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Fear becomes sin when it leads to hostility toward migrants, pope says

01/14/2018 - 3:20pm

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Being afraid and concerned about the impact of migration is not a sin, Pope Francis said, but it is a sin to let those fears lead to a refusal to help people in need.

“The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses, to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection,” the pope said Jan. 14, celebrating Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

While fear is a natural human reaction, he said, “the sin is to refuse to encounter the other, the different, the neighbor, when this is in fact a privileged opportunity to encounter the Lord.”

Thousands of migrants and refugees now living in Rome, but coming from more than 60 countries, joined Pope Francis and an international group of cardinals, bishops and priests for the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Sixty of the migrants and refugees carried their homeland’s national flags into the basilica before the Mass and hundreds wore the national dress of their countries, including many of the people who read the prayers of the faithful and brought up the gifts at the offertory during the multilingual Mass.

While care for migrants and refugees has been a priority for Pope Francis, the World Day for Migrants and Refugees has been an annual celebration of the Catholic Church for more than 100 years. St. Pius X began the observance in 1914.

After reciting the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square after the Mass, Pope Francis announced that “for pastoral reasons” the date of the annual celebration was being moved to the second Sunday of September. The next World Day of Migrants and Refugees, he said, would be marked Sept. 8, 2019.

According to the United Nations, an estimated 258 million people are living outside the country of their birth. The number includes 26 million refugees and asylum seekers, who were forced to flee their homelands because of war or persecution.

In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis reflected on Jesus’ response to the disciples who asked him where he lived. “Come and you will see,” Jesus tells them, inviting them into a relationship where they would welcome and get to know each other.

“His invitation ‘Come and see!’ is addressed today to all of us, to local communities and to new arrivals,” the pope said. “It is an invitation to overcome our fears so as to encounter the other, to welcome, to know and to acknowledge him or her.”

For the migrants and refugees, he said, that includes learning about and respecting the laws and customs of their host countries. “It even includes understanding their fears and apprehensions for the future,” he added.

For people in the host countries, he said, it means welcoming newcomers, opening oneself “without prejudices to their rich diversity,” understanding their hopes, fears and vulnerabilities and recognizing their potential.

‘In the true encounter with the neighbor, are we capable of recognizing Jesus Christ who is asking to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated?” Pope Francis asked.

“It is not easy to enter into another culture, to put oneself in the shoes of people so different from us, to understand their thoughts and their experiences,” the pope said. That is one reason why “we often refuse to encounter the other and raise barriers to defend ourselves.”

People in host countries may be afraid that newcomers “will disturb the established order (or) will ‘steal’ something they have long labored to build up,” he said. And the newcomers have their own fears “of confrontation, judgment, discrimination, failure.”

Both set of fears, the pope said, “are legitimate, based on doubts that are fully comprehensible from a human point of view.”

Sin, he said, enters the equation only when people refuse to try to understand, to welcome and to see Jesus present in the other, especially “the poor, the rejected, the refugee, the asylum seeker.”

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It’s January 14th and Jeanne Hunt explores New Year’s Resolutions: Saying “no” can be saying “yes” to grace

01/14/2018 - 6:36am

Have you decided on your New Year’s resolution yet? Every year, thousands of us decide to lose 10 pounds and join the gym, stop playing so much golf and spend more time with the kids, or if you really mean business, go to Mass more than one day a week.

I would like to suggest something good for your soul: learning the gentle art of saying “no.” Most of us think “no” is a lazy excuse for just not wanting to get involved. But it is a real test of discernment to know when saying no is sometimes the best answer. It seems that we are raised with the idea that real servanthood in the kingdom of God requires say “yes” to everything. We say “yes” to coaching soccer when we have never kicked a soccer ball in our lives, “yes” to being den mother for troop 674, “yes” to subbing as a lector when we will have to skip mass with our family to show up. We are convinced that we should sacrifice our needs for the greater good. Yet, is it really a greater good? Or are we undermining God’s good work?

There are times when we are standing in the way of grace by stubbornly sticking to our guns, and God wants us to put down our guns and take up a new direction. I remember the Pumpkin Lady as a real example of getting stuck in a “yes.” She told me that one autumn she painted a pumpkin with pretty flowers on it. It was so fine that three people asked her to make one for them. More and more people wanted her painted pumpkins. After five autumn seasons, she had orders for more than 200 pumpkins. She kept saying “yes” until she was about to drop from pumpkin fatigue.

When she finally came to me for advice, I told her it was time to say “no” to pumpkins. Her whole life was caught up in doing something she no longer enjoyed at the sacrifice of her family and personal life. That “no” restored her peace and allowed her to focus on all those neglected areas of her life. In this case, “no” was a grace that she had avoided for five years.

So, how do we discern between two goods? It is St Thomas Aquinas who remarks that one of the greatest spiritual challenges is the choice between two goods. Many times we It is the Gospel of the wise and foolish virgins that teaches this lesson. Could it be that the foolish virgins ran out of oil, not because they were irresponsible, but because they had taken on too much responsibility and ran out of time? Or perhaps they had to take their nephews to Temple Shalom Hebrew lessons, or volunteer at the Jerusalem soup kitchen.

The smart virgins shouted a resounding “NO!” because they knew that if they gave their oil away, no one would have enough to wait up for the bridegroom. Two goods: sharing their oil or being there for the bridegroom. The smart girls thought this through and realized that saying no was the right thing to do.

We must realize the lamp of our spirit can run out of oil. We need quiet moments for prayer, time to spend with our spouse and children without any worry about schedules, time to do a good and mindful effort at work. And, it may very well be that our “no” allows someone else to say “yes” to a life-giving opportunity.

Before the first days of this new year are past, I invite you to make your list of things you need to say “no” to this year. Each of us has a list. It is just a matter of discerning where and how we can do the most good. This is a conversation we should have with the Holy Spirit. Then, muster up the courage to say “no.”

Hunt is a nationally recognized writer, speaker, and catechist.

Stuff Luke Carey found for January: Stories Matter

01/13/2018 - 6:29am

Stories matter. Especially today. Instagram encourages users to post videos as stories. Families pass down stories. Billions share stories on Facebook. Friends laugh at the same stories for decades.

Brands now tell stories to communicate with customers. There’s a reason for it all. Stories work. Humans crave the purpose and meaning stories provide. Shakespeare’s work contains more truths about humanity than many films that begin with “based on true story.” When we read Shakespeare, we read about what it means to be human. Hamlet screams at us, “What’s the point of it all when meaning is taken away?”

I often wonder about stories told in our postmodern era. What’s the purpose of a story in a post-modern society?

Think about it. If everything was random, if there were no ultimate purpose, why even tell a story?

Living in a post-modern era, and dare I say a post-Christian culture, it can be easy to forget that stories have meaning. Light sabers don’t make “Star Wars” matter. Space doesn’t make “Star
Wars” matter. A young and naïve Luke Skywalker starting at two setting suns makes “Star Wars” matter.

Taking time to contemplate the meaning of our modern stories is worth the effort. It deepens our appreciation for these stories and in a small way makes us more human, especially when we allow grace into our lives.

I’ll quickly highlight two ways to do so. First, try YouTube. There’s a plethora of good, awful, brilliant, and insane analysis of any modern movie or TV show. It’s beyond the scope of this article to even try to explain most of it. But, I promise, a quick YouTube search for an analysis of your favorite book or movie can forever change the way you understand your favorite movie.

