Monday night, the Pontifical North American College was the site of the Rome premiere of the film, “Mother Teresa, No Greater Love,” on the life and heroic times of a diminutive woman who was a giant when it came to loving, St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Present at the premiere were a number of Missionaries of Charity, those wonderful sisters who follow in this saint’s footsteps, doing the same loving. heroic work that she did, day in and day out.

Cardinals Timothy Dolan and Edwin O’Brien, former rectors of the North American College were also present, as were numerous seminarians, Jonathan Roumie who portrays Jesus in the series, “The Chosen,” Patrick Kelly, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and David Naglieri, writer and director of “No Greater Love.”

Teresa of Calcutta’s love was a no-holds-barred love that embraced all of God’s children but absolutely above all, “the least of God’s children,” the heart-wrenchingly poor and destitute, the forgotten and rejected ones such as the disabled, victims of leprosy, the starving, those who were left to die in the hovels they called home or on the streets of their villages or towns, on the peripheries of large, well-to-do urban centers where people truly did not care about the “people they could not see.”

One of the most powerful films I have ever seen, “No Greater Love” was produced by the Knights of Columbus to mark the 25th anniversary of her death on September 5, 1997.

As the official website says: “Twenty-five years have passed since the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, sparking a renewed interest in this spiritual giant of the 20th century. Filmed on 5 continents and featuring unprecedented access to both institutional archives and the apostles of the missionaries of charity, this film reveals not just who a Mother Teresa was, but how her singular vision to serve Christ in the poor continues to be realized through the missionaries of charity today This is far more than a documentary film it is at once a soaring tribute To a spiritual icon, a powerful witness of authentic Christian charity command charity, and a guidepost for all who seek hope in our turbulent times.”

There are so many heart-stopping moments in this brilliantly and tastefully done documentary. Moments that make you understand what heroic virtues and sainthood really mean. Moments that make you seriously reflect on what it means to love, without question, without hesitation, without limits. Moments that make you ask yourself: Could I ever do that?

You start to realize that it is was an abundance of God’s grace that enabled this humble woman to hug a victim of leprosy, embrace a person whose body is wracked by sores and disease or simply to hold the emaciated hand of a dying man. After all, more than once Mother Teresa said what she did was not about her – it was about those she loved and helped.

In one scene, as Mother Teresa was entering a room of a place in New York soon to be one of her centers, a woman who had benefited from Teresa’s love and care, remarked how a room changed with Teresa walked in.

What came to my mind in that moment was the Transfiguration, a powerful encounter, a pivotal man-meets-God meeting that transformed the apostles. And, while not going into the deep theological significance of the Transfiguration, I couldn’t help but think that a powerful encounter, a pivotal moment, was what happened when Mother Teresa walked into a room.

The movie will be shown in 940 theaters in the United States for two days only, Monday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 4. Go here for tickets: Mother Teresa: No Greater Love | Fathom Events

The official website (where you can watch a trailer): Mother Teresa: No Greater Love Film – HOME (motherteresamovie.com)


You can follow the US Bishops meeting online at http://www.usccb.org and you might want to check out these twitter accounts: https://twitter.com/HeinleinMichael, https://twitter.com/jdflynn, https://twitter.com/canonlawyered, ttps://twitter.com/NCRegister You might want to see if your bishop is tweeting or has a blog.

(Source: http://www.uscb.org)
Cardinals – There are 14 U.S. Cardinals
5 Cardinals Currently Lead U.S. Archdioceses
§ Cardinal Blase J. Cupich – Chicago
§ Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo – Galveston-Houston
§ Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan – New York
§ Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley – Boston
§ Cardinal Joseph William Tobin, CSsR – Newark

4 U.S. Cardinals Currently Serve in a Another Capacity
§ Cardinal Raymond L. Burke – Patron of the Order of Malta
§ Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell – Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life
§ Cardinal James M. Harvey – Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls
§ Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien – Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

5 U.S. Cardinals Are Retired
§ Cardinal Roger M. Mahony – Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles
§ Cardinal Adam J. Maida – Archbishop Emeritus of Detroit
§ Cardinal Justin F. Rigali – Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
§ Cardinal James F. Stafford – Major Penitentiary Emeritus
§ Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl – Archbishop Emeritus of Washington

