Obispos pidieron oraciones por los migrantes

WASHINGTON (CNS) – La Iglesia Católica de Estados Unidos pidió que este año la fiesta del 12 de diciembre en honor a Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe fuera un día de oración enfocado en los inmigrantes y refugiados. Con este propósito se llevaron a cabo servicios de oración y misas especiales en diversas diócesis del país, ya que La Virgen de Guadalupe es la patrona de toda América.
“Cuando se acerca la Navidad y especialmente en esta fiesta a Nuestra Madre, estamos recordando cómo nuestro salvador Jesucristo no nació en la comodidad de su propio hogar, sino más bien en un pesebre desconocido”, expresó recientemente en un comunicado el cardenal Daniel DiNardo de Galveston-Houston, quien es presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos (USCCB).

A member of of Club Los Vaqueros Unidos (United Cowboy Club) of Wadsworth, Ill., carries a banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe as he makes his  way to the the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Ill., as part of a pre-celebration for her Dec. 12 feast day. The feast celebrates the appearance of Mary to indigenous peasant St. Juan Diego in 1531 near present-day Mexico City. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World) See GUADALUPE-RIDERS-SHRINE Dec. 7, 2016.

A member of of Club Los Vaqueros Unidos (United Cowboy Club) of Wadsworth, Ill., carries a banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe as he makes his way to the the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Ill., as part of a pre-celebration for her Dec. 12 feast day. The feast celebrates the appearance of Mary to indigenous peasant St. Juan Diego in 1531 near present-day Mexico City. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World) See GUADALUPE-RIDERS-SHRINE Dec. 7, 2016.

La intención del día de oración fue de hacer tiempo para depositar ante un Dios misericordioso las esperanzas, miedos y necesidades de todas aquellas familias que han venido a los Estados Unidos buscando una vida mejor. “Muchas familias se preguntan cómo podrían afectarlas los cambios en la política migratoria”, dijo el arzobispo José Gómez de Los Ángeles, vicepresidente de la USCCB, en un reciente comunicado. “Queremos que sepan que la iglesia está con ellos, que ofrece oraciones en su nombre y que está monitoreando constantemente los acontecimientos a nivel diocesano, estatal y nacional para abogar eficazmente por ellos”.
La USCCB instó a los católicos que no pudieran asistir o no tuvieran cerca un servicio de oración o misa el 12 de diciembre, a que “ofrezcieran sus oraciones donde quiera que estuvieran”. La oficina de Servicios de Migración y Refugiados de la USCCB desarrolló un rosario bíblico titulado “Unidad en la Diversidad” que contiene oraciones para migrantes y refugiados. El mismo puede obtenerse en el portal de internet de la oficina de Justicia para los Inmigrantes: http://tinyurl.com/hldg3o9.
“A todas aquellas familias que están separadas y lejos de su hogar, viviendo tiempos de incertidumbre, nos unimos a ustedes en oración pidiendo consuelo y alegría en esta temporada de Adviento”, añadió el cardenal DiNardo.

Pope names Texas Msgr. Bishop of Biloxi, accepts Bishop Morin’s resignation

BILOXI — Pope Francis named Msgr. Louis Kihneman III, 64, as Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Roger Morin, 75, from the pastoral governance of that diocese on Friday, Dec. 16. Msgr. Kihneman is a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, and currently serves as vicar general.msgr-louis-kihneman-iii
He will be installed at a Mass at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Biloxi on Feb. 17, 2017, at 2:30 p.m..
Msgr. Kihneman III, was born on Feb. 17, 1952, in Lafayette, Louisiana. He holds a bachelor of arts degree and master degrees in religious education and theology from the University of St. Thomas, Houston. He attended St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston, and was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi on Nov. 18, 1977.
“I would like to personally welcome Monsignor Louis Kihneman to Mississippi and wish him all the best as he makes the transition to the episcopacy. He brings with him a wealth of experience, having served in many churches in the Gulf South as well as in Mexico. I will keep him in my prayers and I look forward to serving with him in the Magnolia state for many years to come,” said Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson. “I would also like to thank Bishop Roger Morin for his many years of devoted service and wish him a peaceful and prayerful retirement.”
Assignments after ordination included, parochial vicar at San Isidro Labrador Church, Arteaga, Mexico, 1977; St. Anthony of Padua Church, Robstown, Texas, 1978; Christ the King parish, Corpus Christi, 1980; Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Corpus Christi, 1981. Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Alice, 1983; diocesan director of vocations and seminarians, 1986-1993; director, St. John Vianney House of Studies, 1986-1993; director of Christian leadership vocations, 1986-1993; pastor, Sacred Heart Church, Rockport, 1993-2011; vicar general, 2010-present; pastor, St. Philip Church, Corpus Christi, 2014 – present.
Other assignments include marriage tribunal advocate, diocesan director of religious education, priest personnel board, associate vicar for clergy, presbyteral council member and as chancellor.
Bishop Roger P. Morin was born on March 7, 1941, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was ordained a priest on April 15, 1971; he was appointed auxiliary bishop of New Orleans on February 11, 2003, and ordained a bishop on April 22, 2003. He was appointed bishop of Biloxi on Feb. 23, 2009.
The Diocese of Biloxi, originally part of the Diocese of Jackson, comprises 9,653 square miles in the state of Mississippi. It has a total population of 818,801 people of which 57,912 or seven percent, are Catholic.

