August 21, 2015 |
THE NUMBER OF MEN beginning their journey into priesthood in Philadelphia more than tripled this year and yesterday church officials attributed that rise, in part, to what has become known as the "Francis Effect. " Bishop Timothy Senior, rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, said the school welcomed 20 men from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia when the academic year started this week. That's up from just six men last year. "It is the highest number of priestly vocations in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 10 years," Senior said.
August 20, 2015 |
"MASS HAS ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. " The response, "Thanks be to God," has been uttered with more relief than I care to admit the past few years. My faith has been shaken - by scandal, by political squabbles and by discrimination. The sacred trust that I established throughout all my sacraments - Holy Communion, confirmation, reconciliation - somehow seems tarnished. These struggles have been recurring in my mind as Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families draws nearer.
August 6, 2015 |
The Rev. Canon Clayton Kennedy Hewett, 88, an Episcopal priest who gained prominence as a civil rights activist in the mid-1960s, died Saturday, Aug. 1, of cancer at Mount St. Joseph Hospital in Waterville, Maine. Born in Providence, R.I., in 1927, he was the son of William Benjamin Hewett and Phyllis Arlene Welch, both of Maine. After completing service in World War II in the Merchant Marine and Coast Guard, Mr. Hewett graduated from Samuel Gorton High School in Warwick, R.I., and married Annagrace Carlson.
July 28, 2015 |
The day after he celebrated his last Mass, more than 100 members of the Rev. Ed Speitel's family gathered Sunday in Villanova to help him celebrate both his 90th birthday and 60 years as a priest. They all know the formal side, the serious side, the side of religious devotion - but Sunday, in story after story, they shared the human side. Like this one: Father Ed, a great swimmer at La Salle College High School, has loved the ocean and Ocean City all his life. Diane Marselis Speitel, 57, who married one of his nephews, remembers meeting Father Ed for the first time when she was 17. "I was told I was going to be meeting an uncle who was also a priest," she recalled.
July 24, 2015 |
Twice, the Rev. Andrew McCormick went to trial in Philadelphia for allegedly sexually assaulting an altar boy almost 18 years ago in a Bridesburg parish. Twice, Common Pleas Court juries failed to reach a verdict. Now, three months after the District Attorney's Office announced it would not retry McCormick and withdrew the charges, the now-27-year-old former altar boy has sued McCormick and the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The lawsuit under the pseudonym John Doe was filed July 10 in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for emotional and other injuries sustained by the alleged victim.
July 17, 2015 |
After the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden removed Edward Igle from active ministry in 2000 over an allegation of sex abuse, he turned to his second career: family counseling. Licensed as a therapist since the 1980s, the suspended priest runs a South Jersey practice, counseling families and children, and teaches related classes through a Philadelphia-based center, including on how to identify and clinically treat victims of sex abuse. In 2011, church officials told New Jersey regulators about two men who claimed that Igle abused them in the 1970s.
July 9, 2015 |
The Rev. Stephen Robb Billings, 74, of Haverford, an Episcopal priest and advocate for those oppressed or in need, died Wednesday, July 1, of lymphoma at his vacation home in Falmouth, Mass. He had fought the disease since 2010. The son of Elliot A. and Priscilla Robb Billings, Mr. Billings grew up in Coral Gables, Fla. He sensed he might be called to minister in the Episcopal Church, but initially dismissed the idea, feeling unworthy of such a calling. "Only later did he come to understand that it was not a matter of his worthiness but rather of God's purposes and Grace," said a biography prepared for his 50th reunion at Yale University.
June 10, 2015 |
A suspended Chester County priest pleaded guilty Monday to federal child pornography counts and charges of destroying evidence. Mark Haynes, 56, previously of SS. Simon and Jude Parish in Westtown, admitted trading hundreds of pornographic images of children over Instagram and enticing teenage girls he met online to send him explicit photos of themselves. He contacted the teens while posing online as a 16-year-old girl named Katie Caponetti between 2010 and 2014. "He has accepted responsibility for what he has done," said Haynes' lawyer, Alan J. Tauber.
May 15, 2015 |
The Rev. William F. McGeown, 71, a priest at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Feasterville, died Saturday, May 9, of complications following surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He had gone into the hospital for a thoracic procedure, and planned to return to his parish as soon as he recovered. Known as "Father Bill" to parishioners and "Uncle Billy" to family members, he graduated from St. Rose of Lima School and St. Thomas More High School. He entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1961 and was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1970.
May 13, 2015 |
The Rev. James Lawrence Nolan, 94, an Augustinian friar, teacher, and priest who in his later years was not above driving his fellow friars to medical appointments, died Tuesday, May 5, of heart failure at St. Thomas Monastery, Villanova. "Father Nolan was a friar who cared deeply about his brothers in community, and was a generous and compassionate priest who was ever prepared to minister, especially to the sick and the dying," the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova said in a statement.