Tag Archives: Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

IRL Affiliates and the 2016 March for Life

Cantius MarchJanuary 22nd marked the forty-third anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States. To commemorate the anniversary, pro-lifers from around the country faced great obstacles such as the weather to fill the streets of Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. as a witness to the dignity of all human life.

Over 5,000 people braved frigid temperatures and packed the streets of downtown Chicago on January 17th. Before marching, however, the event began with Masses for Life.  Several Masses for Life around the Chicago area were sponsored by religious orders and were influenced by their spiritualties such as the Franciscan Litany recited at St. Peter’s in the Loop. During the events, over 2,000 of the IRL’s Merciful Like the Father holy cards were distributed by Fr. Jim Heyd and his team.

Winter Storm Jonas wreaked havoc on the east coast during the weekend of the March for Life in Washington D.C. The weather forced many to stay home and participate in local pro-life events, however, many still converged on our nation’s capital to defend life. One group of 165 were led by Fr. Nathan Caswell, SJC  of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. After attending the March, they unfortunately shared the fate of many and were stranded in Pennsylvania. They made the best of their situation, however,  and were able to celebrate Mass in the hotel’s bar. They were even joined at Mass by sisters from another IRL affiliate, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

walk-for-life16-17Pouring rain could not stop tens of thousands of people from attending the 12th annual Walk for Life in San Francisco. Among those in attendance were students from Thomas Aquinas College. The group led the Walk for Life last year and brought the largest group ever from the school this year with 220 students. The Sisters of Life also attended the Walk for Life and appropriately performed the corporal work of mercy of clothing the naked in this Year of Mercy by  giving their cloaks to protesting women so that they would not become ill before being arrested.

These and other tremendous stories emerged from the events surrounding the forty-third anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Pro-lifers will not soon forget them as they witnessed to the dignity of all human life.

New Energy and Direction in Springfield

Rev. James Isaacson, SJC, Rev. Scott Thelander, SJC, and Rev. Kevin Mann, SJC outside Sacred Heart Church.

Three Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, Rev. James Isaacson, SJC, Rev. Scott Thelander, SJC, and Rev. Kevin Mann, SJC, will serve in Springfield, Illinois at the invitation of Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki and blessing of Fr. C. Frank Phillips, CR. The three priests will serve in St. Katharine Drexel Parish which is comprised of two churches, St. Patrick Church and Sacred Heart Church.

Bishop Paprocki knows the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius from his days as chancellor and auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Chicago. He personally witnessed their work at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago as he regularly offered 11 am Latin Mass there. He invited them to serve in Springfield because of the spiritual renaissance and physical restoration he saw occur within the parish. Bishop Paprocki is hopeful that the priests can bring about similar results within St. Katharine Drexel Parish saying that hey have the potential to inject, “new energy and new direction.”

Fr. Isaacson, Fr. Thelander and Fr. Mann will be able to share the charism of their young community within a culturally diverse parish. They will engage in parochial ministry and celebrate the Mass in both forms and in three languages: English, Latin and Spanish. They are prepared to aid the parish which has already seen progress with both churches having undergone recent restoration projects.

St. John Cantius Church in Chicago
St. John Cantius Church in Chicago

By moving to Springfield, Fr. Isaacson, Fr. Thelander and Fr. Mann hope to carry out the mission of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius within the context of parish ministry, which is, “to help Catholics rediscover a profound sense of the sacred through solemn liturgies, devotions, sacred art, sacred music, as well as instruction in Church heritage, catechetics, and Catholic culture.”

A Family Affair – The Ordinations at St. John Cantius

sjcOn May 27th, 2014, three young men of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius were ordained priests at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago. Fr. Joshua Caswell, Fr. Nathan Caswell, and Fr. Kevin Mann (read his vocation story) became priests of the Roman Catholic Church at the hands Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is a family story par exellence because the Caswells, Fr. Joshua and Fr. Nathan, are blood brothers, while their sister, Sr. Mary Judith, OP, is a member of the community of the Dominican sjcopSisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist! How proud their parents must be!!

