Dear Fr. Jim and Jackie,
Thank you so much for performing Elia’s Christening. It was such a beautiful
day, much to your doing, such a wonderful ceremony. Also, thank you for helping
us celebrate her 1st birthday! Thanks again.
Michelle & Brian Hannon
Weddings & Anniversaries
Dear Father Carroll,
Dave and I would love to thank you for the beautiful ceremony you provided
for us. We found comfort in your organization and kind words and blessings
along the way in our meetings. Our wedding was a dream come true and we were
glad to have you share in our day.
Tina and Dave
Dear Fr. Greg,
“What a truly special part of our family wedding celebration you were! Even
before the day arrived your contributions were invaluable. Your confidence in
guiding us to our magical day was more comforting than you can know. With your
help God was shining on us all! We will be forever grateful that my wedding was
the sacrament I dreamed of. So many people have commented on your homily, your
personality and your own loving marriage. All were impressed!”
Patty & Todd
Congratulations on your 50th Anniversary as a Priest. We fondly remember
meeting you and Jackie on the Celebrity Cruise when we celebrated our 30th
Wedding Anniversary. You celebrated Mass for us and officiated as we renewed
our vows. We thank you and continue to remember you in our prayers.
Olga and Lawrence
Anointings & Funerals
Rev. James Koerber
I first met Rev. James Koerber in 2003 when he interviewed for the job of
Hospice Chaplain in Bluffton, SC. He was the first, and only, chaplain I have
ever met who understood the difference between spirituality and religion. I
hired him for the job, and our paths have crossed repeatedly since then as we
have worked for three or four different hospice organizations.
His experience as a Catholic priest allows him to give complete Catholic
services to any Catholic patient that he works with. His understanding of
spirituality lets him get to the root problems of any patient facing end of
life circumstances so that he can bring peace and closure to potentially very
traumatic situations. He is also a good resource for staff members to prepare
them to work more effectively with family members as loved ones face this
difficult time of parting.
Rev. Koerber deals well with memorial services and grave-side services for all
denominations, making sure that family wishes are faithfully carried out. With
the current shortage of Catholic priests, having Jim Koerber around when local
parishes cannot provide requested assistance makes it easy to provide Catholics
with the last sacraments which they have a right to receive, a well as funeral
Masses. I wish I had more people with his understanding of death and dying to
make available to me patients.
Hospice Care of America
Congratulations to Louise and all!
You are providing a much needed and wonderful service. Father Greg Zimmerman
said mass for my family and me last Saturday as part of a birthday celebration
for my father's 80th birthday. He was generous and kind and just what we
needed. I am so grateful for your vision and mission.
Testimonial for CITI Ministries and Rev. Donald Horrigan
2011 – Appointed President of CITI Ministries
after the resignation of Louise Haggett (little did I know)
In November of 2007 I had an extraordinary prayer experience. It had been a
difficult six years for my husband and me as we continued to struggle with our
involvement in the Catholic Church. My husband Dave is a survivor of clergy
sexual abuse and though we had been dealing with it since he revealed his
experience to me in 1993 when his perpetrator was publicly named, we hadn’t
really absorbed the whole church effect until 2002 when the Boston clergy sex
abuse crisis hit the airwaves with extreme intensity. It was then that we
realized everything we were told by the bishops back in ’93 was a lie. They
knew so much more than what they said and we came to find out that Dave’s
perpetrator had abused 50 or so other boys before him! Something had to give.
And for us it was any loyalty to the church hierarchy, not because we have a
problem with church leadership, but because we have a problem with the constant
corrupt church leadership. We read and read and read, and became more
knowledgeable about the injustices throughout every diocese in the country. In
the fall of 2007 I had experienced a faculty retreat, a parish retreat, and
finally a trip into Washington, DC. Dave & I wanted to view a new
documentary that was only being shown in certain theatres. It was called
Deliver Us From Evil. How painfully sad, and how utterly revealing.