National Migration Week – set for January – honors most vulnerable

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world’s migrants and require special protection, Pope Francis said.
“Children are the first among those to pay the heavy toll of emigration, almost always caused by violence, poverty, environmental conditions, as well as the negative aspects of globalization,” he said.
“The unrestrained competition for quick and easy profit brings with it the cultivation of perverse scourges such as child trafficking, the exploitation and abuse of minors and, generally, the depriving of rights intrinsic to childhood as sanctioned by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child,” he said.
The pope made the comments in a message on the theme of “Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless” for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees 2017; the text was released at the Vatican Oct. 13.

The World Day for Migrants and Refugees is observed Jan. 15. In the United States, National Migration Week will be celebrated Jan. 8-14. Click here for a listing of events celebrating the week in the Diocese of Jackson. migration week
In his message, the pope called for greater protection and integration of immigrants and refugees who are minors, especially those who are unaccompanied.
Minors are especially fragile, vulnerable and often invisible and voiceless – unable to claim or unaware of their rights and needs, he said.

A child sits on railroad tracks near a makeshift camp for migrants in late March at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of in Idomeni, Greece. Children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world's migrants and require special protection, Pope Francis said. (CNS photo/Armando Babani, EPA) See POPE-MIGRANTS-MESSAGE Oct. 13, 2016.

A child sits on railroad tracks near a makeshift camp for migrants in late March at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of in Idomeni, Greece. Children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world’s migrants and require special protection, Pope Francis said. (CNS photo/Armando Babani, EPA) See POPE-MIGRANTS-MESSAGE Oct. 13, 2016.

In particular, they have “the right to a healthy and secure family environment, where a child can grow under the guidance and example of a father and a mother; then there is the right and duty to receive adequate education, primarily in the family and also in the school,” the pope said. Unfortunately, “in many areas of the world, reading, writing and the most basic arithmetic is still the privilege of only a few.”
“Children, furthermore, have the right to recreation,” he added. “In a word, they have the right to be children.”
Christians must offer a dignified welcome to migrants because every human being is precious and “more important than things,” the pope said. “The worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.”
He urged long-term solutions be found to tackle the root causes of migration such as war, human rights violations, corruption, poverty, environmental injustice and natural disasters.
In so many of these scenarios, Pope Francis said, “children are the first to suffer, at times suffering torture and other physical violence, in addition to moral and psychological aggression, which almost always leave indelible scars.”
Among the many factors that make migrants, especially children, more vulnerable, and need to be addressed are: poverty; limited access to the means to survive; “unrealistic expectations generated by the media”; poor literacy; and ignorance about the law, culture and language of host countries, he said.
“But the most powerful force driving the exploitation and abuse of children is demand. If more rigorous and effective action is not taken against those who profit from such abuse, we will not be able to stop the multiple forms of slavery where children are the victims,” he said.
Immigrant adults must cooperate more closely with host communities “for the good of their own children,” he said.
Countries need to work together and communities need to offer “authentic development” for all boys and girls “who are humanity’s hope,” he said.
Saying inadequate funding often “prevents the adoption of adequate policies aimed at assistance and inclusion,” the pope said that instead of programs that help children integrate or safely repatriate, “there is simply an attempt to curb the entrance of migrants, which in turn fosters illegal networks” or governments forcibly repatriate people without any concern “for their ‘best interests.'”
While nations have the right to control migration and protect and safeguard their citizens, Pope Francis said it must be done while carrying out “the duty to resolve and regularize the situation of child migrants,” and fully respecting the rights and needs of the children and their parents “for the good of the entire family.”
The pope praised the “generous service” of all those who work with minors who migrate, urging them to “not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable.”
Speaking to reporters at the Vatican press office, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, said Christians cannot be xenophobic and they cannot refuse to help welcome immigrants.
While it is impossible for one country “to receive everyone,” he said, that doesn’t mean the problem will be solved by telling immigrants to leave or saying that no one may come.
“It’s a problem that needs to be solved, seek a solution,” he said.
Unfortunately, the cardinal said, people tend to be self-centered and bothered by the presence of “the other.” People prefer to keep to their “ivory tower, their gilded cage and do not want any disturbance” or threats to “the beautiful things we have.”
“This is egoism. This is not human or Christian,” he said.
(Editor’s note: look in the next Mississippi Catholic for a story about what Catholic Charities is doing here in the Diocese of Jackson for migrants, refugees and immigrants.)

