top of page

Confraternity of Penitents Newsletter


September 2020


“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” – Ephesians 6: 10 – 20.

These words have come to my mind and heart often these days. The nation’s woes worsen and, in this election season, it is very tempting to vilify people who have given in to tragic opinions and behaviors. The devil plays on our darkened intellect and weekend will to both identify people with their opinions/ behaviors and to give into despair and hopelessness over the situation we find ourselves in. This has been going on for a long time, and it is clear enough that we are approaching some type of crisis, which, as you know, in Greek means Crossroads.

The Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen had something to say on this topic: “I am worried about America! I am not so much worried about its politics and economics, important though they be: I am worried about its soul. After all, politics and economics are determined by the sense of values which underlies them.”

Perhaps this was inevitable; even the founding fathers of our country knew that such a time as this was possible in a religiously pluralistic society. They didn’t want to have a state church ,but they feared a time when the state itself could become “the church" for those who have no religious faith. Then the last arbiter of morality becomes only that which can punish by civil law – truly man-made law! To guide our lives only according to the laws that we make is, by definition, idolatry. This is the spiritual battle that Archbishop Sheen articulated. He once said that: “The problem with atheism is that man becomes god, and if you are God - then I am an atheist!”

Let us not forget that even those who represent views completely contrary to the gospel are also created by God whether they accept that reality or not, whether they believe it or not, and many of them are even baptized Christians! These are persons with eternal souls, many of whom are in mortal danger. Let us see through the diabolical fog, pray and do penance as Our Lady asked us 100 years ago at Fatima.

There is a new movie on the Fatima story in theaters, I highly recommend it as a reminder of Our Lady’s miraculous appearance and the conversion that the miracle of the sun caused to even the most hardened atheistic hearts. We are reminded in that film that Our Lady predicted a time of tribulation and even apostasy within the church but that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph and there would be a time of peace for humanity.

Let us renew our trust in the promises of the Queen of Heaven, renew our Franciscan commitment to prayer and penance for the sake of souls in jeopardy of eternal perdition. Let us renew our hearts in hope of Heaven. God bless you and Mary keep you. – Fr. Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap


This quote from Blessed Solanus Casey, sent to us by Fr. Joseph Tuscan, to accompany his article, reflects so perfectly the thought of Saint Francis who wrote in a prayer inspired by the Our Father:


Your will be done on earth as in heaven:

That we may love you with our whole heart by always thinking of You,

with our whole soul by always desiring You,

with our whole mind by always directing all our intentions to You,

and by seeking Your glory in everything,

with all our strength by exerting all our energies and affections of body and soul in the service of Your love and of nothing else,

and we may love our neighbor as ourselves by drawing them all to Your love with our whole strength,

by rejoicing in the good of others as in our own,

by suffering with others at their misfortunes, and by giving offense to no one.  



We work closely with the local Missionaries of Charity. Often attend Mass there at 7:00 AM. They do a lot of traveling. Usually not living in one place more than three or four years. Go on retreats often to a central location like Chicago. Go for conferences, go on missions of Charity, go home once in ten years. We take and pick them up from the Megabus location here in Minneapolis. Have taken them as far as Fargo, ND.


Turns out one of them had her flight from Chicago to Winnipeg cancelled on Friday, March 27. Instead, she took the bus from Chicago to Minneapolis. Wanted to get to Winnipeg, where she is the local Minister, and she felt she really needed to be there instead of Minneapolis idled for however long it will take until things return to normal, if they ever do. The Sisters asked me if we could take this Sister to the border of Canada, where she would be picked up by someone on the Canadian side. I said of course. Wife Donna said maybe. No one else could do it. We accepted. Maybe can have a little Anniversary trip. Saturday or Sunday. Wanted to go Saturday.


Saturday morning we picked her up. Through Fargo, we arrived at the Canadian border just after 3:00 PM. We had called on the way just to make sure she could cross. No problem. Upon arrival, however, problems. I explained to the guy at the window that we just wanted to drop Sister off, and go home. He said we were on Canadian soil. There was a travel ban, and what are you doing here? He said if it were up to him, he wouldn't allow us to go one foot further, or allow the fulfillment of the plan. Said it twice. We said we need to see the Customs and Immigration Services, whatever it is called. OK, pull over there and park. Further into Canada.