(If you are into modern movies and television, check out my favorite channel, Nerd Soup.)

For brilliant analysis rooted in the reality of the Catholic faith, look no further than Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire. ( The scope of Word on Fire is rather broad,but its mission is to proclaim Christ in the culture. The website has a plethora of content: Bishop Barron’s podcasts, movie and music reviews, resources for exploring Catholic content, homilies,
lectures on numerus topics, and more. Word on Fire’s only fault is the sheer amount of content. But it’s well worth it. Newcomers might do better by simply googling ‘word on fire’ plus the specific kind of content you hope to find. Word on Fire proposes modern popular culture as something worth trying to understand. Bishop Barron does a great job of not dismissing movies or music that on the surface seem might seem disjointed from or even hostile to Catholicism. Barron employs the often sought after, but rarely achieved, ability to “test everything and hold onto the
good.” This is a great website and a must visit for anyone who enjoys understanding the deeper meanings of a good story.

For Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire Video on Anti-Catholicism, check out the video below:

Twitter Follow of the Month: Me!
What better way to start out 2018? You can find me on Twitter at @thelukethe. I’ll follow you back if you correctly guess what inspired my Twitter handle. Father Mike Schmitz did, so I’m sure a few of you will be able to as well.

Catholics urged to ignore rhetoric, help immigrants facing deportation

01/12/2018 - 8:46pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz

By Beth Griffin

NEW YORK (CNS) — Catholics have a responsibility to look past the noisy rhetoric of the current debate on immigration and answer the “cry of the poor” by engaging with individuals facing deportation.

That was the focus of a National Migration Week discussion Jan. 11 at the Church of St. Francis Assisi in New York examining the plight of individuals affected by President Donald Trump’s Jan. 25, 2017, executive order on deportation. Presenters discussed practical actions to extend Christian charity and seek justice.

National Migration Week began Jan. 7 and ends with the World Day of Migrants and Refugees Jan. 14.

“We’re talking about being correct with our faith response as Christians. Are detention and deportation the right solutions?” Franciscan Father Julian Jagudilla asked the participants. “Are we here for our interests or the interests of the people we serve?”

Father Jagudilla, director of the Migrant Center at St. Francis of Assisi since 2012, detailed routes to legal immigration and said there are more than 12 million people who face removal from the United States because of an irregular or precarious immigration status.

This number is made up of more than 11.4 million people in the country without legal permission and about 700,000 “Dreamers,” those currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Also included are 325,000 people from 13 countries whose Temporary Protected Status has been terminated, and 60,000 unaccompanied minors who fled Central America in 2014.

The executive order, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” described people in who are in the country without legal authorization “a significant threat to national security and public safety” and described the priorities for deporting “removable aliens.”

Father Jagudilla said those individuals make up 3 percent of the U.S. population and the reasons cited in the order for their removal are vaguely worded and open to broad interpretation.

The Catholic Church shies away from using provocative words to describe immigrants because such words are “an assault and insult to their dignity” and contradict “what we believe about the value of the human person,” Father Jagudilla said.

The Migrant Center was founded at the Franciscan parish in 1999 and has a mission to minister “to people who are alienated, displaced or persecuted, the ‘pilgrims and strangers’ in our midst and welcome immigrants and migrants of all ethnic backgrounds regardless of political or religious affiliation.”

Father Jagudilla said the center has given legal, advocacy and education services to more than 3,000 people since it was reinvigorated in 2012.

Legal assistance is provided by two contract attorneys and trained volunteers. The center’s education programs include forums on immigrant rights, labor unions and human rights.

“Our battle cry is, ‘The power is in your hands’,” Father Jagudilla said. “The accurate info we bring people is power. When you know your rights, you can protect yourself from raids and fraudulent practices.”

“Through our campaigns, we cautiously engage the undocumented. They trust us because we are from the church. It is a re-victimization if they turn to the Catholic Church and there is nothing for them,” Father Jagudilla said.

Migrant Center volunteers visit people held in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract detention facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Lawrence Omojola, the Migrant Center’s volunteer liaison officer to the detainees, described the twice-monthly visits as a corporal work of mercy and an expression of hope.

“For some people detained at the airport on their first trip to the United States, we are the first people they interact with from outside the immigration system. We are representatives from the outside world and a reminder that there is a community that remembers them,” he said.

Omojola said most of the detainees at the Elizabeth facility have no prior convictions and some are held for more than one year. “They need someone to listen to them. We don’t give advice. We reach out and hear their stories,” he said.

Omojola conducts an orientation for volunteer visitors from the Migrant Center. They join volunteers from Jesuit-run St. Francis Xavier Parish in Manhattan on visits organized by First Friends, a local organization that works on behalf of detained immigrants and asylum seekers.

Father Jagudilla said 380,000 to 420,000 people are detained in the U.S. each year by immigration authorities. They are held in 47 private, for-profit detention centers and more than 200 county jails.

Jennifer Engelhart became a volunteer visitor with the Migrant Center through the young adult group at St. Francis of Assisi.

“It was really powerful to look into the face of someone who was trying his best to remain hopeful and positive in a tough and uncertain situation,” she said of a recent visit. The 37-year-old construction worker she visited was brought from Mexico as a child. His car was pulled over in a traffic stop 15 months ago and he was detained when he could not produce legal documentation.

“You hear about this on the news, but it’s not a reality until you speak with someone who tells you his story,” she said.

Father Jagudilla gave urgency to his call for a compassionate response to immigrants without papers when he said a colleague in the immigration movement was detained earlier in the day.

Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, a network of faith and community groups that advocates for immigrants, was arrested Jan. 11 when he appeared for a routine check-in appointment with immigration authorities at the Federal Building in New York.

Ragbir was convicted of a nonviolent felony in 2001 and has fought a deportation order for more than a decade. His arrest sparked street demonstrations in Manhattan.

One of the participants at the St. Francis of Assisi event urged people to call ICE and federal elected officials. The script she offered for the calls included a detention number she said was necessary to identify Ragbir, “even though he’s a real person.”

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Trump comments ‘harsh, offensive,’ Vatican newspaper says

01/12/2018 - 5:17pm

IMAGE: CNS/Bob Roller

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In its continuing coverage of the U.S. immigration debate, the Vatican newspaper noted media reports that President Donald Trump “used particularly harsh and offensive words about immigrants” from several countries.

“No agreement on Dreamers” was the headline on the lead story for L’Osservatore Romano’s edition dated Jan. 13 and published late Jan. 12.

In the past few days, the paper reported, “the tension on the theme of immigration has risen noticeably” with Trump and a bipartisan group from Congress meeting Jan. 11 to discuss a measure that would keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program intact, but also include Trump’s demands for a border wall.

The program, known by its initials DACA, protects from deportation between 700,000 and 800,000 young people illegally brought to the United States as children.

Based on media reports about the meeting, L’Osservatore said, “Trump used particularly harsh and offensive words about immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and some African countries. The expressions immediately gave rise to controversy and indignation.”

The Associated Press and other media outlets reported that, according to people present at the meeting, Trump questioned “why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and ‘(expletive) countries'” in Africa.

While the Vatican newspaper noted that the White House did not immediately deny the remarks, Trump later tweeted, “The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used.”