Visiting Chicago and sightseeing among the architectural wonders is a great thing to do but don’t miss out on the churches! One such gem is St. John Cantius, rescued from dilapidation and dedicated to St. John Cantius. (Also known as St. John of Kenty or Kanty or Kanti).

Pope John Paul II had a great devotion to this Polish saint (1390-1472) who was born 13 miles from his birthplace. Pope Clement XII  named St. John Cantius the patron of Poland and Lithuania in 1737.

From the SJC website:

Designed by Adolphus Druiding and completed in 1898, St. John Cantius Church took five years to build and is one of the best examples of sacred architecture in the city. The unique baroque interior has remained intact for more than a century and is known for both its opulence and grand scale—reminiscent of the sumptuous art and architecture of 18th century Krakow. The imposing 130 ft. tower is readily seen from the nearby Kennedy Expressway. In 2012, St. John’s completed an ambitious restoration, returning the lavish interior to its original splendor.

Truly, it is a heavenly marvel bearing good fruits!

Canons and Canonesses

One day, I received a call asking what a canoness was. I confess I could not answer the question except that I supposed that they were associated with canons. The only canonesses I know of are members of the flourishing and rapidly growing community (they are building a convent to house 48 sisters) of Norbertine Canonesses in Tehachapi, California. According to a Catholic dictionary, a canoness is  a woman who lives a vowed religious life according to the Rule of St. Augustine followed by the Canons Regular.

The next obvious question is: what is a Canon Regular? Canons regular are a community of men following the Rule of St. Augustine who seek to fulfill the Church’s obligation and privilege to worship God through the public celebration of the Divine Liturgy. Hence, canons are usually priests and associated with a particular church. There are also Canons Secular who do not profess vows and may own their own property. St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusians, was a Secular Canon of the Cathedral in Rheims, France.

Pope Pius X, when approving the Constitutions of the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception said: “This type of priestly life that unites the pastoral ministry and the religious life, is truly admirable and is to be commended. Far from being opposed to each other they strengthen and fortify each other … to the great advantage of the people.”

St. Thomas Aquinas says: “The Order of Canons Regular is necessarily constituted by religious clerics, because they are essentially destined to those works which relate to the Divine mysteries, whereas it is not so with the monastic Orders,” The clerical state is what distinguishes the Canons Regular from monks who may or may not be priests.

Canonesses are also asked to lend “their voices to Him and to His entire mystical body so that Heaven’s eternal canticle may resound also on earth. Therefore, they dedicate themselves to an individual Church of their order.” The Norbertine canonesses are associated with St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California. Their life is one of sacrifice and prayer, especially liturgical prayer, ie, the Mass and Divine Office. For a history and current status of Norbertine canonesses around the world, check out the Norbertine website in Chelmsford, England.

There are four IRL Affiliate Communities that are composed of Canons Regular.

May the Canons Regular and canonesses, by their prayers and witness, strengthen parish and family life across our country.


Doctor’s Conversion Story

A story in the Chicago Tribune on July 30th noted that a prominent reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Anthony Caruso, has given up his lucrative practice, saying reproductive technology has gone too far. He is proposing opening the St. Anne Center for Reproductive Health, a facility that would adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. He is currently a doctor at Alexian Brothers Hospital in Elk Grove Village, IL.

In 2002, Dr. Caruso related in a newspaper story how he helped a lesbian couple conceive a baby through IVF. Later, his courageous parish priest asked him to resign from the parish council saying his words and actions had violated Church teaching. This did not make the doctor angry, rather it caused him to think. His wife meanwhile was growing in her faith and attending as a family St. John Cantius Church which offers the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass daily. He also read the Church’s document Dignitas Personae, or “The Dignity of a Person,” which explained the Church’s teachings on reproductive health. According the the reporter, Dr. Caruso “walked away from his practice and into a confessional at St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church to repent.”

The priests and brothers of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are an IRL Affiliate Community who serve in parishes and help Catholics to rediscover a profound sense of the Sacred through solemn liturgies, devotions, sacred art and music, as well as instruction in the heritage of the Church, catechetics and Catholic culture.

What a testimony to the power of Truth, the heroism of a man truly seeking Truth and how the Truth sets you free.