A Life’s Adventure
I have spent my life persevering in seeking to discover the truth, often in the midst of subtle but deep-seated contradictions. Although born and raised a Catholic, it took me years to dig out of the non-constructive, critical traditionalist mentality of my parents. After finishing a BA in mathematics at UCLA (1974), I followed my parents into a cult based on a false private apparition at Necedah, Wisconsin (1980-1983). Only by the grace of God, after about two and a half years in this cultic type environment, I began to see the real situation into which my family and I had fallen into (see http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com and http://priv-rev.blogspot.com). Although my parents and my sister and her husband, who she met in the cult, left Necedah, they never had the chance to study and to overcome the sectarian and elitist, schismatic traditionalist mentality which is most often permeated by Jansenism as well as a strong critical spirit toward the living authority of the Catholic Church. While I went on to learn and study about the beauty and wisdom of the documents of the Second Vatican Council as a religious seminarian (see http://o-m-v.blogspot.com/), as well as getting to know the profound spirituality and life of the charisma of Unity (Chiara Lubich), my parents, sister and brother-in-law were reading only extreme traditionalist books like “The Devil’s Final Battle” by Father Paul Kramer which ultimately led my sister and her husband and seven children to loose the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church along with the many recent gifts that the Holy Spirit constantly gives to his bride, the Church, which are especially needed in these most difficult times. I wrote an article trying to convince them to come back to the Catholic Church but to no avail (see http://schis-trad.blogspot.com). In a very confusing world, under the “tyranny of relativism”, I believe in the words of Jesus Christ for each living Pope until the end of time: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). The Church is the handmaid of the Truth, not the Author of the Truth. No true Pope can change the Truth expressed in the doctrines of the Church, the Magisterium of the Church.
The Church on earth, the “Church Militant”, is made up of saints and sinners and everything else in between; Christ founded His Church on 12 men who were sinners, not 12 angels from heaven. Those who seek a “perfect” group on earth (like the Donatists of old) very often end up in the cults and the sects. But if one discovers that one’s cult is not “perfect”, one seeks another “perfect” sect according to ones own making and criteria. If one does not have enough humility to submit to the Church that Jesus Christ founded with the living “Rock” that Jesus promised to guide until the end of time, to whom does one submit? To himself? To the “perfect” group that agrees with him or her? To a charismatic leader? Where is our anchor, our “Rock”? Did Jesus abandon us and leave us without an infallible guide 500 years ago with the protestant reformation, or 50 years ago after the Council, in a world filled with innumerable opinions and propaganda? The saints tell us very clearly that without humility there is no virtue! Jesus admonished his disciples: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy!” (Lk 12:1)
After going through good as well as difficult experiences with the religious congregation, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary (http://o-m-v.blogspot.com/), as well as suffering a lot (even serious depression) with groups and people in the Church who did not learn from Jesus Who is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29) (see http://josephdwight.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/great-responsibility/), I finally have been able to forgive these people totally from my heart and thus I have found the peace that only Jesus, “the way, the TRUTH and the life”, can give. I have slowly come to realize that these humiliations and sufferings and sorrows are masked treasures from a God who loves me immensely (see “Let Us Love Our Spouse!” at http://spir-food.blogspot.com/2008/05/let-us-love-our-spouse.html) and Who offers to help us to become detached from everything except Him Who is our only true and lasting Treasure.
I try ever more to love Jesus in each person that I encounter in each present moment while praying, especially the Rosary, as much as I can on my knees before the Most Blessed Sacrament and reading daily good spiritual writings. I have learned from the writings of the saints, including our saints of today, such as Don Stefano Gobbi, or Chiara Lubich, that true love is inseparably related to recognizing, embracing and loving Jesus crucified personally in each and every suffering and sorrow within us and outside of us in our daily lives; this is the source of TRUE FREEDOM which only God can give. “A Manuscript On Purgatory” (see http://purgatory-manu.blogspot.com) really brings home the reality of how short life is and how long eternity is as well as how much Jesus loves each of us! We have so little time here on earth to arrive at a greater intensity of love of Jesus who loves each of us immensely even to the point of suffering and dying on the cross for each one of us personally!
