November 30, 2001 Vol. 35 No. 45
Of Note This Week
n ELECTION RESULTS IN THE MAIL
The Provincial Office is mailing today (Nov. 30) the results of balloting to elect 33 delegates to next year’s Provincial Chapter. Included is an invitation to submit chapter agenda items.
Matthew Gaskin has retired as Provincial Spiritual Assistant to the Secular Franciscans, effective Jan. 1. He will be succeeded by Richard Trezza. Matt will continue to reside at St. Anthony’s in Butler, and Richard will continue to reside at Holy Name Parish, 96th St.
William Beaudin has been appointed to campus ministry at Siena College, effective Jan. 31.
n ORDINATION to the priesthood will take place at noon, Sat., May 25 at St. Francis Church, 31st St., NYC. Auxiliary Bishop Peter Rosazza of Hartford will preside.
n FRATERNAL GATHERING
Friars in parochial ministry in the South will take part in the final pre-chapter Fall Fraternal Gathering Mon., Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to1 p.m. at St. Francis Parish, Raleigh, N.C.
n HOSPITALITY WEEKENDS
The Vocation Office is sponsoring a Hospitality Weekend Nov. 30-Dec. 2 for prospective candidates with the community of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston. Another gathering will be offered at Holy Name College Jan. 11-13. A joint weekend will be presented Mar. 22-23 at St. Francis and Holy Name parishes in Manhattan.
n ADVENT BEGINS
This weekend the Church’s new liturgical year opens, and during this season friars are presenting special programs at their ministry sites. Typical is a spirituality series offered by John Hogan at St. Francis Chapel, Providence, R.I., on Dec. 4 and 9.
n DEATH NOTICES
Thomas Manning, retired Bishop of Coroico, Bolivia, died Nov. 9. He was 79 years old, a friar for 59 years, a priest for 53 years. Cormac Dungan died Nov. 10. He was 87 years old, a friar for 66 years and a priest for 60 years. Simeon Capizzi died Nov. 14. He was 83 years old, a friar for 53 years, a priest for 48 years. James Schwantner died Nov. 15. He was 82 years old, a friar for 50 years, a priest for 46 years.
Take a Walk down Mychal Judge Street
To the Judge NY-NJ Commuter Ferry
By John Zawadzinski
NEW YORK—The New York City Council Committee unanimously approved a bill on Nov. 20 to permanently add Mychal Judge’s name to the street sign on West 31st Street between 6th and 7th Avenue here.
The full council, sponsored by City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, unanimously approved the bill to honor Mychal, a New York City fire department chaplain, who perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
The street naming seemed to be appropriate since Mychal lived at St. Francis of Assisi Friary here and also kept his chaplain’s car at Engine 1/Ladder 24 on West 31st Street.
“Father Judge was a saint of a man who lost his life on September 11 in service to the brave firefighters who responded to the attack on the World Trade Center,” Vallone said. “It is fitting that we honor him by adding his name to the street where the church he served stands, so all will remember his work and his sacrifice during that terrible moment in our city’s history.”
According to an official at the City Council’s Office, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani must sign the bill before the Department of Transportation could hang the sign. Although no official date his been announced, it was speculated Mychal’s name would be added before the end of the year.
• • •
Two victims in the World Trade Center attacks and the late Port Authority executive director, who oversaw the Twin Towers’ construction, will be memorialized in the open waters this coming year.
New York Waterway, a privately owned transportation company that helped evacuate more than 48,000 people to safety following the terrorist attacks, will christen three new boats in its fleet: the Father Mychal Judge, the Austin Tobin and the Moira Smith.
Arthur E. Imperatore Jr., president of N.Y. Waterway, decided prior to Sept. 11 to name one of the boats after Tobin, who participated in developing a number of city landmarks including the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the World Trade Center, and Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports. Following the terrorist attacks, Imperatore felt compelled to honor Mychal and Smith, who both died while serving others.
Smith, of the New York City police department, was the only female police officer to perish in the World Trade Center attacks, while Mychal was killed as he administered last rights to fallen firefighters at ground zero.
The names of the deceased will be painted on the back and sides of the three ferries, with memorial plaques installed inside. The boats are expected to arrive next month, with the christening ceremonies to take place in January.
North Carolina Death Row Inmate Executed
By John Zawadzinski
RALEIGH, N.C.—Despite pleas from Pope John Paul II and David McBriar, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley decided against granting clemency to a death row inmate found guilty of murder.
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ohn Hardy Rose was put to death by lethal injection at 2 a.m. on Nov. 30 at Central Prison here for the 1991 stabbing death of Patricia Stewart, 24. Rose, 43, of Graham County, became the fifth person to be executed in North Carolina this year—the highest number in the state since resuming executions 17 years ago.
