U.S. Notes & Quotes

Personal Touch Is Key to Vocations

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jan. 17—The AP reported that, “While many dioceses use modern techniques like advertising, Catholic clergy say the old-fashioned, personal approach favored by [Boston's Bernard Cardinal] Law will be the key to rejuvenating the priesthood.”

Cardinal Law has personally hosted a number of weekends for men who are considering the priesthood. Of the 52 men who attended the first two retreats, 10 have entered the seminary and others are considering it.

Cardinal Law's model on the vocations front is the newly installed bishop of West Palm Beach, Fla., Anthony J. O'Connell (see Page 1 article). Bishop O'Connell was the first bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., established in 1988. The new bishop surprised his flock by announcing that he would serve as his own vocations director, personally screening and directing candidates toward seminary admission. The results include 23 ordinations over the bishop's 11-year tenure in one of the smallest dioceses in the country, and one in which only 2% of the general population is Catholic.

“A study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University showed Knoxville had the highest ratio of priests to Catholics — 1 in 3,610 — in the nation,” AP reported.

Bishop O'Connell has been invited to come back to Knoxville early this summer to ordain this year's class of six new priests.

Diocese Calls Events Surrounding Teen a Mystery

BOSTON GLOBE, Jan. 22—Unexplained phenomena surrounding a 15-year-old comatose girl have been described as mysterious by the Diocese of Worcester, Mass., which will continue to investigate the case of Audrey Santo.

“The Church said that only faith, so far, can supply answers that science has yet to fathom,” wrote the Globe's Thomas Farraher. “That is the core of the report … on the case of Santo, who lies … in the back room of a cream-colored home, where hundreds say they have found God's special inter-cession,” wrote Farraher. He reported that Worcester's Bishop Daniel P. Reilly “delicately implored Catholics not to unreasonably seek tangible proof of heaven on earth.”

The Globe reported the Santo family has cooperated with the investigation and counts on the Church's guidance. There has also been no attempt to gain financially by the situation, even though thousands visit the home every year with many reporting healings.

Audrey has been paralyzed and mute since nearly drowning in her family's swimming pool in 1987.

Dr. John P. Madonna, a member of the diocesan commission, said that blood on Communion wafers that had been consecrated in the Santo home is human blood of unknown type that does not match any family members.

“As for oil from statues,” Farraher quotes Madonna: “We tried to determine what was really promoting the emission of fluids, and we found nothing that we could consider trickery.”

In comments attached to the preliminary report, Bishop Reilly said: “The most striking evidence of the presence of God in the Santo homes is seen in the dedication of the family to Audrey. Their constant respect for her dignity as a child of God is a poignant reminder that God touches our lives through the love and devotion of others.”