Bp. Coyne’s remarks

You might recall my recent post wherein I typed out some of Bp. Coyne’s remarks at the end of his ordination.

A few days ago, Bp. Coyne posted the text of his remarks to his blog. Read it here; it’s awesome.

I’m still thinking about his point that we have to clean house before inviting others in. True of a parish, true of a person.

Fr. Eric Augenstein does a nice job in his homily this weekend of talking about both Archbishop Daniel’s homily and Bp. Coyne’s remarks. Father ties the two themes together in prepping his parishioners for Lent. You can listen to his homily here.

The photo to the right is compliments of Seminarian Doug Hunter.

Here are the post-communion remarks, copied right from his blog.

[I have left out the preliminary “thank-you” comments]

Today in this sacred space I have committed myself to join with Archbishop Daniel in his work as principle shepherd of this archdiocese. This is a place with a lot of history. St. John’s is the oldest Catholic parish in Indianapolis and its former pro-cathedral. Many happy events including this one have been celebrated here. There are many words that seem to echo in this building: the words of Scripture, the words of ritual, words of prayer, words of encouragement, all captured in the faith that we share in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. In the midst of this beautiful symphony, it is hard to hear the words of just one instrument ringing through, but I seem to hear voice of the prophet Jeremiah saying, “I will give you shepherds after my own heart” (Jer. 3:15). Shepherds after my own heart – shepherds who in word and action pour forth the love of God that flows from the heart of God. This was the ministry I was ordained to as a priest and it is now the ministry I have been ordained to more deeply as a bishop.

We don’t often use the word shepherd in our day to day work of ministry. We prefer, the Latin word for shepherds – pastores – pastors. But either word points us to the heart of the ministry of both the priest and the bishop – to be shepherds and pastors, men who seek to lead others to the glorious pastures of salvation. We can all be good administrators, liturgists, preachers, healers, teachers, good and friendly guys, but if we are not about spreading the good news of salvation in and through the Catholic Church, then we are missing the point of our ministry. In my almost four and a half years as a pastor in suburban Boston, I came to realize this truth more deeply each and every day. The truth of what the Church offers to humanity is an immeasurable gift. It is a gift that frees us to live in the knowledge that we are all in God’s hands. It is a gift that strengthens us to live in the surety of Jesus’ ultimate victory over sin and death. It is a gift that is to be shared. Jesus Christ has asked all those who have accepted this gift and taken on the name of Christian to in turn offer it to others, to spread the good news that He is Lord and Savior to the praise and glory of God the Father forever and ever, amen.

As a shepherd, the priest or bishop is a bearer of this εὐαγγέλιον – this “good news,” this gospel. We proclaim this Gospel through our authenticity of lives, our sincere and diligent efforts on behalf of the mission of the Church, and the care and fraternal love that we show for men and women entrusted to us. We proclaim this Gospel from the pulpit, the altar, and the baptismal font. We proclaim this Gospel at the hospital bedside, the dining room table, the school classroom, the university hall, the senior center, and the nursing home. We proclaim this Gospel on the phone, in the email, and on the blog – btw, if you need the address to my blog, just ask.

My friends, we can never lose sight of the fact that the mission of the Church is about salvation. Whether we are ordained, religious or laymen and women, each of us in our way is asked to participate in spreading this good news. As it has in the past and as it is now, all that we do as Christians must be formed by this truth of faith. Both Pope John Paul II and our present Holy Father, Benedict, have called us to the work of the new evangelization, the renewed announcement of the “good news.” We are being asked to commit ourselves to a new effort to reach out to those who have never heard the Gospel, those who are indifferent to the Gospel, and those who have lost the Gospel. It is quite the challenge that we face but it is one that we do in and through the Church, supported by each other and the sacraments we share.

As we take up this challenge, however, we may have to first recognize the need to evangelize and renew ourselves. When I became a pastor, the parish staff and I determined that before we could invite people to the table, we first had to get our house in order. If we were going to go to all the work of reaching out to those who have no faith, or a looking for something more in faith, or have lost their faith, we first had to make sure that when they walked through the door of the church, they were encountering a warm welcome, a clean church, good liturgy, good preaching, a strong Catholic identity, and parish social and educational programs that encouraged them to get involved. The later success that my parish came to know over the last few years in terms of a significant growth in membership was I believe directly tied to the foundation we laid as a community to make sure that our house was in order when they came through the door.

