Feast of Saint Robert Southwell

Feast of Saint Robert Southwell

February 20, 2012, Volume VI, Number 8


Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

February 22 – Ash Wednesday

Question of the Week

For the First Sunday of Lent, February 26

“Repent, and believe in the gospel."What are your regrets? What of your past conduct are you most sorry for? What past actions would make someone wonder if you believed in the Gospel at all? Do you think of these as sins from which you need to repent? What do you need to “believe in the gospel” that will help you repent? Remember you do not have to do this alone.


LATEST– Most-Up-To-Date Information on Embrace Grace

If you want to be sure you have the most current information on the happenings at the NCCL 76th Annual Conference and Exposition, please go to You can access everything from the daily schedules to presentation overviews as well as topics and presenters for more than fifty (50) Learning Sessions, how to register, secure lodging and book your transportation from the airport.This site is updated on a regular basis.

New USCCB website:


As part of the Bishops’ ongoing efforts to catechize about the authentic meaning of marriage, a new website – – provides catechetical leaders with numerous resources to explain and promote the Church’s teaching that marriage is and can only be between one man and one woman.

Ideas about how can aid your own catechetical ministry:

  • Ongoing formation and education: The FAQs, Resource Booklets (companion materials to the DVDs “Made for Each Other” and “Made for Life”), and Church Teachings library are great “go-to” sources for authentic Church teaching about marriage.
  • Resources for programming: The DVDs “Made for Each Other” and “Made for Life” are ideal for small-group catechetical sessions; the FAQs could be used as discussion-starters or as part of a presentation on marriage.
  • Resources to share: Web banners are available to post on your diocesan, parish, or office website; colleagues in youth ministry, religious education, and other ministries could also benefit from the Marriage: Unique for a Reason materials.
  • Stay connected with the bishops’ defense of marriage efforts: Subscribe to the website’s blog or connect on Facebook or Twitter.

For more information please contact, Bethany Meola, USCCB Program Specialist for the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage at (202) 541-3248 or .

Cardinal Urges Senate Support of ‘Respect for Rights of Conscience Act’

In a February 15 letter to all Senators, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston explained how the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act” (S. 1467) is especially needed since a new mandate by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will force almost all health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an early abortion, and sterilizations. Even many religious organizations will not be exempt from the mandate.

He added: “The Administration’s rule makes no provision for the rights of insurers, even religiously affiliated insurers, but places responsibility for enforcing the mandate more squarely than ever on their shoulders. This is a radical departure from current law, under which a health plan that excludes contraception can be sold even to federal employees if the carrier has any religious objection to such coverage.”

Cardinal DiNardo outlined the scope of the proposed Senate bill, noting that it does not support discriminatory decisions to withhold basic coverage, does not free anyone from responsibilities under other state or federal laws, and does not allow anyone to deny coverage for high-cost treatments using morality and religion as a pretext.

Cardinal DiNardo explained what the bill does achieve: “It states that the new lists of mandated benefits for private health plans created under PPACA will not forbid those who provide, sponsor and purchase health coverage to negotiate a health plan that is consistent with the religious beliefs and moral convictions of those involved.”Thus, he said, “it simply ensures that new requirements under PPACA are not used to take away a freedom of conscience that Americans have enjoyed under federal law until now.”

“If the needless dispute over this issue were resolved through this legislation, Congress and the Administration could return to the most pressing of all the real problems – the fact that many millions of Americans still lack basic coverage for health care that supports and sustains life,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “Let us begin the task by respecting each other’s values that call so many of us to work for life-affirming health care for all in the first place.”The full text of the letter is available online in PDF format at Religious Liberty (

Cardinal-designate Dolan Gives Cardinals a 7-Point Evangelization Plan

Hours before receiving the red hat, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, offered his soon-to-be brothers in the College of Cardinals a seven-point reflection on evangelization.Cardinal-designate Dolan was chosen by the Pope to address the group for today's Day of Reflection and Prayer on the vigil of the consistory.The New York archbishop recommended the following seven pointers:

1)Remembering that even those who boast of their secularism have an innate longing for the divine; the first step of evangelization must be to keep the quest for God alive

2)"Be not afraid" -- confident, without being triumphalist, since it is the power of God who sends his people to evangelize

3)Knowing that the new evangelization is not about presenting a doctrine or belief-system, but a Person, whose name is Jesus

4)Nevertheless, this Jesus is the Truth. Hence, evangelization is linked to catechesis

5)An evangelist must be a person of joy -- someone who smiles

6)The new evangelization is about love -- the love of God made concrete in service

7)Finally, martyrdom. A reminder that the Church is now peopled by those who are suffering persecution for their faith, and that these martyrs give impetus to the new evangelization

Mar Muñoz-Visoso Named Executive Director of USCCB’S Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church

María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso has been appointed executive director of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). She has served as assistant director of Media Relations at USCCB since 2007 and served the Archdiocese of Denver from 1996-2007.

