Friday, December 28, 2012

Spectacular gift for a priest!

Many people who try to get a gift for their priest(s) at Christmas struggle with ideas for appropriate and useful presents.  In the parishes, food (especially goodies) is most popular and, of course, well-received.  In campus ministry, donations are the most welcomed gift! the ministry, of course (donations to my golf game are a distant second...distant).

Check out this gift from Amy (campus minister) and Dave (her fiance).  It is a small collage of pictures in a black frame with an incredible quote about the is spectacular!  I love this gift not because of the pics (although some made me laugh out loud), but because of the giver's love of the priesthood.  For a priest, receiving any gift from people is meaningful for the same reasons that gifts are meaningful to anyone.  But in a special way, a gift to a priest is an indirect sign of people's love for and faith in Christ through him.  And, when that present is a direct sign of the giver's love for and faith in Christ (through the priesthood or the Church or the Eucharist or Mary, etc.), then it blows away the priest as this one blew me away.  Thank you, Amy and Dave!


Monday, December 24, 2012

"Superman and Christmas"

Last week, I made a 5 day retreat at the Franciscan Monastery in DC.  Canon law requires priests to make a (5 day minimum) retreat every year.  Happy to follow that law! It was a fruiftul and restful time with the Word of God.  My spiritual director suggested that I listen to the recordings of one of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's retreat for priests.  I did and man, was I rewarded.  I have listen to Fulton Sheen before, but it had been a while.  He was so good as a teacher and communicator.  His cause for canonization is well under way.

For those who have smart phones, I recommend getting the app, "".  It has a library of many, many Sheen talks.  The whole library costs just $8.99.  For GW Catholics, the Newman Center will reimburse your expense for the library.  It is worth it because Archbishop Sheen is probably the best and most inspiring teacher of the Catholic faith the United States has ever seen or heard.     

Here is a video of Sheen on Christmas.  A Blessed Christmas to all!!  Christ is born!!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hopefully, a fruitful interview

Praise God for the opportunity to speak to Channel 9's Bruce Johnson on TV last Saturday about faith in the wake of a tragedy like the Connecticut shootings.  Thank you, GW Catholics, for your witness, especially Brooke Talbot who I referenced in the interview (the student from Newtown); it really helped answer some of his tough questions.  Hopefully, the interview was fruitful.

Click here to view it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homily - "Rejoice in life"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rest in peace, Dr. Panke

Dr. William Panke, the father of former GW Newman Center chaplain Monsignor Rob Panke, passed away last evening. Plans have not yet been finalized. However, the wake is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday evening, and the funeral on Thursday morning.  Please pray for the soul of this great man and for Mrs. Panke, Msgr. Panke, and their wonderful family.

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Amen".

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayer Vigil tonight

Prayer vigil outside of Newman tonight at 8:45 pm.  All members of the GW community are invited to pray for the victims of the awful Connecticut tragedy today.

Beautiful scene / getting ready


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A student's prayer (during exams)

Happy Feast of Our Lady (of Guadalupe)!

A STUDENT'S PRAYER (By St. Thomas Aquinas)

Come, Holy Spirit, Divine Creator, true source of light and fountain of wisdom! Pour forth your brilliance upon my dense intellect, dissipate the darkness which covers me, that of sin and of ignorance. Grant me a penetrating mind to understand, a retentive memory, method and ease in learning, the lucidity to comprehend, and abundant grace in expressing myself. Guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to successful completion. This I ask through Jesus Christ, true God and true man, living and reigning with You and the Father, forever and ever.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Homily - "I absolve you of your sins"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Saturday HDO (Holy Day of Obligation)!

Tomorrow is a HDO (Holy Day of Obligation), celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Masses at Newman are: 1) Friday, 4:30 Vigil, and 2) Saturday, 12 noon. 

As we have been saying about this feast, it celebrates the conception of Mary, not Jesus (his conception is celebrated on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation). 

"I desire you to know who I am"

Many GW Catholics have told me they do not know Mary, but want to know more about it her.  Mary wants you to know who she is. When she appeared in Mexico in 1521, she said to St. Juan Diego (who represents all of us in the Americas), "I desire you to know who I am".  Below is an incredible video about Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the description of her apparition.  Get to know Mary!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Rose Mesoamerica, the New World, 1521: The capital city of the Aztec empire falls under the Spanish forces. Less than 20 years later, 9 million of the inhabitants of the land, who professed for centuries a polytheistic and human sacrificing religion, are converted to Christianity. What happened in those times that produced such an incredible and historically unprecedented conversion?

In 1531 a "Lady from Heaven" appeared to a humble Native American at Tepeyac, a hill northwest of what is now Mexico City.

She identified herself as the ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth.

She made a request for a church to be built on the site, and submitted her wish to the local Bishop. When the Bishop hesitated, and requested her for a sign, the Mother of God obeyed without delay or question to the Church's local Bishop, and sent her native messenger to the top of the hill in mid-December to gather an assorment of roses for the Bishop.

After complying to the Bishop's request for a sign, She also left for us an image of herself imprinted miraculously on the native's tilma, a poor quality cactus-cloth, which should have deteriorated in 20 years but shows no sign of decay 480 years later and still defies all scientific explanations of its origin.

It apparently even reflects in Her eyes what was in front of her in 1531.

Her message of love and compassion, and her universal promise of help and protection to all mankind, as well as the story of the apparitions, are described in the "Nican Mopohua", a 16th century document written in the native Nahuatl language.

There is reason to believe that at Tepeyac Mary came in her glorified body, and her actual physical hands rearranged the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma, which makes this apparition very special.

An incredible list of miracles, cures and interventions are attributed to Her. Yearly, between 18 - 20 million pilgrims visit the Basilica, making it Christianity's most visited sanctuary.