The world is in pretty tough shape (http://god-politics.blogspot.com/) but God is always in charge even if He often takes the back seat and allows Satan to have a lot of freedom, in particular in the last hundred years or so, since we human beings have freely diminished our prayers and have increased our sins, thus giving more power to the forces of evil. I believe that one of the many gifts that God has give us today to help us break out of the “tyranny of relativism”, as Pope Benedict XVI puts it, is “The Testimony of Gloria Polo” (http://testimony-polo.blogspot.com/).
For many years I have been interested in studying prophecy especially as related to the current events of today; I have posted a summary of some of my studies on this topic “Catholic Prophecy Today” (http://markbeast.blogspot.com).
God likes to crush the pride of the devil using His true and humble followers who trust totally in Him; “Jesus, I trust in you” (St. Faustina)! “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph” (Fatima)! Alleluia!
Rev. Joseph Dwight
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For the most recent articles with insights into the new and devastating deceptions of “the father of lies” (Gv8:44), as well as guidance in these very confusing times, visit:
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To see the photographs of “The Life of Joseph Dwight”, go to: http://picasaweb.google.it/josephdwight57/TheLifeOfJosephDwight# .
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The following was part of my application to the Diocese of Orange, California, 1990, to the vocation director, Father Murray.
Joseph J. Dwight, Jr.
St. Francis de Sales
4268 Lime St.
Riverside, CA 92501
May 31, 1990
Dear Father Murray,
The following is a brief resume of my life leading up to my request to be considered as a candidate for the priesthood in the Orange diocese.
I was born (11-21-51; Des Moines, Iowa) into a good practicing Catholic family, the second child of six children. As a family, we never missed Sunday Mass or monthly confessions and we all said the daily family Rosary together. From my grade school years, my whole family went to daily Mass and Holy Communion to the only Catholic Church in our city (Barstow, California), six miles away (1). In High School, I was an active member of the Junior Legion of Mary and was chosen as the most outstanding student of my High School CCD graduating class of about 50 students. I was also chosen by the public High School faculty as the most outstanding boy of my graduating class. I also graduated as the valedictorian of my High School graduating class of about 275 students.
I continued going to daily Mass and Holy Communion in college (UCLA; 1970-1975). I graduated from UCLA with a bachelors degree in mathematics in 1974 as a departmental scholar. As a graduate student at UCLA, I taught calculus and algebra as a teaching assistant in the UCLA graduate mathematics department for one and a half years.
During the summer of 1975 my father and mother ran across a supposed on-going apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Necedah, Wisconsin. At this time also my parents began seeking and reading right wing political literature. All my life I had a great respect and trust of my Dad's judgment. Thus when he told me about these discoveries, backed up by much reading on the part of my Dad as well as seemingly logical conclusions, I left UCLA after finishing my teaching credential but before finishing my masters degree (2) to help my parents expand their underground shelter that they had built in the early sixties due to the Cuban crisis.
I also bought an accordion and began taking lessons while practicing two to three hours each day; I soon began playing frequently at convalescent and retirement homes. After the shelter was mostly finished in the summer of 1976, I began reading and praying more. Later I joined the Legion of Mary and began spending at least two to three hours each day with my sister going door to door asking people to pray an extra hour each week to help fight abortion (3). My daily routine was basically Mass, prayers and work in the morning, accordion practicing in the afternoon as well as spiritual reading and relaxing and watching TV in the late afternoons and evening. Frequently I would help deliver Amway products to the Amway distributors and customers of my parents (4). After reading the book, ‘True Devotion to Mary’, by Saint Louis de Montfort, I consecrated myself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on August 15, 1976.