Eastern Catholic Churches are churches with origins in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa that have their own distinctive liturgical, legal and organizational systems and are identified by the national or ethnic character of their region of origin. Each is considered fully equal to the Latin tradition within the Church in the United States. The curial offices and chanceries of Eastern Catholic Eparchies and Archeparchies are based in a certain city. However, the Eparchies and Archeparchies have jurisdiction over large swaths of the United States (and Canada) based on the breadth of each individual Church.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA provides pastoral care and spiritual services to those serving in the armed forces of the United States, Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, and the dependents of those retired or on active duty. On July 21, 1986 Pope John Paul II reorganized the military vicariate as an archdiocese with its own archbishop and relocated the see to the District of Columbia. The AMS oversees Catholic priests serving as chaplains and has no defined territory. Its jurisdiction extends to wherever American uniformed military members serve including all U.S. Government property, military installations, embassies, and other diplomatic missions.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter was established January 1, 2012 to serve former Anglican groups and clergy in the United States who sought to become Catholic. Similar to a diocese though national in scope, the Ordinariate is based in Houston, Texas and includes parishes and communities across the United States that are fully Catholic, while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and traditions.

The Archdioceses and Dioceses of the United States are divided into 14 geographic regions with the Eastern Catholic Churches constituting their own membership region for the purposes of USCCB proceedings. These regions typically include two or more Metropolitan Archdioceses and several Dioceses across one or more States.

When bishops come to Rome for their ad limina visits, as U.S. bishops have been doing since November 4 and will do to January 2020) they come in numerical order by region, I, II etc.).

Click here to see all the (Arch) dioceses of the United States, bishops and websites: http://www.usccb.org/about/bishops-and-dioceses/all-dioceses.cfm


As I mentioned yesterday, one of the reasons I came to Washington was to be at the presentation last evening at CUA, Catholic University of America, of the documentary “Glorious Lives – Cardinal Francis George,” produced by Shalom World with Mike Stark. It was a most memorable evening with very special guest commentators and moderator, Chad Pecknold, CUA professor of theological, social and political thought.

Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois was a guest commentator, as were Michael Heinlein who is writing a biography of Cardinal George, Mary Hallan FioRito whose decades in the Chicago archdiocese included a term as the first female vice-chancellor and her great friendship with the cardinal, and Robert Royal of the Faith and Reason Institute, also a friend of the cardinal’s. It was like a mini family reunion for me as I joined those guests, Mike Stark and Fr. Dan Flens, Cardinal George’s longtime secretary and now a very good friend of mine.

The following piece appeared today in the UK’s Catholic Herald. I offer this to all my friends who knew, loved and perhaps even worked for Cardinal George as frosting on the cake that was the film.

The photos are mine.

If you need to be inspired by someone who was truly one of the greats, this will do it for you.

by C C Pecknold

Even while battling cancer, Cardinal George was also leading the bishops in their defense of freedom

Catholic University students were treated last night to a screening of a remarkable new documentary on the life and witness of Cardinal Francis George, OMI. The former Archbishop of Chicago is remembered for raising the intellectual standard of the episcopate, and insisting upon the importance of intelligent evangelization in a secularizing culture. His sharp warnings against a “nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making ‘laws’ beyond its competence,” came to a prophetic head when the 2012 HHS contraceptive mandate made those threats real with the Obama administration’s overt attack on the Church’s liberty. Even while Cardinal George was battling cancer, he was also leading the bishops in their defense of freedom.

Even before the long battle over the contraceptive mandate, Cardinal George had warned a group of priests that as secularization of society increases, so will the suffering of the Church. He told those priests these famous words: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” Those words became emblazoned on the minds of many American Catholics, as they faced new hostilities, the idea that they may have to suffer for their faith.

Cardinal George’s hard realism about the trials and tribulations set before the church today, from within and without, were always matched with joyful perseverance and the witness of hope. This documentary doesn’t focus on Cardinal George’s famous words so much as the gift of faith that gave us his most elevated and prophetic words.

