Posts Tagged ‘Bishop Loverde’
By: Sr. Clare Hunter
Charlie is 18 months old. He likes to make dog noises, chatter during homilies and give high fives. Charlie giving high fives is much cuter and appropriate than a “relatively young” nun giving them. So, I’ll let Charlie give them – and I’ll write about who deserves them.
Kids like Charlie bring such a powerful presence to the monthly Respect Life Masses and praying of the rosary outside an abortion facility. Those kids become the icon of what we are there to do – to honor the life of children, born and unborn. Each month, Bishop Loverde travels to a parish to celebrate a Saturday Mass for the intention of increasing respect for human life. Following Mass, he goes to a nearby abortion facility to pray the rosary. I have yet to hear of another bishop in our country who does this each month. Charlie would high five Bishop Loverde for his tireless witness to being a Bishop of Life!
Last Saturday, May 18th, hundreds attended the Respect Life Mass at St. John the Apostle Church in Leesburg. I’ll admit the pastor, Fr. Mosimann, was pretty relentless as well as patient as we tried to schedule a Mass in their parish. He is good! The gathering was most impressive – the largest we have ever had, and the desire to be united as a parish to pray for an end to abortion and the dignity of human life was inspiring. High fives from Charlie to Fr. Mosimann and the parishioners of St. John the Apostle!
Each month, it is a powerful experience to pray outside of an abortion facility on a Saturday morning. Often there is a baby or toddler present with their parents and it is sobering and emotional to know that inside that building, the lives of many babies have and will end that day. As there aren’t abortion facilities in Leesburg, we had arranged to pray at the cemetery in the area reserved for infants as a way of remembering the sanctity of all human life, from the time of conception. Due to rain, we remained in the church. Situated in the back, I had a great view of the families praying together; moms and dads helping youngsters hold their beads in the right spot. I saw a community, young and not so young, down on their knees, asking Our Blessed Mother to help mothers and fathers say yes to life. Rosaries and prayer booklets were handed out by members of a strong and active parish Respect Life Committee. High five team for all you do!
Following Mass and the rosary, Bishop Loverde traveled to 1st Choice Women’s Health Center, a crisis pregnancy center, to bless a new ultrasound machine to be used as they work with women who are in need of assistance in many areas. This machine was purchased through the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Program as Knights from six parishes joined to raise enough monies for three ultrasound machines. I was bursting with pride and admiration as I witnessed Bishop Loverde bless the machine with pastors from the parishes looking on, side-by-side with the Knights of Columbus and staff from the Center. This is what it is all about! I don’t know where the Pro-life movement would be without the Knights of Columbus! High fives go out to the parishes of St. John the Apostle, St. Joseph, St. Theresa, St. Francis de Sales, Corpus Christi and Our Lady of Hope. Extra high fives (high tens?) to the Knights of Columbus and their state chaplain Bishop Loverde!
But more than all of these acts that deserve high fives from Charlie – I pray in deep gratitude for the gift of witnessing such dedication to protecting and upholding human life. May God bless all gathered together in prayer and action last Saturday!
By: Caitlin Bootsma
Sometimes I think that I’ve been working for the Diocese of Arlington central offices for quite a while – after all, five years is a pretty respectable run, right? However, as we celebrate Bishop Loverde’s 25th anniversary as a bishop, I admit that my years of working for the Church pales in comparison to Bishop Loverde’s commitment and love for the flock he shepherds.
I can honestly say that so much of the reason that the Chancery staff is blessed to work here is because of Bishop Loverde’s leadership. Not only, as the Herald outlines in their comprehensive anniversary issue, has he led us in so many areas, including multicultural ministry, pro-life ministry, evangelization and vocations, he is also a personal example of holiness and love for the Lord.
Bishop Loverde often talks about discipleship, about a personal encounter with God. I see this personal discipleship in my interactions with him. At the beginning of each one of our meetings, he sincerely takes a moment to bow his head and thank the Lord, always remembering to pray for the intercession of the patron saint of my office. When he discusses ideas for pastoral letters or Arlington Herald columns, one can see that this is not just work to complete, but an opportunity for him to share the faith that is so central to his life. One cannot help but be hopeful for our Church when he talks with great enthusiasm about the faith of young people he has confirmed or the seminarians he has visited.
During my time here, I have come to a deeper appreciation of all of the responsibilities of being a bishop. Bishop Loverde so evidently carries in his heart all of the people in the diocese, constantly striving to “encourage and teach with patience” (his episcopal motto).
