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Ursuline Sister Anthony Wargel dies at 100

LOUISVILLE, KY. —Ursuline Sister Anthony Wargel died Jan. 24 at Mercy Sacred Heart. She was 100. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Jan. 30 in the motherhouse chapel with burial in St. Michael Cemetery.

She was born in Evansville, Ind., and entered the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville in 1932. She taught school for 60 of her 83 years as a member of the Ursuline congregation. Sister Anthony earned a bachelor’s degree from Ursuline College in Louisville; a master’s from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Penn.; and certification in remedial reading from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

In Columbia, S.C., Sister Anthony taught and tutored at St. Joseph (1957 to 1958 and 1981 to 1992) and at St. John Neumann (1992 to 2002) schools.

Until the age of 91, she remained active as a tutor. She also served in Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

From 2005 to 2014, she led rosary prayer services at Belmont Village in Columbia, repaired and made rosaries for the homebound, and then continued her rosary ministry with parents of children enrolled in Sacred Heart Model School in Louisville.

She is survived by her nephews, Father William Wargel, Paul Wargel and Michael Ziliak in Evansville, Ind., Tom Wargel in Louisville, Ky., Jim Wargel in Rochester, Mich., Charles Wargel in Saginaw, Mich., Alan Ziliak in Wauwatosa, Wis.; her nieces, Kathy Anderson in Nashville, Ind., and Patty Zandee in Phoenix, Ariz.; and her Ursuline community.

Condolences may be made to the Ursuline Sisters and mailed to: Mission Advancement Office, 3105 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40206.

 

Trappist Brother Robert Wojciechowski dies at 85

MONCKS CORNER—Trappist Brother Robert Wojciechowski died Jan. 31 at Mepkin Abbey. He was 85.

The Mass of Christian Burial and burial were held at the abbey Feb. 7.

Brother Robert was born June 19, 1929, in Detroit, Mich., a son of Edward and Wanda Kaspzyk Wojciechowski. He entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky on Dec. 17, 1950. He was sent to Mepkin Abbey on Oct. 19, 1955, and made his solemn profession of vows into the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance on June 24, 1956.

He is survived by a brother, Floyd Alberts, of Flat Rock, Mich.; a sister, Margery Pupa, of St. Clair Shores, Mich.; a sister-in-law, Judy Wojociechowski, of Inman; several nieces and nephews, and his brothers in the community of Mepkin Abbey.

Condolences may be sent to the monks at: Mepkin Abbey, 1098 Mepkin Abbey Road, Moncks Corner, SC 29461.

   

Priest convocation addresses the battle with Satan

CHARLESTON—Evil is real, and Satan constantly tries to cast its influence over the world.

That’s an unpleasant fact that many people seem to want to sweep under the rug, but Msgr. John Esseff of the Diocese of Scranton knows a little more about it than the average person. He has served as an exorcist for more than 30 years.

Msgr. Esseff was one of the keynote speakers at the 2015 Convocation for Priests held Jan. 19-22 in Charleston. The event focused on the theme “Exorcism and Reconciliation in the Priesthood.”

He told the priests in attendance that their vocation puts them in the vanguard of the battle against Satan in everyday life, and they must be in constant prayer asking God to protect them and the people they serve.

Msgr. Esseff said that Lucifer’s influence is often behind the conflicts that priests are so often asked to help resolve, whether they involve an entire parish, a school, a family or even just one man or woman.

“As a priest, you are operating as a shepherd of souls,” he said during his speech on Jan. 20. “You need to be aware so that when the wolf comes, you will know what its name is and how to protect your flock. Remember that the spirit of God always unites people, and the spirit of evil always divides.”

He said that too many people tend to deny the idea that evil might be at the root of discord and problems. Msgr. Esseff reminded the clerics of how many times Christ had to do battle with Satan and with demons during his ministry on Earth, and said that battle still goes on for his followers today.

“The devil is like a roaring lion going to devour people of faith,” he said. “You are going to be targeted and constantly in spiritual warfare. Satan wants to destroy you because of who you are.”

Msgr. Esseff urged the priests to become familiar with Church teachings about Satan, and to make prayers for protection and strength against wickedness a regular part of their daily ritual. He also said they need to be willing to discuss the presence of evil with troubled people who come to them, and pray for their protection.

He stressed the fact that being willing to discuss Satan and his reality does not mean priests or anyone else should leap to the conclusion that people undergoing certain kinds of crises or exhibiting strange behaviors are possessed. Possession, according to Church teaching, can only be determined after a person has undergone extensive medical and mental health testing, and exorcism is a ritual that can only be performed after permission is granted by a bishop.

It is important that priests accept the presence of evil and help the people they work with turn away from its influence and live their lives motivated by Christ’s message, and the teachings of God and the Church, Msgr. Esseff said.

He also reminded them that as Christ’s representatives here on Earth, they have a unique power and presence that automatically grants them the ability to help themselves and others overcome evil. The priest’s ability to forgive sins through the sacrament of reconciliation, he said, is one of the greatest weapons against the devil’s influence.

“The main message I have for priests is not to be afraid,” he said. “I tell them that the absolute worst movie, book and play that was written in the past 45 years was ‘The Exorcist’ because it gave the world the wrong idea. It made it appear as if God and the devil are equals. God has total and complete control over the devil, Jesus had total control over Satan, the priest has it as well. Christ always wins.”

   

Catechetical leaders heed the call to be disciples of Christ

CHARLESTON—A group of about 30 catechetical leaders came together for a Mass and luncheon in their honor at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist recently.

They were celebrating their biannual appreciation day and savored the time to relax, talk and laugh with one another.

Before enjoying a hot lunch, a group of ladies spoke to The Miscellany about their work.

Most of each day, they said, is spent staying on top of paperwork, keeping in touch with the latest news in the world of catechesis, and answering phone calls. A big part of their ministry is simply to listen, as people like to share why they’re joining the Church, or why they’re returning.

The biggest drudgery: paperwork.

The biggest reward: connecting with youth or adults and being the face and voice of Christ.

“To see the transformation of a child into a child of Christ, when they see the light and we see the changes, is beautiful,” said Donna Tomasini, director of Christian formation at St. Peter Church in Columbia.

It is not an easy role.

As Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said in his homily, listening to a leader, and even loving that leader, is not the same as changing your life based on his words. He blessed those in catechetical work for their ministry of passing along the faith to the people; of having them make changes based on their words.

“It’s so important to help people come to an understanding of how important it is to listen to the voice of Christ,” the bishop said. “And don’t just listen, but DO what He asks.”

As they strive toward that goal, catechetical leaders said prayer is the most important aspect of the job.

“We are always praying for the wisdom to know where to lead people,” said Mary Harden, director of faith formation at St. Philip Neri in Fort Mill.

Recently, Harden said, she experienced one of the highs of her ministry when she was asked to sponsor a confirmandi at the Rite of Election. Harden said the new Catholic told her she was instrumental in bringing her into the Church.

Along with wisdom, the leaders said they also pray to always provide a source of strength, patience and compassion to those who are trying to follow the path to God.

They said it’s important for everyone in the church to be warm and welcoming. People who are looking to enter the faith, or rejoin after an absence, are often feeling nervous and unsure and need their first encounter to be a compassionate one.

“We need to see that we’re all on this journey together; we’re all the face of God,” said Elena Ziegler, director of religious education at St. Anne in Rock Hill. “Every encounter is an opportunity for grace for yourself and the other person who comes to you.”

   

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