Prior to Rose’s execution, those opposing the death penalty gathered at Sacred Heart Cathedral here, before participating in a candlelight procession to Central Prison, the oldest correctional facility in the state.
“Governor Easley is Catholic, but he supports the death penalty, something our pope and bishops say is immoral,” said David, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Durham. “Easley supports the death penalty and I think that’s wrong.”
Last month, David wrote a letter to the pope on behalf of Immaculate Conception’s Social Concerns Committee asking him to intervene in Rose’s execution because it is “contrary to statements (the pope made) about the value of life, church teaching and generally accepted worldwide moral values.”
IN HIS LETTER, David also informed the pontiff that within the past 10 months, the state, under Gov. Easley, had four men executed in Central Prison, located a few miles from the governor’s mansion.
“The pace of executions in North Carolina has quickened,” David wrote. “We beseech you to write Governor Easley to try to soften his heart, to choose life and ask him to follow the Catholic teaching and your words supporting life from conception to natural death.”
A short time after receiving David’s letter, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo of the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States sent a six-paragraph letter to Gov. Easley on behalf of the pope. The request for clemency in a specific case was the first from any pope to a North Carolina governor and was not intended to ignore or condone Rose’s crimes or deny the sufferings caused by them. Instead, it was an appeal for life.
“COMMITTED TO UPHOLDING the sacredness and dignity of each human life, our Holy Father prays that the life of Mr. Rose may be saved through your compassion and dignity,” Archbishop Montalvo wrote. “He trusts in your authority to have a life spared by commuting this sentence with a gesture of mercy.”
Although Rose exhausted all his appeals two months ago, Gov. Easley held a clemency hearing on Nov. 27. During the meeting, David, Stephen Dear, executive director of North Carolina-based People of Faith Against the Death Penalty and Rev. Robert Seymour, pastor emeritus of Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, spoke on Rose’s behalf.
Stewart’s family was also in attendance during the hearing. They said they considered the death penalty a just punishment for Rose, but also expressed compassion for his family.
Despite being discouraged by Gov. Easley’s decision, David vowed to continue to fight against the death penalty.
“We’re not going to fold up our tent because of this,” he said. “We have been working hard to overturn the death penalty in this state and the country and the people who oppose the death penalty won’t give up and I won’t give up either.”
To Bolivia in Summer
Initial Formation Adopts New Policies
NEW YORK—Charley Miller, head of the Formation Directorate, reports that a year-long evaluation of initial formation has been completed and some changes have been approved by the Provincial Council.
The Bolivia Experience will now take place in the summer after the novitiate is completed. In the last three years, the novices have taken the Bolivia Experience during the early fall of the novitiate year. The Formation Directorate concluded that the same value could be maintained by having the experience in the summer after simple vows.
“This will give more stability and continuity to the novitiate program at the Wilmington site,” Charley said.
Since one of the values of the Bolivia Experience in the last three years was the novice master’s accompaniment of the
novices in Bolivia, the directorate resolved that a friar-formator from post-novitiate formation will accompany the simply professed to Bolivia.
“The directorate also recognized the great value of having two summers at the Franciscan Institute,” Charley said. “Since moving the Bolivia Experience to the summer after simple vows will rule out classes at the Institute for that summer,” he explained, “the directorate decided to send the friars in formation to a second session at the Franciscan Institute in the summer preceding their year-long internship.”
Another change mandates that in the future, ordination to the transitional diaconate will take place in the fall of a friar’s fourth year of theology instead of in January as is presently the case.
November Provincial Council Highlights
The Provincial Council on Nov. 14 reviewed the four regional Fraternal Gatherings that had taken place. The friars were encouraged to continue discussion of the draft of the province’s ministerial plan and its implications.
The partnership committee of the ministerial development directorate will organize at least one special gathering for friars and our partners in ministry to take place in the spring.
n John Felice reported that he prefers to adhere to the current provincial policy that limits pastoral terms of office to nine years. Some friars who have completed that period had expressed interest in remaining for another term.
In places where the leader’s third term of nine years is completed, the councilor who has been in contact with that ministry will do a consultation visit with the local community, friars and laity, regarding what is needed for future leadership. Charley Miller will prepare an initial list and a consultation process for review at the December council meeting.
n Jim Hynes, chair of the new ministries committee, is preparing a report for the province on places visited and prospects at this time. The Poverello Program in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., continues to have some real potential for a small group of friars who might be interested in developing this social oriented ministry. John Felice and Charley Miller have visited the site and discussed the matter with Archbishop John Favalora. Á
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n Next year’s provincial chapter will include celebrations of 25th and 50th jubilees; novices will be received after the election of the provincial.
n Peter Brophy and David Hyman reported on their meeting with friars solemnly professed under five years (SPUFY) earlier this month at Margate.
n Other areas still undergoing discussion included personnel, formation, finances and provincial properties.
