Sunday, January 31, 2010

Catholic Schools - Dividends for Life

As our parish, and nation, begins her annual Catholic Schools celebration, I have to recognize the great dividends our parish (and community) receive as a result of our parish school.

A dividend is a return on an investment. Well, we all know that Catholic education is a financial investment made by many people: the parents who send their children; the teachers and staff who sacrifice higher paying jobs; the entire parish who, committed to Catholic education, supports the operation of our parish school. The investment is there - what about the dividends?

ABSOLUTELY! Want proof? Just take one small example from last night's 4pm Mass. As I held up the Sacred Host and Chalice just before Holy Communion and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God..." A small child somewhere in church said out loud: "That's Jesus!" Truer words were never spoken. ("And a little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6) That is one of the greatest dividends of our investment in Catholic Schools: Faith.

Our Catholic faith is not just taught in our classrooms, but in the very way in which the school is arranged: regular Masses and prayer services which reveal the beautiful liturgy of the Church, wither her prayers, songs, readings and preaching. The many outreach activities to help the poor and needy are incorporated into our school lives (like the monthly "helping hands," Jump for Heart, the Holy Childhood Association, and so many other special projects we do to help and reach out to others). Our teachers and principal strive to live their faith, and it shows in the kind, respectful and loving relationships you can see they have will every one of our students.

Another dividend of Catholic schools is knowledge. Catholic schools are known for their dedication to excellence in every field of study. Teachers are knowledgeable about their subjects, and students progress quickly in a positive, safe environment. Certainly one of the aids to this is the individualized instruction we are able to offer our students. With a student-teacher ratio of 16-1, we are able to offer every student the individual attention he/she needs to succeed. Just look at our graduates, who consistently place on the honor rolls in middle & high school, who excel, not only academically, but in so many other areas of life. The discipline of study is probably at the root of this academic success - teaching this discipline at a young age reaps great dividends later on.

Speaking of discipline, that's another characteristic of our Catholic schools. Teachers are empowered to maintain discipline in their classrooms, allowing students to focus on learning. Discipline makes a classroom not only physically safe, but emotionally safe, so that students thrive in a healthy, holy learning environment.

Finally, Catholic Schools also teach morals. Our Catholic faith teaches the difference between right and wrong, and this is emphasized in a Catholic education. We do not have to accept every new trend or fad or "politically correct" item. It is not OK to steal, to lie, to be disrespectful, to disobey. In a Catholic school, there are consequences to bad behavior, so young people learn the value of self-control. Strong morals allow a person to succeed in life, navigating the temptations of life with strength and grace.

But there's one more important quality of Catholic education: LOVE. It's something you can feel in our school. There's never a day that I walk through the school or stop in at lunch without at least one child running up, "Hi, Father Bateman!" - then they throw their arms around you in a huge hug. Our Catholic school offers the place where love it at the heart of it all. That's what makes us, our faculty and our school different - and worth the investment.

I believe that every Catholic parent should seriously discern and consider a Catholic education for their children. There is so much out there - so much that can hurt our children. Here in our safe, loving, disciplined and studious environment, your children are free to learn the truth: both of 2 + 2 and the Truths of God. Our Catholic school is truly worth the investment - because we certainly reap the dividends!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

CBS Needs to Hear YOUR Voice in Support of Tebow Super Bowl Ad

Pro-abortion groups have launched a massive campaign to stop CBS from airing a pro-life Super Bowl ad featuring Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Tebow and his mother, who decided (against the advice of her doctors) to continue with her pregnancy and give birth to the college football star and Heisman Trophy winner. Together, let's tell CBS that we believe in the sanctity of life and support the Tebow ad.

In the past few days alone, pro-abortion groups have generated over 120,000 letters to CBS, NFL and Super Bowl advertising executives, asking that they scrap the ad. Other pro-abortion organizations have generated 1000's more.

In response, a petition was launched by whereby pro-lifers can express support to CBS for its decision to air the ad, and exhort the network not to cave to pressure to drop the ad.

The Focus on the Family ad is expected to feature the story of how Tebow's mother refused to abort him despite being advised to do so by physicians for health reasons. Pam Tebow eventually gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby, who has gone on to become one of the most-recognized sports stars in America.