I am encouraged the most by the example he sets. I often say that there is no way that I could keep up with the schedule he follows – the Holy Spirit must be with him! He travels throughout the diocese, works into the evenings, and still finds time to dedicate to prayer and to greeting each one of us individually, always remembering what is going on in our lives.
On this 25th episcopal anniversary, I thank God for the shepherd he chose to give the Diocese of Arlington, which He chose to give me. Celebrate by praying for Bishop Loverde, that he may continue to humbly serve and to courageously lead as our shepherd.
Last Fall, on the Feast of Christ the King, as a diocese we dedicated ourselves to the Heart of Christ. Since that time, I have seen images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus displayed in Chancery offices, in parishes and in parishioners’ homes. Hopefully, this consecration was just the beginning of an opportunity to love Christ more fully and to ask Him for His mercy and love in our lives.
This Fall, Pope Benedict has asked us to begin celebrating a Year of Faith, an opportunity to renew our relationship with Christ. Here in our diocese, we’ve been preparing for this Year of Faith by focusing on a love for God that is foundational for growing in our faith.
In his pastoral letter, Fountain of Life, Fire of Love, Bishop Loverde urges us to examine why it is that we long for love. He writes, “There is a deep longing in the human heart for enduring love, and because God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8), this deep longing is really a longing for God. God alone can ultimately fulfill this longing of the human heart because He Himself created us with this innermost desire for Him, although so often we do not consciously realize its true source.”
Perhaps it has been awhile since you prayed to the Heart of Christ or remembered the Act of Consecration we made last year. Here are just a few suggestions for ways we can strengthen our relationship with the Heart of Christ before entering into the Year of Faith this Fall:
- Read or re-read Bishop Loverde’s pastoral letter. His devotion to the Heart of Christ and explanation of the Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy is not only informative, it helps us enter more fully into prayer.
- Pray to the Heart of Christ. Ask for His mercy and His love throughout the day. These prayers can be as simple as saying “Sacred of Jesus, have mercy on me” or “help me to love You more”
- Enthrone an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home. You can find a ceremony here. This image will be a physical reminder for you and your family/housemates of Christ’s presence in your life.
Consider strengthening your love for the Heart of Christ this month. As Bishop Loverde wrote in a column last fall, “Too often we forget that the Lord loves us so much that He is with us constantly, listening to our prayers and providing us the grace to live lives of authentic holiness.”
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us.
By: Bishop Paul S. Loverde
Upon returning from my second visit to the diocesan sponsored missions in the Dominican Republic, I have been reflecting on what a mutual blessing these missions are for our diocese as well as for the people of the Banica and Pedro Santana parishes.
Banica and Pedro Santana are rural communities located in the Dominican Republic on the border with Haiti. Fr. O’Hare, the current pastor of Banica and Pedro Santana, compared these extraordinary places to Nazareth, all three out of the way locations that people perhaps doubted would produce much fruit (recall the words of Nathaniel: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:43). Yet, Banica and Pedro Santana, like Nazareth where Christ was born, have produced a great many fruits.
My visit to both parishes last week was in recognition of the twenty year relationship between the Diocese of San Juan de la Manguana and the Diocese of Arlington. Accompanying me were three of the diocesan priests who had served there over the years (as well as Fr. Hanley and Mike Flach, the editor of the Arlington Catholic Herald). I was touched by the great love and admiration that the people had for their former priests. I was moved as well by the simple and profound faith of the people. They are impoverished materially, but have a rich spirit of inner joy and a communal spirit, ready always to assist one another.
Much has been accomplished through the rewarding relationship between our two dioceses. One physical manifestation of this is the new chapel at Sabana Cruz, which was a gift of donors from our diocese. Also, the Catholic community in each parish, with support from diocesan priests and volunteers, demonstrates its spiritual strength through its many altar servers as well as programs such as Bible studies for adults and young boys and girls. I had the opportunity to meet with college-aged men and women from these parishes who have chosen to serve the youth in their community, instructing them in the faith, while at the same time maintaining their studies and prayer lives.
I was inspired by the spirit of those living there as well as the challenges the priests and the missionaries (including three Brazilian sisters as well as lay people) encounter daily. For example, their outreach to those who lived out in the campos requires travels of up to five hours or more on a regular basis over rough roads, mainly unpaved with ruts. Yet, despite the difficulties, there is a joy that heartened me throughout my time there.