Bona’s Group Joins School of Americas Protest
By Jud Weiksnar
ALLEGANY, N.Y.—On Nov. 16, 1989 in El Salvador army officers trained at the School of the Americas (SOA) massacred six Jesuit priests and their two housekeepers.
Every November since then, SOA Watch, a grassroots human rights group, has commemorated that event with demonstrations and funeral processions at Fort Benning, the home of the SOA, on the outskirts of Columbus, Ga.
SOA Watch founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois refers to the School as “the terrorist training camp right here in our own backyard.”
This year the City of Columbus sought an injunction forbidding Bourgeois and other SOA Watch organizers from taking part in the procession at the entrance to Fort Benning. On Nov. 16, the 12th anniversary of the Jesuit massacre, Federal Magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth denied the city’s request.
Faircloth said that even war cannot remove safeguards for civil liberties. “It was a question of First Amendment rights, and you can’t play with that,” the judge said. “I am sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution. I think I did that today.” Last May, he found 26 SOA Watch demonstrators guilty of trespassing for taking part in November’s nonviolent funeral procession.
AMONG THIS YEAR’S contingent driving down with me from St. Bonaventure University, ranging in age from 17 to 79, were my co-workers Doug Looney and Tina Denena; SBU and Houghton College students; and a parishioner of St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany.
About half a dozen friars from other OFM provinces participated in this year’s procession, including Michael Cusato of the Franciscan Institute. I invite other HNP friars to consider going next year, Nov. 16-17.
All participants take an oath of nonviolence, and the event is extremely well organized. If you have participated in previous demonstrations of civil disobedience, or as some call it ‘moral obedience,’ you will probably find it refreshing to see a new generation of young people so involved. If you have never engaged in protests of this kind and have questions or concerns, feel free to call me, or check out the www.soaw.org Web site.
Immaculate Conception Church
Honored By Durham Muslim Community
DURHAM, N.C.—At its annual Community Leaders award banquet, Immaculate Conception Church was recently given the “Religious Leader of the Year” award by the Durham Muslim Community.
Immam Abdul Waheed, local Muslim leader, and W.D. Mohammad, leader of the American Muslim Community, cited Immaculate Conception for its ongoing support of the Muslim Community, particularly following the events of Sept. 11, reports David McBriar, pastor.
Immaculate Conception held an inner-faith prayer service with Mosque Ad Rassaq and parishioners have volunteered to shop with and be available to Muslim women who feel besieged. The parish and the mosque are neighbors, and over the past five years they have worked together for the reduction of crime and the restoration of family life in Durham’s West End.
Be Not Afraid: A Week of Remembering
By Stephen Lynch
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—In response to the most catastrophic act of terrorism in the history of the United States, and the ongoing threat of bioterrorism, St. Francis Chapel & City Ministry Center earlier this month offered three daily reflection groups for a week here. Each meeting began with a short prayer and a shared reflection about what people felt, thought and how they are responding to these fear-filled days.
Friars and laity from St. Francis facilitated the 15 groups. Sixty-two people attended the sessions. Two young college women made the comment that up until Sept. 11th, they really had not thought much about death as our nation participated in no major war during their lifetime. Now, still in shock over this Orwellian catastrophe, both felt a new appreciation for life as a precious gift from God. Both were resolved to be more grateful for God’s daily blessings.
While many in the groups expressed a lingering fear about security, everyone was unanimous that life must go on. Many said that, in spite of the threat of bioterrorism or other dangers, they intended to travel and go about their daily routines. All saw the need to bring the terrorists to justice and be punished appropriately.
However, a businessman worried that the massive bombings in Afghanistan may cause extensive collateral damage to civilians, as well as creating hundreds of thousands more refugees. His fear was that America’s moral integrity may be jeopardized, and such bombings may incite further hatred of the U.S. by Muslims and others around the world.
AS AMERICA TURNS from grief to the military response to the terrorist attacks, we are faced with the age-old ethical dilemma, “Does the end justify the means,” and how do you apply the principle of proportionality to situations containing both good and evil results? Between the threat and the measures taken against it, will more good result than harm?
Another made the point that the goal of terrorism is to destabilize a country, not by massive military force, but by single suicidal acts of violence, preferably using the country’s assets against them. Sept. 11th terrorists used the U.S. airlines Á
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as weapons against America to create a pervasive atmosphere of paralyzing fear and hysteria.
Homefront security was a worry expressed by everyone. Some people mentioned the importance of tightening up airport security, greater scrutiny at our borders, and stricter checks on immigration. Many worried about the disastrous effects on the economy and the shrinking job market.
