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Settlement in abuse cases reflects desire for ‘pastoral healing’ Print E-mail
Written by Pete Sheehan   
Friday, 23 September 2016 13:37

A recent settlement by the Youngstown Diocese and Third Order Regular Franciscans of Hollidaysburg, Pa., with those who filed claims of sexual abuse by Franciscan Brother Stephen Baker reflected a desire for “pastoral healing,” diocesan officials report.

Bishop names Hispanic ministry coordinator Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 14:21

Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., has appointed Father Ernesto Rodriguez diocesan coordinator of Hispanic ministry.

Father Rodriguez will actively assist the Hispanic Catholic communities of the diocese in their journey towards full participation in the life of the local Church from the parish level to the diocesan level.

He will develop advisory bodies for various Hispanic groups, and a vision for Hispanic ministry, taking into account the Diocesan Pastoral Plan for Evangelization. He will also engage diocesan offices and agencies in response to pastoral needs, especially in leadership formation, evangelization, youth/young adult ministry and vocations.

A native of Lima, Peru, Father Rodriguez studied for the priesthood in Peru, Fla., and the Virgin Islands before coming to the Diocese of Youngstown to complete his studies at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa.

Father Rodriguez was ordained on June 25, 2011, in St. Columba Cathedral by Bishop Murry. Following ordination, he served as associate pastor at Ashtabula Our Lady of Peace, where he remained until his new appointment.

Dedicated to serving others, Canton St. Michael parishioner now seeks help for self Print E-mail
Written by Ann-Margaret Lambo, Special to the Exponent   
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 14:18

CANTON – Above the picture window in Mike and Kay Flood’s great room, there is a saying stenciled on the wall: “Every flood needs an ark.”

Mike Flood, 74, an active member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish here, a former executive in human resources and labor relations at the Timken Co., and an attorney, has been the ark for many an organization and cause in Stark County, from chairing committees and boards to raising money to update local facilities.

Though he donated years to organizations that needed his assistance, Flood never expected anything in return. Now, dealing with a serious health issue, Flood needs an ark of his own.

Five years ago Flood was diagnosed with kidney disease. Coping as best he could for years, finally Flood had to start in-home dialysis. Every night, for nine straight hours, he hooks himself up to a machine that does the job that his kidneys cannot.

His best option, he said, is a kidney transplant, which would save his life.
Flood is on the Kidney Transplant List at the Cleveland Clinic, but it will probably take three to five years for him to receive a kidney that way. So, Flood seeks a living donor who matches his O blood type, with a clean bill of health, who can and is willing to donate a kidney.

Another option is a process called a kidney exchange. If a donor is not a match for Flood, that donor can still donate a kidney to another person in need, through the National Kidney Registry. Flood would then be able to obtain a kidney from the registry that is a match for him.

Flood explained that roughly one-third of kidney failure patients with a willing, living donor will not be able to receive the kidney because they are not a match. The Kidney Exchange provides an opportunity for two people needing a kidney to obtain this gift of life with no cost to the donor.

“I’ve had several people inquire about donating, but unfortunately they have all fallen through the cracks for various and sundry reasons,” Flood said. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster.”

Flood tries not to complain. There is no “why me?” either – even though the boxes with his medical supplies are stacked almost five feet tall in his bedroom, right next to the machine that greets him every night and keeps his kidneys from failing.

“I have days when I get a little depressed,” Flood said. “This is just the new normal for me right now. I take one day at a time and my philosophy is: If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”

Despite his challenges, Flood has remained active. He served several terms on his parish council. Under his leadership, the council completed several major projects, including a parish assembly and a parish survey. Both led to the establishment of strategic plans for the parish.

“I’m currently on the parish’s stewardship committee which is very active,” Flood explained. “We put together a very nice, four-color book that includes all of the ministries and contact names.

“We’ve done a ministry fair in the gathering space to introduce the different ministries in the parish. Last year, we invited non-profits in the community to come and recruit people. That went very well,” he noted.

“Mike is a great example of what lay leadership should look like in the Church today,” said Father Don King, pastor of St. Michael. “He is and has been of great value in planning and direction for the parish, and his service beyond the parish is outstanding as well.”

Flood’s commitment to civic groups has included dedicating his time and talent to local organizations that address mental health issues in children and adolescents.

“I was interested in kids and anything that would help us make their lives better,” Flood explained. “The goal was always to ensure that every child reaches their full potential whatever that may be. Any organization that touched that, I’ve been involved with one way or another.”

Notably, he worked with Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health (C&A) to raise money to consolidate the agency’s many satellite facilities into one building. That involved arranging for purchase of the Shipley Building from the United Way for $1 and raising $1 million to remodel the building 25 years ago.

Most recently, he headed a capital campaign and raised over $300,000 to make the day treatment center more family-friendly, including updating the entrance, painting the gray walls bright colors, furniture, lamps and tons of stuffed animals. He also established the Mike Flood Endowment Committee at C&A, which he still sits on though retired.

“I see the need for things and I bring things up,” Flood said. “I don’t want to just belong to something to have my name on it. If I can make a difference in what [the organization] is doing, then I am interested.”

Kidney donation

Anyone interested in donating a kidney (or who knows someone interested in doing so) is asked to call the Kidney Living Donor Line at the Cleveland Clinic at 216-445-3150.

