The Springfield Missouri Chapter of National Life Runners is celebrating its first anniversary and invites pro-life runners and walkers to consider membership! Life Runners is part of a National Life Runners organization that encourages pro-life runners and walkers of all levels and ages to pray for and witness to the right to life of all God’s people (from conception to natural death) through walks and runs. Read more
Membership drive: Feb. 9-10, Feb. 16-17
In 1882, a young parish priest named Fr. Michael J. McGivney, was faced with the hardships of the families in his parish whenever a husband would die at an early age. Fr. McGivney was determined to help those widows and children, as well as to combat the bigotry and poverty which he saw in his community. He also wanted to deepen the faith of the men in his parish and instill a sense of pride in their heritage as Catholic Americans. In the basement of St. Mary Church in New Haven, CT, he called the men of the parish together and discussed his ideas. Together these men, along with Fr. McGivney, formed the Knights of Columbus (K of C). The title Knights is a tribute to the Knights of the middle ages: full of faith, courage, strength, and patriotism. They selected as their patron, Christopher Columbus, the Catholic explorer who brought the faith to the New World, to emphasize their pride as Catholic Americans. Read more
The theme for the 2013 observance of National Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” The annual week-long event starts the last Sunday in January and runs Jan. 27 to Feb. 2 this year. Schools typically celebrate Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open houses, and various other fun-filled activities for students, families, parishioners, and the community at large. All of the diocesan Catholic schools in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau have a host of activities planned. Read more
Bp. James V. Johnston threw out the first pitch for Catholic Night at the Springfield Cardinals held on Aug. 3, 2012. Very well-attended despite the heat, Fr. Hector Navalo, CMF, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Springfield, even won the musical chairs competition during the Seventh Inning Stretch. (Photos by Sarah Pittman and Katie Newton)
First-year event lauds $12,000 for St. Mary Catholic School
On Mon., April 16, the first annual Everybody Loves Raymond golf tournament took place at Hickory Hills Country Club, Springfield. Twenty-five teams from the Springfield and surrounding area came together to celebrate Msgr. Raymond Orf’s 57th anniversary as a priest in the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and to raise money for St. Mary Catholic School in Joplin, MO.
The genesis of the tournament came to Jim Hennessy and Larry Jansen in September of last year during a golf game with Msgr. Orf. Hennessy got a hole in one, and Msgr. Orf expressed his disappointment that in all of his years of golf, he has never gotten a hole in one. The idea of the golf tournament was born surrounding the idea that in a day’s time, Msgr. Orf would be given 25 chances at a hole in one … at the same hole. As Jansen and Hennessy became serious about planning the event, Msgr. Orf chose St. Mary Catholic School in Joplin as its beneficiary. The school was destroyed by the Joplin EF-5 tornado in May of 2011.
The idea exploded within Immaculate Conception Parish, where Msgr. Orf, although retired, is visible in ministry, even teaching religion in Immaculate Conception School.
Many people were involved in the planning of the event and its subsequent festivites, including David Pomerenke, who provided all the signage, and Tom Wamsley who championed the process. Silent action items included gift cards from various local restaurants, a hot-air balloon ride from RE/MAX House of Brokers, Springfield Cardinals merchandise, and an autographed Payne Stewart golf ball. Servicemaster donated a special golf cart for use by Msgr. Orf that was named the “Pope Mobile”.
All 25 teams had a chance to golf with Monsignor on the #2 Hole, as he tried to finally make his hole in one.
Teams included one team from Joplin and others included various diocesan staff and lay people. Both Bp. James V. Johnston and Bp.-Emeritus John J. Leibrecht came out to show appreciation for Monsignor and support St. Mary School. The two bishops were named “Cardinals For a Day” by event planners.
The day of the tournament was “blessed with beautiful weather,” beamed Msgr. Orf.
Mayor of Springfield, James O’Neal, designated April 16, 2012 “Monsignor Raymond V. Orf Day.” The official proclamation was presented to a surprised Msgr. Orf in a leather-bound binder.
