From selected publications

Cardinal O'Connor Still at His Post

THE NEW YORK POST, March 10—“An amused John Cardinal O'Connor said reports of his retirement are greatly exaggerated.” That was the opening line of reporter Gregg Birnbaum's story that helped wave off a flury of media speculation that the cardinal was planning to step down as archbishop of New York by his 80th birthday in January.

Speculation over Cardinal O'Connor's possible retirement was fueled by a March 1 letter to the priests serving in the archdiocese, inviting them to concelebrate the Chrism Mass during Holy Week, said the paper. The cardinal wrote, “I don't want to sentimentalize this, but it is obvious that this may well be my final Chrism Mass as archbishop.”

A spokesman for the archdiocese later clarified the statement by explaining that the Cardinal has made similar allusions in his annual letter to the priests ever since reaching the customary retirement age of 75, reported Birnbaum.

“My wish is to serve the Church every day I get up and thank God I am alive,” Cardinal O'Connor told the Post, explaining that his fate lies with Pope John Paul II.

Catholic Paper Spikes ‘Pray and Publish’ Ads

ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 11—The official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is ending its long-standing practice of printing “thank-you” ads to saints “because they appear to make promises that cannot be guaranteed,” reported AP. The weekly newspaper, in its 168th year, had accepted such ads for years.

The so-called “pray and publish” ads typically give thanks to a particular saint for answering a prayer, repeat the prayer and encourage people to use and publish it — often with the inducement, “never been known to fail.”

Telegraph Editor Tricia Hempel found that the ads resemble chain letters, according to the report.

The Messenger, the newspaper for the nearby Diocese of Covington, Ky., runs “thank-you” ads in its classified advertising section, but takes out any references to “pray and publish,” the editor, Jerry Enderle, was quoted saying.

One Good Joe Recalls Another

THE EVANGELILST, March 9—Following the death of Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio on March 8, Father Joe DiMaggio of Johnstown, N.Y. spoke with the newspaper of the Albany Diocese about what it has meant to have the same name as one of the greatest baseball players of all time — and to have met the legendary center fielder.

Growing up with the name Joe DiMaggio was an honor, but it put pressure on him whenever he stepped inside the batter's box, and resulted in some jeers at the not-so-occasional strike out.

As he got older, the paper reported, Father DiMaggio found out just how good it was to share Joltin’ Joe's name.

“Every time I called for tickets to a show in New York City or a ball game at Madison Square Garden, I would get the best seats in the house,” he was quoted saying.

The paper reports that Father DiMaggio saw Joltin’ Joe play ball in person, and the two Joes actually sat next to each other at a basketball game at the Garden. Father DiMaggio recalled the surprise on the Yankee Clipper's face after he said, “Hi, my name's Joe DiMaggio. What's yours?”

Father DiMaggio, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Johnstown, then pulled out his Visa and American Express cards to prove that he wasn't kidding, and the priest and the ballplayer laughed over the encounter and shook hands after the game.