More resources for the year of St. Paul

Last week we passed along some resources for marking the year of St. Paul, which opened Saturday. Here are some other items worth your time:

— For a good primer on who St. Paul was and why Pope Benedict is putting the spotlight on him for the next 12 months, read — and link to — CNS Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis’ Vatican Letter last Friday, which reports on how the pope thinks Paul’s life can be a lesson for today’s Christians.

— The Arkansas Catholic in Little Rock has begun publishing a 13-part series of articles by staff members of Little Rock Scripture Study on the year for St. Paul. Here’s a link to the first column. (Publishing clients of CNS should look at an advisory that ran today behind the password wall of our Web site for a special offer about the series.)

— The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship has unveiled its own page of resources for the year of St. Paul, with links to papal homilies and other liturgical aspects of the celebration, such as details on celebrating a votive Mass for St. Paul.

Permanent diaconate growing

While much has been made about the shortage of priests in the last decade, the number of men committing themselves to the permanent diaconate seems to be doing well.

Many dioceses are ordaining permanent deacons in excess of 20 a year. Here’s a look at some of the permanent diaconate classes making the news:

— Over the weekend the Archdiocese of Indianapolis ordained its first class of permanent deacons. There were 25 men in the inaugural class. The Criterion archdiocesan paper quickly posted a photo gallery from the ordination and has had ample coverage leading up to the ordination.  Included are profiles of the newly ordained and an overview of their ministry and role in the church. Those articles and many more can be found on this page.

 — The Arkansas Catholic reports that the Diocese of Little Rock has accepted 50 men into a new formation class for permanent deacons, with ordination anticipated in 2012.

 — As previously noted on the CNS Blog, 26 men were recently ordained to the permanent diaconate in Boston by Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

 — On the complete opposite side of the country, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles ordained 19 men to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The Tidings coverage of the ordination can be seen here.

 — And in the Southeast, the Georgia Bulletin covered the ordination of 20 men to the diaconate in Atlanta earlier this year.

Don’t forget trinkets for World Youth Day

A hand-made trinket you might find in Sydney. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)Heading out to World Youth Day? Don’t forget to pack some small flags, pins, stickers, bracelets, pens, key chains, rosaries, prayer cards … really, anything that says something about you or where you come from.

Covering several World Youth Days over the years (my first was in 1993 in Denver), I’ve been amazed by the type and amount of items young people have collected from other pilgrims. Trading trinkets is a WYD tradition and a good way to meet and greet people, especially if you’re shy or you don’t speak another’s language.

So gather up some trinkets to take on the road to Sydney. You’ll end up with a surprising collection of remembrances from your Australian adventure.

PHOTO: A hand-made trinket you might find in Sydney. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

A hat by any other name … is still a hat

Pope Benedict XVI reaches out to a baby at the end of his general audience in St. Peter\'s Square at the Vatican June 18. (CNS/Reuters)VATICAN CITY — Journalists have been involved in an underground battle ever since Pope Benedict XVI turned up for his Sept. 6, 2006, general audience in St. Peter’s Square wearing for the first time in public a wide-brimmed red straw hat that had often been worn by Popes John XXIII and Paul VI.

I was covering the audience that day and can recall how many of us in the Vatican press hall started wondering aloud, “What is he wearing?!” 

“It’s a galero!” shouted one. Others parried back: “No, what are you saying? It’s a saturno!” And on it went all afternoon. The press hall was squarely divided into two camps. I Googled feverishly to find what it had been called in the past and settled on “galero,” as it looked more like this red-tassled cardinal hat than the “saturno,” which is a round black clerical hat made out of felt or fur.

This year the tide had turned. The majority of the press corps was calling it a saturno, though we had been calling it a galero. When the pope showed up wearing it at a recent general audience this month, we were back to square one: What are we going to call it? 

Intrepid CNS photographer Bob Roller decided to take the matter into his hands this week and just call it a red hat. It turns out he’s right.

This morning I called the pontifical household about it and spoke with a pretty exasperated monsignor who exclaimed, “It’s just a hat!” 

The galero is no longer in use, he said, and the word “saturno” is not even a correct Italian term — it’s Roman slang for a round-dome hat made of fur or felt. The pope’s red straw hat is just a hat, he said. So, hats off to the Vatican hat expert for setting the record straight.

PHOTO: Pope Benedict XVI reaches out to a baby at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 18. (CNS/Reuters) 

Resources for the year of St. Paul

With the year dedicated to St. Paul about to begin in Rome this weekend, several CNS clients have special sections dedicated to the observance. Some examples:

Our Sunday Visitor has a new page with a massive collection of ideas for celebrating the year and numerous links providing additional information on the saint.

St. Anthony Messenger also has a page dedicated to news of the celebration as well as a special offer for parish Webmasters wanting to promote the Pauline year in their local communities.

— The National Catholic Register also has a story on preparations for the Pauline year, but you have to be a subscriber to read it.

Of course, CNS has been preparing its readers for the Pauline year too with stories on the pope’s announcement of the celebration one year ago, on indulgences to be gained for penitential acts during the observance, and on the nine pilgrimage sites in Rome that were being readied for the year.

UPDATE: We posted more resources here.

Sainthood causes in the news

Yesterday at the conclusion of a Mass celebrated at the John Paul II Cultural Center, everyone attending was invited to join in a prayer for the sainthood cause of Pope John Paul II.

The Mass was celebrated in honor of Pope John Paul’s Marian spirituality by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, and Cardinals Adam Maida of Detroit and Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington.

The prayer read:

“O Blessed Trinity, we thank you for having graced the church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of your fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.

Trusting fully in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with you.

Grant us, by his intercession, and according to your will, the grace we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.”

After Pope John Paul’s death, Pope Benedict XVI waived the traditional five-year waiting period for the beginning of his sainthood cause. In March, CNS posted a story regarding the need for English speaking testimonials.

Here’s a look at other candidates making the news for their own sainthood causes:

— The St. Louis Review has an article on the sainthood cause of Father Emil Kapaun. Father Kapuan studied at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He served as a military chaplain during the Korean War and was from the Diocese of Wichita, Kan. The Catholic Advance, Wichita’s diocesan paper, has a pagecontaining many of the articles it has published regarding Father Kapuan and his sainthood cause.

— CNS had a story on the Mass in celebration of the beatification of Father Jacques Haddad from Lebanon, which took place June 22.

One of Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict’s predecessors has also made the sainthood news of late. June 17 there was an article about an upcoming Vatican exhibit and conference about the life of Pope Pius XII, whose sainthood cause was put on hold by Benedict XVI in 2007.

Other recent CNS stories include one on the exhumation of the bodies of the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux and another on a healing miracle credited to Father Damien de Veuster which recently received the Vatican’s stamp of approval.

The priest who ran for president

Church law these days forbids clerics to run for public office. But before that rule was laid down in the 1980s, priests sometimes ran — and won — races for seats in the U.S. Congress, state assemblies and city councils across America.

One was audacious enough to run for president.

Although Father James Cox didn’t win the Oval Office in the 1932 race, this Pittsburgh parish priest managed to lead a march on Washington and snag a meeting with his opponent in the election, then-President Herbert Hoover. Father Cox was trying to hatch a New Deal for Depression-era American with his Jobless Party platform before Franklin Roosevelt even got to the White House.

Father Cox didn’t win, of course; FDR did. But in today’s politics where money talks and more money talks even louder, it’s refreshing to recall a candidate whose only agenda was to get jobs for folks who had little or nothing.

Our Sunday Visitor in its June 29 edition profiles the life and legacy of the fascinating man of faith.