Bishop Calvo's Homilies
Chrism Mass Homily
Right after this homily, the priests ordained to serve you the Church will stand and renew our commitment. I will ask them to confirm “those promises about sacred duties towards Christ’s Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination.” We renew these promises on various occasions and every year at this Chrism Mass when we gather to bless the oils we will use in our sacramental ministry. This year we make them against the backdrop of the events that have shaken our Church and have called into question among many faithful Catholics their trust in their priests and bishops and even the very institution of the Catholic Church.
The priests here present have also suffered from this scandal. The crimes of our confreres have left them feeling humiliated, sad and vulnerable. The perception that bishops have not advanced far in appropriately handling abuse cases makes them angry and frustrated. Yet, despite these feelings, they have gathered together with you to renew their commitment of service to you and to God.The first reading and the Gospel cite passages from Chapter 61 of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. They tell of the Anointed One who declares that God has sent him to proclaim glad tidings to the lowly, to heal and uplift, to free and console, to bestow the oil of gladness. He is Jesus the Christ—the Anointed One. We turn to him, our hope and salvation, and stand ready with you to receive the oil of gladness.The reading from Isaiah says, “They shall rebuild the ancient ruins, the former wastes they shall raise up and restore the ruined cities, desolate for generations…You yourselves shall be named priests of the Lord, ministers of our God shall you be called.”Who are these “priests of the Lord”?
They are the people to whom the Anointed One is sent. And what are they to do? They are to rebuild and restore. And this is what we are to do today. In the face of the crisis in the Church, our response is to rebuild and restore. That’s our mandate. The alternatives are to deny and maintain the status quo, or to shut down and walk away. The first is to neglect the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the second to abandon our faith which is lived out in the communion of believers. This moment of grace calls us to rebuild and restore.The place to start is the upholding the primacy of the Sacrament of Baptism.
In its saving waters we were given new life in Christ, anointed with Chrism and made members of his priestly people. The readings and prayers for this Chrism Mass make reference to the priesthood, but not only to ordained ministers but to all the baptized—the entire Church. It is important that we acknowledge and take this to heart more than ever. Though we make a distinction between clergy and laity, we all share in the “royal priesthood of Jesus Christ”. Though we have different gifts and vocations and their corresponding commitments, we all are anointed and sent to bring the Gospel to the world.
In the past there was a sharp separation between clergy and laity. The clergy lead, teach and sanctify; the laity pray, pay and obey. It was a delineation that neglected the gifts of women religious and lay women and men and their rightful place in the Church’s mission. And it fostered clericalism, placing the clergy as an elite class and raising the Sacrament of Holy Orders above the Sacrament of Baptism in importance.But the most important of all the sacraments is Baptism. The mark of distinction is not whether a person is a priest or a nun or a lay man, but that one is a baptized Christian. All of us are anointed with Chrism and thus share in Christ’s mission; all of us—without distinction—are accountable for our actions; and all—clergy and laity—need to pray, pay or make contribution with our gifts, and obey—obey the will of God.There are many analyses of the causes of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. One I find very compelling and needs to be dealt with is clericalism. Why? Because it puts priests on a dangerous pedestal. Priests need respect and affirmation as all of do, but clericalism is different.
>Remember on the First Sunday of Lent we heard in the Gospel the temptations Jesus encountered in the desert? They were temptations to power, fame, and the illusion that bread or material goods can satisfy the deepest hunger of our soul. Worse, the temptations tried derail Jesus’ mission, get him off track from what he was sent to do. This is what clericalism does. It gets our priorities all wrong, imbues a sense of entitlement, gives a false sense of exemption from accountability, and perverts the way we relate to the people we serve. And it creates a mystique about priests. It hides their human side, forgets they have human needs and feelings, that they are men made of clay feet and in need of God’s grace as is true for everybody.The clergy sexual abuse scandal has pushed priests off the pedestal. But let’s go further. Why don’t we just smash the pedestal of clericalism to bits.
Let’s tear it down so as to rebuild and restore the ordained ministry of priests. Let priests stand on the foundation of trust and respect, not on a false sense of self-importance. Let us be trusted because of our personal integrity, evident commitment to service and vocation, consistent acts of compassion, wisdom and courage, and a life of holiness. This is what we priests and bishops are called to be and do and what we will now express as we renew the promises of our ordination.