 

Diversity theme for USCCB meeting with encuentro news, VP choice

(Editor’s note: Bishop Joseph Kopacz attended the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) fall assembly. He was not able to write a column this week because of travel so news from the assembly takes the place of his column this week.)
BALTIMORE (CNS) – A groundbreaking new study commissioned by the bishops that finds diversity abounds in the U.S. Catholic Church is a clarion call to Catholic institutions and ministries to adapt and prepare for growing diversity, said Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio.
On Nov. 15, the second day of the bishops’ annual fall assembly in Baltimore, the archbishop shared results of a report by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University showing the church is one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the United States.

Bishops and alter servers process out after Mass at St. Peter Claver Church in Baltimore Nov. 14 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) See BISHOPS-PETER-CLAVER-MASS Nov. 15, 2016.

Bishops and alter servers process out after Mass at St. Peter Claver Church in Baltimore Nov. 14 during the annual fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) See BISHOPS-PETER-CLAVER-MASS Nov. 15, 2016.

It was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, chaired by Archbishop Garcia-Siller, to help identify the size and distribution of ethnic communities in the country — Hispanic and Latino, African-American, Asian-American and Native American.
He asked his brother bishops to look at the data and see how it speaks to their regions to help dioceses plan, set priorities and allocate resources.
The study’s finding that there are close to 30 million Hispanics in the U.S. church resonated in the election earlier that day of Archbishop Jose Gómez of Los Angeles to a three-year term as USCCB vice president, bringing a Latino voice to the leadership role for the first time.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected to a three-year term as USCCB president, succeeding Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, whose term ended with the close of the meeting.
The bishops also heard about the church’s preparations for the fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, from Auxiliary Bishop Nelson Perez of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs.
The V Encuentro, as it is being called, is to be held in September 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. It will be the culmination of parish, diocesan and regional encuentros, in which the bishops anticipate more than one million Catholics participating over the next two years.
“It is a great opportunity for the church to reach out to our Hispanic brothers and sisters with Christ’s message of hope and love,” Bishop Perez said. “It is a time to listen, a time to develop meaningful relationships, a time to learn and bear abundant fruits, and a time to rejoice in God’s love.”
The effort got a personal endorsement from Pope Francis during a Nov. 15 video message to the U.S. bishops at their fall general assembly in Baltimore.
In other action Nov. 15, the bishops approved making permanent their Subcommittee on the Church in Africa and the hiring of two people to assist the subcommittee in carrying out its work. They also approved another 10-year extension for the Retirement Fund for Religious national collection; before the vote, the collection had been authorized through 2017.
They approved a strategic plan that will govern the work of the conference and its committees from 2017 through 2020, incorporating the theme “Encountering the Mercy of Christ and Accompanying His People With Joy.” It sets five priorities: evangelization, marriage and family life, human life and dignity, vocations, and religious freedom.
Maronite Bishop Gregory Mansour gave a presentation on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, urging the U.S. bishops to bring wider attention to the situation to their parishes and political leaders.
A theme of outreach and inclusion ran through many sessions of the two days of public sessions of the bishops’ meeting. Sessions on the last day of the assembly, Nov. 16, were held in executive session, except for a brief address by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, that was live-streamed. Echoing Pope Francis, he told the U.S. bishops that their ministry is to be “witnesses to the Risen One.”
As the meeting opened Nov. 14, the bishops affirmed as a body a Nov. 11 letter from Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, as outgoing chairman of the Committee on Migration, calling on President-elect Donald Trump “to continue to protect the inherent dignity of refugees and migrants.”
The bishops’ group action followed by a day a TV interview in which Trump said one of his first actions would be to deport two million to three million people he described as “criminal and have criminal records” and entered the country without government permission.
In the letter, Bishop Elizondo offered “a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: Be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life.”
That first day the bishops heard a plea from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the new nuncio to the United States, that the U.S. bishops and the U.S. church as a whole reach out to young Catholics, meeting them where they are and engaging them in their faith.
In his last presidential address, Archbishop Kurtz discussed the need to move beyond the acrimony of the now-completed presidential elections, but the main focus of his speech were the encounters he had in his three-year term in which he found that small and often intimate gestures provide big lessons for bishops to learn as they exercise their ministry.
The people he encountered in all his travels were concerned about something beyond themselves — the common good, he said Nov. 14. Seeking the common good would serve the nation well as it moves forward from the “unprecedented lack of civility and even rancor” of the national elections, Archbishop Kurtz said.
In other business the first day, the bishops heard a report on the 2017 Convocation of Catholic Leaders to be held in Orlando, Florida, next July to exploring the Gospel in American life. More than 3,000 people reflecting the diversity of the church are expected to participate. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, who gave an update on the planning, urged bishops in each diocese to send a delegation to the event.
Cardinal Dolan also shared details of a simple celebration next year to mark the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, founded originally as the National Catholic War Council.
Events will take place Nov. 12 as the bishops convene for their 2017 fall assembly. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, will be principal celebrant of an anniversary Mass at Baltimore’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Cardinal Ouellet will deliver the homily.
In his report as chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said all U.S. bishops are required to speak out for religious freedom for all people of faith whose beliefs are compromised.
Bishops must equip laypeople to speak in the public arena about the necessity to protect religious liberty when interventions by government officials at any level infringe on the free practice of religion, he stressed.
In a final afternoon session and later at a news conference that concluded the first meeting day, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta returned to the tensions of the election year.
He is chairman of the new Task Force to Promote Peace in Our Communities, created in July by Archbishop Kurtz in response to the wave of violence in a number of communities following shootings by and of police. Archbishop Gregory urged the bishops to issue, sooner rather than later, a document on racism, given “postelection uncertainty” and that some of the tensions have only gotten worse following the presidential election.
Most questions during news conference that followed focused on the postelection climate. Archbishop Gregory stressed that the church should play a role in helping restore peace in the current climate that is so inflamed.
He also pointed out that no political parties fully embrace all life issues, something that had been stressed by Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who died 20 years to the day of Archbishop Gregory’s remarks.
On the issue of healing racial divides, he said the Catholic response should start at the parish level. “Words are cheap, actions stronger,” he added.
Archbishop Gomez spoke of the fear many immigrants have of possible deportation since Trump’s election as president. When asked if churches could possibly provide sanctuaries for this group, he said that was impossible to answer at this point.
The day ended with the bishops celebrating their annual fall assembly Mass at a West Baltimore church known as the “mother church” of black Catholics, rather than in their traditional venue of Baltimore’s historic basilica.
In his homily, Archbishop Kurtz said the bishops came to the church “to be present, to see with our own eyes, so that we might humbly take a step and lead others to do so.”
(Contributing to this story were Mark Pattison, Rhina Guidos, Carol Zimmermann and Dennis Sadowski).

