Thursday, June 28, 2012

Habemus Rectorem: Msgr. Christopher Schreck named sixteenth rector of the Josephinum

The Apostolic Nuncio of the United States of America, His Excellency, the Most Rev. Carlo Maria Viganò, announced today that the Congregation for Catholic Education, a dicastery of the Pope's Curia in Rome, has appointed the Rev. Msgr. Christopher J. Schreck the sixteenth Rector and President of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

Ordained a priest for the Diocese of Savannah, Ga., in 1977, Msgr. Schreck has been on the Josephinum's faculty since 2007; he has been the pontifical seminary's Executive Vice President since 2010.

Msgr. Schreck holds an A.B. from the College of William & Mary; an S.T. B. from the Gregorian in Rome; an S.S.L. from the Biblicum; and an S.T.D. and a Ph. D. from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

He will succeed Fr. James A. Wehner, who was recently named rector of Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, La., on July 1, 2012.

Follows is the full press release from the Josephinum:

Reverend Monsignor Christopher J. Schreck Appointed 16th Rector & President of the Pontifical College Josephinum

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Official correspondence from the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, by means of a decree from Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome, announced that Reverend Monsignor Christopher J. Schreck, PhD, STD, has been named the 16th Rector / President of the Pontifical College Josephinum. Monsignor Schreck is a priest of the Diocese of Savannah, GA, and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Josephinum.

“I am grateful to Cardinal Grocholewski; to our Apostolic Nuncio and Chancellor, Archbishop Viganò; to our Board of Trustees; and to all of our supporting bishops for the confidence they have placed in me in this appointment,” Monsignor Schreck said. “I am honored and humbled to assume these new responsibilities and, at the same time, richly blessed with the opportunity to benefit from the collaboration and assistance of the outstanding group of resident priests, administration, faculty, staff, seminarians, alumni and benefactors who make up the Josephinum family.”

Ordained for the Diocese of Savannah in 1977, Monsignor Schreck has a notable career in priestly formation and wide experience in seminary administration. Following his ordination, he served for five years as Parochial Vicar at Saint James Parish in Savannah. From 1983 to 1986 and 1991 to 1993, he served at Saint Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL, where he was Associate Professor, Professor and Academic Dean. In 1993, Monsignor Schreck began teaching at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he was also Vice Rector for many years.

In 2007, Monsignor Schreck joined the faculty of the Josephinum as a Professor of Sacred Scripture and as Executive Director of the Institute for the Formation and Ministry of the Permanent Diaconate, the seminary’s distance learning program for permanent deacons. Three years later, in April 2010, he was appointed Executive Vice President of the Josephinum and for the past two years has been responsible for the temporal concerns of the institution, working closely with the Treasurer and with the Vice Rectors of the College of Liberal Arts and School of Theology.

Monsignor Schreck holds an AB in Classical Studies from The College of William and Mary in Virginia, Williamsburg, VA; an STB from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; an SSL from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome; and an STD and PhD from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

As the 16th Rector / President of the Pontifical College Josephinum, Monsignor Schreck succeeds Very Reverend James A. Wehner, STD (Diocese of Pittsburgh), who has held the position since 2009.  

Father Wehner heralded his colleague’s appointment as “great news” for the Josephinum community. “Monsignor Schreck is a man of priestly communion who has earned the highest respect from administration, faculty and seminarians,” said Father Wehner. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position, having served most of his priesthood in seminary formation. Moreover, his leadership as Executive Vice President has contributed to many of the recent achievements of the Josephinum, including the completion of major renovations and an increase in our annual appeal.”

The advancement of a current administrator to the position of rector / president reflects the high caliber of the seminary’s faculty and its programs. The Josephinum’s efforts of recent years have led the institution to the national forefront of priestly formation. With a steadily-increasing enrollment and the successful recruitment of new dioceses and priest-faculty, the Josephinum is in a position of tremendous strength and stability. A seamless transition in leadership will provide valuable continuity as the seminary looks to the future.

“It is a particularly advantageous time for me to assume these new responsibilities at the Josephinum,” said Monsignor Schreck, “where the generous dedication and renowned success of Father Wehner have brought the seminary to a new level of nationally recognized achievement. It is an honor to succeed him in full continuity with his accomplishments, as well as with the Josephinum’s rich tradition and heritage, and on that foundation to build for an even brighter future.”