FROM BISHOP R. CALVO: DISPENSATION FROM SUNDAY MASS OBLIGATION
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In light of the fast developing situation of the Coronavirus/COVID 19 pandemic, I am granting a dispensation from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass to all Catholics in the Diocese of Reno. The dispensation is for those who determine that for reasons of their health and in the interests of social distancing they want to absent themselves from public gatherings because of concerns for the spread of the Coronavirus.
Until further notice, this dispensation is granted for Sunday Masses in this month of March.
If you choose not to attend Sunday Mass, please spend some time in worship. You can pray through the TV Mass on Sunday morning at 9 on KOLO TV (Channel 8).
Masses will continue throughout the diocese.
Also pray for those stricken with this virus and for the cessation of its spread.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop Randolph R. Calvo
RESPONSE OF THE DIOCESE OF RENO TO THE CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC
With the increasing concern about the spread of the Coronavirus/Covid 19, the Diocese of Reno makes the following recommendations and considerations for Eucharistic liturgies, in addition to personal precautions advised by the Center for Disease Control. These are based on guidance from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as practices adapted by some dioceses. While parishes have already discussed and implemented preventive measures with their communities, we ask the following be reviewed by all pastoral entities for Masses in northern Nevada.
- Priests, deacons, altar servers and Eucharistic Ministers wash their hands before Mass begins and use an alcohol-based, anti-bacterial solution before and after distribution of Communion.
- Parishes and missions are to decide whether to refrain from distribution of Communion from the Cup for the duration of the epidemic. If parishes decide to continue to minister Communion under both kinds, they are to inform parishioners that it is their choice whether or not to take from the cup.
- Individual parishioners should give consideration to receiving Communion in the hand reverently for the time being and out of charity for their neighbor, given the experience of direct contact with saliva in the distribution of Communion received on the tongue.
- Extra precaution is to be taken in ensuring all vessels used at Mass are washed thoroughly with soap and hot water after they purified.
- Parishes are to decide an appropriate manner of exchanging the Sign of Peace, always respecting the sensibility of those next to them.
- Consideration should be given to refraining from holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer or at least to respect those who choose not to as a measure of caution.
- The Catholic faithful who are sick or experiencing symptoms of any illness are not obliged to attend Mass and, out of charity, ought to not attend. As an alternative, they can participate via the Sunday TV Mass at 9 a.m. on KOLO TV (Channel 8) or spend time in some form of worship.
- For the Intercessions at Mass, parishes are encouraged to pray for an end to the spread of the virus and for those who have been stricken by this illness.
Clergy and Religious Credibly Accused
April 5, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
For the past sixteen years, in compliance with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, we have had in place protocols for reporting abuse to law enforcement, background checks for anyone working with youth, ongoing training in awareness and prevention of abuse, and policies to ensure appropriate interaction between youth and adults in all our programs. In the wake of recent national reports of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, on August 18, 2018, I informed Catholics in northern Nevada that I wanted a review of our commitment as a diocese to safeguard all minors. I asked the Diocesan Review Board, comprised of lay women and men, to conduct this review. Since then the members of the board have diligently undertaken this task. In addition to an examination of current policies and procedures, I also asked them to review the clergy files because I decided, as a measure of transparency and accountability, to make public the names of clergy and religious who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
As a result of this review, the Diocesan Review Board recommended the following list of names of priests and religious who have been credibly accused. The determination of a “credible” accusation was based on such factors as corroborating evidence or criminal prosecution or admission of guilt by the accused. The process of determining credibility was not a formal legal process. In publishing this list, it is our hope that it may bring some healing to those who have been abused. We can read the names of the perpetrators, but what is not seen in print are those men and women who have suffered the harm inflicted and the pain they have carried through their lives. That clergy inflicted such grave injury on minors fills me with shame and sorrow. In the name of the Diocese of Reno I offer my profound apology to them and to their families.
