Brother Dan Lauber, CFC

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother Dan Lauber CFC, who died this morning.
Arrangements are incomplete at this time.
Brother Dan was a guidance counselor at St. Joseph School in Madison.
Please keep his family and the Christian Brothers in your prayers.
Eternal Rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Freedom Summer

Guest Blogger for this week: Mary Woodward, Vice Chancellor in charge of Archives, Diocese of Jackson

State’s bishops lead church in turbulent times

In light of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964, we would like to share some portions of Bishop Richard O. Gerow’s notes from the time.

July 1 (Wednesday) Jackson – This morning at 10 o’clock our meeting of ministers convened in our library.  There was a specially large number of Negro ministers.  During the meeting it was proposed that if this group could sit down and talk with the Mayor of Jackson perhaps we could understand each other better.  What the Negro ministers want especially is some means of communication with the civic authorities.  At present they feel that there is as it were an impenetrable wall between them and the Mayor.  They would like at least to be able to talk to him.  I volunteered to telephone Mayor Thompson and attempt to arrange a meeting with him; in fact, to invite him to come and sit in at this meeting.  I phoned.  He was busy in a Council meeting but he would be asked to call us later.  He called after our meeting had dispersed.  He refused absolutely to a meeting of any kind.  I asked him if he would meet with Bishop Brunini, Bishop Allin, and myself.  He said he would be glad to meet with us for a social visit – but not to discuss race.  So our attempt was a failure.

July 3 (Friday)  The Civil Rights Bill has now been passed by the U. S. Congress and has just been signed by President Johnson.  Accordingly, this morning I issued to the press and mailed to all our priests the following statement:

“The Civil Rights Act has been passed by the Congress of the United States.  The people of our beloved Mississippi have the historic opportunity of giving to the world an example of true patriotism in a Democracy.  Each of us, bearing in mind Christ’s law of love, can establish his own personal motive of reaction to the Bill and thus turn this time into an occasion of spiritual growth.  The prophets of strife and distress need not be right.

“Dear Christian, Catholic people, your Bishop calls upon you to accept the action of Congress as loyal Americans and to make a positive contribution to our State by rejecting the spirit of rebellion and by standing for justice, love and peace.”

The Catholic Church  was on the forefront in pursuing and speaking out for justice and dignity for all. For over a year before the act was signed into law, Bishop Gerow joined by his auxiliary, Bishop Joseph Brunini, were in dialogue with the Episcopal and Methodist bishop plus several prominent ministers in the African American community.

This group evolved into the Committee of Concern when churches began to be burned in reaction to the passage of the law and the breaking down of segregation. The Committee of Concern raised donations to help rebuild these houses of worship destroyed by hate, ignorance and intolerance.

These were very turbulent times in our nation and Mississippi in particular. The leadership of the church stepped up in this violent time to remind people of what a true Christian was called to be. Being Christian is not always popular and not always safe, but it is what we are called to be by Christ Jesus.

We offer Bishop  Gerow’s notes as food for thought. With the humanitarian crisis growing on our own border with thousands of children braving treacherous treks across perilous terrain in order to find freedom from violence and oppression, perhaps we should remember the strife and struggles of our not so distant past and pledge to heal rather than hurt again. MTW

July Clergy Appointments

On the recommendation of Very Reverend Harry A. Grile, C.Ss.R., Provincial Superior of the Redemptorists Denver Province, the following appointments effective July 1, 2014:

Rev. Patrick Keyes, C.Ss.R. appointed to the Mississippi Delta Hispanic Initiative as Superior of the Redemptorist Community in Greenwood.

Rev. Scott Katzenberger, C.Ss.R. appointed to the Mississippi Delta Hispanic Initiative of the Redemptorist Community in Greenwood.

Rev. Theodore Dorcey, C.Ss.R. appointed to the Mississippi Delta Hispanic Initiative of the Redemptorist Community in Greenwood.

Rev.Thanh Dinh Nguyen, C.Ss.R. appointed to the Mississippi Delta Hispanic Initiative of the Redemptorist Community in Greenwood.

Rev. Ricardo Phipps appointed Pastor of St. Therese Church, Jackson, in addition to his other duties as Pastor at Christ the King and St. Mary Churches, Jackson, effective July 1, 2014.

Rev. Jeremy Tobin, O.Praem. appointed Associate Pastor, Christ the King, St. Mary & St. Therese Churches, Jackson, effective July 15, 2014.


SCOTUS ruling on Hobby Lobby

July 1, 2014

Diocesan Statement

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., is a victory for religious freedom guaranteed under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”). Although the Hobby Lobby decision involved a for-profit corporation, the Court’s reasoning also supports the position of non-profit Catholic organizations who have filed their own challenges against the Mandate.

The federal government is defending the non-profit Mandate on the ground that it makes available a so-called “accommodation” to non-profit religious organizations who object to providing or paying for contraceptive coverage. Under the “accommodation,” non-profit religious objectors are required to sign and submit a “self-certification” that triggers an obligation for their insurance company or third-party administrator to provide contraceptive coverage to employees who are enrolled in their health insurance plans. As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has made clear, this “accommodation” is illusory. It fails to alleviate the moral problem inherent in the Mandate because it continues to require Catholic organizations to act in violation of their religious beliefs—namely, by (1) filing a legal document that triggers a third party’s obligation to provide contraceptive coverage; and (2) continuing to provide health insurance through a third party that is authorized to provide contraceptive coverage to employees enrolled in the plans.

The Catholic Diocese of Jackson, Catholic Charities, Catholic Schools and other diocesan entities have joined the Biloxi Diocese and others in requesting injunctive and other relief similar to the remedies provided to religious employers in the United States Courts of Appeals for the Seventh, Tenth, Eleventh,and D.C. Circuits. The lawsuit is presently pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The government parties have been served with a copy of the Complaint and a Summons and a responsive pleading is due from the government attorneys August 4. Our lawsuit does not seek to deny access of the public to contraceptives, abortifacients or sterilization, but instead seeks relief from governmental regulations that require religious entities to violate their beliefs.

​We are elated the United States Supreme Court recognized and affirmed the importance of religious freedom in the practice of business. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties have scored an important victory regarding religious conscience that we hope that it will likewise lead to a triumph for religious-based and nonprofit employers pursuing similar lawsuits.