Heart of Belgian saint travels to Diocese of Shreveport

by Jessica Rinaudo
SHREVEPORT, LA – On Thursday, Dec. 8, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans will host a rare Catholic relic – the literal heart of its patron. This special event coincides with the 150th anniversary of the apparition and miracle of St. John Berchmans that occurred in Louisiana.
sjb-holy-cardThis is the first time the heart has ever traveled outside of its homeland, modern day Belgium. Accompanied by the pastor of the church where Saint John Berchmans was baptized, the heart will make its way to the only cathedral in the world named for this saint.
Once it arrives, it will stay at the Cathedral from Dec. 8-18, except for one day, Dec. 14, when it will travel to Grand Coteau, La, the site of the apparition and miracle. During the heart’s stay at the cathedral, there are scheduled times for veneration and for Mass, as well as a series of events and talks related to the saint and relics that are free and open to the public.
John Berchmans was born in 1599 in Diest, which is modern day Belgium. In 1615, at age 16, John enrolled in a newly opened Jesuit college. There he felt called to join the Society of Jesus despite his father’s wishes to the contrary. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate.
After making his first vows in Antwerp, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy. He penned the Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception, which is still prayed today.
In 1621, he succumbed to “Roman fever,” and on Aug. 13, 1621, at the age of 22, he died.
Many stories of miracles have arisen since his death, but the one that led to his canonization took place in Grand Coteau, La. At the convent of the Sacred Heart, novice Mary Wilson had fallen gravely ill. She and a group of sisters prayed a novena for healing through the intercession of the recently beatified Blessed John Berchmans. On the ninth and final day of the novena, he appeared to her in her sickness and she was immediately and completely healed.
Before Berchmans died, he was already well known for his spirituality and sanctity. Father Peter Mangum, rector of the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, likened him to the modern day Mother Teresa. People knew they were seeing a living, walking saint. They would go to Mass to see him serve.

The reliquary containing the heart of St. John Berchman is set to visit the Diocese of Shreveport.

The reliquary containing the heart of St. John Berchman is set to visit the Diocese of Shreveport.

Relics are an integral part of our rich faith tradition. “The veneration of relics is a communion with the heroes of our Christian faith, asking for their powerful intercession,” said Father Mangum. “Many people have reported outstanding blessings and conversions through this ministry, and many have reported healings.”
“The earliest of churches were built over cemeteries because that’s where the body was,” he continued. “These are the people without whom the faith would not be passed down to the next generation.” “Even to this day, a little tiny relic is placed into each altar where we place the Body and Blood of Christ. We no longer build churches over cemeteries, so in a sense we bring the cemetery, or we bring part of the relic to the church,” he added.
There will also be extra parish Masses in the evenings and on Saturday morning in addition to their regularly scheduled ones, during which the heart will be present and parishioners and pilgrims alike will have the opportunity to come forward, as individuals or as a family, to venerate the heart and honor the saint, praising the holiness of God.
The schedule of events, including Masses, speakers and veneration times, is available at www.sjbdevotion.org. Individuals are welcome to all events, but groups should call the cathedral’s office, 318-221-5296, before coming.