I certainly returned home exhausted by the rigors of the schedule, the unfamiliar and rustic setting and the effort it takes continually to speak a foreign language. Inwardly, however, I rejoice and am reinvigorated by the exhilarating growth in these people in the Dominican Republic. The people there remain in my heart and I urge each of you to continue to pray for our Dominican brothers and sisters as well as for the priests and missionaries present there.
By: Bishop Paul S. Loverde
After traveling the winding roads to Winchester, I stepped out of my car and into Millbrook High School to see hundreds of tired teenagers, with joyful smiles, socializing in the school hallways. It warmed my heart as they greeted me, their enthusiasm and good nature shining through their faces, their camaraderie with each other apparent and inspiring.
This past week was the first session of the annual WorkCamp, where teenagers and adult supervisors from our diocese dedicate their time and talents to help make local homes safer, drier and warmer for residents in need by performing home repairs. I was blessed to spend Tuesday evening and part of Wednesday with the participants of this program, which is run by the diocesan Office of Youth Ministry.
We began Tuesday evening with dinner, where I was privileged to spend some time in the kitchen serving peas in the cafeteria line to the workers after their hot day in the sun. It made me smile that a fair number of the teens told me, with laughter, “Peas be with you, Bishop!”
After sharing the meal, we began an evening of prayer, Confession and Benediction. After some singing, I spoke to the young people emphasizing how much the Lord Jesus loves each of them and urging them to develop and deepen a personal relationship with Jesus Christ within the community of His disciples, the Church. After a long day of hard work, the teens’ enthusiasm had not lessened – rather, when the availability of the Sacrament of Penance was announced, many of the young people jumped enthusiastically to their feet to stand in line. My brother priests had also traveled from all around the diocese to spend an evening ministering with me to the teens.
I was moved to see the devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist through their prayer and song. It brought to my mind once again that WorkCamp is so much more than just a week of service; it is an opportunity for young people to come before Our Lord, growing closer to Him and stronger in their lives through the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance. They are also given direction and encouragement from speakers and mentors on how to live the spiritual life in the natural world, in particular, by offering a gift of self through acts of service, thereby putting Faith into action
How refreshing to see joy clearly stamped on their faces, whether the young people were eating peas, receiving forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance, or pounding nails with hammers at their worksites on Wednesday morning. I visited several homes where crews were busy adding improvements, painting and cleaning up yards. Their happiness and smiles were contagious; the way they conducted themselves brings to mind a Psalm verse: “They will rejoice before God; they will celebrate with great joy” (Psalms 68:4b).
By: Caitlin Forst, Interim Director of Communications
The Diocese of Arlington believes deeply in the dignity of each person and opposes all forms of abuse. Nearly a decade ago, following the clergy abuse crisis, Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde made the prevention of child sexual abuse and the healing of those harmed a priority. He not only established diocesan-wide prevention programs and services for victims of clergy sexual abuse, as required under the United States bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, but he opened an office to assist all victims of sexual abuse, regardless of by whom they were abused.
More than 330 individuals who have suffered abuse by family, friends, clergy and others have received help from the Office of Victim Assistance, currently staffed by two social workers, since 2003.
Since 2004, hundreds have participated in special Masses and events through
- 30 Healing Masses celebrated by Bishop Loverde, attended by 2250 people in total.
- 20 prayer services held by Fr. Mealey, Vicar General
- 20 Support Group evenings of fellowship and prayer, hosted by Bishop Loverde and/or Fr. Mealey
- 2 yearly retreats
As a recent study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice reported, prevention efforts such as education are essential to reducing instances of child sexual abuse. The Office of Child Protection and Safety for the Diocese of Arlington provides mandatory education programs to raise awareness among adults and children.
More than 30,000 employees and volunteers have received “Protecting God’s Children” training in the diocese and now serve as watchful sentinels, helping ensure that children’s interactions with adults are appropriate and safe and that any suspected abuse is reported to the authorities. In addition, every employee and all volunteers working with children must complete criminal background checks. These checks include state and national criminal record searches and a search of the Central Registry of the Virginia Department of Social Services.