The Vatican newspaper also noted that a U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked Trump’s decision to rescind DACA and that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Jan. 8 that it was ending a provision called Temporary Protected Status for some 200,000 citizens of El Salvador currently in the United States.

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Call to Vocation: Events by the Serra Club

01/12/2018 - 10:11am

Holy Hour for Vocations for those discerning a Vocation or praying for Vocations –February 8th; March 8th beginning at 8pm at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center in Norwood OH. Sponsored by the Archdiocese Vocations Office and the Children of Mary every 2nd Thursday of the Month. Contact for more information. Come and bring a friend!

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are hosting a Vocation Discernment Retreat for young women, ages 16-33, in Ann Arbor, Michigan on February 10-11. The retreat features Eucharistic Adoration, conferences and talks, and fun with the Sisters! The cost is $35. Register online at

Glenmary Home Missioners
Come & See Retreat – February 16-18, 2018
Men ages 16-19
Visit with Glenmary priests and brothers
Travel to a Glenmary mission
Share in community prayer and reflection
Meet other men that are discerning their call

Vocation Weekend; February 15-18
The Dominican Friars of the St. Joseph (Eastern) Province invite all young men ages 18-35 to a weekend of discernment at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. For more information or to sign up contact or 202-642-3597.

Call to Love; February 17th
The Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker, with other religious communities invite all young women in grades 6-12 to a day long discernment retreat on Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 9:00 – 6:00 at All Saints Catholic Church, Walton KY, exit 171, on I-75 South. Young women will get the chance to play games, eat, pray and talk with religious sisters and others discerning a call to the consecrated life. For more information and to register contact Sr. Patricia Jean at Deadline to register is February 1.

Catholic Charities in Iowa archdiocese ends refugee resettlement program

01/11/2018 - 8:38pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Dan Russo, The Witness

By Dan Russo

DUBUQUE, Iowa (CNS) — Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque is preparing to end its refugee resettlement program after 77 years in operation.

The primary reason the program is closing down is because the numbers of refugees are down.

The U.S. Department of State decreased the number of refugees who can legally seek refuge in the United States from 110,000 to 45,000 annually. Also, the department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration recently announced that all refugee resettlement sites across the country will be required to resettle at least 100 refugees annually to stay open.

These federal changes are happening when the needs of local refugees also are being met by other groups, and as a result Catholic Charities will not be able to meet the new minimal threshold required.

“Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque has been resettling refugees from all over the world in eastern Iowa since 1940, primarily in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo,” said Tracy Morrison, the agency’s executive director, in a Dec. 18 statement. “It’s a loss for our entire community.”

“Our faith guides us to believe in the dignity of all persons and the need to protect the most vulnerable, especially refugees and migrants. It is with a heavy heart that we announce the ending of this ministry,” added Dubuque Archbishop Michael O. Jackels.

Catholic Charities’ refugee resettlement program employed three full-time staff and two AmeriCorps members. There also were other staff members at the agency who didn’t work in the program directly, but their jobs will be impacted.

“Some employees will be laid off, others will be transitioned into other ministries,” Morrison told The Witness, Dubuque’s archdiocesan newspaper.

Catholic Charities will continue to help newcomers to the country through the agency’s legal aid program for immigrants.

Morrison said the demand for legal services is so high that the charity is looking into hiring another attorney.

Mary Ready, refugee resettlement manager at the agency, said the “ultimate reward” for her in working with the program has been “seeing families reunited.”

“We worked (with those who had) U.S. ties. The refugees who arrived here always had family,” she said.

One particularly heartwarming scene Ready said she’ll always remember was an airport arrival where a father got to meet his son for the first time because his wife was pregnant when they were separated.

“Getting to witness those moments and to hear families say they finally feel at home and they’re happy to be back with their family, that’s the most memorable,” she said, adding that she hopes other groups will be able to continue this service.

Catholic Charities has been providing key assistance to refugees for a 90-day period after they arrive as part of an agreement with the U.S. government. They received federal funds for this purpose as one of several approved refugee resettlement providers in Iowa. In December, they began assisting a family and another individual, and will stay with these cases until the 90-day period is concluded. After that, the agency’s resettlement program will end. In the past year, they assisted 49 refugees, down from 94 the previous year.

“Prior to these December arrivals, we had not resettled a family since June and so our program has been slowed down substantially by these decreasing numbers,” said Morrison.

Catholics from the communities where refugees were settled have played an important role in recent years, doing everything from mentoring refugees to providing material support, according to Ready. “The volunteers are really the ones that help them go from surviving to thriving and becoming comfortable in the community,” she said.

Morrison said Catholic Charities also would consider reopening the resettlement program should conditions change. For now, it remains committed to supporting refugees and immigrants through its Immigration Legal Services ministry available in several Iowa locations.

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Russo is editor of The Witness, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

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Pope faces challenge of restoring trust in wake of Peru, Chile scandals

01/11/2018 - 3:45pm

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Pope Francis embarks on his fourth visit to South America, he will face the enormous task of restoring trust and encouraging healing after scandals in both countries left many wounded and angry at the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis planned the trip Jan. 15-21 to Chile and Peru as an opportunity to bring a message of hope and comfort to people on the margins of society, particularly the indigenous people.

However, the challenges facing the church in both countries will make this visit different compared to his previous trips to the continent.

In Peru, young members of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Catholic movement, were subjected to psychological and sexual abuse by group leaders, including the founder, Luis Fernando Figari. An internal Sodalitium investigation confirmed the abuse of children, teens and young adult members of the movement.

Less than a week before the pope’s visit to Peru, the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life named a Colombian bishop to be the trustee of the scandal-plagued movement.

The Vatican said Jan. 10 that Pope Francis followed the case “with concern” and “insistently requested” the congregation to act.

Despite his actions to address the issue of sexual abuse in Peru, his decision to appoint a bishop accused of turning a blind eye to abuse drew outrage in Chile.

The pope’s appointment of Bishop Juan Barros as head of the Diocese of Osorno sparked several protests — most notably at the bishop’s installation Mass — due to the bishop’s connection to Father Fernando Karadima, his former mentor.

Father Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.

Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, told reporters Jan. 11 that Pope Francis’ formal schedule for Chile and Peru does not include a meeting with sexual abuse victims or with the people still protesting Bishop Barros’ appointment. Sexual abuse is “clearly an important theme,” Burke said, adding “the best meetings are private meetings.”

The protests against the pope’s appointment of Bishop Barros gained steam when a video of Pope Francis defending the appointment was published in September 2015 by the Chilean news channel, Ahora Noticias. Filmed during a general audience a few months earlier, the video showed the pope telling a group of Chilean pilgrims that Catholics protesting the appointment were “judging a bishop without any proof.”

“Think with your head; don’t let yourself be led by all the lefties who are the ones that started all of this,” the pope said. “Yes, Osorno is suffering but for being foolish because it doesn’t open its heart to what God says and allows itself to be led by all this silliness that all those people say.”

Many were outraged by the pope’s assessment of the situation, including several of Father Karadima’s victims, who organized an event to coincide with Pope Francis’ arrival in the country.

The conference, titled “Sexual Abuse in an Ecclesiastical Context,” is sponsored by the Foundation for Trust and will feature several notable speakers, including Peter Saunders, a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

“The fact that the pope is coming and we are having this seminar is because many people are coming to show their commitment to the rights of children as well as their anger at the lack of reaction and the mistaken words the pope gave,” Jose Andres Murillo, director of the foundation who suffered abuse at the hands of Father Karadima, said in an interview with Chilean news website, El Mostrador.