Miraculous Icon to visit Greenwood

By Maureen Smith
GREENWOOD – A special icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, commissioned in honor of the Jubilee of the original, will spend two weeks with the Redemptorists in Greenwood along with a companion historical exhibit.
Redemptorist missionaries are celebrating 150 years of spreading devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, one of the most beloved images of the Mother of God in the worldwide Catholic Church. Ever since Pope Pius IX entrusted the Redemptorists with the Perpetual Help Icon with the mandate to “Make her Known” in 1866, this ancient image of the Mother of God has enjoyed “great veneration and fame for its miracles.”
“I want people to know that Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a powerful intercessor for us and we have a privileged time with her in Greenwood and in the diocese,” said Father Scott Katzenberger, CSsR, leader of the Redemptorist community in Greenwood.
While the faithful gathered in Rome and major centers of Redemptorist ministry throughout the world on June 27, the feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Redemptorists of the Denver Province hosted a capacity crowd at the historic St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church in St. Louis, MO, where the seed of the perpetual novena was planted in the western USA on July 11, 1922. omph-original-copy-c
Most importantly, the jubilee celebration launched a renewal of the Redemptorists’ commitment to preach the Gospel, especially using the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to illustrate the mystery of redemption: the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
A special Jubilee Missionary Icon touched to the original in Rome has been traveling to Redemptorist ministry sites in the Denver Province with portions of the historical exhibit, and will visit the Mississippi Delta Monday, Nov. 21 through Saturday, Dec. 3.
The Redemptorist community at Locus Benedictus Retreat Center in Greenwood is offering two presentations about the meaning of the symbols contained within the icon. The first, in English, is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26. A Spanish presentation will be offered at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3.
People are also welcome to walk through the exhibit and venerate the icon daily from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and in the evenings from 5-7 p.m. except on Thanksgiving.
“We will arrange the items in such a way as to create a space for people to venerate the icon in an appropriate space and be able to enjoy the exhibit,” said Father Katzenberger.
The historical exhibit highlighting the 150-year history of the Redemptorists and Our Mother of Perpetual Help in the western United States includes images and articles about Our Lady of Perpetual Help as well as the history of devotion beginning in the early 20th century.
Part of the exhibit showcases the powerful intercessions of Our Mother with a sampling of the many miracles attributed to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
(Kristine Stremel, public and community affairs director for the Redemptorists of the Denver Province, contributed to this report.)

