Highlights Recent APP Board Meetings
DRAFT - APP Annual Meeting President's Report - January 2021
Association of Pittsburgh Priests
Fr. Regis Ryan, President
Opening Tribute to Fr. Jack O’Malley
We begin this report by pausing for a moment to acknowledge our loss this past year of Fr. Jack O’Malley, a friend, an inspiration and a pillar of the organization from its beginning and the many members and friends that we all lost due to COVID and other causes. (Pause)
Review of 2020
Still, a lot has been accomplished in this past year. In some ways, more than had been accomplished in many years. We owe much of this success to the work and enthusiasm of our many lay members who have picked up the cause of Vatican II and mission of the APP. We are proud to report those accomplishments here.
While the current COVID crisis nearly closed down our in-person, signature Speaker Series, we pivoted to Zoom technology, grew our audience nationwide and produced what some called our best group of speakers ever. The series brings cutting edge Catholic thinkers and theologians to our subscribers. We look forward to bringing you more in the future.
Art McConald’s 50 year history of the APP, A Progressive Voice in the Catholic Church in the United States, drew praise for the APP. Bishop Stowe, from the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, KY wrote:
“The portrayal of the colorful and very gifted priests of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests reminded me of priests I have been privileged to know and share ministry with in different settings, including my own Franciscan community, in the Diocese of El Paso where I spent 15 years, and the other organizations I have dealt with. . . . As a bishop, I have to confess, I probably wouldn’t relish an Association of Lexington Priests that took public positions at odds with my own. Nonetheless dialogue involves tension sometimes and Pope Francis gives us the good Jesuit example of hearing all sides not avoiding the conflicts and looking to forge a way forward together. Thanks for your witness as reflected in the pages of the book and for being part of this progressive voice. Thanks for sharing the inspiring story with me.”
With a national election pending, and concern that the many pro-life issues that Pope Francis calls us to consider not adequately being addressed, the APP published a Pro-Life Guide for Election in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, co-sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence and Pax Christi.
We expressed several additional concerns to the Bishop, including letters voicing: (1) Concerns that Catholic teaching was being misrepresented by some priests as political endorsements for specific candidates or parties. (Member Ed Brett drafted the letter. Shortly after that, the Bishop held a press conference indicating that diocesan materials speak only to issues, not candidates or parties); (2) Concerns about Post Gazette vs union impasse, calling on Bishop as public leader to urge a restart to the talks. (The letter generated a letter of thanks for the suggestion); (3) Concerns about Diocesan investments, including investments in nuclear weapons production. (Bishop Zubik thanked us for the letter and assured that Diocesan investments are regularly reviewed to avoid adverse investments.)
APP wrote to the Pope, through the Apostolic Delegate, regarding continuing concerns about the justification of mistreatment of indigineous people and the 1493 Papal Bull on the Doctrine of Discovery and the Policy of Dispossession. (The Apostolic Delegate responded that little could be done about the document, but shared our concerns.) Member Michael Drohan, who wrote the first letter, is drafting a response.
Looking Forward to a Bigger and Better 2021
The APP is pleased to announce that it added six new members to its board of directors, two are ordained Priests - Fr. Joe Mele and Fr. Peter Horton - and four are, as our Church teaches, priests by baptism - Gretchen Jezerc, Jim Ruck, Paula Nettleship and Samantha Calorie. We look forward to the skills and energy each of them brings.
The 2021 Spring Speaker Series impact is expected to exceed even those of 2020. On Feb. 21, Bill Huebisch, from England, will help us unwrap Pope Francis’s latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti: Brothers and Sisters All. On March 18, Barbara Johnson will address “How Can We Rid Ourselves of the Virus of Racism.” She will be followed by a panel discussion on April 22 on “The Church after COVID-19.” The Spring series will wrap up on May 19 with Phyllis Zagano discussing, “How Can We Be Church? Prophetic Outcry or Policy and Law.”
Amplifying the Speaker Series, APP is partnering with Pittsburgh’s “Pathways to Lay Leadership,” to hold follow-up workshops on how to put the Speakers’ message into practice. It will start with a March 2 session on “Creating Civil Encounter,” and March 9 on “Respectful Conversations.” Future sessions are intended to address practical follow-up ways to address Racism and other speaker’s topics. To build out our community, APP, in partnership with Catholics Concerned for Change in Our Church, (CCOC) held its first mass with a Catholic Social Teaching themed mass. It anticipates additional masses, perhaps on the first Sunday of each month. Please watch our website for updates. The first mass attracted 200 registrants.
To build out a bigger and better 2021, the APP is always in need of people willing to invest some time, especially helping to review its website and manage the Zoom events. For this end it has created a “Social Media and Technology Committee.” To volunteer, email email@example.com.
If you are not already a member, please consider joining. Or,if just want to donate, or register for an event, please go to www.asssociationofpittsburghpriests.com.
Met with Anna Torrance, Director, Secretariat of Education, Evangelization and Outreach for the Diocese of Pittsburgh to explore how the Diocese plans to engage in adult Catholic education, how the APP Speaker Series and Speakers Bureau might fit in and how and how we can help;
Endorsed the position of the Friends of Sabeel and Jewish Voice for Peace to oppose the attempts of Christians United for Israel opposing rights for Palestinians; and
Authorized the pre-order of multiple copies, subject to price, of Art McDonald's Book on the History of the APP.
June 10, 2019
Revised the APP Constitution with several technical amendments and a greater recognition of the role and priesthood of the laity authorized the creation of By-Laws and moved the section on Appropriations out of the Constitution and then created By-laws incorporating the same wording as previously listed in the Constitution;
Approved an APP Listening Session for May 2020 to supplement our Speaker Series; and
Endorsed the Dignity Act addressing the civil rights of women in prison.