Thursday, March 05, 2009

Blistering Cold Weather But Warm and Friendly Bishop

Diocese of Juneau, Alaska

Although the temperature will often be frigid and bone-chilling, the zeal and enthusiasm of the faith will perennially be as hot as sun with the recent (March 4th) ordination & consecration of Msgr. Edward Burns as the Bishop of Juneau, Alaska. His disarming smile is only matched by his sense of humor and his genuine commitment to complete and unabashed hospitality. "Pittsburgh's loss is Juneau's gain" said Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh (one of the co-consecrators).

I met His Excellency several years ago at the Fall meeting of the USCCB when he was executive director of the Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. Accompanied by our mutual friend and his seminary classmate (and roomate) from Mount Saint Mary's, Emmitsburg, MD, Father Dennis Dalessandro, I attended the Mass at Saint Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh. Several of Bishop Burn's classmates from the Dioceses of Harrisburg, Allentown, Arlington and Altoona-Johnstown were guests of honor and had an enormously fun time going down memory lane. Even the Apostolic Nuncio could not resist the temptation and kidded with the Bishop-Elect at the luncheon just hours before the ordination when he remarked that Pittsburgh was ten degrees COLDER than Juneau that very same day. And brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrh, was he right. Despite the bone-chilling cold wind, 300 priests concelebrated the Mass along with a couple dozen bishops and at least a thousand or more laity and religious. Father Dalessandro and I could not help but notice the overt friendliness we encountered throughout the Pittsburgh area, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Everyone went out of their way to be polite, courteous and friendly, just like Bishop Burns (who is the plethora of niceness). I thought I was back in Alabama visiting EWTN, also known for his hospitality. Usually in the northeast, you get a much COLDER response from the locals when you visit a place. Yet, in Steeler-Pirate-Penguin country (a.k.a. Pittsburgh), visitors are treated as royalty.

Mount Saint Mary Seminary can be proud that a multitude of alumni have become successors of the Apostles. My own bishop, Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades, was former rector. Bishop Burns is the most recent. Likely, more will come due to the orthodoxy and piety of this excellent place of priestly formation.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Requiescat in pace, Mother Eliane, OCD

Sister Eliane Cooper, OCD

Here is the obituary for a dear friend and a very holy nun, Mother Eliane, a discalced Carmelite in Erie, PA.

Sister Eliane of the Mother of God, OCD, (Margaret Cooper), age 96, of the Carmelite Monastery of Erie, passed away Thursday, February 26, 2009. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona, to Carl and Harriet May (nee McKay) Cooper on November 27, 1912. Her family relocated to southern California where Sister Eliane converted to the Catholic faith while studying at Ramona Convent Secondary School. She attended Mills College. Sister’s family lived close to the Carmelite Nuns and Friars in Alhambra, Calif., and their friendship strongly influenced her desire to enter the Carmelite Order. Sister Eliane was directed to the Carmel in Wheeling, W.Va. At age 21, she took leave of her family and friends, boarded a bus by herself, and traveled cross-country to enter the Carmelite Monastery in Wheeling on December 7, 1933. She was clothed with the Holy Habit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on October 3, 1934, and made her Profession of Solemn Vows on December 14, 1938. Sister was given the name ‘Eliane’, after the 9th-century BC, Hebrew prophet Saint Elijah (also called ‘Elias’), “Leader and Father’ of the Carmelites. Holy Scripture describes Saint Elijah’s encounter with the living God on Mount Carmel, in present-day northwestern Israel. His words are the Carmelite motto: “With zeal I have been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts.” Sister Eliane was insurmountable in zeal, holding many responsible positions in Wheeling, including the Office of Sub-prioress. In 1957, after 24 years in Wheeling, Sister Eliane was chosen as one of the original foundresses of the Carmel of Holy Family in Erie, Pa. Sister helped design and maintain the Monastery and held various positions throughout her 52 years in Erie, including the Office of Prioress. At the time of her death, Sister Eliane held the following offices: Subprioress, First Council Sister, Novice Mistress, Turn Sister or Portress (greeting through the covered gate all who visited the Monastery), Infirmarian, Provisor, Bookkeeper. Sister also enjoyed gardening and reading. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brothers, James Cooper and his son Max, and Donald Cooper, including his wife Bea, and their son David. Survivors include one brother Robert Neal Cooper and his wife Gei of Honolulu, Hawaii, sister-in-law- Susan Cooper of Calimesa, Calif., two nieces, devoted Janet (Jackie) Cooper of Concord, Calif., and Leslie Cooper of Millbrae, Calif., two nephews Robert Vei Cooper of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Todd Cooper, grandniece Carrie Cooper Loibl, and her husband David of Marietta, Ga. Sister Eliane was a true Carmelite and an example of unbounded generosity for more than 75 years. She is already greatly missed by her Community, family, and innumerable friends who she so faithfully greeted, comforted and counseled for many years at the turn by the Monastery entrance. Special thanks to the Staff at St. Vincent Hospital and the Sisters of Mercy Infirmary for their tender loving care and support. All are welcome to the viewing in the Chapel at the Carmelite Monastery, 510 E. Gore Road, on Tuesday, March 3, from 7:30 a.m. through 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, March 4, from 7:30 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the Monastery Chapel by the Most Reverend Donald Trautman, STD, SSL, Bishop of Erie on Wednesday, March 4, at 3:30 p.m. May our beloved Sister rest in the Eternal Peace of Christ. Arrangements are under the direction of A. Brugger & Sons F.H., LLP, 845 E. 38th St. Condolences at

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