Altogether 25 popes have officially honored Our Lady of Guadalupe. His Holiness John Paul II visited her Sanctuary four times: on his first apostolic trip outside Rome as Pope in 1979, and again in 1990, 1999 and 2002.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th. In 1999, Pope John Paul II, in his homily from the Solemn Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, during his third visit to the sanctuary, declared the date of December the 12th as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent.

During the same visit Pope John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to her loving protection, and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

"Satan is a 'believer'"

A student who comes to see me regularly told me about a post on Facebook that a friend of hers made and that she really liked.  She was especially moved by the last line about Satan being a believer, too.  I've heard that before, but it's just as powerful a statement about merely having faith as when I first heard it.  I don't know her friend or what her faith background is, but this simple little reflection about faith and works sounds very Catholic:

What gets you into heaven? Believing in Jesus? That's what most of us
were taught. I was thinking about this today, it kind of bugged me
lately. How sure are we that we will go to heaven or be taken up in
the rapture when Jesus comes? Some people say that the Left Behind
series is inaccurate and unBiblical because scripture does not say
that believers will be "left behind", but if you think about it, it
makes perfect sense.

Simply believing is not enough, I think we should
stop using that phrase "believing in Jesus", instead we should say
what it really means, FOLLOWING Jesus. That gives it a deeper meaning.
I "believe" in my friend Jody (one of my good friends), I "believe"
that she was born on June 3rd 1974 and lives today. Do I like or agree
with everything she says and does? Do I want to be just like her? Do I
TRY to be just like her? No. Just "believing" in her doesn't mean
much. But, if I "followed" her it would mean that I wanted to be like
her, learn what she did, and do it, listen to everything she said,
ect. I would want to give up my comforts and follow her around.


Faith without works is dead, we can believe all we want, but if we are
followers, we will naturally want to do those things we are commanded
to do. I have no idea what a true follower should look like, we are
all imperfect and selfish, but we need to stop teaching our kids that
"if you believe in Jesus you will go to heaven", yes the Bible says
that (John 3:16), but...what does it REALLY mean to believe? Remember,
Satan is a "believer", too and we all know we won't see him in heaven.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Homily - "Pass Judgement"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Seven Great Qualities of a New Evangelist"


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Homily - "God is always in charge"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily by Fr. Bill Gurnee, former beloved GW chaplain.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Eucharist" = Thanksgiving

This Sunday: 

1) Mass at 7:30 with Fr. Bill Gurnee, former GW Chaplain.  Welcome back, Fr Gurnee!

2) NO 10 pm Mass.

I will be away Sunday - Wednesday, so Happy Thanksgiving to all GW Catholics and friends!!

On Wednesday night, we had another excellent "Theology on Tap".  The topic was "giving thanks" which is fitting preparation for Thanksgiving Day next week.  A small group of students and I discussed the different experiences we've had in giving thanks, not just on Thanksgivings but in general.  I mentioned the importance of giving thanks regularly and how those who do are the happiest and healthiest people in the world.  I concluded our enlightening and inspiring session with mention of the best way to give thanks as Catholics: the Mass.  This brief reflection from, while a bit outdated, sums it up well:


The liturgy of the Eucharist refers to the part of the Mass that begins with the collection and the preparation of the altar and the bread and wine. What are we doing in these actions? Much of the answer lies in the word "Eucharist." Derived from the Greek, it means "thanksgiving."

Our thanksgiving is best expressed in the main prayer of the liturgy of the Eucharist, the Eucharist prayer. Some history of this prayer: its roots are in the Jewish tradition of meal blessings. As a devout Jew, Jesus would have prayed such blessings at meals. Early Christians (who were Jews) used them in their celebrations known as "the breaking of the bread," when they obeyed Jesus' command to "Do this in memory of me." Over time, references to Jesus and the meaning of his life, death and resurrection were incorporated into these blessings. Two of the present Eucharistic prayers we now use date from the third and fourth centuries. All follow a similar pattern. In other words, Christians have been praying this way at the Eucharist ever since there were Christians!

The Eucharistic prayer is thanksgiving for the heart of life as Christians understand it: for all of God's creation, and especially for the saving works of Christ. It is proclaimed over bread and wine, symbols of what is most basic, food and drink from the tables of ordinary people. In this context, when we are focused on the foundations of our life, we also petition God for the abundance promised at this table to be shared with the whole world, with the church, with all who seek God, and with the dead.

The prayer is an action that everyone in the church is meant to participate in: it is not "the priest's prayer." From "The Lord be with you" and the dialogue that follows, through the Great Amen, the Eucharistic prayer requires the vigorous participation of all present. We involve ourselves fully when we join our hearts to the words sung or spoken by the priest, when we assume an attentive posture, when we put aside the missalette and listen, when we sing the acclamations with full voice.

In the end, "Eucharist" is what our life as Christians is all about. Whenever we stand, in suffering or joy or confusion or routine, our life is always to be thanksgiving, always to be a sharing of God's abundance with all in need.

[Source: Sunday Bulletin, St. Paul Roman Catholic Cathedral, Saskatoon, SK, Canada; June 15, 2008]

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"God help us!"

A priest friend of mine sent me the following article with his own preface to it.  What struck me about the article was that there was no mention of the Gospel.  It is all about what the political strategy of the bishops should be.  God help any Catholics who reduce bishops to political figures only, especially those who do it publicly.  The primary role of bishops is to teach the Gospel.  Their strategy should be to teach, defend, and spread the Gospel most effectively!
"If you want to really understand the profound challenges we face in the Church with regards to authentic formation of Catholic conscience and with regards to communicating the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church, you have to read (and study) the article below by Thomas J. Reese, SJ, University Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. He is part of the Jesuit intelligentsia that is forming the best and brightest young Catholics and the leaders of tomorrow - God help us! I must warn you, it will not be an easy read. The article should have the disclaimer – 'Abandon hope [and reason] all ye who enter here', you're about to enter into a very dark place!