Protesters from the Diocese of Osorno are also expected to be in Santiago, calling on the pope to remove Bishop Barros.

Meanwhile, in an open letter published on Jesuit news blog Reflexion y Liberacion, a group of Chilean students said they hoped Pope Francis’ visit would bring about true change “not just in our holy and sinful church but also the world.”

“We hope that you will be courageous, that you give a face to the invisible men and women of Chile, that you confront the true reality of the country and not allow yourself to be hoodwinked by the lies sold by the business community, political authorities and even many of our ecclesiastical authorities,” the students wrote.

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Ending DACA will lead to ‘humanitarian crisis,’ says Archbishop Gomez

01/10/2018 - 9:00pm



LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Congress must separate “the conversation about DACA” from the “larger issues” about U.S. immigration policy, because allowing the program to expire will lead “to a humanitarian crisis,” especially in Los Angeles, said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez.

“As a nation, we have a moral and humanitarian obligation to the ‘Dreamers.’ These young people have done nothing wrong. And their futures hang in the balance of these debates,” he wrote in a column. “So, I hope you will join me in urging our leaders in Congress to help them in a spirit of generosity and justice.”

He urged Americans “to tell our leaders that fixing DACA should be the first step in the systematic immigration reform that has long been overdue in our country.”

Archbishop Gomez’s column, dated Jan. 9, was posted on the websites of the Los Angeles Archdiocese and Angelus News, its multimedia platform.

“Once again, we begin a new year with uncertainty and fear over immigration, and this year our leaders in Congress face a hard deadline” to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, said Archbishop Gomez.

Within the borders of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, he said, there will be a humanitarian crisis if DACA ends because an estimated 125,000 young people protected by the program live there. DACA protects between 700,000 and 800,000 young people.

“The story of these young people ‘ is well-known. Brought to this country as children by undocumented parents or family members, they are not ‘illegal’ through any fault of their own,” Archbishop Gomez wrote. “The ‘Dreamers’ have lived their whole lives in this country — many are now in their 30s.

“And during their lifetime, leaders in Washington have not been able to reach an agreement to fix the broken immigration system that allowed them to enter in the first place.”

In September, President Donald Trump announced that in March, he would end DACA, which President Barack Obama created by executive order in 2012. At the same time, Trump called on Congress to come up with a legislative solution by then to keep the program in place.

Obama instituted the program to protect young people whose parents brought them into the country as minors when they entered the U.S. without legal permission. DACA has allowed them to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and get a work permit.

Advocates around the country have rallied to urge passage of the DREAM Act — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — to provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries.

On Jan. 9, Trump and a bipartisan group from Congress met to discuss a measure that would keep DACA intact and include Trump’s demands for a border wall and other security measures.

The same day, a U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked Trump’s decision to rescind DACA, saying the U.S. government must start accepting renewal applications again from current beneficiaries of the program. The ruling, which is certain to be appealed, also said the government does not have to accept applications from those not currently covered by DACA.

“Today, the ‘Dreamers’ are the ‘poster children’ for how broken our system is and how unhealthy and unproductive our political discourse has become,” Archbishop Gomez wrote. “By any measure, these are the kind of young people that our country should be encouraging.

“Nearly everyone — 97 percent — is either in school or in the workforce. About 5 percent have already started their own business; 15 percent have bought their first homes,” he continued. “These are good kids and we should want to help them to develop their God-given potentials, to keep their families together and to make their own contribution to the American dream.”

The archbishop said U.S. business leaders feel DACA recipients “are vital to our economic future.”

“In a letter to congressional leaders in September, more than 800 executives representing every sector of the economy agreed that DACA youths contribute more than $460 billion to our economy and another $24 billion in taxes,” he said.

Since so many Americans agree on their contributions to the country, fixing the program that protects them “should be easy,” he said, but instead “these young people find themselves stuck in the middle of a much broader debate about border walls, national security and the inner workings of our visa system.”

“This debate is passionate and partisan, as it should be,” Archbishop Gomez said. “Systematic reform of our immigration policy is absolutely vital to our nation’s future. And we need to have this conversation.”

The nation’s immigration system “has been broken for too long and there is too much that is wrong,” he added, saying that “a serious debate about border security” is also important.

“No one disagrees that we need to secure our borders and protect ourselves from those who would do harm to us,” he explained, but he urged the larger debate about border security and other immigration reforms be handled separately from the DACA issue.

“Congress should take the time to debate the issues properly and to truly fashion an immigration system that reflects the global realities of the 21st-century economy,” the archbishop said.

Besides discussing various proposals for protecting the border, he said, other issues to be debated should include how the country grants visas; what types of guest-worker programs are needed to provide workers, especially for the agricultural industry; and an honest examination of assumptions that immigrants take jobs from Americans.

Also, “we need to think more clearly about our labor needs in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement,” Archbishop Gomez said.

“The point is that we need a total reform of our immigration system, and it should not be tied to the current debate over DACA and the ‘Dreamers,'” he added.

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01/10/2018 - 3:31pm

DAYTON, Ohio — Three nationally acclaimed speakers highlight University of Dayton events to celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and call on the campus community to be a witness to history and shape the future.

Wil Haygood, a New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-finalist whose 2008 Washington Post story “A Butler Well Served by this Election” became the basis for the award-winning film The Butler, will deliver the keynote address at the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in the Kennedy Union ballroom. The breakfast is sold out. Haygood, a first-generation college student born to a single mother, has chronicled America’s civil rights journey through the lives and times of Thurgood Marshall, Sammy Davis Jr. and Sugar Ray Robinson, among others.

A week later, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and chronicles racial segregation in housing and schools, will deliver the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, in the Kennedy Union. Her talk, part of the 2017-18 University of Dayton Speaker Series, is free and open to the public. Her articles on segregated housing and schools plus her deeply personal reports on the black experience in America expose how racial inequality is maintained through official policy. Hannah-Jones is writing a book on school segregation called The Problem We All Live With.

The next evening, also part of the Speaker Series and in conjunction with the Global Voice Symposium, Imbolo Mbue will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, in the Kennedy Union ballroom about her experiences as an African immigrant. She wrote Behold The Dreamers, a 2017 Oprah’s Book Club pick and winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, which is informed by African immigrant experiences. A book signing immediately follows her talk, which is free and open to the public.

Other University of Dayton events to celebrate King include:

● Faculty, staff and students will participate in Dayton’s Martin Luther King Day march at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, at the Dr. Charles R. Drew Health Center, 1323 W. Third St. in Dayton. Open to the public.

● A trio of movie nights and discussions — Selma (6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17, Roesch Library Collaboration Space), The Butler (10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19, Sears Recital Hall) and I Am Not Your Negro (6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, Roesch Library Collaboration Space).

● The University’s monthly prayer service for peace and people impacted by discrimination and violence — Prayers of the Heart — at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at the University of Dayton Peace Pole in the courtyard between the Immaculate Conception Chapel and St. Mary’s Hall. Open to the public.

● Table of Plenty lunch discussion on social justice topics related to the impact and legacy of King at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the Kennedy Union east ballroom. RSVP here.

● Faculty, students and staff will participate in a day of service in the Dayton community — the MLK Social Plunge throughout Dayton 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20.

