Monsignor’s Message – Hope

Posted on Aug 10, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Hope. Do I wish to be with God in Heaven? Do I believe that the Lord is assisting me with all that is necessary for me to be with Him in Heaven? This is at the crux of what we mean by hope. We can sometimes live as though we have despaired of that reality. Perhaps we have fallen into patterns of sin and we no longer believe it is possible to live a life of grace. Perhaps we have sinned in a way that we believe to be beyond the forgiveness of Almighty God. Jesus is the reason for our Hope! He is the reminder of the profound love and desire God has for each of us. His healing of the sick and the sinners is proof that God is always pouring out upon us whatever is necessary for salvation!

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Temperance

Posted on Jul 27, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Temperance. Whether small passing thoughts, nagging suggestions, or a strong, seemingly overwhelming desire to do what we know is wrong—we all encounter temptations. Temperance is the virtue to avoid and resist evil suggestions. In the modern era, technology makes it possible to indulge almost every desire we wish. The broader culture embraces a libertine mindset which permits most everything; a false perception of anonymity fuels bad behavior. Temperance is that virtue which prevents our passions from enslaving us. The more we resist sin, the greater our capacity for God’s grace. As we become increasingly free of sin, we grow in the confidence that God loves us, and more importantly, that we love Him in return. This is what it means to become holy. Let us seek to cultivate the virtue of temperance by avoiding those occasions of sin. By making a daily examination of conscience and going to confession regularly, as well as adhering to a plan of life, we can cultivate the virtue of temperance.

May God Bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Justice

Posted on Jul 21, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Justice. To give each one his/her due is how we might describe justice. That seems very reasonable but the sticking point is always: what is one’s due? We might begin by asking what is due to God? In the Holy Mass we lift up our hearts to the Lord – It is Right and Just. God deserves honor and worship from His creation. In a real sense, God deserves our all. Discussions of justice always involve rights. There are primary rights, foundational to who we are as human beings, and secondary rights subject to sometimes changing circumstances. Often we fail to distinguish between these different types of rights. If we strive to be more just in our dealing with others and less concerned about if we are being treated “fairly,” we will grow in the virtue of acting justly.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Independence Day

Posted on Jun 29, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

The America experiment began 241 years ago. Our founding fathers discerned that all human beings have certain natural rights that were bestowed upon us, not from a monarch or government, but from Almighty God. This assertion of inalienable rights and the corresponding claim of national sovereignty placed our fledgling nation on a path to war with Great Britain. Blood was spilled and a nation was born. As we celebrate our national independence, let us never forget the risk and sacrifice of our forefathers. May God grant us the same courage as we confront the particular challenges we face in the modern era.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Corpus Christi Sunday

Posted on Jun 15, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

Corpus Christi Sunday is one of my favorite celebrations in the liturgical calendar. In a mystical way, at each Mass, we stand beside Christ at Calvary. Not all Christians share this belief. Baptists, Pentecostals, and non-denominational churches are all non-liturgical communities. These services are a mixture of scripture and preaching, prayer and praise. The charismatic nature of these worships is appealing to many. The focus is on the experience of the worshipper. Catholics, Orthodox churches, Lutherans, and Episcopalians all belong to liturgical communities. We all place an emphasis on Eucharistic celebrations. Our worships are very similar. Despite these similarities in worships, the theological differences are significant. By the laying of hands, our priests act in the person of Christ – the Head of the Church – and they represent for us the saving acts of Christ. The power of the words of our Lord manifested as His own Body and Blood upon the Altar. Saint Thomas Aquinas explained that even as the chemical composition is the same (accident), the underlying reality (substance) is now the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. How can we fail in gratitude to worship so great a mystery?

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Pope Francis Letter To Young People

Posted on Jun 13, 2017

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE PREPARATORY DOCUMENT OF THE 15th ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS

My Dear Young People,

I am pleased to announce that in October 2018 a Synod of Bishops will take place to treat the topic: “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” I wanted you to be the centre of attention, because you are in my heart. Today, the Preparatory Document is being presented, a document which I am also entrusting to you as your “compass” on this synodal journey.

I am reminded of the words which God spoke to Abraham: “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Gen 12.1). These words are now also addressed to you. They are words of a Father who invites you to “go”, to set out towards a future which is unknown but one which will surely lead to fulfilment, a future towards which He Himself accompanies you. I invite you to hear God’s voice resounding in your heart through the breath of the Holy Spirit.

When God said to Abram, “Go!”, what did he want to say? He certainly did not say to distance himself from his family or withdraw from the world. Abram received a compelling invitation, a challenge, to leave everything and go to a new land. What is this “new land” for us today, if not a more just and friendly society which you, young people, deeply desire and wish to build to the very ends of the earth?

