Friday, June 29, 2012

Bishop McFadden in the Supreme Court Ruling

Statement by Bishop Joseph P. McFadden on Supreme Court Ruling
Regarding the Affordable Care Act 

Today's decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a disappointment for me and the Church of Harrisburg. It does not address the three main reasons why the U.S. Catholic bishops ultimately opposed final passage of Affordable Care Act.

Those being:

1 ) It allows use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions and for plans that cover such abortions. This contradicts longstanding federal policy.

2) The ACA does not provide essential conscience protection. People of faith will now be forced to either violate deeply held religious beliefs or pay crippling fines because of the HHS mandate that forces religious and other employers to cover sterilization and contraception, including abortifacient drugs.

3) ACA fails to treat immigrant workers and their families fairly, leaving them worse off by not allowing them to purchase health coverage in the new exchanges created under the law, even if they use their own money.

The Catholic bishops of the United States, for nearly a century, have been and continue to be consistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform to ensure access to life-affirming health care for all, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable.

I urge all to continue to ask Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to correct the three main flaws mentioned.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Graduation Tomorrow

It has been a very long, but wonderful, 6-weeks at Basic Chaplain School.  I've learned so much.  I've found so many new friends and fellow chaplains in the Air Force Chaplain Corps.  I've had so much fun.  And yesterday, we got to get close up to what the Air Force is all about.  It was awesome!

Be home soon.  See you all on Sunday!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Archbishop Broglio Visits Chaplain School

As the chaplains prepare to enter their last week of class before graduation on Friday, June 22 - the Catholic Priests in the class have a special privilege and treat - our "Endorser" has come to visit: Archbishop Timothy Broglio - the Archbishop for Military Services, USA.  During his visit to Fort Jackson, Archbishop Broglio celebrated Mass for all the priests and seminarians who are attending the Army, Navy and Air Force chaplain schools - he will also have dinner with them all.  On Sunday he will celebrate 2 Masses - one at the "Solomon Center" - the main gym - where each Sunday 100's of soldiers who are here for training attend Mass.  Then a second Mass at the main base chapel.  

To begin his trip, Father Bateman was privileged to assist Archbishop Broglio as he dedicated the chapel in the Air Force/Navy building to Chaplain Vincent Cappadano - a Priest Chaplain assigned to the First Marine Division in Vietnam in April 1966. Here is some information about Father Cappadano:

At 4:30 am, September 4, 1967, during Operation Swift in the Thang Binh District of the Que Son Valley, elements of the 1st Battalion 5th Marines encountered a large North Vietnamese unit of approximately 2500 men near the village of Dong Son.  The outnumbered and disorganized Company D was in need of reinforcements.  By 9:14 am, twenty-six Marines were confirmed dead and another company of Marines was committed to the battle.  At 9:25 am, the commander of 1st Battalion 5th Marine requested further reinforcements.

Father Capodanno went among the wounded and dying, giving last rites and taking care of his Marines. Wounded once in the face and having his hand almost severed, he went to help a wounded corpsman only yards from an enemy machinegun and was killed. His body was recovered and interred in his family's plot in Saint Peters Cemetery, West New Brighton, Staten Island, New York.

On December 27, 1968, then Secretary of the Navy Paul Ignatius notified the Capodanno family that Lieutenant Capodanno would posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of his selfless sacrifice. The official ceremony was held January 7, 1969.
On May 19, 2002, Capodanno's Cause for Canonization was officially opened, and so he is now referred to as a Servant of God.  In May 2004 the Initial Documentation was submitted to The Congregation for the Causes of Saints with CatholicMil, later renamed Mission Capodanno, acting as Petitioner and Father Daniel Mode named Postulator.  On May 21, 2006 a Public Decree of Servant of God was issued by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.  The statement was made by then Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien in Washington D.C.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom - June 21 to July 4, 2012

On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.

 The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.

There is a bulletin insert which we are asked to publish.  Daily Masses are to focus on the Fortnight, and we are all asked to keep Religious Freedom in our prayers throughout these days.  

Since I am several hundred miles away, I am asking Fr. Thoms to take the lead on ensuring that this information is published and publicized in the parish to ensure that we participate in this important initiative.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chaplain School Update

Just checking in from Air Force Basic Chaplain Corps College - things are going GREAT!  It's a very different experience from Commissioned Officer Training - where training day 1 began with the drill sergeant kicking our doors and screaming at 4:30am.  I still get up at 4:30 to go run in the mornings, but our first report time, for us priests, is 7:20am to celebrate Mass together.  Then, classes begin.  I must admit that it gets to be a very long day sitting in the classroom all day long (I'm just not used to that - I'm used to being up and about - sitting for 8 hours a day is not an easy thing to do - thus the photo).

We've been learning all kinds of practical and useful things - not only for my ministry with the Air Force, but for "civilian" ministry as well.  We been learning counseling techniques & theory, how to minister to different age groups, suicide prevention, marriage care, marriage preparation, military funerals - all along with the Air Force regulations and requirements.  This photo was taken during our counseling course - and I was acting out how a hypothetical "client" felt about his situation - detached and isolated. 

Sometime later this week we'll do a "bag drag" - where we are put on alert for a fake deployment - and then, after a recall, we'll be going out into the field for 4-5 days where we'll set up a chapel and minister to the soldiers and airmen we meet there.  Weather's actually been pretty nice!  Hot from time to time, but this morning it's in the 60's (cooler than it's been - so that's not normal) - it was almost chilly on my run this morning.

All is well here.  Although I am missing all of you.  I'll be home soon!  Know that I hold you all in my prayers!

Welcome Father Thoms when he arrives this week!

Learning to fold the U.S. Flag during Military Funeral Practicum class.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Second Priest assigned to Saint Andrew Parish

Last week, Bishop McFadden temporarily assigned a second priest to Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish: Father Jeff Thoms.  Fr. Thoms is joining the parish as a parochial vicar to assist in providing coverage for the times when Father Bateman must be away for military duty.  At this point, his assignment does not have a term associated with it, so his assignment is temporary.  Besides duties at St. Andrew parish, he will be providing replacement coverage for various parishes throughout the Diocese when he is not needed here at our parish.  This temporary assignment was a very pleasant surprise!  Fr. Thoms has been my parochial vicar before, so we have a good rapport and he will be a wonderful addition to our parish staff.  Father Letteer, who has been providing coverage during Father Bateman’s Air Force chaplain training, has also been reassigned by the Diocese as the parochial vicar at St. John Neumann in Lancaster.  Father Thoms will be arriving at the parish on June 8th to allow Father Letteer to begin preparations for his move to Lancaster.  Although I am not there to welcome Father Thoms personally, I know that you will offer him a wonderful welcome next weekend.