More information on kidney exchange can be found at The National Kidney Registry’s website, www.kidneyregistry.org.


Future saint’s 1982 visit to Canton recalled Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 14:19

CANTON – It was 1982 when Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited here, but those who welcomed the future saint still remember it vividly.

Clad in her iconic white sari with blue border, gray cardigan and simple brown sandals, Mother Teresa, now St. Teresa of Kolkata, visited, in 22 hours, Walsh College (now Walsh University), Our Lady of Peace Church, now part of Christ the Servant Parish, and Sancta Clara Monastery.

In anticipation of her canonization Sept. 4 in Rome, some of those involved recalled the visit – noting her humility, simplicity, and the power of her personality to move the people she encountered.

This small, wizened woman “captured the rapt attention of our campus audience and moved everyone by her Christ-like demeanor,” recalled Brother of Christian Instruction Francis Blouin, Walsh’s third president, who awarded the future saint, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, an honorary doctorate of human services.

The seed of Mother Teresa’s visit was planted, recalls Jerry Pellegrino, a former Walsh student, when he went to see Mother Teresa in 1978 during her visit to John Carroll University, near Cleveland.

Msgr. James Kolp, then-pastor of Massillon St. Mary Parish, who had performed the wedding the previous year for Pellegrino and his wife, Becky, accompanied Pellegrino.

Although she was not yet a Nobel laureate, Mother Teresa was already beginning to win the hearts of the world.

“I said to Jerry,” Msgr. Kolp noted, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get her to come to Walsh?”

Jerry and Becky Pellegrino began efforts for that to happen, aided by their friendship with Bishop Gerald Mahon, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster, England, who they had met on a plane from London while returning from their honeymoon.

“Bishop Mahon had travelled to missions around the world and became a good friend of Mother Teresa,” Costello said. The bishop helped arranged for her to come to Canton in 1982.

On June 22, two days before the Pellegrinos’ fifth wedding anniversary, Mother Teresa arrived at the Akron-Canton Airport. A small group that included the Pellegrinos, Brother Francis, Walsh’s director of development Norman Kutz, and Msgr. Kolp.

“I was going to help her with her bags, but she didn’t have any,” Msgr. Kolp recalled, noting her simplicity in carrying only a small travel bag.

Mother Teresa spent the night at Our Lady of Peace Convent in Canton, waking early for morning Mass.

“She and Sister Priscilla [a Missionary of Charity Sister who accompanied her] slept on the floor and wouldn’t use a tub or shower to wash up in because the poorest of the poor don’t have those in their homes,” Pellegrino said.

The effort to rush her to Walsh for her press conference and talk were hindered by Mother Teresa’s insistence on speaking to the people at the church, Brother Francis noted.

After Mass, she insisted on lingering “because ‘these wonderful people got up so early to see me,’ and so she went to meet them.”

After arriving at Walsh and speaking at a press conference, she was taken to the gymnasium. The tickets were free but “we had to limit it to the 2,000 people [who could fit inside] the gym,” Costello said. “There were 500 more who wanted tickets.”

“She just mesmerized people. I remember watching everyone on the aisles reach out to her as she slowly made her way to the stage,” recalled Kutz.

“Security was instructed not to let them touch her, but she just waved them [the officers] off. She wanted the opportunity for human contact. It took her about 10 minutes” to reach the stage, Kutz noted.

“You could’ve heard a pin drop” when she reached the microphone, Kutz said.

Mother Teresa spoke of her work but also of the need for everyone to love and to reach out to those in need – including in their own families. Poverty is not limited to material poverty, she noted, but includes loneliness – “the greatest disease in the world.”

She also urged prayer. “I pray that you will be making your family a place where Jesus can come and rest with you. Never turn your back to the people who need your love. Make time for your husband, wife and children. And with prayer help us do something beautiful for God.”

She later visited the Poor Clare Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at Sancta Clara Monastery for lunch and presumably some rest. Pellegrino noted that instead Mother Teresa spent her rest time in Eucharistic adoration there.

Mother Teresa concluded her time in Canton by speaking to another 2,000 people at Umstattd Performing Arts Hall.

On her flight to her next stop, Minneapolis, Brother Francis and Kutz accompanied her. Brother Francis recalled that she thanked them for flying with her, thinking that they were doing her a favor.

After her visit, the Pellegrinos kept in touch with Mother Teresa, usually by phone. Surprisingly, she would answer the phone herself when they called, Pellegrino said.

For the Pellegrinos, her visit seemed to spark little miracles that they saw throughout the Stark County community and served its purpose of bringing awareness and support to the poor. Though not planned as a fund-raiser, the visit raised more than $30,000 in donations from the local community in support of her work.

“We might have helped to initiate the invitation,” he noted, “but I like to think it was the Holy Spirit that ultimately guided her here.”

Letting go of ‘I wants’ resulted in joy, peace for former businessman Print E-mail
Written by Mary Ellen Pellegrini, Special to the Exponent   
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 14:15

Even as a child, Father Chris Luoni had great respect for priests but “never in a million years thought of being a priest.” A welcome weekend at a monastery in Pittsburgh during eighth grade further cemented that belief.


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