Líderes laicos y religiosos reaccionan tras triunfo de Trump

Por Catholic News Service

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shows Melania Trump and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump the Mall from his balcony on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 10. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters) See WASHINGTON-LETTER-ELECTION-UNITY Nov. 11, 2016.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shows Melania Trump and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump the Mall from his balcony on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 10. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters) See WASHINGTON-LETTER-ELECTION-UNITY Nov. 11, 2016.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Líderes laicos y religiosos de varias tendencias políticas reaccionaron a las noticias de la inesperada victoria de Donald Trump en la elección presidencial del 8 de noviembre. La mayoría expresó esperanza de que Trump prestaría atención a sus intereses en el futuro, mientras que otros se mostraron decididamente más pesimistas y otros aconsejaron oración.
El arzobispo Joseph Kurtz de Louisville, Kentucky, presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, subrayó un programa ambicioso en un comunicado de prensa después de las elecciones y felicitó a Trump y a todos los que ganaron durante las elecciones.
La conferencia episcopal espera trabajar con el presidente electo para proteger la vida humana desde su comienzo hasta su final natural, dijo el arzobispo Kurtz. “Vamos a abogar por políticas que ofrezcan oportunidad a todas las personas, de todas las religiones, en todos los ámbitos de la vida”, dijo.
“Nos sentimos firmes en nuestra determinación de que nuestros hermanos y hermanas migrantes y refugiados puedan ser acogidos con humanidad, sin sacrificar nuestra seguridad. Vamos a llamar atención a la persecución violenta que amenaza a nuestros hermanos cristianos y a personas de otras religiones de todo el mundo, especialmente en el Oriente Medio, y vamos a buscar el compromiso de la nueva administración con respecto a la libertad religiosa en el país, garantizando que la gente de fe pueda seguir teniendo libertad para anunciar y dar forma a nuestras vidas alrededor de la verdad sobre el hombre y la mujer, y el vínculo de unión matrimonial que pueden formar”.
Después de que Trump aseguró la mayoría de votos para ganar en el colegio electoral el 9 de noviembre, el cardenal Sean O’Malley de Boston dijo por Twitter, “Felicitaciones al presidente electo Donald Trump. Que Dios le conceda buena salud, sabiduría y valor durante su presidencia”.
Jeanne Mancini, presidente de la Marcha Por la Vida nuncio, “Estamos encantados que los resultados de la elección de esta noche reflejan el consenso pro-vida en los Estados Unidos, en la cámara, el senado y la presidencia. Aplaudimos a los candidatos que tomaron una posición sobre la cuestión más crucial de derechos humanos hoy en día, el aborto”.
Samuel Rodríguez, presidente de la Conferencia Nacional de Líderes Hispanos Cristianos, dijo que hay que continuar luchando para reconciliar el mensaje de justicia del reverendo Billy Graham con el de Martin Luther King, de marchar por la justicia. “Ahora que la elección presidencial está finalmente detrás de nosotros, nuestra nación debe poner la política partidista y la retórica divisiva detrás de nosotros también. En lugar de la agenda del burro o el elefante, los cristianos deben enfocarse en la agenda del Cordero”, añadió Rodríguez.
“Nos hemos comprometido a dialogar con los que piensan diferente y trataremos de hablar con el president electo Trump”, dijo en un comunicado Scott Reed, director ejecutivo de la red nacional de PICO, fundada por un sacerdote de California. “Pero el presidente electo debe ser advertido de que nuestra fe no nos va a permitir dejarlo que cumpla su promesa de criminalizar a los inmigrantes, realizando deportaciones masivas o quedarnos con lo brazos cruzados al ver la discriminación contra afroamericanos, latinos y minorías religiosas”.
John Gehring, director del programa católico Faith in Public Life dijo que le cuesta encontrar las palabras para procesar el hecho de que un hombre peleón, que prometió prohibirle la entrada al país a musulmanes, que está orgulloso del asalto sexual que cometió en el pasado, y que demoniza a inmigrantes, y quien insultó al Papa Francisco, fuese elegido presidente.
“Como cristiano y padre de niños pequeños, estoy angustiado”, dijo Gehring. “Pero como cristiano, también estoy comprometido a caminar el camino difícil de la fe y la esperanza. Dijo que no entiende a los católicos que apoyaron a Trump, “pero hay demasiado que arriesgar para no buscar terreno común y el bien común”.
Laura Barrett, directora ejecutiva de Interfaith Worker Justice dijo en un comunicado, “Hoy es un día oscuro en la historia de Estados Unidos”. Un hombre que construyó una campaña para llegar a la Casa Blanca con racismo, xenofobia, machismo, ahora se va a convertir en el líder más poderoso del mundo, dijo Barrett.
Kristan Hawkins, presidente de Students for Life of America, dijo en un comunicado que Trump hizo muchas promesas a los que apoyan al movimiento pro-vida a lo largo de su campaña. “La generación pro-vida asegurará de que mantenga esas promesas como presidente”.

Post-election work for Catholics: reconciliation, healing.

By Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — All the distrust, vitriol and rancor stirred up during the 2016 presidential election campaign did not go away when votes were tallied.
The Nov. 8 election’s outcome, for many, only added more layers of frustration, anger and fear, prompting dozens of protests across the country.
Political leaders, including Hillary Clinton, President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama, acknowledged the disunity and urged people after the election to try to work together.
Catholic leaders have been making similar pleas, not only for the nation, but also recognizing the division that exists among the church’s own members who split their vote

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shows Melania Trump and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump the Mall from his balcony on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 10. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters) See WASHINGTON-LETTER-ELECTION-UNITY Nov. 11, 2016.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shows Melania Trump and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump the Mall from his balcony on Capitol Hill in Washington Nov. 10. (CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters) See WASHINGTON-LETTER-ELECTION-UNITY Nov. 11, 2016.