Born Francis Eugene George in Chicago on January 16, 1937 as the world was setting to war, he was stricken with polio as a child. The great pain and physical suffering was matched by the difficulties of being told by his own diocese that he could not pursue the priesthood due to his limitations. As the film makes clear, even the young Francis knew how to look at suffering squarely in the face and trust God to find a way through it. He became a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, became a priest, then Vicar General for his religious community, before becoming bishop of Yakima, Portland, and finally Chicago.

As Pope Pius XI once said of the missionary fortitude of the Oblates, could certainly be said of Cardinal George, he was a “specialist in the most difficult missions of the Church.”

Cardinal George would sometimes collapse at Mass due to post-polio weakness. But then he’d pick himself back up as Christ did with his cross. He never treated his suffering as a burden, though he had every external reason to do so. Why? At the heart of Cardinal George’s faith as an Oblate was oblation. An oblation is an offering to God, but an offering that you are really willing to lose, to have it destroyed in hopes that God will make something holy out of it.

In the Old Testament, one gives “first fruits” as an oblation. Yet Christ makes the perfect offering, the total gift of himself, body, blood, soul, and divinity. In conformity to Christ, faithful are also called to make an offering of themselves, most of all, at Mass — to give oneself completely to God in Christ means to give yourself in a way that you are willing to lose your life, to have something holy made out of it.

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Watching the inspiring documentary of his life, I saw something new in the man I once met, and admired from afar. I saw more clearly the secret of his life. I saw the secret of his joyful perseverance. Facing suffering in himself with realism, intelligence and joy was possible because this was his oblation, his offering to God through Jesus Christ, meant a suffering life could be transfigured into something holy that heals and elevates a person.

Cardinal George’s non-liberal defense of human dignity inspired me. He once said, “The Church’s social teaching doesn’t begin with the individual, it begins with the family.” He would stress that society is more than politics, and that the Catholic can stress commonality and the common good so powerfully because we have a clear vision that the human person is made for communion. I deeply resonated with his defense of the unborn as integral to our common good.

“When the we took the protection of law away from the unborn,” Cardinal George would say, “we destroyed our constitutional order.” That is precisely right, it seems to me. Yet Cardinal George also had a reputation for praying for women during difficult pregnancies. He did not simply make arguments, he made oblations, offerings, prayers, sacrifices for his flock that bore holy fruit and benefits both temporal and eternal.

Today I think about Cardinal George, and how much we still need his help. The Church is going through great suffering. How must we respond to suffering in our lives as Catholics? How should we respond to suffering in the Church? How are we to respond to the suffering of our neighbors, those in the outer courts, even the suffering of those who would like to inflict suffering upon us? As secularization advances, the Cardinal warned, so will the suffering of the Church. The thought itself can become for us a great burden which causes us to despair, to lose hope, to scatter, and be crushed without being made holy.

Yet Cardinal George would point us to a better hope, an oblative hope, and an intelligent evangelical zeal. He would point us to the blood of the martyrs that becomes the seed of the Church in every age. He would point us to those sacrifices we can make for the love of God and neighbor, the love that picks up the ruined shards of civilization.

Francis Cardinal George suffered greatly throughout his life. Nearing the end, dying of cancer, he said “The lord strips things away from us, sometimes even good things, until there is nothing left but the love of God.” This is the Christian who can teach us how to offer ourselves completely to God, even our suffering, so that we can truly bear joyful witness to Jesus Christ who makes holy our oblations. At the center is always Jesus, the only one who truly gives strength to the weak, who raises up the broken hearted, who gives evangelical hope to the hopeless — and who can set our world on fire with divine charity. I believe Francis George was purified, and made holy, by Jesus Christ — and that he shows that the path of holiness is possible for all of us. I pray his cause advances, and that we ask for his intercession, both for ourselves, and for all the pilgrim Church in her present suffering, especially for our bishops. May the Lord strip away the things which distract us from the love of God, without which nothing endures forever.

Cardinal George, pray for us.