Here is the Georgetown website that gives more insight into the man who was former editor-in-chief of America magazine which has more than 45,000 readers (imagine the reach of this man's influence): ".


Thomas J. Reese | Nov. 11, 2012
USCCB Fall 2012
As the bishops gather in Baltimore this week for their annual meeting, they, like everyone else in the country, will be talking about last week's election. The U.S. Catholic bishops took a beating at the polls. Not only was President Barack Obama re-elected despite their attacks on him, the bishops also lost on state referendums on same-sex marriage.
Like all Americans, the bishops have a constitutional right to participate in the political process. They can debate the issues, criticize candidates and publicly express their views. They can even endorse candidates as long as they don't do it on church property and don't use church funds in supporting a candidate or party. In fact, they can even run for president, as did the Rev. Pat Robertson and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The U.S. Constitution does not forbid this; Roman Catholic canon law forbids it.

But what is constitutional is not always effective or prudent. Clearly, the political strategy of the bishops is not working. A majority of Catholics voted for Obama, and gay activists won every referendum. The Missouri and Indiana Republican senatorial candidates, who took the toughest positions on abortion, were also defeated when the Republicans were expected to win these races.

So where do the bishops go from here? Some of the bishops will blame Catholic pro-abortion-rights politicians and urge excluding themfrom Communion. The nuns, priests and theologians who urged voters to consider a wide range of justice issues will also be blamed. These bishops will see no need for a change in political strategy. "The bishops need to be tougher; dissidents need to be punished; full speed ahead!"

Many bishops, who stayed quiet during the election, are tired of the notoriety the political bishops invite. They prefer their parishes be free of partisan politics. But since the media have trouble covering silence, the political bishops get all the ink and airtime. This makes it look like these bishops are speaking for all bishops.

Hopefully, behind closed doors, some bishops will acknowledge that the current strategy is not working and ask, "Is there a better way? Is there a plan B?" Here I am writing as a political scientist, not as a priest or theologian. I am not challenging church teaching; I am questioning political strategy.

The first step in plan B should be listening. The bishops need to listen to those Catholic voters who ignored their advice and find out why. The whole premise behind "No Child Left Behind" is that when students fail, it is not always their fault. Teachers need to examine how they teach so students can learn. Bishops need to listen.

Second, any new strategy needs to be realistic. Granted the current political situation, what is possible? Political strategy cannot ignore data. In the last election, Republicans ignored poll data and truly believed they would win the presidency and the Senate. The great wave of Republican voters never appeared.

What are the data the bishops need to examine?

First, it is clear there is an approaching tsunami of young voters who will eventually make same-sex marriage legal in most states of the union. The likelihood of stopping this tsunami is very low. As the older opponents of gay marriage die, they are replaced by younger voters who havefriends who are gay. This is a new world. If you know you are going to lose a fight, you want to fight in a way that does you the least amount of damage.Tactics that enrage their opponents will make it more difficult for the bishops to get the exemptions they desire under this new reality.

For example, after the bishops spent $1 million fighting gay marriage in Massachusetts, it was not surprising that gay activists fought exempting Catholic foster care and adoption services from serving gay couples. They saw it as political payback. Ultimately, the bishops may be forced to treat same-sex couples the same way they treat divorced and remarried couples whose marriages are not approved by the church. The church does not like these marriages, but they are acknowledged as legal under civil law.

Second, despite all efforts by the bishops and by anti-abortion activists, the country is just as divided on abortion today as it was decades ago. Public opinion polls show people do not like abortion, butthey do not want to make it illegal. No one has come up with a strategy to change the public's mind. Even if Roe vs. Wade were overturned, abortion would still be legal in most of the country. Those living in a state where it is illegal could easily drive to a state where it is legal.

If making abortion illegal is an impossible dream in the current political environment, what is plan B? Plan B has to be working with politicians of any stripe, including pro-abortion-rights politicians, in supporting programs that will reduce the number of abortions.

The bishops must reach out to all politicians and groups who are willing to support programs that help women keep and raise their children. It is possible to agree with politicians on some things and disagree with them on other things. Simply aligning the church with Republican politicians, who promise to do something about abortion but then cut programs that help women, is a failed strategy. Instead of making things better, it makes them worse.Plan B means returning to the consistent ethic of life promoted by the bishops in the past.

Some bishops will reject such a strategy as pragmatic and not prophetic. But we live in an imperfect world. Granted the impossible dream of making abortion illegal, then the moral imperative is to do everything possible to reduce the number of abortions.

The bishops also need to put aside tactics that are counterproductive. Using excessive rhetoric, like comparing the president to Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or accusing the administration of waging war on religion, makes it difficult to form coalitions to reach achievable goals.

Banning pro-abortion-rights Catholic politicians or Catholic voters from Communion is counterproductive. Such banning is not the official position of the church, but enough bishops are doing it (and few bishops are criticizing the practice) that many see it as church policy. Any time you have to use power rather than persuasion in a political debate, you have lost. It also reinforces seeing abortion as a Catholic issue based on faith rather than a human rights issue based on reason.

Banning pro-abortion-rights politicians and gay-marriage supporters from Catholic universities is also counterproductive. It makes the bishops look weak rather than strong. It tells the world that the bishops think their arguments are so weak they cannot allow students to hear their opponents. Any strategy based on censorship rather than persuasion has failed before aword is spoken. The church should be on the side of free and open debate because "Catholic tradition maintains," in the words of Benedict XVI, "that the objective norms governing right action are accessible to reason, prescinding from the content of revelation."