The next evening I sat on my couch with a cup of tea, reflecting on the
different moments I had experienced recently. It was then, that I felt the Lord
as close to me as ever; as I tried to understand the direction He wanted me to
take. It was about worshipping God and the importance of it. It was about using
my gifts, and it was about reaching out and bringing others to the banquet,
especially other survivors of abuse. But how could I do all this within the
context of my parish when I know that groups who advocate for survivors like
SNAP and VOTF are not particularly welcome? I realized that I needed to do this
outside of the mainstream church. And lo and behold within two months my
husband came across a website which caused us to laugh quite heartily:
rentapriest.com However, upon further investigation on this website we found
two gentlemen associated with CITI Ministries, one of whom married us 25 years
earlier! The other one happened to live
right here in our hometown of Bowie, Maryland. In fact, he was a member of our
parish, but we had never met!
I called Don Horrigan in January of 2008 and in very little time we realized
that there were so many coincidences about our lives and in our timing of
getting connected, that none of it could have been “coincidence” at all. I was
interested in trying to start a small faith community. I wanted to worship God,
use my gifts, and reach out to other Catholics who may have lost their
spiritual connection for some reason or another. Don came to our house to meet
with Dave & me and there was an immediate sense that we were all being
called to begin something, even though we had no idea of where it would take
I gradually began telling people the story of my prayer experience, learning of
CITI, and meeting this new friend that they may have heard of, Don Horrigan.
After a couple of months the time was right to try out the idea of a home mass.
I contacted some friends who I thought would be most open to having a “married
priest” as the celebrant for our liturgy. I sent out the invitation considering
it a giant leap of faith!
I remember checking my computer often to see if any responses would come in,
and as they did I was overjoyed with the positive feedback I was receiving!
That first night we had 22 people squished into my living room. It was an
awesome experience to witness Don, with trembling hands, celebrate his first
mass in over 30 years with his wife by his side. It was a reverent and
beautiful moment with light-hearted flexibility to ease our way through these
new and uncharted waters. How refreshing it was to hear the Word of God
proclaimed, reflected on by Don, and then all those present actually being
given the opportunity to comment on the Scriptures, share our thoughts, and
listen to each other’s stories! How uplifting it was to embrace each person at
the Sign of Peace! How beautiful it was to stand in a circle and pass and
receive the Body and Blood of Christ to and from the person next to us! How
spirit-filled was this moment of community! And then afterwards, we all crammed
into the kitchen to eat and drink and celebrate that celebration of faith.
I cannot say how much it meant to have Don take this risk and share his gift of
ordination with us. His warmth, spirituality, and openness to Dave & me and
each person in our community are a sign of Christ living among us today. It’s
sad that his “priestly” ministry had to be put on hold for so many years,
though it is clear to me from my experience with him in Emmaus that he was as
much a follower of the Lord in his roles as husband, father, and school
principal. It’s just a bonus that now he can minister to the rest of us again!
In April our community along with VOTF sponsored a Support Service for
Survivors of Sexual abuse. We held it at an American Legion Hall since survivors
of clergy abuse often cannot bring themselves to attend a church function. Don
and Richard Hasselbach, another wonderful CITI priest, led a beautiful service
to reach out to victims of abuse with the goal of meeting them where they were.
The theme was Finding God in and after the Pain of Betrayal. It was a powerful
and moving spiritual experience. We had about 50 people in attendance including
seven survivors, two of whom called this their first experience to participate
in such a public event.
Our Emmaus group has gathered many times since our first liturgy, each mass
with its own particular flavor. We bring offerings to be given to Sharing
Pantries, homeless shelters, and orphanages. I hope we are on our way to
serving more folks in need of the spiritual connection that only Christ himself
can give us. Thank you Louise Haggett for founding CITI Ministries, and thank
you to all of the priests and faithful members for helping to sustain this much
By Judy Lorenz: Founder of The Emmaus Group, Bowie, Maryland (2008)