Fortunately, the Immigration people were more friendly. After much wrangling, the plan was agreed to. We could drop Sister off and go home. More problems. Where were the people, the Canadians, who were going to pick her up? And you know, Sister, that you will have to self-quarantine for two weeks under penalty of a million dollar fine or seven years in jail. Well, two cars will have to be sent, so Sister would go back with only one other Sister who would also have to be quarantined. The Sisters always travel in pairs. Sometimes Donna will do. Fortunately, they didn't seem to care about us, who had been with Sister in the car for six hours, after her getting off the Megabus with only God knows who. Donna and I just wanted to go home. We would have to stay overnight in Grand Forks, ND, as it was. If we could get our car out of Canada, that is. It wasn't that far to go. Maybe fifty feet to escape.


We called the convent; we called another lady who was coming to pick them up. Confusion. Finally it was agreed that two cars would come. We decided to wait in our car with Sister until they came. Couldn't leave her standing at the curb. They didn't want her inside, where there was plenty of room to relax. Too dangerous. So, we waited. And we waited. It's an hour and a half drive from Winnipeg, we were told. Due to a misunderstanding, one of the two cars hadn't even left home yet. The Sister’s car was well on the way, according to the plan.


The car with two Sisters came first. Couldn't find each other. We're over here, where are you? Finally, we see two Missionaries of Charity walking towards us. A blessed sight. I don't think they came closer than thirty feet. Like keeping a distance from the lepers. They had been well trained. 


No one could do anything until the other car arrived. So, we waited, separately, some more. Finally, two and a half hours after we arrived, the other car came, and the plan was put into action. I didn't know if I should even handle the luggage. Might contaminate it. I summoned all my courage, touched it, and set it down at the curb. The Sisters put it in the right car, and we were thanked profusely. Mission accomplished. They went home, Sister Rosetta to quarantine with the other Sister who drove her, and the others in the other car who had maintained their distance. We felt lucky to have escaped without further delay, fines, or imprisonment. Not even a "how could you have been so impudent as to defy our travel ban during this national emergency?"


The border people had a job, they were working. Nothing to do, except decide what to do with us. All the time we were there, we could count the number of cars that went through on one hand. I'm sure they were essential people. The border people didn't believe we were at all essential, but aside from the first guy, they were kind and helpful. One thing I did enjoy was seeing all the trucks going back and forth across the border, both ways. Much trade and friendly relations between our two countries. That's great. We got to see it in person to a considerable extent, longer than we really cared to. Overall, Donna and I enjoyed the experience. Better than sitting at home, sheltered in place with abundant social distancing. –Paul Beery, BSP, Friend of the CFP



As Pope Benedict continues to discuss St. Matthew’s genealogy in Jesus of Nazareth, he next mentions the four women included there. Matthew's genealogy traces the male line, but in the course of it, prior to Mary who appears at the end, four women are mentioned by name: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and the wife of Uriah. Why do these women appear in the genealogy? By what criterion are they chosen?


It has been said that all four women were sinners. So, their inclusion here would serve to indicate that Jesus took upon himself their sins-and with them the sins of the world-and that his mission was the justification of sinners. But this cannot have been the determining factor for the selection, not least because it does not in fact apply to all four women. More important, none of these women were Jewish. So, through them the world of the Gentiles enters the genealogy of Jesus-his mission to Jews and Gentiles is made manifest.


In St. Matthew’s genealogy, we learn that “Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,” (Mt 1:3). The circumstances of the birth of Perez and Zerah is related in Genesis 38. The promise given to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him (Gen 18:18) was carried forward by Abraham and his wife Sarah’s child, Isaac. Through Isaac, the promise was carried forward through Isaac’s son Jacob whose name God changed to Israel (Gen 32:23-33). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the three patriarchs of Israel. Judah was one of Jacob’s twelve sons, all of whom were heirs of the promise made to the three patriarchs. “Jews” are descendants of Jacob’s son Judah. 