“It greatly humbles me with all that they did [event planners],” Msgr. Orf said. “It was a tremendous day and very pleasant to meet all the golfers.”
Ordained a priest in 1955, a year before the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau was established, Msgr. Orf has been in the Church of Southern Missouri since the beginning.
“It is a great pride to be a priest and serve the great people of Southern Missouri,” Msgr. Orf said.
“It’s been a challenge at times, but I have enjoyed every minute of it,” the Flinthill Missouri native said. “Being at Immaculate Conception now is just great.”
Msgr. Orf served a broad area of the Diocese before retiring in 2002: West Plains, White Church, Willow Springs, Mansfield, Ava, Advance, Glennon, Branson, Kimberling City, Forsyth, Kelso, Carthage, and Lebanon. Like many of retired priests in the Diocese, he continues to be active in ministry.
“I’m retired,” he said, “but I haven’t found out what retirement is yet!”
The event has raised over $12,000 for St. Mary Catholic School. Renee Motazedi, Development Director for Joplin Area Catholic Schools (JACS), joined the effort at the tournament.
“It was a gorgeous day and we are so grateful for the great turnout and commitment from everyone from the planning committee to the teams and volunteers,” Motazedi said. While the decision about how the money will be spent remains undecided, “It is wonderful to know it is there to be used to help us rebuild our school system.”
Students from St. Mary School sent hand-written thank you letters to all the businesses that contributed to the event.
Did Msgr. Orf get his hole in one? He came very close, hitting the pin.
Mark your calendars now: Msgr. Orf will continue his quest for the elusive hole in one on April 22, 2013, the date of next year’s tournament.
Health organization provides much-needed funding to vital community projects
Whether it’s much needed funds for domestic violence shelters, teen moms, families in crisis or counseling for those still suffering from the devastating effects of last year’s EF-5 tornado in Joplin, Mercy continues to respond to the needs of the communities it serves.
Beginning in 1988, Mercy has awarded Caritas grants each year–today totaling $9 million to communities across Mercy. This year, a total of $600,000 was awarded to almost two dozen community programs across five states. The grants include a handful of programs in Springfield and the regional area.
“When our Founder Catherine McAuley opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland, in 1827, the needs were great,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy across seven states. “The needs today in the communities we serve across the Midwest continue to grow, and we continue to find ways to serve those needs. It’s in our DNA to serve those who are economically poor and to work for change on their behalf.”
The money will provide everything from counseling for academically at-risk students to volunteers for a medical home for uninsured adults, bus passes and birth certificates for the homeless to vaccinations for new Americans. The breakdown includes:
Isabel’s House, Springfield, MO–$25,500, equipment and counselors to assist families in crisis
Hope Connection–Community Partnership of the Ozarks, Springfield, MO–$2,450, birth certificates and bus passes for homeless individuals
Care to Learn, Lebanon, Mo., Springfield, MO–$9,600, purchase of hygiene supplies for school children.