— 45 percent for Clinton and 52 percent for Trump.
Four days before the election, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, CEO of the Knights of Columbus, told a Catholic group in Arlington, Virginia, that regardless of the election’s outcome, “our country will remain deeply divided and those divisions are, to a very real extent, also reflected within our own Catholic faith community.”
The question before Catholics, he said, is whether we will be “a source of unity and reconciliation, or whether we will be a cause of further division.”
That view also was expressed in a Nov. 9 editorial in the National Catholic Reporter newspaper describing the political climate as a “profound moment in our nation’s history and in our church’s history. … The question now is whether we have the courage and leadership to confront these hurts, work for justice and begin the healing process.”
Putting it even more succinctly was an Election Day tweet by Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis: “Whatever happens at the polls, God will reign. Our work begins tomorrow, building bridges and healing wounds.”
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said: “Every election brings a new beginning. Some may wonder whether the country can reconcile, work together and fulfill the promise of a more perfect union. Through the hope Christ offers, I believe God will give us the strength to heal and unite.”
And Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic social justice lobbying organization Network, said her faith dictates that “now, more than ever, we need to mend the gaps and bridge the divides among us.”
“If anger fueled the election, we need to listen deeply to this reality, not dismiss it,” said the Sister of Social Service. “The temptation is to immediately think about how we will fight back, but fighting back will only reinforce this mess we’re in. Instead, we have to fight for a vision that eases people’s fears, brings us together and solves problems.”
Days before the election, Jesuit Father Jim Martin, author and editor at large at America, a weekly magazine published by the Jesuits, said after the election Catholics might want to say the “Prayer for Christian Unity,” which is meant for interfaith unity but has an apt message at a time when many “will feel excluded and unwelcome.”
It turns out the Catholic “Prayer for After an Election” also highlights unity, asking God to “heal us from our differences and unite us, O Lord, with a common purpose, dedication and commitment to achieve liberty and justice in the years ahead.”
The very notion of unity after a more contentious presidential campaign than most can remember might seem far-fetched but some Catholics stress it should at least start at the parish level.
Father Thomas Berg, vice rector and professor of moral theology at St Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York, said the differences of opinion revealed in this election “should never be allowed to become occasions of separation and rupture. Disagreement is an invitation to encounter, dialogue and to witness to the faith we presumably share.”
“Postelection, at the parish level, how wonderful it would be if we could engage each other dispassionately in calm rational dialogue about our differences with regard to the candidates,” said the priest, who is currently writing a book, “Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics.”
Zach Flanagin, a professor of theology and religious studies at St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga, similarly suggested old-fashioned dialogue saying Catholics should take their cue from Pope Francis who has spent a good part of his pontificate accompanying people and listening to them.
“It’s incumbent at a time like this when there is so much division that we sit down and listen to people,” he told CNS on Election Day.
One way for this to happen in parishes — which he said “can be as divided as communities” — would be in for parishes to host dinners where parishioners have the chance to talk to each other about what matters to them. They might not agree with each other, he said, but they will likely come away respecting the other person.
Flanagin said he has seen programs like this work in high schools and junior high schools that have recognized the need to bring diverse communities together to help heal toxic environments.
Sherry Weddell, co-founder of the Catherine of Siena Institute, a group based in Colorado Springs, Colorado dedicated to strengthening parishes and lay Catholics, said the big post election question is: “How can we help rebuild our relationships with one another now that the shouting is over?”
For Catholics, she said the answer is found in embracing the church’s mission in outreach to others. “Being apostles together slowly builds remarkably strong bridges of trust and hope over the divides that separate us,” she said, adding that doing this “can actually heal and transform us as well.”
And for many, part of the mission is simply to keep up the work at hand and encourage others not to lose hope.
Peggy Lewis, interim dean of business and graduate studies at Trinity Washington University in Washington, said she advises students who are disheartened by the election, especially immigrants covered by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, that the “fight is still on.”
Lewis, highlighted with Trinity students in a Nov. 9 Chronicle of Higher Education news video, said she has been urging these students not to give up.
“Getting students from anger, where I still am, to thinking about the future, is something we’re striving to do,” she said.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, during a Nov. 10 interfaith prayer service for peace, solidarity and unity at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, offered similar encouragement to the immigrant community after the election.
“Tonight in America, children are afraid. Men and women are worried and anxious, thinking about where they can run and hide,” he said.
“The answer is not angry words or violence in the streets. It never solves anything. It only inflames it more. We need to be people of peace, people of compassion. Love not hate. Mercy not revenge,” he said. “These are the tools to rebuild our nation and renew the American dream. Tonight we promise our brothers and sisters who are undocumented: We will never you leave you alone.”
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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter @carolmaczim.

500 years from Reformation: Grace remains key issue

By Aaron Williams
For Lutherans across the world, this past October 31 was more than just your average Halloween. It was on Oct. 31, 1517, that Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Now, the countdown has begun leading up to the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s split with the Catholic Church and the start of modern-day Protestantism.