My desire as I come to this archdiocese is to do something of the same here but on a much larger scale, to work with Archbishop Beuchlein, the priests, deacons, religious, and laity to strengthen and build upon the good works already taking place in our parishes and Catholic institutions, to renew ourselves and to enter into the work of the new evangelization. I do so, as a servant to the Church universal and local, as a brother who walks with you, and as someone who seeks to be a friend to all. I am truly excited about coming to Indianapolis and to being a bishop for you. I promise you that I will try and do all that is possible to be a shepherd after God’s own heart. Archbishop Beuchlein, thank you for giving me that chance. My brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, thank you for opening your door to me and welcoming into your house. Let us walk together in faith. God bless.

"I will give you shepherds after my own heart"

Today marks the episcopal ordination of Bishop Christopher Coyne.

The liturgy was a beautiful one, in a beautiful spot: St. John’s in Indy.

Bishop Coyne offered some remarks at the end of the Mass. You can see the whole thing at Whispers.

I have typed some of his remarks out here. The whole thing is outstanding.

I hear the words of Jeremiah: “I will give you shepherds after my own heart.” Shepherds after my own heart–shepherds who in word and action pour forth the love of God that flows from the heart of God.

If we’re not about spreading the good news of salvation in and through the Catholic Church, we miss the point of our ministry.

As a shepherd, the priest or bishop is the bearer of the Good News, this Gospel. We proclaim this Gospel through our authenticity of lives, our sincere and diligent efforts on behalf of the mission of the Church, and the care and love that we show to the men and women entrusted to us. We proclaim this Gospel from the pulpit, the altar, and the baptismal font. We proclaim this Gospel at the hospital bedside, the dining table, the school classroom, the university hall, the senior center and the nursing home. We proclaim this Gospel on the phone, in e-mail, and on the blog.

My friends, we can never lose sight of the fact that the mission of the Church is about salvation.

As we take up [the challenge to be messengers of the Gospel], we may have to first recognize the need to evangelize and renew ourselves. When I became a pastor, the parish staff and I determined that before we could invite people to the table, we first had to get our house in order. If we were going to go to all the work of reaching out to those who have no faith, or who are looking for something more in faith, or had lost their faith, we first had to make sure that when they walked through the door of the church, they were encountering a warm welcome, a clean church–good liturgy, good preaching, and a strong Catholic identity, parish, social, and educational programs that encourage them to get involved. The later success that the parish came to know over the last few years in terms of a significant growth in membership, was, I believe, directly tied to the foundation we laid as a community to make sure that our house was in order when people came through the door.

Let’s pray for our new auxiliary bishop.

Feast of the Presentation and Catholic schools

Today we interviewed, among others, the superintendent of Catholic schools in the Louisville Archdiocese.

We were told a story about a Catholic school, Presentation Academy, that would have closed in 1995 were it not for a grassroots campaign to keep it open. This story is recorded on Wikipedia:

Enrollment was consistently around 800 students during the 1950s and 1960s, but by 1993 it had dropped to just 230 students, and the school was over $760,000 in debt. It was announced that the doors would close in May 1995. However, a successful grassroots campaign by alumnae, students, and parents paid off the debt; and the Sisters of Charity relinquished control of the school to nearby Spalding University. The school became independent again in 2004, after becoming financially stable with a $6.2 million budget, and created its own Board of Trustees.

This made me think for two reasons. First, it’s the feast of the Presentation today! Our Catholic schools are meant and called to be presentations and presentments of Christ to those Christ loved most: children. Catholic schools do that well.

Second, it’s Catholic Schools Week. This is a wonderful reminder of the value that students themselves place in their Catholic schools. The students raised the most of the money needed to keep the doors open.

Students love their Catholic schools, by and large. Sure, they can complain about this or that. Complaints will always emerge, no matter where you are.