Despite its hopeful message, the ad has infuriated pro-abortion forces, who argue that it is tantamount to revoking women's so called "right to choose." On Wednesday (Jan. 27), a number of pro-abortion groups launched an all-out campaign to pressure CBS into canceling the ad.

In a press release, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life commented on the war over the ad. "Why should it bother people who call themselves pro-CHOICE if women watch Pam Tebow and her son Tom on Super Bowl Sunday and freely decide to choose life? Would fewer abortions be a bad thing?" he asked.

"As for the argument that the ad should not be shown because it is divisive, since when do we broadcast only things on which the American people all agree? In that case, the Super Bowl itself could not be broadcast."

It's up to us, the pro-life people of this country, to defend the Tebow's and LIFE and help ensure that their story is told. With your help, the pro-abortion supporters will not silence THIS voice!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Proposed New Window

Very often people ask, "Father, when will we put a window in up there so I don't have to look at a roof any more." Well, we're on our way to a new window! After reviewing proposed drawings from a variety of companies and individuals, the parish pastoral council felt that this design was best for the location of our window - and would fit in with the rest of the beautiful windows in our church. We'd also like to hear your input about this window. If you hit "comment" down below, you can leave your comments for us about our selection. We'd love to hear from you. There is still some work to do with the artist before we have a final design, and I'll be working with her in the coming months to get our window in soon. Pictures of some of the current windows are also posted here so that you can see how they match.

The last photos are, obviously, OLD photos of the original window which were sent to me by a parishioner.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Help for Haiti

Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish, together with parishes throughout the Diocese and the country, will be taking a special collection to aid the people of Haiti who are suffering so greatly. Our funds will be given to the Catholic Relief Services who are coordinating the relief efforts in the ravaged country. We all mourns the terrible suffering of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that ravaged Haiti on January 12, 2010 has already claimed thousands of lives including the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince. It has destroyed countless homes, churches, seminaries, schools, and other buildings and has left millions without the most basic necessities of life. Our faith compels us to pray for and reach out to our brothers and sisters in their time of suffering.

I urge you to help the people and Church of Haiti this weekend, January 30-31, 2010. These funds will be used to support the efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, as they respond to immediate emergency needs for such necessities as water, food, shelter and medical care, as well as to the long term need to rebuild after widespread destruction, and to the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church in Haiti.

The Haitian people are over 80% Catholic. In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the faith, we ask for generous support of efforts to provide emergency assistance and long-term rebuilding.

Catholic Relief Services is already mounting a major emergency response to this severe disaster and has committed an initial $5 million to fund relief efforts which are likely to go on for some time. Your help and the help of the Catholic people of the United States are urgently needed.

Your donations may be given directly to the parish (marked "Haiti" or "Earthquake"). Contributions may also be made via the link on the home page of the diocesan website,, or on the website of Catholic Relief Services,

Thank you for your goodness to the people of Haiti. Visit for information on what they are doing to help.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2009 Parishioners of the Year: Anne & Ralph Hefner.

Since I am still fairly new to the parish, I asked around "who might be a worthy recipient of Parishioners of the year for 2009". Everyone offered the same family name. I was told that this family does so much here at Saint Andrew Parish - some of it is seen by all - but most of it is behind the scenes. I was certainly already aware of how much they do for the parish, and so, following the recommendation of the Parish Pastoral Council, selected Anne & Ralph Hefner as "Parishioners of the Year" for 2009 are Ralph & Anne Hefner. At Mass in early 2010, they were asked to come forward and they were presented with a Papal Blessing from Pope Benedict XVI for them.

Pope Urges Priests to "Blog"

Just today, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI (preaching on Communication Sunday) suggested that we priests learn to use the new technologies to preach the Gospel. It is not enough to simply have a website "out there." We must be even more proactive in proclaiming the Gospel using these modern technologies. (the full text of the Holy Father's words is below). Hearing and heeding the Holy Father's address, our parish is beginning this new means of communication and information: the St. Andrew Parish Blog. I hope that you will find the articles posted here not only informative about what is going on in the parish, but also inspirational. Check back often to see what's going on. Read reflections, check out parish events, see what's going on. Share our new blog address with all your friends - just maybe they'll hear the Gospel proclaimed and come home to the Church (one of our Marian Year intercessions). May God bless our parish as we begin this new outreach.