We encouraged each other to pray more frequently for God’s protection, and to pray especially for our government officials that God will grant them the gift of discernment to appropriately combat the threat of terrorism in America. All were committed to praying for all of the victims of the terrorist attacks, as well as for their families, relatives and friends, and for true peace and justice in our world.
The participants generally agreed that for the American people life would never be the same again after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks, and the ongoing threat of bioterrorism. Someone suggested that the motto of our country has even more meaning now: “In God We Trust.”
Making a Choice That Defined His Life
By Francis Gunn
NEW YORK—I was asked to preach at the memorial service for Peter Bielfeld from Ladder 42 in the Bronx. His story is uniquely heroic and there are some touch points with our province.
When I met with his family, they were delighted to have a friar involved since Peter’s father was baptized at Holy Cross Church in the Bronx. He and his wife are members of our St. Francis Parish in Narrowsburg. Peter’s sister, Barbara Branda, lives in our former parish, St. Catherine’s in Ringwood.
Pete was an active member of AA and was a great help to Barbara during her treatment for cancer. He called her the night before the tragedy to remind her as he often did of the importance of “living in the present moment and letting go of the things over which you have no control.”
Peter was supposed to go to the FDNY medical office on Monday, Sept. 10th, but he postponed that visit until the following day because Mychal Judge was coming to Ladder 42 to lead the services dedicating their newly renovated quarters. Had he not made that decision he would still be alive today. His father told me, “The last pictures we have of our son alive are in the video taken on Sept. 10th where he is standing next to Fr. Mike Judge at the dedication ceremonies.”
Pete’s heroic story has a unique ending. Here is an excerpt of my homily:
As you may know Pete was not on duty that day. He had been banged up in a fire a few days before and his job that day was to take care of himself, his own health and well being. Peter wasn’t even in the same borough that morning; he was at the medical office in Brooklyn. While hundreds of his comrades answered the call of the bell and responded as part of their commitment to duty, Peter responded to an even deeper call that morning: the alarm that sounded inside his heart.
Like some other firefighters that day he had a choice about this one, and several good excuses not to risk his life that morning. He could have returned home to do what many of us did on Sept. 11th, watch this tragedy unfold on television miles and miles from harm’s way.
But those of you who know Pete, knew that that was not going to happen. He made the decision every single one of you knew he would make in such a situation. Without hesitation or fear, he would freely make the choice, which defined his very life, his reason for being. He would be Peter Bielfeld in that moment; he would go there and fight fire and save . . .
I don’t think it was any coincidence that on the day before the tragedy, Sept. 10th, Peter postponed his visit to the medical office in order to be at his firehouse for the dedication and celebration of their newly renovated quarters.
MY BROTHER in Franciscan life, Fr. Mychal Judge, led the prayers and blessings that day and shared a message about the importance of living for today. “Don’t worry about tomorrow,” Mychal said, “take care of today.” Isn’t it interesting that Fr. Mike’s and Peter’s final messages were one and the same? They both learned those things first hand by facing the struggles of life and their own powerlessness.
This left them with a faith, a depth of spirit, and the kind of wisdom shared only by those who have walked those roads. Our last pictures of Mychal and Peter alive were captured on video at that celebration. They were living for today, Sept. 10th, 2001, courageously ready to face whatever challenge tomorrow would bring . . .
As the World Trade Center tragedy was unfolding, Peter sped from the medical office in Brooklyn to lower Manhattan and he arrived at Engine 10, Ladder 10, to leave his personal belongings and borrow turnout gear before he went in. Time was of the essence, but he was not in too much of a hurry to survey the field and realize what he had to do.
HE GAVE THE PEOPLE he loved the most and the City of New York a final gift. He wrote a simple note and placed it on a locker, a treasure left by one of the very bravest to tell us what you guys pray about and hold in your hearts before you lay down your lives.
The message tells us he knew full well that he might not come back from this mission alive. And then for the last time in words, he told you Mom and Dad, Patti and Brittany, Barbara and Roger, each by name, how very much he loves you.
Peter defined his entire life in those last moments of his earthly journey and he may well have defined the essence of what it means to be a New York City firefighter. Then I believe, with unwavering faith, courage, and maybe even peace in his heart he ran toward the World Trade Center and laid down his life.
“There is no greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends . . . And I will raise him up,” says the Lord Jesus, “for this is the greatest love of all.”
HNP Today, weekly newsletter of OFM Holy Name Province, Communications Office, 127 W. 31 St., New York NY 10001. Editorial staff: John Zawadzinski, Phillip Jacobs, Fr. Cassian A. Miles, OFM. Production: Theresa Bartha, Sharon Berrios. Phone: 212/594-6224; Fax: 212/244-7718. E-mail: HNPToday@aol.com Internet: www.hnp.org/publications