Muñoz-Visoso currently collaborates with numerous efforts of the U.S. bishops, including Cultural Diversity in the Church, Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), National Collections, Divine Worship, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). She writes “Entre Amigos,” a monthly English/Spanish Latino column, which appears in diocesan media nationwide. She also oversees Spanish-language social media at USCCB and serves as a liaison for English and Spanish media.

“Mar Muñoz-Visoso is a highly respected leader in the bishops’ conference, in Hispanic ministry and in Catholic communications,” said Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary. “The experience, expertise and energy she brings to the Cultural Diversity secretariat will greatly enhance the bishops’ vision for this area and will be a gift to the faithful of the communities served by that office.”

The appointment is effective February 27. Muñoz-Visoso succeeds Jesuit Father Allan Deck, the first executive director of the secretariat, which was established in 2008. Cultural Diversity in the Church coordinates the bishops’ outreach to members of the diverse cultures, ethnicities and races that make up the Church in the United States, serving communities of African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Native Americans, as well as migrants, refugees and travelers.

In 2010, Muñoz-Visoso received the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Benedict XVI, at the request of Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap. One of the highest honors the pope can bestow on an individual, the medal is given in gratitude for “sustained and exemplary service to the Catholic faith.”

FREE Professional Development Webinar – Tuesday, February 28

Ave Maria Press, in partnership with the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership and the National Association for Lay Ministrypresents a series of free, online workshops on professional development for parish ministers.For a complete listing of professional development webinars in this series please visit

Catholic Social Teaching and Living the Gospel Today
In 1998, the US Catholic Bishops identified seven major themes around which we can explore the vast body of the Church's social teaching. In the years since, they continue to urge all Catholics to study and embrace these teachings. How have some individuals, groups, and parishes made practicable these teachings in order to live the Gospel today? Join Fr. Kevin McKenna as he explores the answer to this question and more in the latest Professional Development Webinar from Ave Maria Press on Tuesday, February 28 at 3:00 p.m. E.S.T.

Fr. Kevin E. McKenna is pastor of the Cathedral Community in Rochester, New York. He is past president of the Canon Law Society of America and former chancellor and canonical consultant for the Diocese of Rochester. He is author of numerous articles and books, including A Concise Guide to Canon Law; A Practical Handbook for Pastoral MinistersA Concise Guide to Canon Law; A Practical Handbook for Pastoral Ministersand A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching (Concise Guide Series).A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching (Concise Guide Series)

Pope Gives 3 Keys for Fostering Vocations

In a message released for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, scheduled this year for April 29, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged parish communities and families to be the nourishing soil in which vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life can sprout, and he recommended three concrete means for fostering vocations: Scripture, prayer and Eucharist.

The Holy Father said “It is important for the Church to create the conditions that will permit many young people to say 'yes' in generous response to God's loving call.” He clarified that the task of fostering vocations is to "provide helpful guidance and direction along the way."

"Central to this," the Pontiff said, "should be love of God's word nourished by a growing familiarity with sacred Scripture, and attentive and unceasing prayer, both personal and in community; this will make it possible to hear God's call amid all the voices of daily life. But above all, the Eucharist should be the heart of every vocational journey: it is here that the love of God touches us in Christ's sacrifice, the perfect expression of love, and it is here that we learn ever anew how to live according to the 'high standard' of God's love. Scripture, prayer and the Eucharist are the precious treasure enabling us to grasp the beauty of a life spent fully in service of the Kingdom."

Benedict XVI emphasized that the love in families "is an expression of the love of Christ who gave himself for his Church." In the family, Benedict XVI affirmed, "young people can have a wonderful experience of this self-giving love. Indeed, families are not only the privileged place for human and Christian formation; they can also be 'the primary and most excellent seed-bed of vocations to a life of consecration to the Kingdom of God.'" The full text of his comments can be found at

Youth Need Help Understanding the Mass

Catechists in India say that the richness and value of the liturgy has to be presented to youth with creativity and imagination, but in line with Church teaching.Youth catechesis needs to respond to the challenges being faced by contemporary youth, the final statement of the Indian Catechetical Association (ICA) declared.

This catechesis needs to be done in the spirit of the new evangelization and also stressing the missionary dimension, as well as using the language and symbols familiar to young people, the ICA concluded."Youth catechesis is rightly considered the essence and core of youth ministry and we believe that the new paradigms should guarantee the stable formation of youth progressively," the statement explained.