● The University will conclude its celebration of the bicentennial of the founding of the Society of Mary with a Mass at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, in the Frericks Center to commemorate the feast day of Marianist founder the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (Jan. 22). Open to the public.

To learn more about the University’s events to celebrate King, contact Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee chairs Verb Washington or Christina Smith at or, respectively.


01/10/2018 - 2:43pm

A memorial Mass for Precious Blood Sister Nancy G. McMullen was held at the Salem Heights chapel, 4960 Salem Ave., Dayton, Ohio, on Friday, January 5, 2018. Sister died at the Hospice of Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, December 24, 2017. Nancy, 78, had been a Sister of the Precious Blood for 60 years.

Fifth in line of fourteen 14 children, Nancy Grace was born on October 7, 1939, to Joseph Gerald McMullen and Florence Gertrude (Vellenga) McMullen in Bellefontaine, Ohio. On January 5, 1957, at the age of 17, she formally entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood because, as she said, “I feel it is God’s will for me.” In Religious life she was given the name Sister Mary Ann Patrick and later returned to using her baptismal name.

Sister Nancy was active in many ministries. The first 18 years she taught children in elementary schools in Ind., Ariz., Ohio, Mo. and Va. She was director of religious education in Cincinnati, Ohio, for four years before earning an M.A. in Theology in 1982, after which she taught high school religion in Cincinnati. She then served the Sisters as a Congregational Councilor for four4 years and served as Lay Pastoral Ministry Coordinator for the next 20 years. She then served six years as Council Secretary until her death.

At her 60th Jubilee in 2017, Nancy said, “Belonging to the Sisters of the Precious Blood has brought richness, happiness, and joy to my life.” And she has brought joy to her Sisters, her family and the many, many persons to whom she ministered.

Preceding her in death was her sister, Jane Wittke and her brother Mark who died in infancy. Nancy is survived by her Precious Blood Community of Sisters, her sisters Ruth Borchers and Sandy Carter and her brothers Jack, Tom, Joe, Bob, Paul, Carl, Pat, Fred, and Tim McMullen, as well as other relatives and friends.


01/10/2018 - 2:39pm
Sister Gladys Marie Lowe (Courtesy Photo)Sister Gladys Marie Lowe (Courtesy Photo)

A memorial Mass for Precious Blood Sister Gladys Marie Lowe was held at the Salem Heights chapel, 4960 Salem Ave., Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. Sister died at the Maria-Joseph Center in Dayton, Ohio on Friday, January 5, 2018. Gladys, 103, had been a Sister of the Precious Blood for 87 years.

Third in line of four children, Gladys Marie was born on May 30, 1914 to David Lowe and Mary Gordon in Dayton, Ohio. Because of the early deaths of first her father and later her mother, Gladys lived at the St. Joseph Orphanage in Dayton from where on September 4, 1930 at the age of 16 she formally entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. In Religious life she was given the name Sister Mary Bernetta and later returned to using her baptismal name.

Sister Gladys Marie was active in many ministries. She served at the St. Joseph Children’s Home as housekeeper for 5years and later returned to serve another 14 years. For five years she ministered at seminaries in Denver and San Diego, Calif. Then began her 23 years of ministering in child care at San Luis Rey and Oceanside, Calif. The latter 3 years she also worked with the St. Vincent de Paul Group, working with the poor. “I love working with the poor,” she wrote, “because I think that is one good way I can live our Precious Blood Spirituality.” This little person of unlimited energy and love to share retired to Salem Heights in Dayton, Ohio in 1994 where she continued to be of service to her Precious Blood Sisters. Because of failing health she moved in 2017 to the Maria-Joseph Center.

At her 75th Jubilee in 2005 Sister Gladys Marie wrote, “I am grateful for each of you who has been a part of my life. I’m grateful to the Congregation for so much!”

Preceding her in death were her brothers, David and John Lowe and her sister Marie Lowe and half-sister Freida Robinette Gram. Gladys Marie is survived by her Precious Blood Community of Sisters, nieces and nephews and friends.

Don’t rush through silence at Mass, pope says at general audience

01/10/2018 - 1:57pm

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The silence that precedes the opening prayer at Mass is an opportunity for Christians to commend to God the fate of the church and the world, Pope Francis said.

Departing from his prepared text at his weekly general audience Jan. 10, the pope urged priests “to observe this brief silence and not hurry.”

“I recommend this to the priests. Without this silence, we risk neglecting the reflection of the soul,” he said.

Continuing his series of audience talks on the Mass, Pope Francis spoke about the Gloria and the opening prayer.

After the encounter between “human misery and divine mercy” experienced in the penitential rite, the faithful are invited to sing the ancient hymn of praise that was sung by the angels after Christ’s birth, the pope said.

“The feelings of praise that run through the hymn,” he said, “are intertwined with the confident pleading of divine benevolence” that characterizes the entire liturgy and “establishes an opening of earth to heaven.”

After the hymn, the priest invites the assembly to pray and observes a moment of silence so that the faithful may be conscious of the fact that they are in God’s presence and formulate their petitions, the pope explained.

This silence, he said, is not just an absence of words but a time to listen “to other voices: that of our heart and, above all, the voice of the Holy Spirit.”

“Perhaps we come from days of toil, of joy, of sorrow and we want to tell the Lord, to invoke his help, to ask that he be near us; we have family members and friends who are ill or who are going through difficult trials,” the pope said.

The priest’s posture — with hands outstretched in supplication — is also an important sign as it is an imitation of Christ with his arms open on the cross, the pope said.

“In the crucifix, we recognize the priest who offers pleasing worship to God; that is, filial obedience,” he said.

Pope Francis said that pondering the prayers and gestures, which are “rich in meaning,” Christians can make “many beautiful meditations” that can benefit their spiritual lives.  

“To go back and meditate on the texts, even outside of Mass, can help us to learn how to turn to God, what to ask, which words to use,” the pope said. “May the liturgy become for all of us a true school of prayer.”

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Today’s Video: Jim Caviezel Promotes “Paul, Apostle of Christ”

01/09/2018 - 5:10pm

Jim Caviezel surprised #sls18 attendees, encouraging them to be warriors animated by faith. Caviezel will soon be starring in the upcoming movie “Paul, Apostle of Christ.” Check out the video below

Basketball helps priests teach New Jersey students about vocations

01/09/2018 - 3:45pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/John Blaine

By Mary Stadnyk and Rich Fisher

HOLMDEL, N.J. (CNS) — Students at St. John Vianney High School expected their recent pep rally to be fun, colorful and filled with good-natured competition.

But they were completely taken by surprise during the pre-Christmas celebration when six priests ran out onto the basketball court for a friendly exhibition game — all with the intention to teach about vocations.

The basketball game was a way “to reach out and let them know that priests are approachable and they, too, can enjoy hobbies,” said Father Michael Wallack, priest secretary to Bishop David M. O’Connell of Trenton and diocesan director of vocations.

He said he hoped that through the game, the message was conveyed that priests “don’t always just stay in the church all week, waiting for Sunday.”

“Most people don’t really know what a priest does during the week besides writing a homily,” said Father Wallack, who was joined on the court by Father John Michael Patilla, parochial vicar of St. Benedict Parish, in Holmdel and chaplain in St. John Vianney High School; Father Augusto Gamalo, parochial vicar of St. Gregory the Great Parish in Hamilton Square; Father Thomas Vala and Father Gregg Abadilla, pastor and parochial vicar, respectively, of St. Clement Parish in Matawan; and Father Dean Gaudio, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Avon-by-the-Sea.