My parents were almost continually reading the "Messages and Revelations" from the supposed apparition at Necedah, Wisconsin. There was a very natural, although naive, tendency to think that an apparition is either totally true or totally false. Although we had no background or study in private revelation, we had concluded that the apparitions to the supposed visionary, Mary Ann Van Hoof at Necedah, Wisconsin, were authentic and thus we naively concluded that all "heavenly" messages from there were straight from the mouth of the Mother of God or another "celestial". In a real sense, these messages once accepted, became for us a type of fundamental criteria of truth against which we tended to judge other related things or even contrary opinions. We also tended to have a preoccupation about the future and dates that were seemingly revealed in these messages. This preoccupation tended to maintain our enthusiasm and hope in these supposed messages.
Finally when a seeming or apparent prediction of these messages did not materialize in 1980, I decided to go back to Necedah, Wisconsin to check it out as well as to look into a new third order Franciscan community at Necedah. I discovered later that the Franciscan community (called the 'Franciscan Friars of the Sacred Heart') was founded (1979) by an Old Roman Catholic (Ultrajectine - Holland origin) bishop (5) and priest (6). both of whom had left the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Cross in the Midwest before taking final vows about ten years before.
I entered this seminary along with five or six other postulants in May 1980. At that time I did not understand about the non-canonical orders of the Old Roman Catholics. I felt grateful to God for being there and I applied myself to being a good religious.
During the three years I was in this congregation, my superiors took several trips to Rome meeting with Silvio Cardinal Oddi and other Vatican officials to attempt to canonically establish the new congregation. Up until February of 1983, Cardinal Oddi was very encouraging to us. In February 1983, for the first time Cardinal Oddi, then the Prefect of 'The Sacred Congregation For The Clergy', said "he could no longer smile at our congregation" because we were not working with the local ordinary of the La Cross diocese, Bishop Frederick Freking.
Also in late December, 1982, my superior, Francis DiBenedetto, who was beginning to become somewhat exasperated by the cult pressure to conform to what "heaven says", asked me to write something to help explain to the more than 600 local members of the shrine (7) the proper and prudent approach one should take regarding private revelation and that private revelation was only part of a minor charism of the whole Church, not vise versa.
About the time my superiors came back from Rome in February, 1983, I also discovered for the first time the written condemnation of the shrine by the diocese of La Crosse in 1955 (Bishop Tracy) and later renewed by Bishop Freking in the sixties. When I read in this censure that no public worship was allowed on the shrine grounds, I left the new Franciscan congregation and shrine and began going to Mass at the Catholic parish in the town of Necedah while living with my sister and her husband and child. I finished the written work (128 pages) while living with my sister and brother-in-law which I entitled "The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation". Five hundred copies were distributed to over 600 local shrine members on May 31, 1983 by Francis DiBenedetto during his exhortation to the shrine members to return and work with the lawful local ordinary of the La Crosse diocese (8). During June and July of 1983 more than half of the local shrine members returned to the local Catholic parish in the town of Necedah.
After returning to California in March of 1983, I applied to the congregation, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, of which I had met an Oblate priest at Necedah, Fr. Dan Zaleski, O.M.V., who often visited his parents who were affiliated with the shrine at Necedah. I also got a job in Barstow, California as a short order cook at a restaurant (9).
I found the congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary (10) attractive to me because of the apparent devotion of its members to the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Virgin Mary and its fidelity to the Pope and magisterium.
My 6-year experience in Italy (August 1983 - July 1989) with the Oblates and the Italian people was a very enriching one. I found the Italian people to be a very warm and family oriented people. It was also a tremendous honor for me to have served several times on the high altar in St. Peter's Basilica for the Pope in 1987-88. I also had the opportunity of studying and receiving my bachelors degrees in philosophy and theology (STB) at the Angelicum in Rome. I also received both the minor orders of lector and acolyte (11).
