Author Archives: bparker

Religious Freedom Week, June 22-29

People of faith are committed to serving others in God’s love in healthcare, child welfare, migration and refugee resettlement, education, and more.
Religious freedom protects the space in which we can continue to serve.
Religious Freedom Week begins June 22, the Feast of Sts. Thomas More & John Fisher. Join Catholics across the country to pray and act for the freedom to serve faithfully and with integrity.

Safe Environment Newsletter | Spring 2018

Bivona Child Advocacy Center helps children heal after abuse
When a child is a victim of sexual or physical abuse, having to re-tell to multiple adults what happened may just exacerbate the trauma. The goal of Bivona Child Advocacy Center is to reduce the trauma that victims experience and provide services to the child and family by coordinating activities of various agencies.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The 2017 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, produced by the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection (SCYP) in 2018, describes the progress of Catholic dioceses/eparchies in implementing victim assistance and child protection policies and programs in the United States, particularly those found within the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The report is based on an annual audit process, carried out between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, by StoneBridge Business Partners.

Catholic Medical Conference May 5

The Finger Lakes Guild of the national Catholic Medical Association will present its first conference with speakers and workshops to provide information and support for Catholic medical professionals.

The May 5 event at the Rochester Institute of Technology Inn &Conference Center in Henrietta will conclude with the annual White Mass for health-care professionals to be celebrated by Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, explained Jean Baric Parker, a Finger Lakes Guild member.

Diocesan Day of Penance is March 14

The Catholic Church believes the Sacrament of Penance (sometimes called Reconciliation or Confession) is a graced opportunity for us to celebrate God’s forgiveness. The Sacrament calls us to a true sorrow for the sins we have committed, along with an intention to repair our lives and our relationships with God and our community.

Prayers for victims of Florida tragedy

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano has joined his brother bishops from around the country in praying from the victims and families of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people and injured at least 14 others.

Lent 2018

The 2018 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14, for Latin-rite Catholics with Easter Sunday on April 1.

During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms, and to sacrifice self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season.

Diocese issues flu protocols

Due to the recent flu outbreak locally and across the country, the Diocese of Rochester has issued the following protocols to be observed for the celebration of Mass at all faith communities. The guidelines were issued Jan. 24 by Father Paul J. Tomasso, diocesan vicar general and moderator of the curia.

Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

The Diocese of Rochester Department of Catholic Schools will celebrate Catholic Schools week from January 28 – February 3, 2018 in all 18 schools. This year also marks the 150th Anniversary of the Diocese of Rochester, which will be highlighted throughout the week in class projects and special activities.

Local Catholics, Lutherans unite in prayer

Commonality rather than conflict was the prevailing theme among Catholics and Lutherans who came together for a special worship service at Sacred Heart Cathedral Oct. 29.

The Sunday-evening gathering marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation while also highlighting ongoing efforts to build cooperation, understanding and mutual respect between Catholics and Lutherans.

“How wonderful it is to be here with each other,” stated Bishop Salvatore R. Matano in his opening remarks for the service, at which he copresided with Bishop John Macholz of the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Bishop Matano added that the joining of Catholics and Lutherans on Oct. 29 demonstrated the desire “that we all may be one.”

Serving as assistant ministers for the service were Father Scott Caton, parochial vicar at Greece’s St. Lawrence Church, and the Rev. Dan Hoffman, a Lutheran pastor from Buffalo, who together facilitated a four-part series of panel discussions between Catholics and Lutherans earlier in 2017.

The service at Sacred Heart Cathedral coincided with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s first public posting of his “95 Theses” on Oct. 31, 1517. Luther’s disagreements with Catholic Church teachings ignited a schism that spread through 16th-century Europe, resulting in the rise of Protestantism. However, dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans has increased considerably since the 1960s, when the Second Vatican Council stressed greater ecumenical efforts by the Catholic Church.

Father Caton noted five ecumenical imperatives during the Oct. 29 event. He said Catholics and Lutherans should always: start from a point of unity, rather than division; be open to being transformed by each other; commit themselves toward visible unity; jointly rediscover the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and witness together to the mercy of God in word and service.

Positive steps also were highlighted during the panel discussions that took place between April and September, two of them at Sacred Heart Cathedral and the others at Rochester’s Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word. Attendance averaged approximately 25 per meeting, according to Betsy McDermott, the Diocese of Rochester’s project manager for ecumenical and interreligious affairs.

Dialogue during the talks was based on “From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017,” a document created by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation. Participants in panel discussions sought to establish common ground in such areas as social justice, ministry, Bible study and worship.

While acknowledging longstanding divisions between Catholics and Lutherans, Bernard Grizard, diocesan director of Pastoral Services, noted there also is “so much that we have in common.” Grizard added that the discussion series “kind of reinforced that we were on the right track, truly looking for a sense of unity.”

McDermott said the discussions evolved from being educational in nature to considering “what can we do together going forward.”

Meanwhile, the Rev. Frank Hanrahan, dean of the Lutherans’ Genesee Finger Lakes Conference, said he would like to see cooperative efforts between local Catholics and Lutherans extend beyond this 500th-anniversary year. Among the possibilities, he said, are further prayer and dialogue as well as joint community-service projects.

“As we find things we have in common, let’s keep going. I think there’s a sense of mission and ministry that calls all of us,” the Rev. Hanrahan said. “Our hope is that the people will decide our next step going forward, and we will provide leadership for that to happen.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sacred Heart Cathedral, 296 Flower City Park, Rochester, will host an ecumenical Thanksgiving prayer service Tuesday, Nov. 21, beginning at 7 p.m. Congregations of all denominations are invited.