Among the first of those to learn of Monsignor Schreck’s appointment was the Most Reverend Ronald P. Herzog, Bishop of Alexandria, who was elected Chair of the Josephinum’s Board of Trustees at its spring meeting in April. Bishop Herzog, a 1968 alumnus of the School of Theology, assured the new rector of his prayers and noted, “I look forward to working with Monsignor Schreck to continue the great work and illustrious history of the Josephinum.”

The upcoming year of formation will be a significant one in the history of the Josephinum, as the seminary will celebrate its 125th anniversary of forming men for the priesthood. Since its founding in 1888, more than 2000 priests have been ordained from the Josephinum, formed under the guidance of the dedicated priests who have served as rectors. 

Monsignor Schreck expressed a “debt of gratitude” to his predecessors, for “their care for the Josephinum which has allowed this institution for the past 125 years not only to continue to fulfill, but even to flourish in, its unique pontifical and national role in forming priests for the service of the Church.”

Father Wehner and Monsignor Schreck will spend the last days of June working together closely, to prepare for the transition in leadership. “Monsignor Schreck is a great friend, counselor and collaborator, much admired for his pastoral heart and his love for the Church,” said Father Wehner. “He will be a great spiritual father to the seminarians, a true brother to his priests, and a joyful, steady leader for the community.”

Monsignor Christopher Schreck will assume leadership of the Pontifical College Josephinum on July 1, 2012; inaugural festivities will be held in the fall when seminarians and faculty have returned to campus for the new year of formation.

Congratulations to Msgr. Schreck: ad multos annos!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hymn in honor of St. Thomas More

To commemorate the third anniversary of my celebration of the Memorial of Sts. John Fisher, bishop & martyr, and Thomas More, martyr, as a Catholic, I have written this hymn to St. Thomas More.

It may be sung to the tune HELMSLEY, which is usually the tune associated with "Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending."

To the glory of God, for the honor of St. Thomas More, and for the increase of devotion to my great patron, I publish this hymn under Creative Commons license: attribution, no derivatives 3.0 (found here).

 * * * * *

St. Thomas More, intercede for us, poor sinners!
Thou, O great martyr, pray for us!
In these dark days in which the Faith is sorely tested,
pray we may join thee 'gainst the tyrant's thrust!
Like thee, O St Thomas, 
Pray we might stand firm in faith,
Pray we might stand firm in faith:
St. Thomas More, please pray for us!

Knight of old England charg'd by King to serve thy people,
Husband and father, faithful to thy kin,
Man of great learning, thou who pray'st a great contrition,
In thy manly struggle 'gainst all sin!
Like thee, O St Thomas, 
Pray we might stand firm in faith,
Pray we might stand firm in faith:
St. Thomas More, please pray for us!

Then came thy former friend the King with false ambition,
Full of lust against the marriage bond!
He claimed against the Faith the pow'r of Peter's office,
And commanded thee to respond.
Like thee, O St Thomas, 
Pray we might stand firm in faith,
Pray we might stand firm in faith:
St. Thomas More, please pray for us!

Thou said unto the King who asked of thee this evil thing,
"I am thy servant, but our God's the first!
I'll never sign the oath against the Pope or marriage,
Thou, O great King, thou doest thy worst!"
Like thee, O St Thomas, 
Pray we might stand firm in faith,
Pray we might stand firm in faith:
St. Thomas More, please pray for us!

On Tower Hill thou didst climb on the scaffold holy,
Prayed unto God for faith to stand,
With martyrs' courage, laid head upon the woeful block,
Like Christ thy holy blood for God fast ran!
Like thee, O St Thomas, 
Pray we might stand firm in faith,
Pray we might stand firm in faith:
St. Thomas More, please pray for us!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Requiescat in pace: Msgr. Bevington has died

Yesterday, it was with great joy that all Nashville Catholics celebrated the Pope's appointment of two of our diocesan priests as monsignors with the rank of Prelate of Honor to His Holiness.

Now, it is with great sadness that we mourn the death of Msgr. Bill Bevington, who died this morning around 4:00 a.m.