Rural Food Pantries, Lebanon, MO; Mountain View, MO; Cassville, MO; Aurora, MO; and Berryville, AR–$50,000, food supplies for food pantries
Mercy Community Connections and Mercy Resilience Groups, Joplin, MO–$47,500, Skills for Psychological Recovery small group programs for those impacted by the 2011 tornado
Rural Medical Care, Berryville, AR; Eureka Springs, AR; and Mountain View, MO–$31,000, facility expansion and pharmaceuticals
Vaccines for New Americans, St. Louis, MO–$28,200, vaccines for new Americans
Volunteers in Medicine/Mercy Medical Home Collaboration, St. Louis, MO–$24,400, medical home for uninsured adults
Mercy Road to Home, St. Louis, MO–$35,100, supplies and services to transition homeless men into permanent housing
Medication Assistance and Transportation programs, Oklahoma City, OK; Washington, MO; Ardmore, OK; Lebanon, MO; Berryville, AR–$74,400, prescription medication and transportation assistance for underserved patients
ALIVE Nights of Safety Program, Washington, MO–$15,000, supplies for domestic violence shelter
Good Samaritan Clinic, Ft. Smith, AR–$43,500, medical supplies and laboratory tests for diabetes patients
Kornerstone, Berryville, AR–$9,350, services and supplies for teen moms
C/SARA Foundation, Ardmore, OK–$30,000, education, collaboration and victim advocacy for children and adults experiencing crisis around trauma or abuse
Good Shepherd Community Clinic, Ardmore, OK–$20,000, diabetes supplies for clinic and patients
Wheel Chair Ramps, Ardmore, OK–$19,000, purchase of 10 permanent and 20 portable wheelchair ramps
Comadre Program, Laredo, TX–$75,000, wellness screenings for women
Casa de Misericordia, Laredo, TX–$20,000, fees and supplies in domestic violence shelter
Mercy Learning Center, Metairie, LA–$40,000, tutoring and counseling for academically at-risk students
The Caritas grant–named after the Latin word “caritas”–means charity. The $100,000 Catherine McAuley Area of Greatest Need grant, which is funded by Mercy corporate co-worker donations each year, bears the name of Mercy Founder Catherine McAuley. Co-workers have donated $550,000 since the grant’s inception five years ago. This year, the $100,000 grant will provide tutoring and counseling services in Louisiana as well as food supplies in rural communities in Missouri and Arkansas.
“We remain true to the mission of our Sisters of Mercy who have cared for impoverished women, children and the sick for almost 200 years,” said Britton. “We want to improve access to health care and reach out to the economically disadvantaged. This is about Mercy supporting the communities we serve.”
Mercy Springfield Communities is comprised of Mercy Hospital Springfield, an 866-bed referral center; five regional hospitals in the Missouri communities of Lebanon, Aurora, Cassville, Mountain View, and Berryville, AR; Mercy Clinic, a 500-plus physician clinic with 70 locations throughout the region; and Mercy Health Plans, the largest managed care provider in the region.
Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the US and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.
Dear Friends in Christ, and especially, Savior and Kizito, throughout history, God amazes us by including us in the awesome work of salvation. At times, it even seems that God chooses to make himself dependent upon us! We see this most evidently in the event which we know as the Annunciation:
God sends his angel, Gabriel, to Mary, announcing His intentions for her, but God depends upon her “yes” before He acts. Before the Word can become flesh and make his dwelling among us, Mary must agree and give her “yes.”
Each year during the fourth week of Advent, I am struck by a homily of St. Bernard which we read in the Liturgy of the Hours, which is titled: “The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply”. At one point in that homily, St. Bernard says, as if speaking directly to Mary: “The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. . . Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.” It is both awesome and humbling to realize that God chooses to rely on human choices to bring about his will. He chooses us, and then waits for us to choose him.
This mystery is also evident today at this Mass in which two men, Kizito and Saviour will be ordained priests. We are once again confronted with the reality that God chooses to carry out his purposes through his people, and in effect, chooses to rely on them to say “yes.” Perhaps this amazement is why the prophet Jeremiah responds to God’s call the way he does: “Ah, Lord God, . . . I know not how to speak; I am too young.” It is almost as if Jeremiah is saying to God: “God, you want to depend upon me? You have got to be kidding!” If he is honest, every priest looks upon his own life and vocation with amazement . . . amazement that God would depend upon him for such important work; work that will have eternal consequences for so many, including himself.
Like Mary, if a man called to priesthood does not give his “yes” there will be no “Incarnation” in the great sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. If he does not give his “yes,” the Word is not spoken in absolution over the penitent. When a priest is ordained, we realize that, like the call of the prophet Jeremiah, and like Mary at the Annunciation, God continues to make His work, to an extent, dependent on us, and our acts of faith. Certainly, God can, and often does, act without us; but he chooses to work in and through us as members of his Body, as branches on the vine.