Judah was living in Canaan with his other brothers, but he moved to southern Canaan and married a Canaanite woman whom we only know as the daughter of Shua. She bore him three sons, Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah chose a Canaanite woman named Tamar to be the wife of Er. However, Er offended God greatly in a manner not specified and he died. Judah then told his second son Onan to take Tamar as his wife as specified by the “levirate” law. This law is given in Dt 25:5-10. According to this law, the wife of a brother who dies childless, in this case Tamar, is to marry the younger brother of the dead man. The first child of this union would be considered to be the dead man’s son so that the dead man’s name would not be erased. However, it should be noted that the Mosaic Law originated with Moses at least 450 or 500 year after this time. The levirate law which Judah observed must have been a Mesopotamian custom or tradition. However, Onan also died, and the nature of his sin was specified. Onan “spilt his seed on the ground every time he slept with his brother’s wife, to avoid providing a child for his brother. What he did was offensive to Yahweh, so he brought about his death also.” (Gen 38:9-10) Onan had reason to do this since the child would be the first-born but would not be his child. Why was this “offensive to Yahweh”? Modern theology tells us that his sin was that of not doing his duty to provide an heir for his dead brother. However, was this why Onan’s action was so offensive to God? Onan did not violate the Mosaic Law since that Law came several centuries after his time. Also, according to the Mosaic Law, Onan could decline to take Tamar as his wife. The rejected wife could then spit in the face of the man in the presence of the elders and scold him for not taking her as his wife. (Dt 25:8-10). Onan, however, did take Tamar as his wife and had relations with her, but he did not fulfill an essential purpose of his relations to her. He violated the divinely ordained marriage covenant and surely did greatly offend God.


What Judah did next shows us what the evil one can do when one is motivated by fear. Judah was afraid that Tamar was cursed and that his last son Shelah would also die if he married Tamar. Judah’s wife had also died so Shelah was his last son. Since Shelah was too young to marry Tamar at this time, Judah sent Tamar back to her father’s house until Shelah grew up. However, when Shelah got old enough to marry, Judah still did not give Tamar to him as his wife. He was probably hoping that Tamar would get too old to bear children so that he could find another wife for Shelah. Tamar saw this and realized that she was in a very bad position. She was betrothed to Shelah, just like Mary was betrothed to Joseph, and yet with virtually no hope of having children and carrying on the name of Judah. 


Tamar certainly heard from Judah about the promise made to Judah’s great grandfather, Abraham as well as the promises made to Isaac and Judah’s father Jacob. She also understood that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as the God of Judah, was the real God of Heaven. She wanted to be part of the promise. She had a plan, but she also needed the help of the God of Heaven to carry it out. He did help her. She learned that Judah was to travel along a certain road for the shearing of his sheep. She took off her widow’s clothes, put a veil on her face and dressed as a “sacred prostitute”. Sacred prostitutes were associated with pagan temples and in theory were supposed to help men to attain religious ecstasy. Of course, they expected to be paid for their services. Hundreds of years later this practice was condemned by the Mosaic Law; however, in the pagan Canaanite culture it was acceptable. She met Judah on the road, and he asked her to sleep with him, not knowing it was Tamar. We should not condemn Judah for this since this happened long before the Mosaic Law and the culture was pagan. She naturally wanted payment for her services. Judah offered her a kid from his flock, and Tamar accepted the offer, but she also wanted some security until he could send the kid to her. She asked for his seal, cord, and walking stick, and he gave them to her. These were items which definitely belonged to Judah. After she slept with Judah, Tamar left Judah, went back to her father’s house, and returned to being a widow. 


