and Catholics United for the Faith (CUF), both located in the United States. “We were very happy to be invited to assist with this new project of the Holy See and Aquinas and More. It’s rare that you get the opportunity to bring the Faith to so many people.”, said Leon Suprenant, president of CUF.

“The new processor will be made available to the public on  September 21st, the Feast of St. Matthew. We believe that any remaining bugs will have been exorcised by then,” said Sister Judith, head of the Vatican web development team. “We are glad to have such a prominent Catholic on-line store like Aquinas and More be the first live site to use the service and hope that customers will choose our new service over other options that may appear similar.”

When asked if another payment system might try to take the Vatican to court for using a similar processor name, Pope Benedict XVI replied, “Do you think the Swiss Guards just march around in striped suits carrying poleaxes for tourists? This is the oldest standing army in the world and they don’t keep machine guns in the armory for show!”

*Aquinas and More Catholic Goods does not actually carry St. Joseph kits as we believe that St. Joseph is much more likely to help you sell your house by being put in a place of honor in your house instead of being buried upside down on the east corner of your property.

Learn More About St. Kolbe and Pius XII

July 22, 2006

Kolbe: Saint of the Immaculata

Missionary, theologian, writer, publisher, founder of Marytown, Marian mystic, and martyr of charity in Auschwitz, St. Maximilian Kolbe shines through the pages of this powerful book, and the reader will see why Kolbe will soon be regarded as one of the greatest saints in Church history, truly a man for all times.

The gripping story of the saint of Auschwitz is brought to life by actor Leonardo Defilippis, who has become well-known for his dramas on the Gospels and the lives of the saints. As the exciting plot unfolds, one is drawn not only into the compelling events of this courageous life, but into Kolbe’s message of trust as well. Beautifully directed for the screen, Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz is completed by a breath-taking musical score. The drama of this saint’s heroism and faith touches the heart of the viewer in a mysterious and profound way, and his message is an inspiration for our age.

St. Maximillian Kolbe Ceramic Plaque

With Bound Hands: A Jesuit in Nazi Germany

Alfred Delp was a proud German, a Jesuit priest, a Nazi resister, and a martyr. Executed by the Nazis in 1945 for crimes against the Third Reich, Delp left a legacy in letters written from his prison cell. This book tells Delp’s life story through a compilation of correspondence with his friends and family. It reveals his struggle to maintain his faith in the face of imminent death.

In Rabbi David G. Dalin’s controversial new book, he explodes the newly resurrected, widely accepted, yet utterly bankrupt smearing of Pope Pius XII, whom Jewish survivors of the Holocaust considered a righteous gentile. The Myth of Hitler’s Pope is a fascinating read!

The Defamation of Pius XII is not a defense of Pius in the normal sense, since Pius’s actions need no defense. They need to be brought to light. As a philosophy professor, Ralph Mclnerny knows that one cannot prove a negative. But one can compare the actions of Pius with those of his contemporaries. This book is, rather, an offense against the monstrous lies that have been perpetrated against this great man.
Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, was one of the few unalloyed heroes of World War II. At great personal risk, he saved some 800,000 Jews from extermination by the Nazis. Jewish refugees were given asylum in the Vatican, swelling the number of Swiss Guards. No Allied leader can match his glorious record. Golda Meir lauded Pius XII after the war, and the chief rabbi of Rome became a Roman Catholic, taking the name of “Eugenio” in tribute to Eugenio Pacelli.

Christ in Dachau
Dachau concentration camp held the largest number of Catholic priests—more than 2400—in the Nazi camp system. They came from two dozen countries, from every background—parish priests and prelates, monks and friars, teachers and missionaries. Over one-third were killed.
Among the survivors was Fr. Johannes Lenz, who was asked by his superiors to write an account of what he saw. This book was the stunning result. An immediate sensation, it was quickly translated into English, French, Spanish and Italian. Catholic reviewers and churchmen alike were awestruck.

Sr. Margherita’s quest for historical accuracy culminates with Crusade of Charity, which effectively establishes the importance of Pope Pius XII’s role during World War II.  This book clarifies the role of Pius XII in the 20th century.  During the war years, throughout Europe, scattered families were dying of hunger and disease.  Desperate refugees crossed the continent drenched in blood.  According to the author, with Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, every possible spiritual and material help was offered by Pope Pius XII to bring relief to war victims with needed funds, medicine, or shelter.

Righteous Gentiles: How Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half A Million Jews from the Nazis

A relentless band of propagandists has convinced much of the world that Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church, in the face of the great moral crisis of the twentieth century, were little more than Nazi lapdogs. The myth of “Hitler’s pope,” however, is grounded not in the facts of history but in the ideological agenda of Pius’s detractors. Given unprecedented access to Church archives—including a confidential Vatican report on Pius XII—Ronald J. Rychlak documents the heroic response of the Holy Father and countless other Catholics to the plight of Jews under Nazi rule.

Raymond (St. Maximillian Kolbe) was known as a mischievous child, sometimes considered wild, and a trial to his parents. However, in 1906 at Pabianice, at age twelve and around the time of his first Communion, he received a vision of the Virgin Mary that changed his life.

Read More here.

The Power of Being On-line

July 22, 2006

We just had a group of ladies in our store who spent about $300. They came from Denver specifically to visit our store because they are new to the area and were looking on-line for local Catholic stores. They were unable to find any in Denver (even thought there are at least five) and instead drove down to shop with us.

If you have a store and haven’t gotten it listed in local search directories, you really need to.

How to Say Goodbye

July 22, 2006

If you haven’t read the eulogy for Joshua Schmiedicke, the four year old killed in a tragic accident a few weeks ago, please read it and keep the family in your prayers.

picture of Joshua Michael Schmiedicke