Category Archives: News

Natural Disaster Relief

When a natural disaster occurs in the United States electronic donations may be directed to Catholic Charities USA. They and their member agencies 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 and recover after widespread destruction. They also assist the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church. Their address information follows:

Catholic Charities USA
Online: www.catholiccharitiesusa.org

Mail: Catholic Charities USA
P.O. Box 17066
Baltimore MD 21297-1066
Phone: 800.919.9338

When a disaster happens in another country, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, collections and individual donations should be directed to Catholic Relief Services (CRS):

Catholic Relief Services
Online:    www.crs.org

Mail: Catholic Relief Services,
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21297-0303
(Please write the specific incident in the memo line)
Phone: Call 877.Help.CRS

 

Upcoming Important Events

Candlelight Vigil for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Monday, October 1 ▪ 7:30 pm
Garden of Our Lady (weather permitting)

Teaching Safety: How to Talk to Young People about Sexual Abuse
Sunday, October 28 ▪ 7:00 pm
It is sometimes difficult to know what to say to children about sexual predators.  This program is presented by Licensed Professional Counselor Joyce Divinyi Keith.  Keeping in mind that most sexual abuse is committed by a person known to the victim, parents and grandparents must talk to their children about what to do if they are approached or touched inappropriately.

 

Statements about Pennsylvania Grand Jury Findings

Father Terry and Deacon Steve Swope spoke at the Masses the weekend of September 1 and 2 about the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Findings.  Here are the audio recordings:

Deacon Steve Swope

Father Terry Crone

Here is his written statement:

As you know, a couple of weeks ago the news broke that over 300 priests in the 8 dioceses of Pennsylvania were named as pedophiles by at least 1000 persons, spanning a time period of 70 years.  The most upsetting, to me, aspect of this case, is that the bishops, then and now, did not call them to task for their crimes, and, in some cases, those priests are still serving in parishes around children and vulnerable adults.

First and foremost, my heart goes out to those individuals and families devastated by this offense against the moral and civil laws.  I pray that they can find healing from within the Church, and in spite of the Church from friends and professional counselors.  There is no good reason to keep the offenders working in parishes where they can do more harm.

Secondly, these priests have provoked anger and resentment in the rest of us who, while still sinners, are shocked and concerned that the public will paint all of us with the same brush.  All have fallen short of the glory of God, but for most of us, our sins have not caused so much trauma and scandal in the Church.

The Jewish scripture scholar, Abraham Heschel, said that the message of the prophet is, “Few may be guilty, but all are responsible.”  As a priest standing before you among the brotherhood of priests, I tell you, “I am sorry.”  I am sorry that these sins and crimes have occurred, and I am sorry that those directly responsible have not been taken to task for their actions.

Thirdly, I am also sorry that all of us have to revisit these tragedies after 16 years of knowing about them.  The scandal out of Boston in 2002 forced the bishops to start moving in the right direction to implement policies designed for the protection of our people, but it appears that those same bishops have not taken ownership of the Church’s sin and pledged to root out the rot within her branches.  Scripture says that all that is hidden will come to light. Why are the bishops hiding in the darkness waiting for the press or the criminal courts to come along with a flashlight?

This week I was at the Provincial Assembly of priests in Charleston, SC, and it was attended by all 7 bishops and over 125 priests from Georgia, North and South Carolina.  As archbishop, it fell to Archbishop Gregory to address the group and he said, that, although words are important, the time has come and is past that we need actions, not just words.  He said that he had written a letter to the Holy Father asking for stricter penalties for perpetrators of the crimes and for the bishops who covered them up.  What he did not say is what his plan is to release our own files from Central and North Georgia to the public.  This week, I will write to him asking, “Archbishop, when are you going to release the records of suspected criminal activity among our priests and parishes?”

All of us are still disheartened and still furious with the goings on among fallen priests and political bishops, but we cannot lose hope.  We are Christians, founded not on good advice, but on the blood of Christ crucified.  When Jesus willingly took up the cross and died for our sins, he could see today.  He could see the weakness of priest-pedophiles, and the weakness of bishops who turned a blind eye.  Even Judas, his betrayer, was not exempt from his sacrifice of love.

