Diocese has lost a great pro-life warriorBy: Bishop Edward M. Rice
Many of you may be aware that on Feb. 3 the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau lost a great pro-life warrior in the passing of Rosina (“Rosie”) San Paolo, age 93. Rosie was a diocesan employee as secretary for the Vocation Office from 1974-1991. She was also completely committed to the pro-life cause. When I first heard of Rosie, she had already been in a local nursing home in Springfield for years. I had heard so much about her that I was compelled to visit her just before Christmas.
Upon entering her room, I found her asleep. Upon waking her, I introduced myself, telling her I was the new bishop of the diocese.
“Oh, you are so young and handsome!” Rosie said. (She was not wearing her glasses!!) We had a lovely visit. When she was more active, Rosie could always be found praying the rosary at Planned Parenthood in Springfield, and when they ceased performing abortions there, it was one of the happiest days of her life.
At the funeral parlor for Rosie’s wake and visitation, I met a young Protestant man who told me he answered her newspaper ad to join her in prayer at Planned Parenthood. She picked him up from his apartment and they prayed the rosary as a witness to life. She was quite ecumenical! Again, she was a strong pro-life warrior. She was also one of the original members of “Voice for Life,” our diocesan-wide, pro-life organization. With her declining health, others have stepped up to continue this good work. I recently met with Donna Anderson and Kathleen Keesee to discuss the ongoing work of Voice for Life. They continue to organize the bus trip for the Annual March for Life in Washington, DC, and also sponsor pro-life activities throughout the diocese from kindergarten through 12th grade. These activities, appropriate for each age group, include drawings, essay contests, posters, and poetry. They also sponsor the annual T-shirt design contest with a pro-life message. I am so grateful to Donna and Kathleen for their efforts to continue Rosie’s good work throughout the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. I encourage all of our schools and PSR programs to participate in these activities as well. Thanks Voice for Life, for all you do! And may Rosie rest in peace!
See also: Passing on the intangibles
Retirement for Religious
I recently received a thank you letter from Sr. Stephanie Still, PVMV, the Executive Director of the National Religious Retirement Office. In the letter, she thanked me and the entire Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau for the generous collection of $78,922.46 for the 2016 Retirement Fund for Religious. All together, since the inception of this collection to support the retirement needs of our religious sisters throughout the country, our diocese has donated $2,134,511.88. I bring this to your attention because I recently received a letter asking what the diocese does for the retired religious. As you well know, on a diocesan level our Capital Endowment Campaign is trying to meet the needs of our retired priests. We do not have access to the funds raised through the national collection. It is strictly used for religious priests, sisters, and brothers, and NOT diocesan priests. At the same time I am so grateful to all of you for supporting our Capital Campaign to care for our own retired priests! You will find an accounting of the diocese’s support of various second collections on p. 9 of this issue of The Mirror.
Lent: A journey of hope
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has entitled his Lenten reflections, “Lent, Journey of Hope.” When I read the title, it struck me as odd that he would refer to Lent as a time of “hope.” I would understand penance, sacrifice, or conversion, but “hope” would not be in the top three words I would use to describe these 40 days. But then he explains that the journey of Lent brings us to the Cross, the sign of our hope.
Using the example of Mary, who stood faithfully at the foot of the Cross, we are encouraged to do the same. May our Lenten journey be a time of conversion, a time of true prayer, penance, and charity, but most of all, may Lent be a time to renew our love for the Cross, the sign of hope and salvation. Have you had the opportunity this Lent to participate in the Stations of the Cross? Typically the refrain between each station is: “We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.” So it makes perfect sense that Pope Francis would call his Lenten reflections a journey of “hope.” The Cross is not a piece of art on a wall or jewelry worn on a chain. No, the Cross is the sign of our salvation, the sign of victory over sin and death, the source of our hope! As our Lenten journey continues, may we pray often, “We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.”
Read: The 2016 Special Collections Report here.