But unfortunately, today, “Go!” also has a different meaning, namely, that of abuse of power, injustice and war. Many among you are subjected to the real threat of violence and forced to flee their native land. Their cry goes up to God, like that of Israel, when the people were enslaved and oppressed by Pharaoh (cf. Ex 2:23).

I would also remind you of the words that Jesus once said to the disciples who asked him:
“Teacher […] where are you staying?” He replied, “Come and see” (Jn 1:38). Jesus looks at you and invites you to go with him. Dear young people, have you noticed this look towards you? Have you heard this voice? Have you felt this urge to undertake this journey? I am sure that, despite the noise and confusion seemingly prevalent in the world, this call continues to resonate in the depths of your heart so as to open it to joy in its fullness. This will be possible to the extent that, even with professional guides, you will learn how to undertake a journey of discernment to discover God’s plan in your life. Even when the journey is uncertain and you fall, God, rich in mercy, will extend his hand to pick you up.

In Krakow, at the opening of the last World Youth Day, I asked you several times: “Can we change things?” And you shouted: “yes!”. That shout came from your young and youthful hearts, which do not tolerate injustice and cannot bow to a “throw-away culture” nor give in to the globalization of indifference. Listen to the cry arising from your inner selves! Even when you feel, like the prophet Jeremiah, the inexperience of youth, God encourages you to go where He sends you: “Do not be afraid, […], because I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:8).

A better world can be built also as a result of your efforts, your desire to change and your generosity. Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices; do not delay when your conscience asks you to take risks in following the Master. The Church also wishes to listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism. Make your voice heard, let it resonate in communities and let it be heard by your shepherds of souls. St. Benedict urged the abbots to consult, even the young, before any important decision, because “the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.” (Rule of St. Benedict, III, 3).

Such is the case, even in the journey of this Synod. My brother bishops and I want even more to “work with you for your joy” (2 Cor 1:24). I entrust you to Mary of Nazareth, a young person like yourselves, whom God beheld lovingly, so she might take your hand and guide you to the joy of fully and generously responding to God’s call with the words: “Here I am” (cf. Lk 1:38).

With paternal affection,
FRANCIS

Given at the Vatican, 13 January 2017

Monsignor’s Message – Most Holy Trinity

Posted on Jun 7, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

The Holy Trinity is a mystery and all mysteries elude our grasp. Just when we have an insight that leads to some understanding, deeper questions emerge. For me, what is central about the Trinity is relationships. We believe in one God. Yet, God is in relationship — God is Father, Son and Spirit. This relation is not a relationship of rivals, but of love. This love is not sterile, but generative. We human beings who are created in the image and likeness of our creator might consider, on this feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the quality of our relationships. Do our relationships give life or drain life? Are they manipulative or free? Do we become selfish or are we more selfless? On this feast day, perhaps we might consider how our relationships resemble or disfigure this image of the Trinity.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – Feast of the Ascension

Posted on May 26, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

The feast of the Ascension marks a moment of transition in time. In Lent and Easter we have celebrated the saving works of Christ. Now, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit assists us in understanding how the salvation won for us by Jesus is being worked out in the world and our lives. We are unafraid! Yet the devil remains determined to undermine faith by stoking flames of fear. The evil one deploys his weapons skillfully. The manipulation of religious faith to extremism and terrorism in order to spread fear is but one weapon in his arsenal. We have witnessed that most recently with a suicide bombing in England. So what is the response of a person of faith? It is the example of Pope Francis who traveled to Egypt despite the violence there against Christians, and walked amid the people to remind them to be courageous. Christ has indeed ascended to the Father, but He has not left us orphans. Indeed, He sent us a powerful Advocate: the Holy Spirit. We are convinced, and thus fearless that by His power, the Accuser Satan will be cast out! May God bless you.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Monsignor’s Message – The Passing of Bishop Thomas Daily

Posted on May 18, 2017

This is a message from Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn that appears in The Tablet:

This past week, we mourn the passing of Bishop Thomas Vose Daily, the sixth Bishop of Brooklyn. Bishop Daily displayed in his office a picture of himself as a young priest surrounded by poor children in Peru, while spending five years in the Missionary Society of St. James the Apostle. He told me this was his favorite picture. He was, in his heart, a missionary. When Bishop Daily left Palm Beach for Rockaway Beach, it said a lot about the man. As Bishop of Brooklyn, he loved to spend time in the Farragut Housing Projects, knocking on doors and inviting people to come back to the Church. He was committed to the dignity of every human life, and it is no wonder that each Saturday he could be found outside doors of abortion clinics praying for the women contemplating having an abortion. Bishop Daily was born into privilege. His family was wealthy and established. He preferred, however, to be with the poor and vulnerable because that is where Christ could be found. Rest in peace, Thomas Vose Daily, a priest and apostle of Jesus Christ.

May God bless you,
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, V.E.

Cardinal Tobin Calls for Solidarity With Immigrants in Keynote Speech

Posted on May 17, 2017
Cardinal Tobin at DeSales Media Group's World Communications Day conference

“Congress and the president could pass comprehensive immigration reform tomorrow if they wanted to,” Tobin said. “They could bring 12 million people out of the shadows if they wanted to.”

On May 17 in Brooklyn, Cardinal Joseph Tobin applied Pope Francis’ World Communications Day message of “communicating hope and trust in our time” to the plight of immigrants in the United States today.

Cardinal Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, NJ, made headlines in March when he accompanied Catalino Guerrero, a 59-year-old grandfather, to a deportation hearing. On Wednesday, in his keynote speech at the DeSales Media Group’s annual Catholic Media Conference, he talked about the message he was trying to convey by standing beside Guerrero.

“First, it put a face on people who are frequently dehumanized,” he said, referring to immigrants. “Secondly, it put a face on us and the call to solidarity.”

Accompanying Guerrero, he said, was a “symbol that communicated hope that the Church does not live in some ivory tower, that our faith has not been privatized, that the Church, the body of Christ, has a right to a voice in the public square.”

Without the solidarity of the brothers and sisters from a variety of faiths who stood up for Guerrero, Tobin said, he might have been taken away.

Tobin was critical of the news media, saying that they needed to resist engendering fear as a way of driving ratings and profits, but he saved his harshest criticism for the Trump administration.

“Congress and the president could pass comprehensive immigration reform tomorrow if they wanted to,” Tobin said. “They could bring 12 million people out of the shadows if they wanted to.”

He continued: “A person unbound by Christian charity would say that you really have to believe in inflicting cruelty on innocent people to choose to support the policies [on immigration] we’ve seen in recent months while possessing the power to change the law.”

Cardinal Tobin, who also received the St. Francis DeSales Distinguished Communicator Award from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, delivered his speech on a day dedicated to examining communication and the media from a Catholic perspective.

Howard Kurtz, Antonio Mora, Lauren Ashburn and Ray Suarez in Wednesday's media panel

From left, Howard Kurtz, Antonio Mora, Lauren Ashburn and Ray Suarez in Wednesday’s media panel.

Before his keynote, four national television reporters — Howard Kurtz, Ray Suarez, Lauren Ashburn and Antonio Mora — participated in a discussion of the state of their industry entitled “Fact or Fiction: Journalism’s Last Stand?”

In a wide-ranging discussion, the panelists talked about the political polarization of the American public; the blurring of lines between news, opinion and entertainment; the obligations of the media and their audience; the lack of public confidence in the media; and what to do when opposite sides of the political spectrum can’t even seem to agree on the facts.

Early in the discussion, Suarez posed this question to his colleagues: “How are we doing?”

“In a word, lousy,” Kurtz responded. “There’s a credibility crisis fueled in part by a lot of self-inflicted wounds.” He talked about news organizations’ allowing bias to creep into news coverage, about reporters’ motivation to stand out on social media with snark and personality, and about an unwillingness for news organizations to own up to their mistakes.

While the journalists on the panel were certainly self-critical, they also pointed out that some of the change in discourse was due to their audience. Mora said research has shown that the American news consumer is not that interested in international news, not that interested in serious local news, not that interested in civil discourse.

Social media was seen by the panelists as both part of the problem and part of the solution. Everyone can have a voice, Kurtz said, but that can make it hard for news consumers to assess credibility.

Ashburn said it was the media’s responsibility to deliver facts and balanced perspective, and the audience’s responsibility to seek the truth. Social media is one way they can find it, she said, pointing out the Pope’s millions of Twitter followers.

“I challenge the audience to find new ways of understanding and interpreting the news,” she said, “and they’re out there.”

The afternoon was dedicated to a screening of “Sacred,” a documentary that captures milestones of spiritual life across religions and around the world, and a panel discussion with the filmmakers, Thomas Lennon, Dr. William Baker, and Julie Anderson. Tim Glemkowski, a national Catholic speaker and evangelist, moderated the discussion. He also delivered the day’s opening talk and served as emcee.

The day began with an introduction by Rev. Monsignor Kieran Harrington, the Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn, and an original song, “Fear Not,” performed by Christian hip-hop artist Kei-Landa. (You can download it here.)