We were very honored to have a visit in Charlottesville from Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., on February 18th, as a speaker at the St. Anshelm Institute for Catholic Thought at the University of Virginia. Archbishop Chaput gave a very good talk entitled City Upon a Hill: Augustine, John Winthrop and the soul of the American Experiment Today. Archbishop Chaput has been a great advocate for American Catholics to know their role in being faithful citizens, and it is part of everyone’s call to holiness to be involved in making a free and just society.
Archbishop Chaput is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, and was the second Native American to be ordained bishop in the United States, and the first Native American archbishop. He chose as his episcopal motto: “As Christ Loved the Church” (Ephesians 5:25) Archbishop Chaput has served as a bishop of South Dakota and worked in the church for Native American issues, and spoke about Indian Spirtuality and its good and bad points, and why many Native American’s are drawn to the love of Jesus Christ. Archbishop Chaput has also served as bishop of Denver, and presently in Philadelphia. I find it most interesting that he as a Franciscan Capuchin, and his fellow bishop (Cardinal Sean O’Malley) were both called to “rebuild the church” in two of the most challenging dioceses in America (Philadelphia & Boston) that were affected by scandal and corruption. I am extememly proud of my fellow Franciscan bishops, and that Pope Francis, in choosing his name, to take on this task of renewing our beautiful Catholic Faith in the spirit of St. Francis “to rebuild God’s house.”
Archbishop Chaput was just two weeks earlier called by Pope Francis to join the new Pontifical Council on the Laity. Archbishop Chaput spoke in his talk of the great importance of the laity to help with the church in evangelization, prayer, support, and active participation amongst everyone, including those in the secular world. Archbishop Chaput said he does not know yet what he will be doing on this new council, but looks forward to the challenges ahead. I was pleased to meet him after his talk, and wished him well and said that he will be in my prayers.
I encourage you to view his entire talk, because I can’t do it justice in my writing, and the Q&A afterward in link below.
Pontifical Council for the Laity (Vatican)