Kizito and Saviour, in a few moments, you will be asked five questions, which touch on the duties of a priest. First, you will be called to dedicate yourself to working with me your bishop to care for the needs of the Lord’s flock. In this, we recognize the words of advice that the apostle Paul gives to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus in the reading from Acts which we heard tonight: “Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with his own Blood.” (Acts 20: 28)
In one of his homilies, St. Augustine comments on this term that Paul uses, “overseers,” and contrasts it with another word from Scripture, the hireling.”
Augustine asks, “Who then is the hireling, who deserves reproach but is also indispensable?” Augustine seeks this answer so that he will not become a hireling, and he answers, “In the Church there are certain people in positions of authority of whom the apostle Paul says, They seek their own ends, not those of Christ. (Philippians 2: 19-20) . . . It means that they do not love Christ for nothing, they do not seek God for the sake of God; they pursue worldly rewards.” (Homilies on John’s Gospel, 46)
By contrast, the overseer is genuinely concerned for the sheep. Augustine says the overseer is truly a shepherd because he is a member of the one Shepherd, Jesus. He loves God and His flock, not so that he can get something out of it, or be popular, but so that the sheep will be safe and protected from the danger of the wolf. Augustine says that among the clergy there will be both genuine shepherds and unfortunately, hirelings, and that both are needed. God uses both, even the hirelings, to proclaim the Gospel. But, he warns that the hirelings will not inherit the shepherd’s reward, because the hireling is after an earthly reward. Saviour and Kizito, as you care for the flock, always do so with a true shepherd’s heart.
You will also commit to the ministry of the word, preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic Faith. You will resolve to celebrate faithfully and reverently the mysteries of Christ, especially the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation, for the sanctification of the flock. You will resolve to pray without ceasing for God’s people and unite yourself more each day to Christ, giving your life, like he did for the salvation of all.
We know that through sacred ordination, it is Christ himself that acts in and through the priest. But, we also know that for this work of Christ in us to be credible, we priests must adopt a lifestyle that is consistent with the word we preach and the Catholic faith we teach. This is at the heart of the Gospel reading we have tonight. This discourse in John’s Gospel is taken from the last discourse of Jesus with his disciples, in which He speaks in terms of the vine and the branches. In these words, our Lord is especially praying for these ones he has chosen to carry on his priestly ministry in the world.
As He does so, He prays that they might love one another with a sacrificial love, laying down their lives for each other.
As priests, we realize we are not mere functionaries, but we are called to be living witnesses and examples of the way of life we preach . . . or better yet, we are called to be living witnesses of the person we preach. When we celebrate the Eucharist and speak the words of Jesus, “This is my Body, which will be given up for you” we are doing so in persona Christi, “in the person of Christ,” which means that it is actually Christ himself speaking his words in and through us. But there is another dimension of meaning that Christ intends. He wishes those words to be evident in the priest who speaks them, and who represents him as his witness, so that the priest himself is also saying to his people, “Here too, is my body, my person, my life, given for you as your priest.”
Here we might return to Jeremiah again because at this point, realizing what God is calling us to do with all its seriousness and responsibility, we might wish to point out our deficiencies, our youth, our inexperience; but, like Jeremiah, the Lord reassures us, “it was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you.” (John 15: 16) The Lord calls and sends, and he equips us for the mission. We not only have to say “yes” on the day of our ordination but we have to continue to say “yes” our whole lives, otherwise we lose our first love and what we sometimes call “priestly zeal” and can even drift into indifference or cynicism. It is then that we start looking for other rewards in the way a hireling does.
To renew our “yes” each day as priests, we must remember that we are missionaries and that America today has again become missionary territory. Kizito and Saviour, you are reminders of this reality. You come to us from the Church in Africa, to proclaim the Gospel in America. But, like you, all of us in the presbyterate are also missionaries. The Church in America is in need of a new evangelization as we know. Our people need Christ revealed to them, even those who already have the name “Catholic.” They need to know Him and have a living relationship with Him, otherwise their lives are empty. But, we first need to seek Christ with joy and enthusiasm. We have to be men of prayer, because we cannot give to others what we ourselves do not have.