It didn’t take long before the game between the St. John Vianney Lancers and the priests, who called themselves God Squad II, went from being a friendly game of hoops to a competitive match that resulted in a 4-2 win for high schoolers. The diocesan communications staff produced a video of the game.

Also evident in the video and in comments following the game was the strong camaraderie between the priests as they reflected on how basketball could serve as an effective vocation recruitment tool.

“Sports is a good avenue to promote vocations and meet kids where they are at,” Father Patilla said.

Afteward, Father Vala, who smiled when he said he lasted longer than he thought he would in the game, thought the “kids got a kick out of it.”

The priests enjoyed sharing a bit on how they prepared for the game with Father Gamalo saying “there’s some prayers involved,” especially because the priests did not have the opportunity to practice beforehand. Listening to upbeat music and watching games on television helped to motivate Father Gamalo and Father Abadilla give their all to the game.

Father Gaudio smiled as he shared how he thought the goal of the game was to show students that priests “are not all 70 years old” and can be everyday men who like sports.

“I would like to think there was a young man in today’s crowd who might be thinking of a vocation to the priesthood, and our appearance at the game got him thinking about it even more,” said Father Gaudio, who used to play basketball for Bound Brook High School and on an intramural team in St. Bonaventure University.

Father Vala said he hoped that through activities such as sports or music, the students can get to know a priest and share a friendship with him. And through that friendship, he hoped students would feel comfortable approaching a priest when thinking about the priesthood as a vocation.

“The priesthood is a vocation to serve God, and in doing so, you touch the lives of others when you reach out to them and make a positive difference in their lives,” he said.

“When I embraced my Catholic faith in a serious and responsible way, I found meaning and purpose,” he added, saying that being a priest has “brought me the joy and happiness that I sought in my life.”

After the game, James Guilbert, a senior and varsity basketball player at the high school, said he thought the game allowed the St. John Vianney community to “see a different aspect of priests lives and that they live normal lives, too.”

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Editor’s Note: A video of the game is available online at

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Stadnyk is associate editor of and Fisher writes for The Monitor, newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Precious Blood Sister Bela Mis professes first vows

01/09/2018 - 10:14am

DAYTON, Ohio — Precious Blood Sister Francisca Belarmina Mis Guamuche pronounced first vows during a Mass and ceremony Dec. 9 in the chapel at Salem Heights, the Congregation’s motherhouse.

As part of the rite, Sister Bela proclaimed, “Today, with happiness for being called to religious life … I, Francisca Belarmina Mis Guamuche, make my vow of chastity, poverty and obedience for three years, according to the constitution of the Sisters of the Precious Blood.”

Sister Joyce Lehman, President of the Congregation, accepted Sister Bela’s vows. A luncheon followed the Mass and ceremony in the Salem Heights dining room. “This day is one of great joy for our Sisters as well as for those who have come to know Sister Bela in her studies and ministry in the novitiate. The number of people who came from near and far to be with her on her profession day is testimony to how she proclaims God’s love by being a life-giving and reconciling presence to others,” Sister Joyce said.

The following day, Sister Bela renewed her vows with the Hispanic community at St. Mary Catholic Church in Dayton, where she ministered during her novitiate.

Sister Bela grew up in Guatemala City and holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the Universidad Mariano Gálvez de Guatemala. “I thank each one of you who have accompanied me on this journey of discernment and formation, for their friendship, affection and support,” she wrote in a message printed in the ceremony program. “A thousand thanks to all of you for enriching and being part of my life.”

Mother Brunner

The Sisters of the Precious Blood were founded in Switzerland in 1834 and first came to the United States in 1844. Their motherhouse has been located at Salem Heights on Denlinger Road in Dayton since 1923. Precious Blood Sisters are active in the United States, Chile and Guatemala in a variety of ministries, including education, spiritual formation, pastoral ministry, health care, and peace, justice and care of creation.

Catholic groups decry end of immigration protection for Salvadorans

01/08/2018 - 9:19pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Andrew Kelly, Reuters

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the Catholic Church in the U.S. began observing National Migration Week, a time to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, refugees, and human trafficking victims, the administration of President Donald Trump announced that it would end an immigration program for thousands of Salvadorans, one of the largest groups of modern-day immigrants in the country and one that includes many Catholics.

More than 200,000 Salvadorans, living under a special immigration status in the U.S., now face the prospect of staying in the country illegally or returning to a nation designated as one of the most dangerous in the world not at war, after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Jan. 8 that it was ending a provision called Temporary Protected Status after Sept. 9, 2019.

“The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador was made after a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based,” DHS said in a statement. Salvadorans affected can apply to stay under a different program, if they qualify, or make plans to return to their home country, the statement continued.

Citizens of El Salvador were able to apply for TPS in 2001 after the Central American nation experienced a series of major earthquakes. TPS grants a work permit and a reprieve from deportation to certain people whose countries have experienced natural disasters, armed conflicts or exceptional situations, to remain temporarily in the United States. El Salvador had previously received the designation in 1990 after thousands of Salvadorans fled to the U.S. seeking refuge from a brutal civil war.

Supporters of the Salvadorans said current TPS recipients should be allowed to stay because they have built families and are firmly rooted in the U.S.and local faith communities.

Catholic bishops and organizations have expressed concern that Salvadorans would be forced to return to a socially unstable country that is ravaged by gangs and has been designated by various organizations as one of the most dangerous places in the world and one not equipped to absorb such a large-scale repatriation.

“From our experience working with the Catholic Church and other local partners in El Salvador, the Salvadoran government does not have adequate humanitarian capacity to receive, protect, or integrate back into society safely this many people,” said Catholic Relief Services in a statement released shortly after the decision was announced.

Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Texas-based Hope Border Institute, said the administration’s decision would instead create an additional 200,000 “soon-to-be undocumented immigrants” in the U.S.

“Today, the Trump administration unnecessarily and cruelly put the security, safety, families and lives of over 200,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients, including over 35,000 in Texas, in jeopardy. Deporting them will mean uprooting and destroying families and livelihoods and sending families back to poverty and violence in one of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world,” Corbett said. “And make no mistake, we as Americans through our trade and security policies, and because of our insatiable appetite for drugs, are morally implicated in the crisis in El Salvador and Central America.”

Recalling the words of Pope Francis, Corbett said building walls, detaining human beings and “deporting our Salvadoran sisters and brothers is just another example of how the Trump administration is stirring up ‘primal fears’ for political advantage.”

A big concern for Catholic organizations and leaders is the 192,000 U.S.-born children of Salvadoran families.

“This is yet another ill-conceived decision by an administration that ignores the immense contributions to our country by immigrants and that has lost sight of the United States’ long history as a safe haven for people who flee danger abroad,” said Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Orange, California, chairman of the board of the Maryland-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. 

“By terminating TPS for El Salvador, hundreds of thousands of people, including U.S. citizen children and extended family, will be faced with wrenching decisions about how to proceed with their lives,” Bishop Vann said. “The administration fails to address how it makes the United States any safer to expel people who have been living and working legally as valued residents of our country. Instead of withdrawing their protections, our government should welcome these long-term, settled members of our communities and find ways to give them a permanent path to residency.”

