I know what you're thinking: But, he was excommunicated! SSWW is a heretic!
Attention! Don't freak out! I repeat; don't freak out!!!!!
First, let me explain. Please.
Fr. Leonard Feeney is known as a priest who preached the dogma "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (EENS for short)," or, "Outside of the Church there is no Salvation." But there's a history of the happenings surrounding Fr. Feeney and his involvement with the Saint Benedict Center. Such history cannot be written in a brief blog post, but I will refer you to the book that I am currently reading, titled The Loyolas and the Cabots by Sr. Catherine MICM. It's a fantastic read, is very interesting, and gives an inside look at what happened with Fr. Feeney. (For those looking for instant knowledge, he was temporarily excommunicated without due process for his relentless teaching of the Dogma that was very misunderstood by the liberals in Boston.)
Of course, now you're probably wondering (unless you know the story) about his excommunication. It lasted from 1953-1972, so nearly 20 years, but he was reconciled and entered back into communion with the Church, although he never was made to renounce his interpretation of EENS.
So here's why I LOVE Fr. Feeney:
He was bold. He wasn't ashamed of the Teachings and Dogmas of the Church, and he certainly never backed down even when challenged by authorities. He knew his stuff and he didn't let anyone boss him around, save for the Roman Pontiff. He stayed true to the Church at all times, knowing that it was the Bride of Christ and the only means of salvation. He was very good with evangelizing non-Catholics and Catholics alike, and brought a very impressive number of people into the Church while working with St. Benedict Center. He was devoted to Our Lady.
On a lesser note, he was a distinguished writer of children's poetry, as well as philosophical topics.
I wish I could be more like Fr. Feeney in all of those above characteristics. His bravery and devotion truly inspire me and resonate within my soul. I am a fairly bold apologist and I don't let people walk all over me or the Church, but I certainly could take a lesson or two from Fr. Feeney in many respects.
You may also recall that he is the founder of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart, whose (reform) order I am seriously discerning. Your prayers are GREATLY appreciated during this process.
My other new favorite person is (drum-roll pleeeeease!)
Myself with +Bp. Edward Scharfenberger,
Bishop of Albany
MY NEW BISHOP!!! (So now you know what my Diocese is... LOL)
+Bp. Scharfenberger was ordained and installed Bishop of Albany on April 10th, and I was there. He is a fantastic Bishop, and EXACTLY what this Diocese needs.
Bishop Scharfenberger is an amazing example to all Catholics of this Diocese. We have been in serious need of a Schepherd (yes that was intentional) for so long (thirty. eight. years.) and the one that God gave us is just right for the job (read his credentials in my post about his Ordination)! But not only that, he has the right attitude and knows how to encourage us. He addressed youth at his Ordination, saying, "Never be afraid of being holy."
+Bp. Scharfenberger is accessible and close to the people, but also dignified.
I rest my case about the "dignified" thing...
That above picture is of him, blessing the congregation as he leaves the Sanctuary after the Extraordinary Form Confirmation. That's right. He celebrated Confirmation in EF. This hasn't happened in decades in this Diocese! He was extremely willing to participate in this ceremony, and not only that, he knew how to celebrate it! He knew the prayer for Confirmation by heart and didn't even have to glance at the book. He knew exactly what to do with the bread and lemons following the Confirmation of the 17 candidates. He chanted the prayers beautifully (his voice is stunning). AND! He agreed to come back and celebrate a Sunday EF for us.
The day before the Confirmation, he led an estimated 1,000 pro-LIFE people (most if not all of them Catholics) in a pro-life Rosary Walk around the Capitol of our State.
People fill Historic St. Mary's Church nearly to
capacity on Tuesday, June 17th.
+Bp. Scharfenberger leads Catholics in the
Rosary as they process around the
Capitol of Albany, NY.
This is a great event that has been LONG overdue for our Diocese. Our previous Bishop refused to do anything of the sort. We need a great witness like +Bp. Scharfenberger.
I mentioned earlier that he's really involved with the people and wants to be personal with them, but in a dignified manner. This is also greatly needed in this Diocese. He took the opportunity this weekend to visit my parish (of all parishes, MINE!) to celebrate Corpus Christi with us. He celebrated Holy Mass and then led the Church in a Eucharistic procession. Below are some pictures:
This is a great size Procession for this little town!!
My friend Michael incensing the Way of the Lord.
My spiritual direcor, the Bishop, our Deacon, and
Michael in front of the Blessed Sacrament
following the Procession.
+Bp. Scharfenberger holds Christ.
His homily was wonderful for Corpus Christi...
... and he stayed long enough to greet the parishioners, get pictures with a few, and let me kiss his ring (although that's the first time I've done that, and was really nervous, so thus didn't really know what to say afterwards. I think I said something like, "Thanks?" LOL).
My friend happened to get a picture as I was getting up...
I have developed a very deep reverence, respect, and love for our new Bishop in a short amount of time. He deserves it, he acts the part, and he gives us a reason to be so disposed. He does things by the book, but is personable in a way that will keep people from being scared by him. He is holy, and encourages others to be so as well.
So, in conclusion (English professors about to beat me over that one...), my 2 new favorite people are (Catholics, of course!!!) Fr. Feeney and +Bp. Scharfenberger. Both of them are bold, in love with the Faith, and are great examples to all of us.
Please pray for my Bishop and my Diocese!