Although we may have good reason to turn away from his Church, Christ asks us to remain faithful.  In today’s gospel, Christ asks us alongside St. Peter, “Do you also want to leave?”  Do not let a few bad actors ruin the blessings of the true Church of Christ.  We must have the courage to answer with Peter, “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

Truly the time for just words has passed and what is needed now is action.  For many of us, it seems that our hands are tied: “What can I do to affect this issue?”  Pope Francis has given us part of an answer: Fast and Pray.  It may not seem like much, but prayer and fasting can change the world.  Prayer and fasting transformed the greatest tragedy, the Crucifixion of the Son of God into the world’s greatest triumph, the power of life over death in his Resurrection.

It seems that few Catholics today know that the directives of the Church still encourage abstaining from meat on every Friday of the year.  Although we are allowed to substitute other acts of charity in the place of abstinence, I am asking our parish faithful to avoid eating any meat every Friday and pray for everyone affected: the survivors and their families, the perpetrators, and the bishops who ignored the problem and put more children in danger.  I am asking we continue these acts of penance until the bishops in the U.S. turn over their records to the public.  This may take a long time, but the spiritual benefits to ourselves and to the world will be immense.  Only God can make good things out of evil actions, so let us beg him to transform our world through the sacrifices we make.

Safe Environment

The Archdiocese of Atlanta and St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church are committed to the protection of our children and vulnerable individuals.  St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church complies with archdiocesan safe environment policies and procedures in accordance with the U.S. Bishop’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.  Safe Environment programs are in place to assist parents and children – and those whose duties involve contact with minors – in preventing harm to young people and other vulnerable individuals.

St. Mary Magdalene implements the Safe Environment training materials offered by the Archdiocese of Atlanta, VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children, a training program for adults and children in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade.

You can read Archbishop Gregory’s letter about adopting the VIRTUS program here.

Please check out the Archdiocese of Atlanta pages about the VIRTUS program:

https://archatl.com/ministries-services/safe-environment/policies-and-procedures/

https://archatl.com/ministries-services/safe-environment/virtus-protecting-gods-children/

The Archdiocese of Atlanta and St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church require that all adult volunteers working with children, youth, and/or vulnerable individuals must complete the Safe Environment training (VIRTUS) and undergo a background screening before they start volunteering.

In addition, volunteers must be familiar with the Reporting Child Abuse Guidelines.  To view these guidelines, Click Here.

Scam Alert!

Churches across the United States are being hit with an unprecedented number of email scams.  Several of our parishioners have reported that they have received requests from our clergy asking for money or gift cards for various reasons.  These scammers are exploiting the generosity and good will of people of faith.
We hope that you will recognize that these emails are phishing scams and delete them. 
In most cases, if you pay close attention to the e-mail address of the sender you may discover a slight misspelling.
Any requests by clergy for donations or financial gifts will be in the bulletin or by direct mail.  You should never transmit personal financial information (validation codes, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc) via email.  St. Mary Magdalene  receives donations: 1) in the offertory basket, 2) online giving which can be reached from the parish website, or 3) in the parish office, in person or by USPS mail.  NEVER VIA EMAIL.
If you ever have suspicions or questions, please contact the parish office at 770-309-4584..

Fr. Terry Answers a Parishioner Question

We received this question from a parishioner: Why don’t we add additional names to each Mass rather than one person per Mass? It would bring in additional revenue while parishioners get the date they want.

Canon Law (the law of the entire Catholic Church) states:

Canon 947: Any appearance of trafficking or trading is to be excluded entirely from the offering for Masses.

Canon 948: Separate Masses are to be applied for the intentions of those for whom a single offering, although small, has been given and accepted.

These two items in the law mean that only one person (or family) may request an intention for each Mass (c. 948), and using Masses as a “fundraiser” is explicitly forbidden (c. 947). We realize that the delay between requesting a Mass and the Mass offered is often quite long, but the priority of the Church is that Mass be a spiritual endeavor, not a financial one. Certainly each of us can pray for whomever we wish at every Mass we attend, but the priest celebrant can only offer one intention for which he receives a donation.