When Judah sent his friend to bring the kid to the “prostitute” by the roadside, his friend could not find her, and he learned that there never was a prostitute stationed in that place. After three months, Judah learned that his daughter-in-law, Tamar, was pregnant. Judah demanded that she be burned since adultery was condemned in pagan culture as well as in his own culture. Judah’s behavior contrasts sharply with that of St. Joseph who just wanted to quietly divorce Mary when he learned she was pregnant. Of course, Judah wanted Tamar out of the way so that he could give his last son Shelah to another woman. When Tamar was being led off to be burned, she sent back to Judah his seal, cord, and walking stick, saying that they belonged to the man who made her pregnant. When Judah saw that these things whichTamar sent to him were his, he said, “She is in the right rather than I. This comes of my not giving her to my son Shelah to be his wife.” He had no further intercourse with her. (Gen 38:26). Tamar had twins, named Perez and Zerah. Perez was the ancestor of David (Rt 4:18-22), all the kings of Judah, and ultimately of Jesus Christ (Mt 1:1-16) (Lk 3:23-38). Although Tamar never was Judah’s wife, he surely supported her and his sons and took them to Egypt when there was famine in Canaan (Gen 46:6-7,12). 


The Tamar episode points out a sharp contrast between the Bible and modern secular mentality. The encounter between Judah and the “sacred prostitute” Tamar was culturally acceptable at that time and was only condemned in Israel hundreds of years later with the Mosaic Law. Tamar was praised in the later historical book of Ruth (Rt 4:12) and was specifically mentioned as an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Mt 1:3). In our atheistic secular culture, what is acceptable behavior constantly changes according to the shifting political winds. Many people have been publicly disgraced for acting in a way which only a few years earlier was quite acceptable. Many revered figures from the past have been cast aside (cancelled) because what they believed or did does not conform to contemporary norms. The Bible is more “open minded” than our secular culture. 


Tamar must have had faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in order to carry out her “plan”. How did she know that Judah would even ask her to sleep with him or even that she would be pregnant from the encounter with Judah? She went to great lengths to carry on the name of a man (Judah) who did not treat her very well. How did Tamar know that over seven hundred years in the future she would be a female ancestor, the first non-Mesopotamian female ancestor, of the greatest king of Israel (David) and later Christ the King of the Universe? A genealogy of David in the book of Ruth lists Tamar’s son Perez at the start of the list (Rt 4:18-22). Tamar was one of the many “pagans” in the Old Testament who have shown extraordinary faith in the God of Israel. Pope Benedict asks “Why do these women appear in the genealogy? By what criterion are they chosen?” Perhaps we can see why Tamar was chosen. – Jim Nugent,CFP



RULE: 14. All are to go to Matins in the fast of St. Martin and in the great fast, unless inconvenience for persons or affairs should threaten.

CONSTITUTIONS: 14. In keeping with section 14 of the Rule:

14a. Since attendance at public recitation of Matins (the Office of Readings) is inaccessible to most penitents, the penitent should attend daily Mass unless there is an intervening conflict of obligations. Parenting small children, health concerns, getting children off to school, employment schedules, and so on constitute some of these conflicting obligations. If Mass attendance is impossible or is unwise, the penitent should prayerfully recite one decade of the Rosary at some time during the day. 

14b. All are to go to daily Mass in Advent and Lent unless serious inconvenience for persons, business, employment, or duties should threaten. Again, a decade of the Rosary is to be said if Mass is not attended. 

14c. At Mass, signs of devotion and reverence before the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist should follow the parish priest's or the bishop's directives. Penitents' behavior and clothing should avoid drawing attention away from Christ's Presence in the Eucharist and from the words and ceremonies attendant to its celebration.

REFLECTION: These Constitutions show how adaptations must be made in a Rule of Life to make that Rule livable. In 1221, Matins was recited daily in monasteries. Laity could attend. Today Matins (Office of Readings) is not generally prayed in public, but Mass is offered daily whereas it was not so offered at the time the Rule of 1221 is written. Daily Mass has replaced daily Matins. Hence, penitents are asked to attend Mass daily in order to observe this section of our Rule.


We are in the process of obtaining quotes for installation of a wired fire alarm system at Annunciation House, required by the fire department for occupancy. The first quote came in at nearly $27,000 for the fire alarm system and fire extinguishers. We need sponsorship for this. If anyone would feel impelled to donate toward this or if anyone knows of any possible grants to cover this, please let us know.

