March 19, 2022 Column Father De Celles

Are you Keeping Lent Well? This holy season is a great time to renew our appreciation
for Jesus’ love for us, and our failure to love Him. So I urge you to pause every night
before you go to bed and briefly examine your consciences, thinking both of your sins
and of God’s blessings of the day. Also, take a moment to consider how well you “kept
Lent” that day: have you been faithful to the penances you have chosen for yourself, and
are your penances both challenging enough and not so challenging as to be discouraging?
And then make a sincere and devout act of contrition.
I also encourage you to carefully review the Lenten Schedule we distributed two
weeks ago (go to and click “2022 Lenten Schedule” on the pop-up menu)
and think about which of the various Lenten liturgies and activities you should take part
in—and resolve to make it happen.
We have daily confessions—have you been yet this Lent? And Friday Stations of
the Cross—such a simple but powerful devotion. Or maybe you can come to Exposition
and Adoration on Wednesday or Friday. Or how about waking up early once a week to
come to morning Mass, or at another church near your work during lunch. Or maybe on
Wednesday evening you could go to confession and spend time in Adoration. Or you can
attend the Thursday Holy Hour, or the Thursday all-night Adoration. So much you can
Don’t let this Lenten opportunity to grow in holiness pass you by!
RCIA and RCIC. Please keep in prayer those adults and children who are preparing to
enter the Catholic Church and/or be baptized, confirmed and receive First Holy
Communion at the Easter Vigil. Let us pray that they persevere in faith and be open to all
the graces God has in store for them. And may they be an example to the rest of us,
reminding each of us of our own continuing need for personal conversion in the love of
Consecrations of Russia and Ukraine to Mary. Last week the Vatican announced that
Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on
Friday, March 25. That day is, of course, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.
You will recall that when Our Lady appeared to the children in Fatima on July 13,
1917, she asked for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, saying that if it
were not, Russia would spread “its errors throughout the world, promoting wars and
persecution of the Church.”
Several popes have made attempted to fulfill this request: Pope Pius XII in 1942,
Pope Paul VI in 1964, and Pope St. John Paul II in 1981. However, the careful diplomatic
formulation of these efforts led many to question whether they had met the required
clarity of the request of Our Lady of Fatima. So John Paul II asked all the bishops of the
world to unite with him, and on March 25, 1984, standing before the statute of Our Lady
of Fátima (sent to Rome from Fatima) made the Consecration again. When asked if this
Consecration had fulfilled Our Lady’s request, Sister Lucia, the only surviving Fatima
visionaries, wrote, “Yes, it was done, just as Our Lady had asked, on 25 March 1984.”
Then two weeks ago Ukraine’s Catholic bishops wrote Pope Francis asking him to

consecrate Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Please join the Pope in consecrating and praying for Ukraine against the vile and
unjust attack of the Russian Army. In the words of the Ukrainian Bishops: “May the
Mother of God, Queen of Peace, accept our prayer: Regina pacis, ora pro nobis.”
Strange Treatment of Successors to the Apostles. Last week I wrote about how Bishop
Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, former Bishop of Oran, Argentina, had been found guilty and
sentenced to four and a half years in prison for the sexual abuse of two former
seminarians. Zanchetta is a close friend of Pope Francis and one of his first appointments
as Bishop. In 2017, despite various credible accusations of abuse, he was moved to the
Vatican to work in a special post created just for him by Pope Francis.
This week, however, another Bishop was treated very differently by Pope Francis.
Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres of the Diocese of Arecibo was removed from office by
the Pope without explanation at all. As The Pillar reported on March 9 (“Can the pope
just fire a bishop?”):
“It was a highly unusual announcement — bishops tend to only ever leave office
by resignation, or by death…The announcement did not specify the reasons for Torres’
removal; he is 57 years old and in good health. But in a statement published on the
diocesan website, the bishop gave his version of events, and branded the pope’s action
‘totally unjust.’
“‘A successor of the apostles is now being replaced without even undertaking
what would be a due canonical process to remove a parish priest,’ Torres said in his
March 9 statement.
‘I want you to know that it is not for me to explain a decision that I cannot explain
myself, even if I accept it… I have not been prosecuted, nor have I been formally accused
of anything,’ he said, ‘simply one day the apostolic delegate verbally communicated to
me that Rome was asking me to resign,’ he added.
“The bishop said he was told that, while he had not committed any canonical
offense, he, allegedly, ‘had not been obedient to the pope, nor had [he] had sufficient
communion with [his] brother bishops of Puerto Rico.’
“Torres said he had refused to offer his resignation…
“Neither Torres nor the Holy See have offered an explanation of the bishop’s
alleged disobedience of the pope. But various media reports have noted that the bishop
resisted sending his diocesan seminarians to attend a new interdiocesan seminary, which
was approved by the Vatican just under two years ago.
“Torres also refused to sign a 2021 joint statement issued by the Puerto Rican
bishops, which said Catholics have a ‘duty to be vaccinated’ against the coronavirus and
‘[did] not see how a conscientious objection can be invoked from Catholic morality.’…
Torres had previously issued his own letter, observing that the choice to receive a
vaccination is a matter of personal conscience — in line with the Vatican’s own
statements on the subject.”
Fr. Daly Update. Fr. Daly is doing well, though still moving slow and tiring easily. But

he is able to say daily Mass in his apartment, and live on his own with some assistance.
He is very aware of and grateful for your prayers. Keep them up!
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles