Fr. Evan Cummings, CSP - Ordained May 18, 2019

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Our Paulist intern, Evan Cummings is now Fr. Evan Cummings, CSP. He was ordained by Cardinal Timothy Dolan on May 18, 2019 at the Paulist Mother Church, St. Paul the Apostle, in New York City.

Several Newman alumni were present at his ordination - Jonathan Young ‘16, Vincent Escueta ‘17, Spencer Garrett ‘17, Marie Droual ‘17, Natasha Castellon-Hinkle ‘18, and Jessica Yescas ‘18. Fr. Ivan had the honor of vesting him once he was ordained a priest.

For more information on the ordination and his First Mass and videos, check out the Paulist website.

Oppose SB 360 - California's Attempt to Break the "Seal of Confession"

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The “seal of confession” is one of the most sacrosanct of Catholic beliefs and penitents rely on this unbreakable guarantee to freely confess and seek reconciliation with God. A priest who breaks the seal is automatically excommunicated (Canon 1388)

Yet now, the California Legislature is debating SB 360, a bill proposing to eliminate the penitential communication exemption when it comes to child sexual abuse. The state Senate has already approved of SB 360 by a vote of 30-4, and it is now before the state Assembly. Clergy and ministers are already “mandated reporters” - which means that when they hear information about suspected abuse, they are required to report this to law enforcement. There is no evidence that breaking the seal of confession would provide any greater protection for our children.

Examine the issue with Archbishop José H. Gomez who explains how, “Confession is sacred — to every priest and every Catholic.”  In his articles on the subject, Bishop Robert Barron says: “What I hope is clear—not only to Catholics, but to any American committed to the First Amendment—is that we are dealing here with an egregious violation of the principle of religious liberty.”

Send your Legislator an email objecting to this assault on our religious freedoms
or write a letter to your legislator. Click here is a sample letter.

[ adapted from the California Catholic Conference website (cacatholic.org) ]

Pastor's Easter Message

Happy Easter!!

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.

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At last, we have completed our 40 Lenten days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. For myself, I can finally eat dessert and sweets again, and I no longer have to endure the hunger pains of my Friday fast. We also spent time in Lent examining the complexity and dark rooms of our conscience to see where we are missing the mark of excellence, that we humbly know deep inside is our calling. 

Lent has also been a time to recognize that the struggles of life remind us we’re still on the other side of Paradise with stresses of exams, complexities of relationships, difficulties of forgiveness, worries of health and employment, pains of medical procedures and loss of loved ones, challenges of extreme climate, and craziness of politics and the world.

And so today is a glorious day to celebrate our triumph with Christ.  By ourselves, we humbly know we cannot achieve the excellence and escape darkness, but with Christ, we know we are to be winners of the race to salvation.  We can break through the doors to Paradise. So we can truly rejoice and be glad for the Lord has made this triumphant holy day for us.

Our Lord endured the chaos of his passion and death, but God once again brings order out of chaos by raising Jesus from the dead. Easter is when we celebrate new baptisms and renew our own baptism that grafted us onto Christ, so we can join Christ in his glorious resurrection, bringing order out of the chaos of our lives. 

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In a sense, today is like being on the Mount of Transfiguration, recognizing Jesus as truly exalted Lord and not just a suffering servant. Like Peter, we too want to stay here, build some tents and rejoice. After all, who wants to descend down the mountain of Easter to face stresses of final exams, challenges of health, brokenness of relationships, or fear of the future. 

However descend we must because Monday comes. And even though the Church keeps Easter going for an octave (eight days), society thrusts us back into our trials and chains. But, the beauty of our 40 days of Lent leading to Easter is we once again are reminded we are an Easter people, not for one day, but for eternity. To ingrain this idea, our Church has us celebrate and exercise the Easter Season for 50 days. So, make sure to buy a 50-day supply of ½ priced chocolate bunnies and jellybeans tomorrow to keep the celebration going. Splurge on a potted flowering plant to remind yourself of new life and your internal beauty in the eyes of God.

Now is the time to be dormant no more, but to burst open with beauty and the aroma of life. We descend the mountain of Easter, but this time with confidence that this dark valley of tears, this blighted desert of crosses are but an illusion, a mirage compared to the reality that we belong to Christ and that we carry the light of Christ with us always. Let us, there-fore, be Easter for the world.  Happy Easter!        – Fr. Ivan

Kara Speltz on Forgiveness

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I've been a student of nonviolence for over 50 years.  A very poor student unfortunately.  But the topic is not as easy as one might think.

While I spoke often on nonviolence, I never fully comprehended that what I needed was to address that personal anger within me.  So as I entered my 80s I began to have what I call epiphanies.  Sudden and unexpected comprehensions that my most important work was to find a way to end that anger.  One of the most important experiences happened  here at Newman.  When Bishop Barber exiled Fr. Bernie & Fr.Bill  It created such a wave of anger  many in our community left.  I was so filled with anger, I could hardly contain it.

But I knew that, because I was a spokesperson for nonviolence, I had to get over it.  Someone once told me, "if you can't forgive someone start by praying for them."  And so I did for 3 years.  I usually serve breakfast on the last Sunday of the month and so when JC would happily tell me that the Bishop had joined them in serving, I was relieved that I was not there.

Around Christmas a friend told me a story of how the bishop visited the women prisoners at Santa Rita Jail to say Mass and would introduce himself, simply as Fr. Michael. The story touched me and I found myself saying that I was very near to forgiving the bishop.  Lo and behold - New Years morning as I served breakfast the bishop came and joined us.

I was struck, by his humility, as we shared our feeling in small group after breakfast  Much to my surprise, I found myself liking him.  Several months later, he totally captured my heart when he said, "I can't be here every week, but I look at my watch and think they're serving breakfast @ People's Park."

Now I always look forward to seeing him and tell people that I have come to love this man.  This has upset some parishioners.  To me, this transformation of my feelings was a miracle. I often say "he's a complicated man.  But aren't we all?  Aren't we each filled with paradoxes and contradictions?"

This thought has transformed me in other relationships.  It has allowed me to reconnect with my younger brother, who I've been estranged from for over 20 years because of deep political differences.  My brother, like the bishop, is a complicated man, and I am an extremely complicated woman with paradoxes people would probably never believe.

All of this is about the journey towards nonviolence, in that I knew I couldn't hold that hatred in my heart and proclaim to be a student of nonviolence, because the core of nonviolence is love.  Loving our enemies is the hardest command that Jesus gave us, and I suspect, it is a lifelong struggle.  But we have to begin with little steps and know that God will walk that journey with us.            – Kara Speltz

Deacon Evan Cummings, CSP

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Before a Paulist seminarian becomes a priest, he first spends about nine months as a transitional deacon (who may baptize, preach homilies at Mass and preside at weddings).

This new video provides highlights from the Mass at which Paulist seminarian Evan Cummings was ordained a transitional deacon. Evan spent a year with us 2016-2017 during his pastoral year. He will be ordained at St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York City on Saturday, May 18th.

Also click on the following link and check out an audio interview with Evan and his family after his final profession and diaconate ordination in Washington DC on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 2018.