I do not claim to have an infallible strategy for the bishops, but after such a momentous defeat, it is time for the bishops to re-examine their political strategy. The current strategy is not working, and there is no indication it will work any better in the future.

[Jesuit Fr. Thomas J. Reese is a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homily - "All In: St. Damien, widows"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily by Fr. Paul from the Diocese of Honolulu who graciously brought the relic of St. Damien to our student Mass this past Sunday night.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Homily - "Faith seeking understanding"

Congratulations to our campus minister, Amy West, who got engaged last night to Dave the Newman Center!  Thanks, Dave, for allowing us to be a part of your huge moment.  We are so happy for both of you!!

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Friday, November 02, 2012

"They can make contributions and, above all, they can pray"

After Sandy, 'people need everything,' says Catholic Charities official

New York

The damage from the wind, rain and flooding brought by Hurricane Sandy "is almost overwhelming," said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
"We're reaching out to parishes and getting them to directly assist those in critical need -- they know their own people and their neighborhoods," he told Catholic News Service on Wednesday.
Several Catholic agencies and religious communities have stepped forward to address the greatest needs of victims of the super storm.

"Reaching out to parishes and other communities and neighborhoods is imperative at this point," Sullivan explained. "The response on the parish level has been tremendous. We're also working very, very closely with several municipal, state and private agencies, including Red Cross, to figure out the best way to respond to this disaster."

When New York state and New York City were preparing for Sandy's unprecedented onslaught, emergency responders had met with Sullivan and Catholic Charities to plan how to best utilize its resources and personnel after the storm.

"We've been in conversation with dozens of governmental agencies and made sure we put our staff in place. We have a lot of social work case managers who are trained to deal with emergencies like this," the priest said.

"They know how to get greater access to available services to those in need," he said. "Many people suffering through disasters fall through the gaps. Our staff is in place to make sure that doesn't happen. We found this is the best way to work with victims in this situation."

Sandy, which made landfall Monday in New Jersey, caused flooding, power outages, downed trees and other calamities over a large swath of the East Coast and into the Midwest. As of Thursday, the U.S. death toll from the storm stood at 74 people and more than 5.6 million homes and businesses were still without power.

Cleanup and repair in New York City were going forward after the storm, but only so much could be done with more than 500,000 New Yorkers living without electricity and without the use of the nation's largest subway system.

"The greatest need is in southern Manhattan, the Long Island shore, Far Rockaway, the Bronx, large parts of Staten Island, and large parts of Brooklyn," Sullivan said. "The power outages and lack of transportation are compounding the already bad situation. These people need everything -- food, shelter, clothing, communications, medical care, legal assistance -- every conceivable need. We're doing our best."

A chief concern for Catholic Charities is making sure that services to the people it already serves on a daily basis continues unabated especially its year-round services to the homeless, children, the poor, the elderly, infirmed and disabled.

"Those who needed it were evacuated to shelters to better care for them. Sometimes there were public facilities and sometimes our own in areas unaffected by Sandy," the priest said. "Those who are most vulnerable need the most care especially those with physical and emotional challenges. Where necessary, they are evacuated to safer situations."

"We are coordinating by parishes, but the Holy Spirit is doing most of the coordinating," Sullivan
said with a chuckle.

In addition to the assistance Catholic Charities is providing, he urged lay Catholics to "reach out to their neighbors on a one-to-one basis. We are grateful for all our parishioners who are reaching out to those in need, driving neighbors to shelters and just checking up on people."

"If they're capable, they should volunteer at shelters. They can make contributions and, above all, they can pray. There's a lot of need. There are a lot of people who are hurting especially because of the power outages."

Sullivan said Catholics "are concerned and those who are capable of lending a hand are doing so." He told of a parishioner at St. Augustine in Ossining in Westchester County, north of New York City, "who is organizing other parishioners in going door-to-door to check up on their neighbors and the elderly in the town making sure they have everything they need."

"Our staff has already visited 17 of Staten Island's 35 parishes," the priest said. "There's tremendous need out there and throughout New York City. In fact, we're working closely with United Jewish Appeal and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies in making sure those in need are served."

In addition to Catholic Charities, other Catholic organizations are offering disaster relief to storm victims, including the Knights of Malta.

The Knights have "traditionally offered emergency aid, assistance, relief to those in need. We usually assist in Africa and other impoverished areas around the world just like Red Cross does," said police Sgt. Angelo A. Sedacca, 41, a Knight of Malta since 2006. "Now we're needed here in New York City in the aftermath of Sandy."

He expected that by Friday, "we'll have a better idea of what we in the Knight community are doing in response to this disaster.

"A Knight must always be mindful of "making sacrifices to help others, never saying 'no' to those in need," he told CNS.

Sedacca, his wife and their four children are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in the New York borough of Queens, in the Brooklyn Diocese.

"This is the secret of life: putting God first, others second and myself last," the sergeant added. "This emergency is exceptional. I've never seen anything like this but with God's grace and love, New Yorkers will get through it."

Want to help?
Catholic Charities USA is accepting cash donations as it develops its response to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Donations can be made online at the Catholic Charities USA website at
Donations also can be made by calling toll-free (800) 919-9338 or by mail to P.O. Box 17066, Baltimore, MD 21297-1066.

The Alexandria, Va.-based agency has begun working with state and local government disaster response agencies and charitable groups to meet emergency needs in communities in New Jersey and
New York devastated by the late October storm.

A statement from the agency also said that assessments were under way to determine how the agency can best respond.

Several dioceses across the United States also have initiated collections of cash and emergency supplies for East Coast storm victims. Check with your local diocesan Catholic Charities agency if you desire to provide assistance.

--Catholic News Service

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to help hurricane recovery

Tuesday Mass and dinner  is on at Newman tonight!  Mass starts at 5:30, dinner by Chick Fil A at 6, and discussion with Fr Bill Byrne (one of our favs) at 6:45.  See you tonight!

