1996 March 3 – 2nd Sun Lent (Bulletin Letters)
The Dingman Peace Award / A Transfiguration Moment!
In this week’s Gospel Jesus leads Peter, James and John up a mountain and is transfigured right before their eyes. The story provides a kind of glimpse of heaven for the disciples to give them courage and hope to carry out the very hard day-to-day task of being a disciple of Jesus.
Last Friday night, I experienced a transfiguration moment at The First Annual Bishop Dingman Peace Award Dinner. Close to 250 people attended this $25 a ticket fund raiser for the Catholic Peace Ministry held at Sacred Heart Church in W. Des Moines. Retired Bishop Charles Buswell of Pueblo Co. and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, two old and dear friends of Bishop Dingman were on hand to help celebrate the occasion. Bishop Gumbleton gave a stirring keynote address in defense of nonviolence. After Bishop Gumbleton’s talk, Sr. Mary Dingman, Bishop Dingman’ sister, pòresented Helen Tichy, an 84 yr. old Des Moines Catholic peace activist the first Bishop Dingman Peace Award .
The whole night was a magical and mystical experience for me. When Bishop Gumbleton asked us to call forth the spirit of Bishop Dingman to be with us by calling out his name and asking us to chant “Presente!” I actually felt Bishop Dingman’s presence. Bishop Dingman’s spirit was very much alive and well throughout the night in the conversations and fellowship that took place amongst the people i n attendance, many who worked with or knew Bishop Dingman personally.
The high point of the night came when Helen received her award. She looked radiant, 20 years younger than her 84 years. I knew Helen when she first got involved with peace Úand justice concerns twenty years ago and I can attest to her faithful peace making efforts through out the years.
That night, the Catholic/ Ecumenical peace communities that Bishop Dingman spent so many years cultivating and nurturing reassembled. By our attendance and participation, we reaffirmed our commitment to the task of peace making which Bishop Dingman so ably lived through out his life. In naming Helen Tichy, the first recipient of the Bishop Dingman Peace Award, we lifted up a great example of a peace maker who never called any attention to herself, yet never failed to take the needed action or public stand to confront injustice when ever she could .
I felt like dancing the whole night. It was a natural high and spirit lifter for me, especially after the difficult days leading up to our Ash. Wed. Prayer Service at the Cathedral. This is an event I am going to look forward to every year! A tradition has begun . . .
96 03 03
Ash Wednesday Report
I feel very ½good about the outcome of our Ash Wed. morning Prayer Service on the steps of St. Ambrose Cathedral. Sixteen people participated including our own Yvonne Farley and Pam Wadle (though Pam was wrongly identified at Margaret Cavanaugh in the D.M Register photo.)
As many of you already know, Fr. Kevin Cameron and I did not participate. ( I observed the prayer service from across the street with my mother on non Church property. I was interviewed by the T.V. News people after the service was over.) Instead, we signed the following statement of support, along with Fr. David Polich, Fr. Tom DeCarlo and Fr. Tom Coenen.
” We wish to go on record in our support for a national dialogue on the future of priestly ministry. We would be with you in person except we fear the possible consequences our presence would pose to our active priestly ministries. We are committed to further the needed, on going dialogue within the Catholic Church regarding these iss ßues.”
Fr. Kevin and I both knew there would be risks involved when we invited people to participate in this public prayer service. We were almost certain Bishop Charron would not be pleased about our participation. At the planning meeting Feb. 15th, we both said we did not want to risk our active priestly ministries by participating in the prayer service. We decided that Fr. Kevin would met with Bishop Charron, as soon as possible, to let him know what we were planning and ask the Bishop what the consequences would be for the priests who participated.
Fr. Kevin met with Bishop Charron the following day. Fr. Kevin said the Bishop told him that he should follow his conscience, however, the participation of any priest in the prayer service would carry serious consequences for that priest. When Kevin asked what those consequences would be, the Bishop would not say. Based on Fr. Kevin’s meeting with Bishop Charron, we five priests decided to sign the above statement.
The Fear I Çs Real / The Dialogue Is Necessary
This whole experience has really impressed upon me how very real the fear within the ranks of priest, sisters and lay people working for the Catholic Church is surrounding the issues raised by our Ash Wed. prayer service. From the parish level to the diocesan level, I talked to priest, sisters and lay people who said they personally supported our Ash. Wed. Prayer Service and the dialogue called for but feared losing their jobs if they dared to joined us.
It is as if an unwritten message is being sent out from our Church leadership, if you work for the Church and disagree with “The Official” Church position on Women’s Ordination, Birth Control and our all male celibate priesthood, you either must “shut up or get out” of the Church. This is not a healthy environment for our Catholic Faith community, especially as the crisis in ministry within our Church continues to unfold .
Bishop Charron stated in the D.M. Register †that our Ash. Wed. Prayer Service “risk a real potential for polarization, rather than bringing forth a thoughtful response from the people.” Judging from the deep seated fear I encounter within the ranks of active Catholic ministers, the polarization Bishop Charron fears is already there. Far from creating the division within the Church, I believe our Ash. Wed. Prayer Service was most prophetic in as much as it helped to point out and make known the split that already exists within the Church. Now more than ever our Church needs a full and open dialogue about these concerns in an environment free from fear. Please join me and many others in praying for and working towards this much needed fear free dialogue .
96 03 03
Fr. Frank in L.A. For Catholic Worker B-Day Celebration
Joanne Kennedy of the Des Moines Catholic Worker and I will fly to Los Angeles CA this coming weekend to help cel ´ebrate Jeff Dietrich’s 50th birthday and his 25th Anniversary at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker. Jeff is a dear and old friend. And I’m sure we will have a great and joyful celebration. Joanne is also from the L.A. area and this trip will give her a chance to see family and friends. I see my attendance at this gathering as part of my Catholic Worker ÔfamilyÕ responsibilities. It is also our hope, that if Joanne and I attend Jeff’s birthday party in L.A., he and his wife Catherine will attend our Catholic Worker 20th Anniversary in Aug.
Fr. Mike Amadeo will be covering the weekend masses next week. I will fly out of Omaha NE on Thursday afternoon March 7th and return Monday afternoon March 11th. There will be no 8 a.m. Mass Friday March 8th
96 03 03
Lenten Retreat & Communal Penance
Retreat -Sat. March 16, 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Communal Penance – 4:00 p.m.
with Msgr. John Mcllhon at St. Mary’s Ch. in Lacona
Be sure to sign up for âthe Retreat on the list in the back of the Church (Anyone and everyone is welcome Invite a friend!)
No Masses or Stations of the Cross at Rosemount
Do to the renovations taking place, there will be no weekend Masses or Wed. night Stations of the Cross at Rosemount. The scheduled March 8 a.m. Sunday Masses at Rosemount will take place in Lacona.
Wed. March 13th Stations and Soup Supper will be at Lacona, instead of Rosemount. And the Wed. April 3rd Stations and Soup Supper will be at Milo instead of Rosemount.
Rosemount people are still responsible for Lecturing, being Eucharistic Ministers, servers and the music for their Sunday Masses, plus they must provide the Soup Supper after the Stations on March 13th and April 3rd.