Adult Faith Formation Anywhere, Anytime

ADULT FAITH FORMATION ANYWHERE ANYTIME  – FORMED.ORG
The parish has purchased a one year subscription for everyone in the parish.  Follow the link below and use the Parish Passcode to setup your own account.  Please use the parish code first to ensure you have full access to the entire library of movies, books and audio.  If you have a mobile device of any sort, you can log in and learn more about your faith.  Great for those of you who travel and can never get to a bible study. You will find some wonderful studies on this site.  Can’t sleep, need a good book to read, you’ll find great books on this site. Want a good movie…date night….family movie night…you’ll find great Catholic movies on the site,  www.formed.org.  Parish Pass Code is 2Z8MZQ

 

Who is my Neighbor?

Who is my Neighbor?

A Reflection on the Parable of the Good Samaritan
in Light of the Shootings this Week

July 10, 2016

Gospel Lk 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The scholar of the law in today’s gospel asks, “Who is my neighbor?”  As we reflect on the events of the past week, we would do well to consider this question also.  Who is my neighbor?  Who is important to me?  Who do I care about? Or who is the foreigner?  Who is less important?  Who can I safely ignore?  Who is not worthy of my love, my compassion, or even my attention?

Is my neighbor:

  • the black victims of the police shooting?
  • the protesters who peacefully exercised their first amendment rights?
  • the police officers who defended and protected the demonstrators?
  • or the sniper and the inexperienced patrolmen who killed?

Jesus says yes!  Yes to all of them.  In every conflict there are heroes and villains.  Those we agree with and those we disagree with.  We like to think that we are the heroes in our own stories.  In our lives, too, we all have friends and enemies, and even those people we just can’t stand.  Jesus says love them anyway.  Pray for those who persecute you, stand up for the rights of the marginalized and abused.

Bigotry is not a new concept.  This gospel passage challenges the bigotry of Jesus’ time as well.  Between 740 and 722 BC, Assyria conquered and sent into exile the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  During the exile, the Israelites began to marry and have children with the Assyrians, so within a few generations there were no longer “pure-blood” Israelites.  Then, 200 years later, from 598 to 586 BC, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon, and also led into exile.  The Judahites, however, remained separate from the Babylonians, so their descendants were rightly called Jews (from Judah).  When the exiles ended, the descendants of the Northern Kingdom returned to the area known as Samaria, and the Jews returned to Judea.  Thus was bigotry born: the Jews saw the Samaritans as inferior, and the Samaritans resented them for it.  It was not much different than what we experience today.

Because of this, 500 years later, when Jesus used a Samaritan as the hero of the story, it shocked his Jewish listeners.  Furthermore, to show the priest and the Levite as the “bad guys” was also shocking.  They were supposed to be holy, blessed by God.  There is some justification for their avoidance of the dying man; as we know, dead bodies carry disease that can be transferred from person to person, and religious leaders were especially careful to not contaminate themselves, so that they didn’t accidentally start a plague or pestilence in the community.  However, they didn’t even bother to check to see if the injured man was dead or alive!  They were too concerned about their own “purity” to exercise a small amount of compassion for a fellow traveler.

How many times do we make selfish choices?  How often do we think, “That’s someone else’s problem”?  Are we the ones who say, “That’s a job for Congress, the Police Chief, or even the Pastor”?  How many people have to die, or be pushed aside, until we speak out?  Where is the line between the people I am willing to defend and the people I am willing to sacrifice?  It shouldn’t matter if they are Republicans or Democrats, white, black, or brown, rich or poor.  As baptized Christians, Jesus calls US to speak for those who have no voice; he calls US to defend the weak; he calls US to strive for change in our families, in our communities, and in the world.

There are too many voices in the world pointing out differences and deepening divisions in our society.  What we need is more people striving for healing and unity.  “Who is my neighbor?”  Victim or perpetrator, everyone in the world has a right to life, justice, and dignity, and each of us has a responsibility to provide them.