I have offered yesterday's and today's Masses at Newman for the victims of Hurricane Sandy which now include people from the United States.  Please continue to pray for them and their families.  The following article on how to help rcovery efforts comes from Yahoo! News.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery: How to Help

Unfortunately, the predictions were right: Hurricane-turned-tropical-storm Sandy proved to be catastrophic for the northeastern United States. After a night of wild winds, massive flooding, and deadly tree damage, residents across a wide swath of the country woke up to devastation this morning.

Eleven states have been affected— Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia. Millions are without power. Homes have been destroyed by electrical fires. Flood waters are still gurgling in living rooms and front lawns…
These organizations are on the frontlines of helping those most affected by the storm, and they all have ways that you can support their efforts:

American Red Cross, one of the nation’s leading disaster relief organizations. So far, they've opened 112 overnight shelters in 9 states, secured more than 230,000 shelf-stable meals, and deployed more than 1,300 trained Red Cross workers to areas affected by the storm. Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10,  and follow the latest updates on Twitter @redcross.

ASPCA is helping pet owners keep their companions safe during and after the storm. Donate here or use the hashtag #SandyPets on Twitter to get updates about emergency needs to help animals in the aftermath.

Feeding America, the nation’s largest disaster hunger relief organization, is mobilizing to provide food and water to those impacted by the storm. Donate here to support its efforts to provide immediate meals.

AmeriCares provides emergency medical relief in disaster areas at home and abroad. It was already at work in Haiti helping Sandy survivors there before the storm made landfall in the U.S. Donate here.

FEMA is the government's Federal Emergency Management Association. Some presidential candidates have quipped that FEMA should be shut down, but the 2012 election is still about a week away. We still have time to enlist with FEMA here; unlike when Katrina hit, the agency is now in the business of marshalling resources to where they will do the most good.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Incredible pro-life video


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Forty cents"

This post was written by Stephanie Caluag, a senior GW Catholic; it is one of eight qualifying posts that is apart of the SEEK 2013 Blog Contest, sponsored by the Order of Malta Federal Association. Public voting is open now through October 26 to determine the top three winners. Winners will be announced on October 30. Click here to vote.

Beautifully written, Stephanie!  Thank you for entering this in the contest.

“Anybody got forty cents?”

It was crowded in the downtown D.C. metro station. Men in suits and women in boots bumped and rushed and squeezed onto the platform. Seven minutes until the next blue train. I joined in the sprawl, with my intern badge and business wear, I fit right in.

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents?”

My iPhone buzzed, reminding me that it is 3 o’clock. You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls… I had loved Divine Mercy since my freshman year of high school, when my grandmother gave me a St. Maria Faustina message and devotion prayer book. It was small, with faded pages that I flipped through fervently every night. I was amazed by the words of this little nun, humble and meek, who said Jesus loves and forgives even the greatest sinner. How great is His gift for us.

Six minutes until the blue train. More people streamed in down the escalators. A man with a cane hobbled near the entrance, talking to everyone and no one. A makeshift cast made of duct tape and wood caged his left leg, and his clothes were not enough for almost winter. I continued murmuring my Chaplet. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion…

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside,” said the man to everyone and no one. The voice was getting louder; he was getting closer. I opened my wallet and pulled out my only dollar.
Have mercy on us and on the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion…

Jesus promised at this hour, the hour He died, He would deny nothing to a sinner. I began to weep inside for this man being denied forty cents, over and over again. I made my way through the crowd of souls to the one being ignored, and handed him my dollar.

“Thank you,” he said with a toothless grin, then continued his call. “Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside.”

Five minutes until the blue train. Where was I? Oh yes. Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood…

The man began making his way through the crowd, which parted gracefully like the Red Sea. The image of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem, clothes and tree branches on the ground flashed across my mind. Isn’t this how we enter heaven – small and broken, nothing on our backs?

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside, too cold.” The voice was getting louder in my head, and I wished someone would give him something, anything. I remembered I had half a turkey sandwich in my bag, uneaten from lunch. I weaved my way through the gaps in the crowd he had made. I tapped his shoulder, and he turned around and smiled. “Thanks again, young lady.” People turned and stared. Three minutes until the blue train.

“Are you hungry?” I asked, desperate to give him my sandwich, and anything else he asked for, anything that he needed. I had never felt such love for a homeless man. “Are you hungry? Because I have a sandwich if you want it.”

“Aw no thank you. I can’t eat that. Got no teeth, see,” he pulled his lips down to show his gums. And my heart broke, that the least of us should have nothing, not even teeth.

Know that whatever good you do to any soul, I accept it as if you had done to Me, said Jesus to St. Faustina. The words rang through my soul.

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good.” The pleading continued.
Jesus, You are in the lost and the hopeless. You are the widow. You are the orphan. You are the homeless sleeping in the streets. Here I am, with a roof over my head and more than enough blankets in the winter. I don’t know what I have to offer, but I offer it to You.

One minute until the blue train. A man still asking, no one giving.

“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good.”

Jesus, who carried His cross for me, Jesus who was crucified for me, teach me to live as You died, full of selflessness and love. I can’t possibly return what You gave up for me, so I’ll give it to this man, and to the lost, the hopeless, the widow, the orphan.

The train doors opened. Suits came in and suits came out. One lonely soul stayed on the platform, standing crookedly upon his cane.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us all.

The doors closed, but still I heard his words through the cracks, and even after, even now.
“Anybody got forty cents? Forty cents? It’s cold outside. God is good. I believe it.”

I believe it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homily - "SEEK the throne of grace"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily.  Thanks to Michael Russo, homilies are now on iTunes!