In a statement, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Committee on Migration, said the administration’s decision was “heartbreaking.”

“We believe that God has called us to care for the foreigner and the marginalized … Our nation must not turn its back on TPS recipients and their families; they too are children of God,” he said in a statement.

While urging Congress to find a solution, Bishop Vasquez said the USCCB stands in solidarity with Salvadoran TPS recipients and that the bishops would continue to pray for them, their families, “and all those who are displaced or forced to flee from their homes.”

The Center for Migration Studies in New York said 88 percent of Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries are employed, many are homeowners, and typically have lived in the U.S. for 21 years. Returning them to El Salvador would be “destabilizing,” said Donald Kerwin, the center’s executive director, said in a statement.

“Today’s decision creates many losers, and no winners,” he said. “The losers include the TPS recipients themselves, their employers, their U.S. citizen children, their U.S. communities, El Salvador, and the U.S. economy. The rule of law is another loser as the decision will relegate hard working legal immigrants into persons without status and force TPS beneficiaries and their U.S. children to return to violence-plagued communities without good economic prospects.”

Ricardo Calderon, of the Central American Resource Center in San Francisco, told Catholic News Service that the affected Salvadorans have suffered what amounts to “psychological torture” while waiting for the administration’s decision.

Many have felt anger, worry, uncertainty, wondering what will happen to their children and to their family members abroad who depend on them. Some are scrambling to understand the decision since there is so much misinformation, he said.

Though the conditions that led to the TPS designation may have improved in El Salvador, it makes no sense to ignore the conditions that continue to plague the country and which seem daunting to those who are facing them: lack of jobs, rampant crime, and a long list of social ills, Calderon added.

The Ohio-based Ignatian Solidarity Network said returning, for many Salvadorans, means returning to danger.

“We have become familiar with the reality of Salvadoran TPS holders through the stories of individuals in our Ignatian network,” the organization said in a statement. “These women and men of all ages — whom we know as students, teachers, colleagues, parishioners — are faced with a future of uncertainty and grave risk for themselves and their families as they contemplate a return to the violence and impunity in El Salvador.”

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Pope to diplomats: World peace depends on right to life, disarmament

01/08/2018 - 10:59am

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Because everyone has a right to life, liberty and personal security, nations must find nonviolent solutions to conflict and difficulties, Pope Francis said.

A culture of peace “calls for unremitting efforts in favor of disarmament and the reduction of recourse to the use of armed force in the handling of international affairs,” he said Jan. 8 in his annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican.

Given the urgent need to favor dialogue and diplomacy in conflict resolution and to end the stockpiling of weapons, “I would therefore like to encourage a serene and wide-ranging debate on the subject, one that avoids polarizing the international community on such a sensitive issue,” the pope said.

At the start of a new year, the pope dedicated his speech to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its adoption by the U.N. General Assembly in December.

The declaration was an attempt to help the world’s nations base their relations on “truth, justice, willing cooperation and freedom” by upholding the fundamental rights of all human beings, he said. The very foundation of freedom, justice and world peace, he said, quoting the document, is built on recognizing and respecting these rights.

However, in his nearly 50-minute speech to the diplomats, the pope cautioned that there has been a movement to create “new rights” that often not only conflict with each other, but can be at odds with the traditional values and cultures of many countries, while neglecting the real needs they have to face.

“Somewhat paradoxically, there is a risk that, in the very name of human rights, we will see the rise of modern forms of ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable,” he said.

Seven decades after the creation of the universal declaration, Pope Francis said, “it is painful to see how many fundamental rights continue to be violated today. First among all of these is the right of every human person to life, liberty and personal security.”

War, violence and abortion all infringe on these rights, he said.

Not only are innocent unborn children discarded because they are “ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults,” the elderly are often cast aside especially when they are infirm, he said.

Ultimately, the right to life entails working for peace, he said, because “without peace, integral human development becomes unattainable.”

Integral development, in fact, is intertwined with the need for disarmament, he said. “The proliferation of weapons clearly aggravates situations of conflict and entails enormous human and material costs that undermine development and the search for lasting peace.”

The adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year shows how the desire for peace continues to be alive in the world, he said.

“The stockpiles of armaments which have been built up in various countries must be reduced” and “nuclear weapons must be banned,” particularly given the risk that a nuclear conflagration could be started by accident, Pope Francis said, quoting St. John XXIII’s encyclical on peace, “Pacem in Terris.”

“In this regard, it is of paramount importance to support every effort at dialogue on the Korean peninsula, in order to find new ways of overcoming the current disputes, increasing mutual trust and ensuring a peaceful future for the Korean people and the entire world,” Pope Francis said.

Fostering dialogue is also of primary importance for Israelis and Palestinians “in the wake of the tensions of recent weeks,” he said, apparently referring to demonstrations that took place after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pope Francis had said such a move would further destabilize the Middle East.

In his speech to diplomats, the pope repeated the Vatican’s longstanding position that any policy change in the Holy Land must “be carefully weighed so as to avoid exacerbating hostilities” and should respect the “the status quo of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims.”

“Seventy years of confrontation make more urgent than ever the need for a political solution that allows the presence in the region of two independent states within internationally recognized borders,” the pope said. “Despite the difficulties, a willingness to engage in dialogue and to resume negotiations remains the clearest way to achieving at last a peaceful coexistence between the two peoples.”

In a list of world conflicts of concern, the pope also pointed to the need to support “the various peace initiatives aimed at helping Syria.”

“The time for rebuilding has now come,” he said, which includes, not just rebuilding destroyed cities, but rebuilding hearts and “the fabric of mutual trust, which is the essential prerequisite for the flourishing of any society.”

“There is a need, then, to promote the legal, political and security conditions” for each citizen and to protect all religious minorities, including Christians, he said.

“The right to freedom of thought, conscience and of religion, including the freedom to change religion,” must be upheld around the globe, the pope said.

Instead, “it is well-known that the right to religious freedom is often disregarded, and not infrequently religion becomes either an occasion for the ideological justification of new forms of extremism or a pretext for the social marginalization of believers, if not their downright persecution,” he said.

Turning from events unfolding on the world stage, the pope drew attention to the daily reality of families, urging countries to support the bedrock of all stable, creative societies: “that faithful and indissoluble communion of love that joins man and woman” in marriage.

“I consider it urgent, then, that genuine policies be adopted to support the family, on which the future and the development of states depend,” he said, adding that “without this, it is not possible to create societies capable of meeting the challenges of the future.”

Neglecting families has led to sharply declining birth rates in some countries, which is a sign of a nation that is struggling to face the challenges of the present and fearful of the future.

The pope also warned against talking about migrants and migration “only for the sake of stirring up primal fears.” The movements of peoples have always existed and the freedom of movement — to leave one’s homeland and to return — is a fundamental human right, he said.

“There is a need, then, to abandon the familiar rhetoric and start from the essential consideration that we are dealing, above all, with persons,” he said.

Another urgent task before humanity, the pope said, is caring for the earth.

“One must not downplay the importance of our own responsibility in interaction with nature. Climate changes, with the global rise in temperatures and their devastating effects, are also a consequence of human activity,” he said.