Things seemed to be going very well within my congregation. Then in June of 1988, Father Gino Burresi, OMV, a rather charismatic Oblate and supposed stigmatist who had attracted hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and many young vocations (both male and female) was sent away from the large shrine at San Vittorino (near Tivoli, just outside of Rome) which he instituted. The congregation was profoundly, and most likely irrevocably, split in two. The novitiate and final vows were suspended for everyone in Italy for one year by the Pontifical Commissary, Fr. Marcel Gendrot, who replaced the entire major governing body (the Rector Major and his four consulters) of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in January 1989. Then in the summer of 1989, the American and Canadian Oblate seminarians studying in Rome (over 20 in number) were transferred from Rome to Boston. At this time, I was completing my sixth year with the Oblates and my third year in temporary vows. After a short vacation in California, I arrived in Boston in late September; my immediate superior, Fr. TG, OMV (about 33 or 34 years old), who was still in Italy at the time, arrived later in October. In the mean time, the new house superior, Fr. DK., OMV (about 33 years old), was the superior of us 20 Oblate seminarians who began attending St. John's Theological Seminary in Boston in early September.
I worked hard to help fix up our new house as computer, electrical, and mechanical technician while supporting the younger seminarians and attending several classes at St. John's seminary (12). Everything seemed to be going fine. Then in late January, Fr. TG. told me that I would not be accepted to final vows with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. It was a tremendous shock to me as well as to my fellow Oblates in formation and I was given very little explanation. While in Italy for six years, my superiors held me in their highest esteem (13). A few days after Fr. TG told me of my dismissal, Fr. PG., OMV (39 years old), the OMV delegate of North America, responded to me during a private appointment: "I just found out about the decision. I guess I should call Fr. TG to find out the reasons." Both Fr. TG., OMV and Fr. PG., OMV said they would write good letters of recommendation on my behalf for either another religious congregation or a diocese (14).
My spiritual director in Boston, Fr. Joseph O'Connor, S.J. (over 60 years old), very kindly set up a week retreat for me during this difficult period for me in Boston. Fr. O'Connor also strongly feels I have a vocation and was surprised at the procedures that the young North American superiors used in dismissing me (15).
After spending about two weeks at home in Barstow, California in mid February with my parents and sister and brother-in-law and their four children, I moved into the rectory of St. Francis de Sales Church at the invitation of the pastor, Fr. Louis Marx, whom I have known for over thirty years. Fr. Marx is truly an inspiration to me as an exceptionally kind, generous and spiritual priest. I am presently helping out here in the rectory and parish in many ways.
I realize that being sent away from a religious congregation would not seem to be to my credit. But I ask you to consider the whole picture especially considering the great turmoil and division within the Oblates of the Virgin Mary as well as the fact that all my superiors in Italy for six years held me in their highest regard which can be substantiated both in the official records as well as in other communications.
I would be very appreciative if you could give me an indication if you feel I might be considered as a candidate for the priesthood in the diocese of Orange.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Respectfully yours in Christ,
Joseph J. Dwight, Jr.
(1) We moved to California when I was five and a half years old when my Dad left farming to become a school teacher.
(2) My younger sister, Ann, also left San Diego State University for the same reasons.
(3) The spiritual director of the Legion of Mary at the time as well as the associate pastor of the only Catholic Church in Barstow (Mount Saint Joseph) since 1957 was Father Marion Coslowsky. Fr. Coslowsky's present address and telephone number are: Our Lady of the Desert Mission, P.O. Box 146, Baker, CA 92309; tel: (619) 733-4308.
(4) My Dad had retired from teaching school and was no longer promoting or building his Amway business.
(5) Francis DiBenedetto.
(6) Kevin Fitzgerald.
(7) The shrine maintained a mailing list at that time of over 16,000 which helped support several large building projects in progress which were supposedly requested by the "messages". The labor was all done rather enthusiastically by the local shrine members.
(8) At this time also the new Franciscan congregation was dismantled after responsibilities such as with the newly initiated private school were completed.
(9) I worked almost every summer during college as a short order cook to support myself through college.