The clergy files examined extend back over eighty years from the inception of the Diocese of Reno. The following list includes names of clergy and religious who served in the twelve counties that currently comprise the diocese: Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storey, and Washoe. In the first three categories, the priests and religious were accused of committing sexual abuse of minors in the state of Nevada. Those listed are:
1. diocesan priests who formally belonged to the Diocese of Reno, i.e., permanently dedicated to its service (the technical term is “incardinated”):
Robert Anderson (deceased)
Edmund Boyle (deceased)
Eugene Braun (removed from ministry)
Robert Despars (deceased)
William Duff (deceased)
Florence Flahive (deceased)
Harold Vieages (deceased);
2. diocesan priests incardinated in another diocese who worked on a temporary basis in the Diocese of Reno:
Carmelo Baltazar (deceased)
Timothy Ryan (deceased);
3. religious order priests who worked in the Diocese of Reno:
David Brusky SDS (deceased)
Stuart Campbell OP (deceased);
4.a diocesan priest who was ordained for service in another diocese and then transferred to and was incardinated in the Diocese of Reno. Many years after his incardination in Nevada, his diocese of origin (the Archdiocese of Louisville) found credible allegations of sexual abuse committed by him when he was part of the Archdiocese of Louisville and has posted his name on its list of credibly accused:
Robert Bowling (deceased).
Most of the priests on the list are deceased and for some of them, an accusation of sexual abuse was made after their deaths. Nevertheless, the Diocesan Review Board found evidence to conclude the accusation was credible.
Recently, allegations have been investigated regarding Philip Napolitano FSR, a member of the Brothers of the Holy Rosary here in Reno. These allegations concerned incidents that took place at St. Christopher’s School in Las Vegas between the years 1964-1974. In accordance with the Essential Norms promulgated pursuant to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a canonical process will be initiated to determine Brother Philip’s guilt; at its conclusion, the results will be made public.
The Diocesan Review Board will continue to evaluate all information as it is received and thus the list of names may be updated or expanded in the future.
Anyone who has been sexually abused by a member of the clergy, a church employee or volunteer is encouraged to contact civil authorities and/or the Victims’ Assistance Coordinator (Eastern Nevada): Marilyn Janka at 775-753-9542, or (Western Nevada): David Caloiaro at 775-450-3618 or the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Hotline at 1-844-669-8911).
Attached to this letter is the list of assignments of each of the priests named above.
May God strengthen our resolve as a church to protect children from abuse and to uphold the dignity of every human being.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Randolph R. Calvo
Bishop of Reno
Members of the Diocesan Review Board:
Ms. Rota Rosaschi, MPA, LSW (Chair)
Mrs. JoAnn Baird, MFT
Mr. Frank Flaherty, Esq., Attorney & Counselor at Law<
Mrs. Margaret Graham, Coordinator of Marriage, Annulments and Funerals, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Member of the Diocesan Seminary Board
Mr. Stacey Hill, Retired Law Enforcement
Mrs. Annabelle Kozel
Hon. Joanne C. Parrilli (Retired)
Ms. Linda Remington
Mrs. Marna Zachry
Rev. Joseph Abraham, JCL
Mrs. Karen Barreras, M.Ed., Superintendent Diocesan Schools
Rev. Robert Chorey, Chancellor, Diocese of Reno
Pennsylvania Grand Jury
Letter from Bishop Randolph Calvo To the Faithful of the Diocese of Reno August 18, 2018
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
The release this week of the report of the Grand Jury investigating clergy sex abuse of minors in six dioceses in Pennsylvania was extremely painful for me to hear. I am filled with deep shame and disgust to hear and read about the terrible injury inflicted on so many innocent children and young people by priests and how church authorities handled these incidents.
The report impels me to review our commitment as a diocese to safeguard all minors and vulnerable adults in our church. We have in place protocols for reporting abuse to law enforcement, background checks for any adult working with youth, ongoing training in awareness and prevention of abuse, and policies to ensure appropriate interactions with youth and adults in all our programs. Now I want a full review of all our protocols, practices and policies to determine how effective they’ve been and how to improve our commitment. I also want a review of the mechanisms of accountability of anyone who holds a position of authority and responsibility in the diocese, and this will include me the bishop. I will be asking our Diocesan Review Board, comprised of lay women and men of diverse expertise, to lead this review. It will be a concerted effort that will involve all the institutions of our diocese. At the conclusion of this review, a report will be published.
Finally, let us turn to the Lord in prayer for all who have suffered the terrible devastation of sexual abuse by the church’s ministers.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Randolph R. Calvo
Bishop of Reno