The Diocese of Arlington also provides training in “Formation in Christian Chastity,” as part of all religious education programs and Catholic schools’ curricula. The program encourages children to confide in parents and other trusted adults if someone tries to act inappropriately with them. This is critical in helping to keep children safe and in ensuring that those who do harm children are reported to the authorities immediately. Since the program began in 2005, more than 65,000 children have received training
An age-appropriate program for teenagers called “You Matter,” presented to our high schools, youth groups and religious education programs, is intended to promote awareness of the nature of sexual abuse, reporting procedures, information on creating safe environments, possible signs of abuse, possible indicators of abusers, stories from victims/survivors, and information on the need for counseling for healing of abuse survivors.
Bishop Loverde, together with clergy, employees and volunteers, continues to strive to protect God’s children. Please continue to join with us in these efforts and to pray for all of those who work for the safety of all.
By: Bishop Paul S. Loverde
Have you ever experienced your cell phone battery dying in the middle of a conversation? Perhaps you were having an animated discussion and ignored the warning signals indicating that the power was low and, before you knew it, the cell phone stopped working.
It is not only cell phones that need a timely recharge, but also each one of us. The pressing demands of daily life, compounded by the pressure of the instant communication provided through cell phones, email and texts, ensure that we rarely have peaceful moments. Our own batteries become worn down and we need a recharge. The solution for us, however, is not as simple as plugging into an outlet for two hours.
Rather, to truly recharge, we need to step away from the busy-ness of our lives to take time for daily prayer, participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and even a longer spiritual retreat. As I wrote to you last summer about my own annual retreat, I value this time to open my mind and heart more fully to Our Lord, and I come away with a renewed sense of my vocation.
The Church recognizes the necessity of retreats for a healthy spiritual life and, in fact, requires them for all clergy, explaining that, “In leading their lives, clerics are bound in a special way to pursue holiness since, having been consecrated to God by a new title in the reception of orders, they are dispensers of the mysteries of God in the service of His people” (Code of Canon Law, 276).
While the priestly ministry naturally calls for daily spiritual activities, including the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice and praying the Liturgy of the Hours, it is beneficial for our clergy to participate in a spiritual retreat that provides them with a deeper union with the Lord Jesus so necessary for their ministry. A number of priests participated in a spiritual retreat this month (this is one of three such retreats offered to our priests this year).
Recently, after attending a retreat, one of our priests reflected that spiritual retreats rarely break new ground. The themes and activities, which typically include the celebration of the Eucharist, prayer, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, are familiar and constant. Yet, this is exactly the point. A retreat is a renewal, a deeper reconnecting with Christ. During their retreat, our priests reflect upon the Gospel and its meaning for their vocation. They return to their pastoral work refreshed and reinforced in their relationship with Christ.
In addition, all of the priests of the diocese gathered earlier this month for a convocation, which is a time of spiritual renewal, priestly fraternity and continuing formation. Although the Convocation is not a retreat, it does provide our priests another form of renewal.
While the Convocation and these retreats necessitate priests occasionally being absent from your parish, they will return to you refreshed and with a renewed sense of purpose. I ask for your prayerful remembrance of our priests, that they may hear Christ’s call for their lives more clearly to strengthen their ministry so that they can better serve you and all parishioners.
By: Caitlin Forst
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body”
Bishop Loverde writes in a 2006 pastoral letter “Bought with a Price” about the purity to which God calls us, the destruction pornography causes in individuals and families and the help that can be sought by those experiencing this addiction. The popularity of this booklet (in its second printing) amongst counselors, parishes, large retreats and individuals speaks to the very real danger of pornography in our culture and the desire for healing.
Bishop Loverde writes, “What man should use for receiving the true vision of God and the beauty of His creation, he uses instead to consume false images of others in pornography. How can we understand the supernatural sight God desires for us – i.e. the contemplation of God in the beatific vision – once our natural sight has been damaged and distorted?”
Since 2006, Bishop Loverde and others have continued the fight against pornography. One such effort has been with the Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP) through which churches have asked cell phones companies to safeguard against pornography.
Please join with Bishop Loverde in praying this prayer to St. Joseph:
O most provident guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ. Most beloved father, dispel the evil of impurity and sin. Our most mighty protector, graciously assist us from heaven in our struggle with the powers of darkness. And just as you once saved the Child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend this family from the snares of her enemies and from all adversity. Shield each one of us by your constant protection, so that, supported by your example and your help, we may be able to live a virtuous life, to die a holy death, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.
- You can find an order form for “Bought With a Price,” and “Bought With a Price” in Spanish, as well as for the pamphlets for “Youth and Young Adults” or “Engaged and Married Couples” here.
- You can find one of RAAP’s pamphlets, “Sex and Cell Phones,” here.