It appears that we need to begin work on Guadalupe Men’s Vocation Discernment and Volunteer House (named changed from St. Joseph House to avoid confusion with a newly opening homeless women's shelter called St. Joseph Mission). We have men waiting to enter this house, once it is habitable. The sprinkler system mandated for this house costs almost $16,000, in addition to the massive repairs and restoration needed. We need help securing grants for these renovations. Thanks to all who are donating toward these. See the houses and learn more about them on this link.

Please pray both houses. May God reward you for your prayers and for any financial support you can give. Does anyone know of any grants for which we could apply? Please contact us with any information! Please help with your donations by using the button below.

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

CFP Retreat 2020 dates are September 23 through September 27 at St. Felix Catholic Retreat Center, 1280 Hitzfield Street, Huntington Indiana USA. Retreat Master: Father Matthew Palkowski, OFM Cap. Theme: The Theology of Beauty and the Priesthood of All Believers.

$195 plus $15 worth of food to share (we will be cooking our own meals) or $15 toward food costs.

Bedding is provided but please bring your own towel, wash cloth, soap, etc.


Commuters $60 plus $15 of food or paper goods or $15 toward costs of food and paper goods. You need not be in the CFP to attend. We will practicing social distancing, a food service provider will be handling the food which will be served in line with guidelines put in place for the covid pandemic, and please wear masks when in the presence of others.


$50 deposit to reserve your spot. Send deposit to Confraternity of Penitents, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA or use the Buy Now button here. 

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button
Man on Computer

If the past year has taught me anything, it's that I have absolutely no control over anything. Last August 2019, the walkway at an office condo in which I own six units collapsed. Naturally, the county properly condemned the structure. Despite my pushing, no action has been taken yet to demolish much less start to rebuild. In December, because of the collapse, the bank called the mortgage. I found another bank willing to consider lending but. because the condo association hasn't gotten bids yet, the new bank won't formally commit. Now that bank is about to be bought out by a more conservative bank. 

Now we have the coronavirus. When we go to the store, will one of the people in the store be contaminating all of us? As far as the government's response goes, it couldn't get GM to voluntarily produce respirators. And will all the suppliers be able to produce enough respirators quickly enough? No control.

With the coronavirus, my four classes all went online. No control over that decision, either. It has taken me almost two full weeks to figure out how to hopefully master the technology and teach my students. No control there, either.

And this semester I enrolled in an online graduate course to beef up my credentials in my discipline. Given the demands of online teaching, will I be able to complete the work there? I'm going to do my best, but even that is out of my control. 

For someone who always thought he was in control (and often in complete control), this past year has been very, very humbling. – Joel Whitaker, CFP


On August 22, the Queenship of Mary and CFP Refounding Day, the CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop manager Kay Marie Nugent married Shannon Bougher. We are continuing to fill orders while missing Kay-Marie’s expertise of the past almost 7 years. Best wishes to the happy couple! And thanks, Kay-Marie, for all your wonderful service these past years. God bless you and Shannon!



Is your parish or place of business looking for affordable, custom statuary? The CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop now offers this option through a business in operation since 1968, . Please call us for information. 260-739-6882, or see this link.

HUMOR 2020

One dog to another: All these humans with muzzles. Who did they bite?

Husband and I went grocery shopping with masks. Got home. Took off the masks. Wrong husband! Stay alert, people!

I don’t think that anyone expected that, when we changed the clocks this year, we’d go from standard time to the twilight zone.

So, in order to enter a store now, do I need to bring a face mask or a brick? 2020 is confusing.

Kay Marie and Shannon.jpg

Texas Coronavirus Prevention Sign: Wash your hands like you just got done slicing jalapenos for a batch of nachos and need to take your contacts out. (That’s like 20 seconds of scrubbing, y’all.)


Sign on Walnut Grove Baptist Church Billboard: This, too, shall pass. It might pass like a kidney stone, but it’s gonna pass.

Yesterday my husband thought he saw a cockroach in the kitchen. He sprayed everything down and cleaned thoroughly. Today I’m putting the cockroach in the bathroom.

bottom of page