But, looking back, I wager that most people who attended Catholic schools are glad they attended Catholic schools.

Why? Likely because they learn there that people care about them, that the knowledge of faith counts, and that the practice of religion matters.

Catholic schools count!

Bishop-Designate Coyne: "The hands of a priest should always be those of blessing"

Brother seminarian Michael Kubancsek tweeted some of the press conference on Friday that announced Fr. Chris Coyne as the new aux. bishop of Indy.

Here’s one of his tweets:

+Coyne: Responding to a Q on abuse, “The hands of a priest should always be hands of blessing.”

This got me thinking about the “These Hands Bring Me Jesus” project undertaken by Stephen Golder, a fellow in the Archdiocese of Atlanta during the Year of the Priest.

Golder and his wife spent some time taking pictures of priests’ hands. They put together a sideshow that was presented at the 2010 Eucharistic Conference.

Each image speaks volumes about the priesthood of Jesus Christ and the blessings each priest is meant to bestow to the faithful by means of his hands.

The hands of the priest should always be hands of blessing.

God’s hands are active in the world. He uses ours–especially His priests’.

One could write pages about each image in this slideshow.

Perhaps sharing Golder’s video is the perfect way to close National Vocations Awareness Week.

http://www.thesehandsbmj.com/player.swf

Our new Auxiliary Bishop, Fr. Chris Coyne

This morning, Pope Benedict XVI named Fr. Chris Coyne from Boston as the new Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

This is big.

A press conference began just a few minutes ago in Indianapolis to release the news. You will hear about it on the news and read about it in the papers.

This announcement will mean…changes.

Father John Hollowell shares this piece of news an explains it all here:

Well, it is official on Rome’s end – we have a new auxiliary bishop. Fr. Christopher Coyne from the Archdiocese of Boston. Rocco, of course, has all the details on his blog (click here for the story), seen as pretty stunning in that he is A) 52 yrs. old, B) a parish priest (no experience as a bishop yet) and C) from so far away.

An auxiliary bishop is one who obviously assists the bishop, but it is not a foregone conclusion that he is the Archbishops eventual successor. A coadjutor bishop is the title given to a bishop by Rome if Rome intends to make the man a certain successor. Usually, bishops don’t want a coadjutor because it creates a “lame duck” atmosphere, although Archbishop Buechlein DID petition for a coadjutor. Interesting that he did not receive one, but there are reasons for that. One reason that Fr. Chris Coyne wouldn’t be named a coadjutor is because it is unheard of that a person would go essentially from parish priest to Archbishop, one almost always has to spend time as a bishop of a smaller diocese before receiving the upgrade to ARCHbishop, something Bishop Elect Coyne would not be able to do before succeeding Archbishop Buechlein here.

Speculation then is swirling as to why Rome would only bring in an auxiliary, and most of the speculation is returning to the seemingly 20 year old rumor of the eventual combination/break up/realignment of the dioceses in Indiana. An auxiliary can be moved on quite easily if a change is to be made. Speculation also swirls that perhaps Bishop Elect Coyne might be a facilitator of some of the changes, which would help explain why he would then get moved on elsewhere after a change would be made.

Bishop Elect Coyne has a blog (yeah!!!) and it contains some good stuff on Catholic education, so it looks like we’ll be getting someone who shares Archbishop Buechlein’s passion for Catholic Schools. You can read Bishop Elect Coyne’s Catholic Ed. pieces by clicking here to go to his blog.

"The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X"

In this video, Pence introduces a bill to deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood. I am proud of this Indiana congressman.

Together we fight for life.

God knits us all together in the womb and plans us well before that knitting process begins. Sitting by, watching it happen, and doing nothing about it doesn’t seem to be an option for the Catholic, and it isn’t.

We pray for life. We work for life. We fight for life. We vote for life. We live life.

Pence closes with this: “The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X….For the sake of the defenseless unborn and vulnerable young women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy, we must enact the Title X Abortion Proviuder Prohibition Act and end the day of taxpayer support for these organizations.”

Amen.

On the blogosphere

Some things that have caught my attention lately on the blogosphere: