By Cori Urban | Photos by Tom Roy
On a sunny winter morning following a New Hampshire snowstorm, Pete Farnan steps cautiously, making his way up the freshly shoveled walk to St. Stanislaus Church in Winchester. His wife, Dot, trails behind him, walking slowly beside a friend. “You better hurry up,” Pete tells her, “or you'll have to turn around because they’ll be coming out when Mass is over.” Dot keeps her pace and shakes her head, accustomed to her husband’s affectionate teasing.
An active member of Mary, Queen of Peace Parish, which comprises St. Stanislaus Church and Hinsdale’s St. Joseph Church, Pete is also an active artist who brings the beauty of God's creation to churches well beyond his own parish. His light-hearted and comedic ways notwithstanding, he is serious when it comes to his art – and his faith. A former professional sign painter, Pete devotes his time to restoring sacred statues and devotional art. When people look at his work, he hopes it will inspire a deeper appreciation for the stories of faith they tell.
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Dear Father Kerper
Dear Father Kerper: I recently read a homily Pope Francis gave in Italy last August. He used very strong words: “Clericalism, which is not just clerics, is an attitude that offends all of us: clericalism is a perversion of the Church.” How so? Is it a necessary aspect of the Church?
Clericalism has a double meaning.
First, it refers to dividing the Church into two sectors: clergy and laity. When this happens, some clergymen may exercise power without accountability, expect and even demand privileged treatment and live within a closed world of religious functionaries.
Second, clericalism is the unhealthy habit among ordinary believers of deferring completely to clergymen and, in some cases, of attaching themselves to ordained men, hoping to share somehow in “Father’s power” or to manipulate clerics for political or economic reasons.
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Engaging Hispanic youth as future Church leaders
More than 3,000 Hispanic delegates from the Diocese of Manchester and 162 other dioceses throughout the country returned from the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry energized by their participation and ready to share their experiences with those they represented.
The national initiative, better known as V Encuentro, was held in Grapevine, Tex., Sept. 20-23 to discern ways in which the U.S. Church can help Hispanic Catholics strengthen their Christian identity and become missionary disciples for the entire Church.
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Here's a common complaint about the restored order of the sacraments of initiation: When kids get confirmed earlier, they lose motivation to keep going to religious education classes afterward. There's plenty more to learn, but they feel like there's nothing more to "earn."
The answer, of course, is that confirmation was never meant to be a prize, and was never meant to mark the end of anything. It's supposed to be a beginning, and faith formation is supposed to continue throughout a lifetime. That’s why most dioceses now call it “faith formation” rather than “religious education;” because it’s a lifelong endeavor, not something we leave behind when we finish school.
Here's a revelation I recently had: whatever faith formation my parish or school might provide, it's supplemental. The religious education my kids get at home IS their primary religious education.
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Other Columns in the Current Issue
Bishop's Message - Entering New Reforms to Prevent Misconduct
Dear Father Kerper - What is Clericalism?
Marriage and Family Life - Your Child's Religious Education Starts at Home
On Call With Dr. Pepe - Healthy Beginnings for 2019
Keeping Faith with Teens - 7 Ways to Nurture Your Faith as Teens
Catholic Schools - Catholic Schools on the Rebound in New Hampshire
Your Faith - Seeing Through the Eyes of 'Outsiders'
Catholic Charities Report - The Sisterhood
Cover Story - Transcendent Gifts
National V Encuentro - Engaging Hispanic Youth as Future Leaders
Heroes of the Church - Pope St. Paul VI and St. Oscar Romero
Have You Ever Thought of Being a Priest? - Meet Father Charles Pawlowski
Special Report - Special Report on USCCB Fall Meeting
Calendar of Events
The Rest of the Week - Penny Sale Perils - Saturday, 12:43 PM
Mission Moment - Joseph's Closet: A Give and Take Approach to Durable Medical Equipment