Friday, October 19, 2012


On Friday, October 5, 2012, James Zwolenik, age 79, died peacefully at his residence in Washington, DC. He is survived by his brother Edward and by his cousins Robert, Edissa, Clare, Bernadette and Christine.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Zwolenik graduated from Case Western Reserve, earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale and was a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University. He worked at the Chevron research laboratories before beginning a long career with the National Science Foundation. In his last position, he was the Assistant Inspector General for Oversight. He was very active in the Washington, DC chapter of the American Chemical Society and was also elected to the Cosmos Club.
For more than 40 years, he remained an active parishioner at St. Stephen Martyr RC Church, where he dedicated his time to the liturgy, to students at George Washington University through the Knights of Columbus, and to numerous charitable works of the parish. He will be deeply missed by his many friends in the DC Metro area. A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, October 19 at noon at St. Stephen's Church, 2436 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the George Washington University Chapter of the Knights of Columbus (

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"On Humility" by Joe McHenry

One of our juniors, Joe McHenry, is abroad in Costa Rico for the semester.  Many of our GW Catholic juniors are abroad; we miss them all terribly! But, we are very happy for them and the rich experiences they are enjoying.  Joe is keeping a travel blog.  Please click here to view. Here is a recent post of his on humility which reveals a deep desire for this beautiful and necessary virtue in the Christian life.  I was just preaching on humility yesterday!  Thanks, Joe.

On Humility

This week, I began reading a biography of Saint Dominic, a 13th century Spanish priest and the founder of the Order of Preachers, also known simply as Dominicans. I have had the opportunity in Washington to spend some time with the Dominicans at their priory and was left impressed by the level of both their intellectual and spiritual fervor. St. Dominic founded the order with the idea that the friars would be men of study, and that they would utilize that knowledge to preach the Gospel for the salvation of souls. St. Dominic lived during a time when heresies threatened the Church, and his order of preachers sought to defend the Church as the true institution founded by Christ. Now, some 800 years later, the Dominican mission is no less necessary in light of our morally relative and increasingly atheistic culture; a culture that no longer wishes only to reject God, but one that seeks to
altogether eliminate religion from society.

One thing I learned while reading about St. Dominic's life he left virtually no written record. This surprised me, given that many Dominicans, such as Saint Thomas Aquinas, have been prodigious authors. As I continued reading, however, St. Dominic's lack of written works made more sense when viewed in the context of his humble life. He lived, like John the Baptist, that he might decrease in stature so that Christ would increase. This detachment from self was evident to those who knew him, and through their testimony we can learn a great deal regarding the benefits of a humble life. It is said that St. Dominic only spoke either to God or about God. He passed up higher offices within the Church, and only at the urging of his brethren did he accept the position of Master of the order he himself had founded. He viewed himself as dependent and possessed full confidence in his fellow friars, so much so that when he died he asked to be buried below their feet. Though he was a supremely holy man, he was also wholly available to all, regardless of their rank or station in life. He lived with insatiable joy, yet never forgot the severity of his mandate: to save souls for eternal communion with God.

He lived in the world in such a way that his presence was known only through the good works God wrought through him. Surely, he would view it as a success that today he is not as well known as other saints, such as his contemporary Francis of Assisi. A description in the biography says:
Scarcely one ray falls on Dominic's cappa, yet so pure and holy is he that this little light is in itself a brilliant witness. The light is hidden because the man of God is far from the noise and blood of the battle; because, faithful to his mission, he opens his mouth only to bless, his heart to pray, and his hand to work for love; and because virtue, when it stands alone, is lit only by the light of God.
Many of us do virtuous deeds. But the truly humble person does them for God alone. Even when we act to relieve someone's suffering or hunger, we are doing so for the Lord, whether or not we are cognizant of it. The truly humble person does not shy away from warranted acclaim by pretending their deeds or contributions are not valuable. Rather, a person filled with humility flees from accolades by always acknowledging that God is the giver of all talents and abilities. How foolish it is to accept recognition for things for which I was created to achieve. We see this more clearly if we consider nature. Nobody congratulates the Sun on its rising or its setting. Never will you hear someone applaud a tree on its growth. All rational humans, even if they deny God, have a general sense that these things are natural actions. So too are our commendable actions natural, in that they are the actions for which God created us. Our thanks, therefore, should go to the Creator.

It is by pride that we set ourselves up for great falls. In humility, however, we can shield ourselves in the immensity of God. A humble person need not promote themselves because they are sufficiently satisfied in being pleasing to the eyes of God. Saint Dominic's example is one in which I try to imitate daily but fail at hourly. One of my evening prayers, which I took from a longer litany of humility, is a good one to reflect on:
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire that others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homily - "A Whole New Way of Life"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily by Fr. Jim Stack, the celebrant of our Healing Mass.  Homilies will now be available in iTunes!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A student's thoughts on the rosary

Some Thoughts on the Rosary (by Jacob Vanderploeg, junior)

                Hey everyone! So as some of you might remember, I mentioned the Confraternity of the Rosary before the discussion after last week’s Tuesday night dinner.

                What I want to do in this blog post is to explain a little more about why I pray the Rosary every week according to the rule of the Confraternity; being disciplined enough to pray 15 decades a week is tough for many people, me included.

                In 1925, the Blessed Mother appeared to Lucia Santos in Fatima, Portugal (different from the apparition in 1917). She said to Lucia, among other things:

                “Say to all who, for 5 months, on the first Saturdays, Confess, receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary, and keep Me company (emphasis mine) for 15 minutes while meditating on the 15 mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart, I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls.”

                This is part of the larger idea of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but for the purpose of this blog post I’m just going to zero in on the “keep me company” part.