We also must be deliberate about following the command of Jesus in tonight’s Gospel. We must love one another as brothers, and we must do so as brother priests. We must teach what we believe and practice what we teach. We welcome you as our brothers tonight and we pledge to love you as our brothers.
Catholic priesthood, we begin to see, is an “all or nothing” proposition from God. This is why priesthood has to affect all the detail of our lives and why the holiness of the office and our own personal holiness must go together.
Saint Catherine of Siena once said: “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze.” Saviour and Kizito, through your “yes” to God’s call you become priests of Jesus Christ tonight. Recommit yourselves each day to being what you should be and set the world ablaze with the love of God, always remembering the example of the Good Shepherd, who came not to be served but to serve, and to seek out and rescue those who were lost.
And may Mary, who through her “yes” to the Father conceived the “Word Made Flesh” be for you a guide and a protector.
May Jesus Christ be praised, now and forever. The archbishops and bishops from near and far, dear priests and deacons, men and women religious, ecumenical, interfaith and civic leaders, leadership from our catholic hospitals, my dear family, dear friends from East Tennessee and various places beyond, and most especially my new family here in southern Missouri in this beautiful local church of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. I truly greet you, and I thank you for your welcome of me as your new bishop and for your presence today of this great celebration of God’s abundant love for His Church.
In studying the rite for the ordination of a bishop, I notice that the instruction for this part of the ceremony says, “The newly ordained bishop may briefly address the people.” Therefore, I will try to follow instructions and keep my words somewhat brief. I wish to begin by expressing my deep, deep thanks to a number of people. Cardinal Rigali, we are all so pleased and feel so honored that you would go to such great lengths to be with us today. Even though you serve our Lord now as the archbishop of Philadelphia, we know that you still have a special place in your heart for the church in Missouri, and we thank you.
Archbishop Sambi, we are honored and privileged by your presence here today as well. As apostolic nuncio to the United States, you represent so well our Holy Father Pope Benedict. Please convey our great love, affection, and fidelity to our Holy Father. I’m looking forward to being able to do so in person for our diocese when our Holy Father visits our country in a little over two weeks. Thank you, Archbishop.
Archbishop Burke, we are grateful to you as the archbishop of St. Louis and our metropolitan for your deep faith and strong pastoral leadership and for your presence today as the principal consecrator and homilist. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a better homily. Thank you so much, Archbishop.
I thank my dear friend and my former bishop in Knoxville and now the archbishop of Louisville, Archbishop Kurtz. Thank you, Archbishop.
Bishop Leibrecht, I hope you’re not getting tired of being thanked because we are not getting tired of thanking you.
Bishop, yours was the first voice I heard welcoming me to my new family here in southern Missouri. In typical pastoral charity, you have welcomed not only me but also my immediate family, whom I’m so close to.
You have served gently and selflessly as bishop for over two decades, and I’m grateful you will be continuing in a new capacity of service in your retirement. Now, I understand that some of your staff have given you some interesting suggestions for how you might want to spend your retirement, and I’m not going to go into those, but I think we can come up with some better alternatives.
I thank all of those present today from other faith communities. I’m deeply grateful for your presence here today. You honor us with not only your presence but with your great love of the Lord. Thank you so much.
I also wish to thank my dear, dear family, especially my mother and father and my sisters and my brother and their families. I love you all very, very much, and you know that, and I can never thank you enough for the rich blessing you are to my life. Every Christian vocation is a small mystery, but I am certain that I would not have realized mine without the love and example of my family. I will forever be grateful to almighty god for you, a great, great gift.
I thank all of my brother priests, both here in southern Missouri and from the Diocese of Knoxville and many other dioceses–friends, classmates. I have been blessed by our common fraternity and the bond of sacred orders that links us in a special way to the Lord and to each other. I thank all of you who have been a part of my life’s journey in Tennessee, in Texas, at St. Meinrad and Catholic University and in so many parishes and places I’ve been.
