Monday, August 6, 2012

Celebrating the birth of Holy Name of Jesus Evangelical Catholic Church

On Saturday, August 4th, 2012, Canon Michael Bonnet, Father Peter McGechie and I drove up to Ashippun Wisconsin to celebrate the birth of Holy Name of Jesus Evangelical Catholic Church and for me to canonically receive Father David Verhasselt as a member of our Church and to appoint him as pastor of Holy Name.

Nearly 200 individuals attended this Mass as a show of support for our new mission parish and to support Father David as he completes his process of clerical incardination.

I am excited by the birth of this new community and humbled by their confidence in the Evangelical Catholic Church.

I continue to pray that God will bless us with more like Father David and the community of Holy Name of Jesus.

The Passing of Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell

A few weeks ago I learned of the death of Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell. Tony O'Connell, known to many as "OC" was the director of vocations who invited me to join the Diocese of Jefferson City MO after my sponsorship by the Diocese of Joliet had ended.The story of Bishop O'Connell, especially his downfall after acknowledging many, many years of sexual abuse with seminarians, has been well published and there is no need for me to recall its soridness in the blog.

My injury by O'Connell was never sexual, but rather best described as formational malpractice. During my entire time with Jefferson City, O'Connell had no idea as anything going on with me. When I completed my studies for my Maters of Divinity at Kenrick Seminary one semester ahead of schedule, his response to me was "Oh, you're done?"

O'Connell escaped imprisionment for his actions by finding sanctuary at the Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, S.C. He remained under their strict supervision until his death in May. It has been reported that O'Connell lead a life of pennance at the Abbey and worked at duties common for all of the monks including "feeding the chickens." Sadly, that is what got O'Connell in trouble in the first place.

The news of O'Connell's death left me rather sad. My anger at him and the Diocese of Jefferson City has long past been overshadowed and healed from nearly 20 years of combined priesthood and episcopal ministry. Some years ago, I had planned on going to South Carolina to see him face to face and to ask for an explanation for his actions towards me, but I never did. I know now, more than ever, the meaning of the phrase that life is too short. I learned to simply put him and our entired shared time together in God's hands.And now that he has left this life, I hope that he was able to make his peace with God.

So I leave him for all time in God's hands.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Let Illinois Set Example for Gun Control

I had hoped that the shootings of then Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords might have served as the long awaited engine to power the movement to ban many of the most deadliest guns currently endangering the streets of the United States.  Sadly the NRA flexed its muscles and Washington did nothing to protect the lives of American Citizens.

I am now hoping the the recent shootings in Colorado might be the spark which would finally produce some positive results.  While Washington remains unable to address this issue, it seems that it might be up to the individual states to lead the way to get these military styled guns off the streets.

I am hopeful that the recently announced efforts by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to ban and rid the State of Illinois of these guns will encourage other states and their governors to follow suit.  Sadly, Governor Quinn does not possess a magic wand to enact real gun control in our State.  Rather, it is going to up the citizens of our state to stand behind our Governor and to support his efforts unconditionally because the NRA will throw all of its might and weight to defeat any form of common sense gun control legislation.

As Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest, I ask the citizens of this State to stand behind our Governor, work to insure passage of reasonable gun control legislation.