                 I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I’ve pray the Rosary there’s always this peace that comes over me. To the point where I’ve fallen asleep a few times while praying, actually. I couldn’t figure out why I always felt like this while praying the Rosary until I read about Fatima a few weeks ago. When you pray the Rosary, the Blessed Mother is sitting right there with you – she said so herself.

It also finally dawned on me that the word “hail” (as in “Hail Mary, full of grace) is a greeting. (Another example: “hail, Caesar!”) So it’s like saying hello to someone today, just in a more formal way. It follows, then, that when you say “hail Mary”, you’re saying hello to her. And if you’ve had an experience while praying the Rosary such as the one I’ve just mentioned, you know that she doesn’t ignore you. She interacts with you in a very profound way.

This realization gave me (what struck me as) a slightly radical idea – what if I prayed the Rosary with no special intention or request? That is, spend time with the Blessed Mother with no ulterior motive, expecting to gain absolutely nothing.

So I tried it.

Before I talk about what happened, though, I need to set the stage. In mid-September of this year, I was having a hard time keeping the discipline to pray 15 decades of the Rosary every week as required by the Rosary Confraternity, so I had to give myself some extra incentive. The day before I read about the vision at Fatima I talked about above, I decided to pray a 54 Day Miraculous Novena for a major special request. The promise of having that request granted would help me to discipline myself to pray the Rosary every day.

And the results were amazing. I expected to gain absolutely nothing, but had a request that I had made for the 54 Day Miraculous Novena granted not on the 27th day of the Novena as is usually the case, but on the SECOND day. And not to get too personal, but the graces I’ve received have been increasing every day, seeming to be building to something huge for the 27th day…I can’t wait to see what happens!

Rosary Confraternity signup link: click here




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Read the Catechism in a Year (of Faith)

Read the Catechism in a Year

For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged you to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, here's an easy way to do it. Simply enter your email address and - starting October 11, 2012 - you'll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you'll read the whole catechism in a year. Cool, right?

Click here to sign up!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Homily - "A Vote for all Eternity"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily. It will take you to GW Catholics site; you might have to click the smaller title twice.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

GW Catholic shout-out at the Red Mass

Cardinal Wuerl told us at Mass the other night that he gave a shout-out to GW Catholics at the end of the Red Mass Sunday morning. He said that he was coming to see us that night and used us as an example of living the New Evangelization. As you see in the article below, the Red Mass is kind of a big deal. Thanks, Your Eminence!

6 US Supreme Court Justices Among Those Present at Annual Red Mass

Archbishop Broglio Calls on Those in Legal Profession to be 'Instruments of the New Evangelization'

By Junno Arocho

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 2, 2012 ( On Sunday, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Services in the United States delivered the homily at a Red Mass in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, presided over the celebration.
The Mass is celebrated annually for attorneys, law school professors and students, government officials and judges. Among the participants of the Mass were six U.S. Supreme Court Justices: Chief Justice John Roberts; Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Also present at the Mass were U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and several Congressmen and high-ranking government officials.

Archbishop Broglio called on the congregants to be open to the spirit of God and strive to be instruments of a new evangelization. Citing the passage from the first reading from the Book of Numbers, which recounted the election of seventy elders to guide the people of Israel, the archbishop explained that the divine gift to govern was not "limited by place, but attached to the person."
"The sovereign liberty of God determines how He will act and that obliges the believer of all times to question the temptation to close God within the narrow spaces of a justice which assigns itself the task of protecting the presumed rights of God while trampling upon those of his or her brothers and sisters," he said.

The archbishop also invoked God's blessing on those working in the legal and judiciary profession, while calling on them to seek justice in their work. "For that reason we are here primarily to pray with you and for you as you execute the daunting task assigned to you at various levels. We beg a blessing for all of you and for all of those who assist you in this important ministry. We invoke the only Just One so that He might inspire all that you do," he said.

Justice and the New Evangelization
Archbishop Broglio called on those present to be instruments of the new evangelization, saying that the faith held in one's heart must motivate their everyday words, commitments, and decisions. The prelate made specific reference to St. Thomas More who, in the year 2000, was declared by Pope John Paul II as the patron saint of statesmen and politicians.

"St. Thomas More said that he died the good servant of the King, but the faithful servant of God first," Archbishop Broglio said. "We, too, are faithful citizens only when we embrace the fullness of the principles of our faith and allow them to enliven and fortify our contributions to the life of the Nation."

Concluding his homily, the Archbishop of Military services quoted Pope Benedict XVI's message to the bishops of that region during their Ad Limina visit earlier this year, reminding them that nature of reality and moral good are in the heart of every culture.

"In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God." (Benedict XVI, Address to Bishops of Region IV, 19.I.12.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Cardinal Wuerl's Homily at GW

Click here to listen to Cardinal Wuerl's homily from Sunday. It will take you to GW Catholics site; you might have to click the smaller title twice.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mass w/ Cardinal Wuerl + Chipotle, Sunday, 7:30 pm

Student Mass with Cardinal Wuerl

All GW students are invited for Mass with the Archbishop of Washington.  Sun, Sept 30, 7:30 pm, St. Stephen’s Church (25th St. and Penn Ave.).  Chipotle after Mass in the Parish Hall. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

40 Day Prayer and Fast for the Election

This Friday will be 40 days until the Nov 6 elections.  I encourge all GW Catholics to join Chrisians all over the country for a 40 day prayer and fast for the election, not just the presidential but all the state and local elections.  As everyone knows, this is a HUGE election with a lot at stake: life, religious liberty, peace, marriage, etc.

I offer the prayer below as one that GW Catholics should say every day from Friday until the election.  Or, you can use the prayer cards for religious liberty at the Newman Center during the 40 days.

Also, offer up a small fast for 40 straight days.  It can be fasting from coffee or dessert or red meat or whatever. "So we fasted, and prayed to our God for this, and our petition was granted" (Ezra 8:23).

Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our Country, Pray for Us

O God, we acknowledge You today as Lord,
Not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.

We thank You for the privilege
Of being able to organize ourselves politically
And of knowing that political loyalty
Does not have to mean disloyalty to You.

We thank You for Your law,
Which our Founding Fathers acknowledged
And recognized as higher than any human law.
We thank You for the opportunity that this election year
puts before us,
To exercise our solemn duty not only to vote,
But to influence countless others to vote,
And to vote correctly.

Lord, we pray that Your people may be awakened.
Let them realize that while politics is not their
Their response to You requires that they be politically

Awaken Your people to know that they are not called to be
a sect fleeing the world
But rather a community of faith renewing the world.

Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to You in prayer
Are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth;
That the same eyes that read Your Word
Are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.

Awaken Your people to a commitment to justice,
To the sanctity of marriage and the family,
To the dignity of each individual human life,
And to the truth that human rights begin when Human Lives
And not one moment later.

Lord, we rejoice today
That we are citizens of Your kingdom.

May that make us all the more committed
To being faithful citizens on earth.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homily: "Be Passionate for Christ"

Click here to listen to Sunday's homily. It will take you to GW Catholics site; you might have to click the smaller title twice.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Follow me"

Today is the feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.  The following is from the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours.  "Follow me".

A Sermon by St. Bede the Venerable


Jesus saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him
Jesus saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him: Follow me. Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men.
He saw the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: Follow me. This following meant imitating the pattern of his life – not just walking after him. St. John tells us: Whoever says he abides in Christ ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
And he rose and followed him. There is no reason for surprise that the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all. Our Lord summoned Matthew by speaking to him in words. By an invisible, interior impulse flooding his mind with the light of grace, he instructed him to walk in his footsteps. In this way Matthew could understand that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had incorruptible treasures of heaven in his gift.
As he sat at table in the house, behold many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. This conversion of one tax collector gave many men, those from his own profession and other sinners, an example of repentance and pardon. Notice also the happy and true anticipation of his future status as apostle and teacher of the nations. No sooner was he converted than Matthew drew after him a whole crowd of sinners along the same road to salvation. He took up his appointed duties while still taking his first steps in the faith, and from that hour he fulfilled his obligation and thus grew in merit. To see a deeper understanding of the great celebration Matthew held at his house, we must realise that he not only gave a banquet for the Lord at his earthly residence, but far more pleasing was the banquet set in his own heart which he provided through faith and love. Our Saviour attests to this: Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
On hearing Christ’s voice, we open the door to receive him, as it were, when we freely assent to his promptings and when we give ourselves over to doing what must be done. Christ, since he dwells in the hearts of his chosen ones through the grace of his love, enters so that he might eat with us and we with him. He ever refreshes us by the light of his presence insofar as we progress in our devotion to and longing for the things of heaven. He himself is delighted by such a pleasing banquet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Most beautiful explanation of death"

Most beautiful explanation of death I've ever heard.



A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to

Leave the examination room and said,

'Doctor, I am afraid to die.

Tell me what lies on the other side.'

Very quietly, the doctor said, 'I don't know..'

'You don't know? You're, a Christian man,

and don't know what's on the other side?'

The doctor was holding the handle of the door;

On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,

And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room

And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
'Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before.

He didn't know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his master was here,

And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death,

But I do know one thing...

I know my Master is there and that is enough.'

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Election 2012: Follow Your Conscience"

Tonight! Discussion on Life Issues in the Newman Chapel after Tuesday Mass and dinner with Christa Lopiccolo, Executive Director, Department for Life Issues, Archdiocese of Washington. Ms. Lopiccolo will share her expertise in helping to form our consciences for voting.

Here is the pamphlet on the election to which I referred in Sunday's homily:

                                             Election 2012


                                       FOLLOW YOUR



Following one’s conscience is not based upon one’s preferences or opinions, “nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should not do”; rather, “conscience always requires serious attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the truths of our faith

-“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011, #17.

In their 2011 document on Faithful Citizenship, the US Bishops focus on pressing national issues:

• Continuing destruction of unborn children through abortion and other threats to the lives and dignity of others who are vulnerable, sick, or unwanted

• Renewed efforts to force Catholic ministries—in health care, education, and social services—to violate their consciences or stop serving those in need;

• Intensifying efforts to redefine marriage and enact measures which undermine marriage as the permanent, faithful, and fruitful union of one man and one woman and a fundamental moral and social institution essential to the common good;


• An economic crisis which has devastated lives and livelihoods, increasing national and global unemployment, poverty, and hunger; increasing deficits and debt and the duty to respond in ways which protect those who are poor and vulnerable as well as future generations;

• The failure to repair a broken immigration system with comprehensive measures that promote true respect for law, protect the human rights and dignity of immigrants and refugees, recognize their contributions to our nation, keep families together, and advance the common good;

• Wars, terror, and violence which raise serious moral questions on the use of force and its human and moral costs in a dangerous world, particularly the absence of justice, security, and peace in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.


How does a GW Catholic follow his or her conscience and make a sound moral judgment on voting?

“it is essential for (GW) Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions” – FC, #37.



The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed” (FC, #28). 

   Intrinsic evils /








         A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil,
         such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a
        Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil.” – FC, #34.    

     Other serious threats to human life and dignity:

-Death penalty
-Unjust War
-War Crimes
-Failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care
-Unjust immigration policy


While these do not carry the same moral weight as  the non-negotiables, they “are all serious moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act. These are not optional concerns which can be dismissed. Catholics are urged to seriously consider Church teaching on these issues. Although choices about how best to respond to these and other compelling threats to human life and dignity are matters for principled debate and decision, this does not make them optional concerns or permit Catholics to dismiss or ignore Church teaching on these important issues.” (FC, #29)