As I was going through the congregation blessing all of you, I was touched by so many faces from my life. What a great gift you all are, and I thank you.
I thank our diocesan staff and all the countless people who have been preparing for today and beyond, especially Monsignor Tom Reidy thank you and Father Bobby Manso thank you.
Over these last few weeks, I think we’ve given a new meaning to the term March madness. So I thank all of you for your excellent and generous work. Wasn’t this a beautiful celebration today?
Hundreds and hundreds of people put in countless hours to prepare for today. I can’t name all of them but I do want to especially thank you, our choir, which I know is made up of several different choirs, so thank you our choir and all the musicians, all of our ushers and servers and all of you who assisted with the Mass today in any way.
To my brother Knights of Columbus and to the knights and ladies of the Holy Sepulcher and to all the many other ecclesial groups represented. I thank you for your dedication and for your great love of the church.
Finally I thank all of you, the dear faithful of the Church of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. I continue to be struck by the warmth, the goodness, the deep faith, and enthusiasm of people here. I’m particularly amazed by our children and young people.
I’ve received several letters from young people over the past weeks. And last Friday night in Cape Girardeau I shared one of those letters received from a little girl named Grace, a first grader at St. Denis School in Benton. Her letter reads:
How are you? I have one sister, almost like you.
If I was a bishop I would teach. What is your favorite food?
Then she adds, “P.S. you look like my sister’s soccer coach.”
So if you all are going through Benton and you think you see me coaching soccer, it’s not me. It’s someone else.
On Friday evening after the welcoming mass in Cape Girardeau, the students from Notre Dame High School in Cape impressed us all with a beautiful presentation of choral music, and I know many of them were here today as part of our choir.
And then Saturday I had the joy of greeting several hundred of our youth at the diocesan youth conference in West Plains. I know many of our youth and children are here today, and I thank all of you. Along with your parents and your priests and teachers, I’m going to dedicate myself as your bishop to helping you discover that our lord has for your life and the great adventure that comes about when we follow that plan.
You know, when I was called by the Papal
Nuncio to receive the announcement that I had been appointed your bishop, one of the first things I did was get on the internet and look up Springfield, Missouri. Here’s the first thing I saw: Springfield, Missouri, designated by Forbes Magazine as having the wildest weather in the United States. So, if you heard the thunder outside, it was just giving you a good demonstration of why we’re No. 1.
It was 20 years ago this year, 1988 that our beloved late Holy Father John Paul II established the Diocese of Knoxville, where I am arriving from. On that occasion the Holy Father appointed as the first Bishop of Knoxville a priest from Missouri, Anthony O’Connell. When he arrived in Eastern Tennessee for the first time, the priests of the diocese presented this Missourian with a coonskin cap to welcome him to the land of Davy Crockett.
These 20 years later, Pope Benedict sends me, a Tennessean from the land of Crockett to the land of Mark Twain, Truman, De Soto, and the French explorers, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and so many people of faith whose names have faded into history.
I come, obviously not wearing a coonskin cap, but full of the spirit of a Tennessee Volunteer.
It’s occurred to me that a volunteer spirit has to be present in each of our lives if we are going to follow the lord’s will and plan for us individually, in fact, the Latin word for will is voluntas. It’s providential I think that we have set before us on this special solemnity of the annunciation the prime example of a Christian volunteer in our Blessed Mother. She responds to God with her whole being: may it be done to me according to your word. In freely accepting God’s will for her life, she opened up the way for the incarnation; the word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord. When we seek to follow God’s will for us, we also open up the way for Jesus, the word made flesh. In a sense, we are all meant to be Vols. Not Tennessee Vols but the Lord’s, as Mary was. With Mary as our model, our protector, and our intercessor, may we each seek our Lord’s will in love and truth and joy, that God may be glorified and that we might each grow in holiness.
Thank you all again, and may God always bless you.