Parish Church of Our Lady of the Lake
Friday, June 22
4:00 — 7:00 p.m.

Vigil for the Dead
Parish Church of Our Lady of the Lake
Friday, June 22
7:00 p.m.

Funeral Mass
Cathedral Church of the Incarnation
Saturday, June 23
10:00 a.m.


Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
— Let perpetual light shine upon him.

May he rest in peace.
— Amen.

May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God:
— Rest in peace.

Let us pray.

O God, who alone are able to give life after death, free your servant William from all sins, that he, who believed in the Resurrection of your Christ, may, when the day of resurrection comes, be united with you in glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

For the first time in thirty years: new monsignors in the Diocese of Nashville

A generic coat of arms for a Monsignor
of the rank, "Prelate of Honor to His Holiness."
Today, two Nashville priests
were named Monsignors by the Pope
at the nomination of Bishop Choby.
It was announced today that two Nashville priests were appointed Monsignors by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the nomination of His Excellency the Bishop of Nashville.  They are the first Nashville priests to be so honored, at the nomination of their own bishop, in almost thirty years.

The press release from the Tennessee Register:—

Bishop David R. Choby announced today that Father William S. Bevington and Father W. Bernard Niedergeses have been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be Monsignors with the rank of Prelate of Honor to His Holiness.

Provisions for this particular honor is reserved to those priests who distinguish themselves in their service to the Church.

The Bishop indicated that while on his "Ad Limina" visit to the Holy See back in January, he had presented a letter requesting this honor for both priests, who each served the Catholic faithful of Tennessee for over six decades.

"I could not be more delighted than I am," stated the bishop.  "All of the priests of the Diocese of Nashville, as well as priests of our neighboring dioceses, look upon Fathers Bevington and Niedergeses as models for priestly life".

"Both men witness to a generous, unassuming way in which the Gospel is announced and supported in the lives of God's people.  As the Bishop of the Diocese of Nashville, in my own name and that of the priests, deacons, religious, and faithful, I say thank you and congratulations  on a much deserved honor."
Congratulations to Monsignors Bevington and Niedergeses! Ad multos annos!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

All you need to know about the Catholic Faith is the number thirty-six

When I was thinking about joining the Catholic Church, I bought an $8 copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to get to the bottom of what the Church actually teaches.

One of the things that struck me about the Catechism was its organizational structure: it is divided into four parts; and despite the complexity and immensity of this amazing work, it finds its systemization in the four most basic formularies of the Catholic Faith: the Apostles' Creed, the seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer.

Later on in my Catholic journey, I have had occasion to re-visit this ingenious organizational scheme, and I have to say it still impresses.  For as most older Catholics know, these four formulae are divisible into parts to help young people remember them.  The Apostles' Creed has twelve articles; there are seven Sacraments (pace Luther, et al.); there are ten commandments in the Ten Commandments; and the Lord's Prayer has traditionally been divided into seven petitions (three "thy" and four "us").

As I was sharing with a friend of mine about the profound implications of these bite-sized pieces of the Truth, I realized that I should make out the list for meditation.  After all, if the man who would become His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI could write thousands of pages (or at least oversee thousands of pages) about these four foundations of Catholic Faith, surely I could use them as a primer for prayer.

For your edification and prayer-life, then, I offer the thirty-six truths of the Christian Faith:

The twelve articles of the Apostles' Creed

1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

3. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died, and was buried.

5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.

6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.

7. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

8. I believe in the Holy Spirit.

9. I believe in the Holy Catholic Church and the communion of saints.

10. I believe in the forgiveness of sins.

11. I believe in the resurrection of the body.

12. I believe in life everlasting.

The seven Sacraments

13. Baptism

14. Confirmation

15. Eucharist (communion)

16. Marriage

17. Holy Orders

18. Penance (confession)

19. Anointing of the Sick (unction)

The Ten Commandments

20. I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange gods before me.

21. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

22. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.

23. Honor your father and your mother.

24. You shall not kill.

25. You shall not commit adultery.

26. You shall not steal.

27. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

28. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

29. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

The seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer

30. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.

31. Thy kingdom come.

32. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

33. Give us this day our daily bread.

34. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

35. And lead us not into temptation.

36. But deliver us from evil.