(10) The Oblates of the Virgin Mary were founded by Fr. Bruno Lanteri in 1826 with the principle apostolate of giving the Ignatian exercises. The first American Oblate was ordained less than 15 years ago. In the late sixties, it was discussed at a general chapter of the Oblate congregation about the possibility of merging the Oblates with another congregation due to lack of vocations. Then, through the instrumentality of a certain Brother Gino Burresi, O.M.V., vocations began to enter the congregation in the early seventies. Today there are over 150 perpetually professed members in the entire congregation.
Fr. Robert Fox (N. Dakota), associated with the Blue Army (and with the Soul Magazine, at least formerly), wrote a book about Fr. Gino called 'The Call of Heaven - Brother Gino, Stigmatist'; the book became rather popular and a second edition was published during the summer of 1988.
(11) At the request of many friends at Necedah, I visited Necedah during the summer of 1985. During this two-day stay, I visited and telephoned many friends who were still affiliated with the shrine urging them to break off all affiliation with the shrine. I also became good friends with the new pastor at Necedah, Fr. Michael Mertens, who thanked me personally for my efforts to lead back many people to his parish. Fr. Mertens, the former Vicar of the diocese of La Crosse, also asked me several times to come to Necedah to celebrate my first Mass after I was ordained an Oblate priest. Fr. Mertens' present address and telephone number are: St. Francis Parish, Star Rt. W. Box 526, Necedah, Wisconsin 54646; tel: (608) 565-2488.
(12) The Oblates also received financial support each year on my behalf ($750-800) from the Knights of Columbus in Barstow, California. I am presently an active Third Degree Knight of Columbus of the Barstow chapter.
(13) As an indication of this, see the enclosed letter from Fr. Patrice Veraquin, OMV, my superior in Rome for my last three years in Italy (September 1986 - July 1989), describing his reaction to me personally regarding my sudden dismissal.
Fr. Patrice's address and phone number are: Istituto Lanteri, Via S. Michele, 50, 56100 PISA (Italy); tel (dialing direct from the USA): 011-39-50-570-078. Fr. Patrice speaks fluent English.
My assistant superior for my first three years in Italy was Father Guy Symard, O.M.V., (he also speaks English fluently) who now resides at: Maison du Pardon, 10475 Boulevard Becancour, Sainte-Angele-de-Laval, Cte Nicolet, Que., GOX 2HO - CANADA; tel: (819) 222-5608.
(14) Fr. TG., OMV wrote the following on a card given to me on February 10, 1990, the day I left Boston (see enclosures for a photo copy of the original): "Joe: I thank you for all that you have brought to the community, and the generosity and sincerity you have always shown. I am sure that the Lord holds good things in store for you. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. Fr. TG, OMV"
Fr. DK. wrote the following to me in a letter postmarked February 10, 1990 (copy enclosed): "Dear Joe, Thank you so much for all you have done for me and the community. You certainly worked hard to help set up the house. We all appreciate your generous and fraternal help. I will always hold you in the highest esteem for all you have done for us and for who you are as a person. May the Lord continue to work in and through you as you continue to follow his call. With love affection and prayers, Fr. DK".
Fr. DK's and Fr. TG's address and phone number are: 85 Brown Ave., Roslindale, MA 02131; tel: (617) 323-8660.
(15) Fr. Joseph O'Connor's address and phone number are: 28 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, MA 02167; tel: (617) 332-1105.
My confessor and pastoral professor of counseling in Boston was Fr. Robert Maguire, S.J. who is in residence at Sacred Heart Parish: 169 Cummins Highway, Roslindale, MA 02131; tel: (617) 325-3322.
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To see the photographs of “The Life of Joseph Dwight”, go to: http://picasaweb.google.it/josephdwight57/TheLifeOfJosephDwight# .
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The photo is of Joseph Dwight shaking hands with Chiara Lubich, the foundress of the Focolare Movement. The photo was taken on the 11th of May, 1995 at Loppiano in Incisa Valdarno, Italy, 15 miles south of Florence.