"Understanding the culture of youth, listening to the languages of youth and appreciating the trends of youth are necessary if we are to propose a catechesis valid for contemporary youth," it commented.Many young people complain about dull liturgical practices and preaching, the concluding statement observed. Therefore, youth catechesis needs to help young people participate more fully in liturgical celebrations.

"The richness and uniqueness of the value of the liturgical celebrations are to be presented creatively and imaginatively, in line with the official teachings of the Church, to the vibrant minds of youth," the statement urged.

NCCL invites you to submit your best practices to its YouTube Channel

In the spirit of our national conference roundtables, we invite membership to submit its best practices in evangelization and catechesis. Please submit your entries to Bryan Reising () and Juliann Donlon-Stanz () for review and they may be a part of the NCCL YouTube Channel. Practitioners in parishes, Diocesan level personnel, scholars, publishers, and other resource people can submit their videos. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

WATCH OUR FIRST RESPONSE. Thanks to Jeff Andrini, Director of Faith Formation at St. Patrick & St. Anthony Parish. You have to watch to find out where. We don’t have it up on our YouTube site but we couldn’t wait. As Julianne Donlon-Stanz said, “I like the clarity of Jeff’s message and think that people would really enjoy using them as a springboard for their own programs.”

The first is an effort to evangelize our parishioners by having them attend an overnight retreat led by other parishioners. A team of 10 or so meet for 8 months and put on the G.I.F.T. Weekend (Growing In Faith Together) for 30-35 participants. Following the weekend a new team of 8-10 commit to put on the next weekend and a couple leaders stay on to mentor them. We have had 4 Men’s Weekends and 5 Women’s Weekends to date. Here is a link for a four minute video inviting others to get involved.

The second is an effort to evangelize our parishioners by gathering in monthly groups in homes to discuss the readings for the third Sunday of the month. It is a great follow up to our G.I.F.T. Weekends and helps build community and knowledge of God’s word. Here is a link to a video inviting people to get involved. The first video has the best explanation…

White Papers: The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith

This is the third year that NCCL invites members to consider developing a white paper around a topic of interest. White papers are an opportunity for writers and thinkers to put their thoughts and ideas into a scholarly work that is used to educate members, to help people understand an aspect of how theory might be translated into practical ideas or even how to make decisions regarding changes they may wish to undertake or even solve a problem or shed light on a dilemma. This year’s topic is based on the Catechetical Sunday theme or 2012: Catechists and teachers as Agents of the New Evangelization. Michael Andrews, Director of the Office of Catechesis for the Catholic Diocese of Lansing is serving as chair. All submissions and any questions can be directed to him at . Further information on this year’s topic and the requirements can be found below.

Call for White Papers on the New Evangelization

As we eagerly anticipate the 2012 Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization, we are happy to announce the focus of our call for White Papers to be submitted by NCCL members between now and March 15. Submissions will be reviewed for possible posting on the Conference Website for members to read. Workshop sessions will be provided at the NCCL Annual Conference May 7-10, 2012 in San Diego, California to reflect upon and unpack the insights gleaned from these papers.

Theme and Options

The topic for this year’s White Paper is: "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith."

You are invited to submit your own White Paper in this year’s theme. In your paper, you may write a theological paper addressing the Church’s teaching on the New Evangelization. Alternatively, you may focus on one or more aspects of the New Evangelization for one or more settings, including age or ethnic groups, and employing diverse approaches and catechetical formats.

White Paper Requirements

However you choose to develop your paper, please be sure that it reflects the theme “"The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" and that it is clearly written. Theological positions should be supported by ample references to one or more of the following sources: Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the National Directory for Catechesis, liturgical documents and texts, papal teaching, patristic writers, and the saints.

All white papers will be reviewed for possible posting. The top submissions will be announced in late March and winning authors will be invited to summarize their work at the 2012 NCCL Annual Conference in San Diego.

The deadline for submitting White Papers is March 15, 2012.

Young Professional Catechetical Ministers Scholarships Young Adult Initiative - March 5 Deadline Rapidly Approaching

Young Professional Catechetical Ministers Scholarship seeks to bolster young people engaged in catechetical ministry to become more involved with the mission of catechesis. If you are a full time paid professional minister who has 5 years or less experience and is 30 years of age or younger, you are eligible to receive a reduced registration fee of $75. You will need to be nominated by your immediate supervisor/pastor, recommended by your diocesan catechetical office, not have received this award or the YAI scholarship for a previous NCCL conference and be able to cover the additional expenses not included in this award.