Fr. Bateman
24 January 2010


"The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World:
New Media at the Service of the Word"

[Sunday, 16 May 2010]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The theme of this year’s World Communications Day - The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word – is meant to coincide with the Church’s celebration of the Year for Priests. It focuses attention on the important and sensitive pastoral area of digital communications, in which priests can discover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and for the Word of God. Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level. Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of these media make them all the more important for a fruitful priestly ministry.

All priests have as their primary duty the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, and the communication of his saving grace in the sacraments. Gathered and called by the Word, the Church is the sign and instrument of the communion that God creates with all people, and every priest is called to build up this communion, in Christ and with Christ. Such is the lofty dignity and beauty of the mission of the priest, which responds in a special way to the challenge raised by the Apostle Paul: “The Scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame … everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Rom 10:11, 13-15).

Responding adequately to this challenge amid today’s cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies. The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more Saint Paul’s exclamation: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16) The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.

The spread of multimedia communications and its rich “menu of options” might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different “voices” provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.

Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ. They will best achieve this aim if they learn, from the time of their formation, how to use these technologies in a competent and appropriate way, shaped by sound theological insights and reflecting a strong priestly spirituality grounded in constant dialogue with the Lord. Yet priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a “soul” to the fabric of communications that makes up the “Web”.

God’s loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in the digital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and engaging. Our pastoral presence in that world must thus serve to show our contemporaries, especially the many people in our day who experience uncertainty and confusion, “that God is near; that in Christ we all belong to one another” (Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2009).

Who better than a priest, as a man of God, can develop and put into practice, by his competence in current digital technology, a pastoral outreach capable of making God concretely present in today’s world and presenting the religious wisdom of the past as a treasure which can inspire our efforts to live in the present with dignity while building a better future? Consecrated men and women working in the media have a special responsibility for opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord’s presence, to grow in expectation and hope, and to draw near to the Word of God which offers salvation and fosters an integral human development. In this way the Word can traverse the many crossroads created by the intersection of all the different “highways” that form “cyberspace”, and show that God has his rightful place in every age, including our own. Thanks to the new communications media, the Lord can walk the streets of our cities and, stopping before the threshold of our homes and our hearts, say once more: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).

In my Message last year, I encouraged leaders in the world of communications to promote a culture of respect for the dignity and value of the human person. This is one of the ways in which the Church is called to exercise a “diaconia of culture” on today’s “digital continent”. With the Gospels in our hands and in our hearts, we must reaffirm the need to continue preparing ways that lead to the Word of God, while being at the same time constantly attentive to those who continue to seek; indeed, we should encourage their seeking as a first step of evangelization. A pastoral presence in the world of digital communications, precisely because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, non-believers and people of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute. Just as the prophet Isaiah envisioned a house of prayer for all peoples (cf. Is 56:7), can we not see the web as also offering a space – like the “Court of the Gentiles” of the Temple of Jerusalem – for those who have not yet come to know God?

The development of the new technologies and the larger digital world represents a great resource for humanity as a whole and for every individual, and it can act as a stimulus to encounter and dialogue. But this development likewise represents a great opportunity for believers. No door can or should be closed to those who, in the name of the risen Christ, are committed to drawing near to others. To priests in particular the new media offer ever new and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the Church’s mission, to build a vast and real fellowship, and to testify in today’s world to the new life which comes from hearing the Gospel of Jesus, the eternal Son who came among us for our salvation. At the same time, priests must always bear in mind that the ultimate fruitfulness of their ministry comes from Christ himself, encountered and listened to in prayer; proclaimed in preaching and lived witness; and known, loved and celebrated in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation.

To my dear brother priests, then, I renew the invitation to make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications. May the Lord make all of you enthusiastic heralds of the Gospel in the new “agorà” which the current media are opening up.

With this confidence, I invoke upon you the protection of the Mother of God and of the Holy Curè of Ars and, with affection, I impart to each of you my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2010, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales.


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