Therefore, people must work together, he said, including by upholding commitments agreed upon in the 2015 Paris Accord, and leave “to coming generations a more beautiful and livable world,” he said.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

St. Joseph Parish is focal point of faith in south Hamilton

01/08/2018 - 9:40am
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and the concelebrating priests prepare the Holy Eucharist during the 150th Anniversary Mass at St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and the concelebrating priests prepare the Holy Eucharist during the 150th Anniversary Mass at St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)

The spire of St. Joseph Church is a landmark in south Hamilton, where it has pointed heavenward for 150 years.

When Fran Meehan attended the parish elementary school some 80 years ago, “every other house around here was a St. Joseph house,” she said.

“We were a very large parish then. I remember all the Masses being packed. We had four Masses on Sunday, and the last one — the 11:30 Mass — we had to pay ‘pew rent’ to get a seat. There were people of every age, from teenagers to old people. A lot of the people I grew up with are still there.

“We were very much a family-oriented parish community. We had our corner stores and pharmacies and farms, of course. My dad had a service station. I lived two blocks away, and I walked to school every day and back home for lunch, and back to school and home again. “

Today, St. Joseph has 320 families and a highly respected school shared with St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Shandon. The church is part of the three-parish region with St. Julie Billiart and St. Peter in Chains parishes, also in Hamilton, under the leadership of Father Rob Muhlenkamp. In September, Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr celebrated a Mass celebrating its milestone anniversary.
Meehan’s son, Pat, is the unofficial parish historian. He said the 150th anniversary is a time to reflect on the past and the lasting faith of Catholics in south Hamilton.

“We remain in the original church built 150 years ago,” he said. “It’s a beautiful building — the tallest structure in the city. It’s a really nice, red-brick structure with some copper cladding on the steeple at the top.

“The spire, at 175 feet, dominates the landscape of south Hamilton. At night, it is the accent of the city. There was a tornado in 1879 that knocked out the steeple and that set the parish back pretty well. By the time the parish was 24 years old, they were able to rebuild the tower and steeple. We don’t even know what the old one looked like.

“By the turn of the century, they had fitted out a lot of the statuary and beautiful ornate mosaics, and put in all of the stained glass windows,” Meehan added.

St. Stephen Church, the first Catholic church in Hamilton and the third built in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, was formed in 1834 to serve all Catholics in a growing German-speaking population.

St. Mary Parish was formed in 1848 to accommodate the English-speakers, and the German population expanded so rapidly that they required a second German parish at the southern edge of town: St. Joseph. “The parish, when founded, was totally German,” Meehan said. “They spoke German and did not convert to English until after the First World War — just like most every other German parish.
As Hamilton continued to grow, St. Joseph Parish was followed by St. Veronica in east Hamilton, (1894), St. Peter in Chains, on the west side (1895), and St. Ann in the Lindenwald area, (1908). But by 1988, demographics had changed. St. Stephen, St. Mary, and St. Veronica parishes merged to form St. Julie Billiart Parish.

“This left St. Joseph as the oldest surviving parish in the city,” Meehan said, “and one of the first parishes in the archdiocese to operate without a resident pastor. In 1995, Father Jim Elsbernd became the sacramental minister, working as chaplain of Bethesda Hospital during the week while celebrating Mass and the sacraments at St. Joseph.” In 2016, the Hamilton Catholic Pastoral Region was formed and the next year, Father Muhlenkamp became its first pastor.

At the advent of 2018, St. Joseph has become a small community in the heart of the city. “It is an older congregation, but then there are a lot of families who support the school. The school brings people here,” Meehan said.

“There are people like me whose families have been there for generations. My mother and grandfather were here before me, and my wife Dottie’s family goes back to the very beginning. A lot of us can trace our roots to this parish.”

St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard) Father Robert Muhlenkamp incenses the Holy Bible during the 150th Anniversary Mass at St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)Father Robert Muhlenkamp incenses the Holy Bible during the 150th Anniversary Mass at St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard) Dottie and Jim Bruck bear the Gifts during the 150th Anniversary Mass at St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)Dottie and Jim Bruck bear the Gifts during the 150th Anniversary Mass at St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard) Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and the concelebrating priests prepare the Holy Eucharist during the 150th Anniversary Mass at St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and the concelebrating priests prepare the Holy Eucharist during the 150th Anniversary Mass at St. Joseph Church in Hamilton Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)

Father Donald McCarthy

01/08/2018 - 1:03am

Reverend Donald G. McCarthy passed away on Friday, January 5, 2018. He was born on December 20, 1929 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He did his preparatory studies at St. Gregory Seminary and studied theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West, Norwood. He was ordained on August 22, 1954, after his third year of theology, at Mt. St. Mary of the West Seminary Chapel, Norwood by Archbishop Karl J. Alter. He returned to the Seminary after ordination for his final year of theology.

Father McCarthy received his first assignment on June 16, 1955 as Assistant at St. William Parish, Cincinnati and to teach at Elder High School, Cincinnati.

On June 14, 1957, he was appointed Assistant pro tem at St. Jerome, California (Cincinnati). That same year, he left to go for studies at Louvain University in Belgium; in 1960 he earned his PhD.

On August 19, 1960, he was appointed to the faculty of Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary as Instructor in Philosophy as well as a Chaplain of the Newman Club at the University of Cincinnati, where he remained Chaplain until 1969.

On September 6, 1961, he was appointed to help on weekends and holy days at St. Mary Parish, Oxford. On March 13, 1970, he was appointed Diocesan Director of Campus Ministry.

In June 1972, he went on Sabbatical leave for one year to pursue studies in Moral Theology.

On October 23, 1973, he was appointed Pro-Synodal Judge in the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati while continuing on faculty at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary.

In August 1979, he was appointed Director of Education at Pope John XXIII Medical Moral Research Center, St. Louis, MO, while continuing as part-time visiting professor at the seminary.

On August 1, 1981, he was appointed Associate Ad Cautelam at St. Cecilia Parish, Cincinnati while continuing part-time at Pope John XXIII Center and Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary.

Father McCarthy was appointed Pastor of St. Antoninus Parish, Cincinnati on September 4, 1984. He was appointed Dean of the St. Lawrence Deanery, effective January 1, 1987 – December 31, 1990, then reappointed for a second term ending December 31, 1994. He was appointed to the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on December 29, 1986, reappointed November 6, 1990 – November 3, 1995, and November 3, 1995 – November 3, 2000.

Father McCarthy retired from active ministry on July 1, 2003. After his retirement he held the following appointments as Temporary Parochial Administrator; St. Bernard Parish, Taylor Creek, effective October 3, 2005; St. Aloysius-on-the-Ohio Parish, Cincinnati, effective January 26, 2007; St. Ignatius Loyola Parish, Monfort Heights, effective September 8, 2011 – December 19, 2011.

Reception of the Body: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at St. Ignatius Loyola Church, 5222 North Bend Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45247; (513-661-6565.) Celebrant and Homilist: Reverend Peter T. St. George. Visitation: following Reception of the Body until 8:00 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial: Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Ignatius Loyola Church. Celebrant: Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr. Homilist: Reverend John E. Wessling. (A lunch reception will follow in Hilvert Hall.)

Burial: Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 2:30 pm at St. Mary Cemetery, 701 E. Ross Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Celebrant: Reverend Kyle E. Schnippel.

Associates of the Marian Pact are asked to offer, as soon as possible, one Mass for the repose of the soul of Father McCarthy, and when convenient, to provide for the celebration of two other Masses.

May God welcome His faithful servant to his eternal home in heaven. May he rest in peace. Amen.