Williams

Williams

This year is a good opportunity for all Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, to join together in prayer for unification so that “all may be one” (John 17:21) as our Lord intended of his church from the beginning. But, this anniversary also provides for Catholics a moment to reflect on those differences which still cause separation. Especially for we who live in a overwhelmingly Protestant area, it can be helpful to know where the Catholic Church stands on significant issues which divide us from our protestant brothers and sisters.
One such issue is the matter of grace. Grace is not something most Christians often give much thought, but it is a word which we, perhaps deafly, hear preached, read in scripture, or sung in hymns. So, what is “grace”?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2003) states, “Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us.” Grace is that gratuitous gift of God which purifies us and assists us in living the Christian life. Understanding the role of grace requires us to ask why we need grace in the first place and to answer that question we have to consider the role of sin in our lives.
For Catholics, all sin has its root in the original sin of Adam and Eve. God commanded them, “You must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…lest you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17). But, we know that Adam and Eve did eat of this fruit and so they and all their children died. The church teaches that the guilt of the same sin of our first parents has been passed down from generation to generation, so that all humanity shares in this guilt. This sin was so significant that it damaged the very nature of humankind so that we were no longer able to do good works.
But, God the Father, in his infinite mercy, gave up his only Son and by the sacrifice of Christ on calvary, grace entered the world — grace enough that for all who are baptized, the guilt of original sin is totally wiped away and human nature is restored to its justified state. Men and women are made sons and daughters of God and are therefore holy and able to freely choose to do good works with the help of God’s grace.
Luther, however, did not share this view. It was his argument that human nature was so harmed by Adam and Eve’s sin that Christ’s sacrifice only served to declare all of us “justified” — even though we remained guilty of sin and incapable of doing good works. For Luther, humankind is incapable of freely choosing to do good things and even though every man and woman is sinful and their nature is turned towards evil, those who have faith in Christ will still be saved on the last day.
His view is similar to that of a child who, instead of sweeping the house, pushes the dust under a rug. For Luther, God does not restore our nature to its previous state but simply declares us “justified” — so that we appear holy from the exterior, while are still guilty of original sin interiorly.
Catholics, however, are so confident that baptism regenerates us from our sinful state that we insist even the smallest among us (infants) be baptized, even though they may not understand what it means at the time. It is a sacrament which fundamentally heals our nature interiorly and not simply from an external appearance.
For Catholics, baptism gives us the gift of faith, by which we may be saved. And since we are all made a part of the Mystical Body of Christ in baptism, all of us are capable of doing good works because we are enabled by Christ. In the words of St. Paul, “It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Martin Luther, a German monk and key figure in the Protestant Reformation, is depicted in this painting at a church in Helsingor, Denmark. Pope Francis will visit Sweden Oct. 31-Nov. 1 for commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. (CNS photo/Crosiers) See VATICAN-LETTER-SWEDEN AND SWEDEN-TRIP-REFORMATION Oct. 20, 2016.

Martin Luther, a German monk and key figure in the Protestant Reformation, is depicted in this painting at a church in Helsingor, Denmark. Pope Francis will visit Sweden Oct. 31-Nov. 1 for commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. (CNS photo/Crosiers) See VATICAN-LETTER-SWEDEN AND SWEDEN-TRIP-REFORMATION Oct. 20, 2016.

Moreover, since Christ enables us to do good works and all Christ’s works are pleasing before the Father, our own works can merit us a greater capacity for grace. This is not to say that Catholics think of salvation as if it is “bought” by good works. Humankind is justified once and for all by Christ’s sacrifice through baptism, but after that initial grace of justification, each of us is able to merit more grace to assist us in living a virtuous life and to have a greater capacity to experience God in heaven. Thus, St. Paul writes, “God will render to each according to his works” (Romans 2:6). After baptism, God gives more grace to each person according to the works they do through Christ, because everything that Christ does is pleasing to the Father.
As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, it would be good for each of us to reflect on those things which make us Catholic — our theology, our liturgy, our faith in the leadership of the church. There are so many blessings in our faith which so few of us understand. Maybe this year each of us can buy a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and commit to reading a little bit each day. And most importantly, we should each pray that “all may be one” once more.
(Aaron Williams is a third-year theologian studying at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He and his classmate, Nick Adam, will be ordained to the the transitional diaconate in the Spring.)

Clergy deliver documents about black Catholic movement to Notre Dame

By Catholic News Service
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) — A delegation of black Catholic priests paid a visit to the University of Notre Dame’s Theodore Hesburgh Library in South Bend to entrust the archives there with historical documents about African-American Catholic priests, sisters, brothers, deacons, seminarians and laypeople.
The group visited the archives Oct. 24 in advance of Black Catholic History Month in November. The observance was established in 1990 by the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus.
Members of the delegation Father Kenneth Taylor, a priest of the Indianapolis Archdiocese, who is president of National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus; Precious Blood Father Clarence Williams, caucus vice president and archivist; Father Theodore Parker, a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit; and Deacon Melvin Tardy, an academic adviser at Notre Dame.
The materials they delivered will be preserved in the library’s archives and be available for study.

Father Kenneth Taylor, president of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, pushes a cart of archival material earmarked for the Theodore Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., Oct. 25. Assisting him is Holy Cross Brother Roy Smith of Notre Dame. (CNS photo/courtesy Catholic African World Network) See BLACK-HISTORY-MONTH-CLERGY Nov. 2, 2016.

Father Kenneth Taylor, president of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, pushes a cart of archival material earmarked for the Theodore Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., Oct. 25. Assisting him is Holy Cross Brother Roy Smith of Notre Dame. (CNS photo/courtesy Catholic African World Network) See BLACK-HISTORY-MONTH-CLERGY Nov. 2, 2016.

The three priests were nostalgic about bringing the documentation to Notre Dame because of their personal histories with the university.
“It is hard to believe that we were here as seminarians in 1970, and began the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association. And now we return almost 50 years later as priests. Things have come full circle,” said Father Parker. He had served on the coordinating committee of the seminarians association.
The group’s first meeting at Notre Dame drew 70 black seminarians from across the country. They were the guests of the National Black Sisters Conference, which had formed two years earlier.
Father Taylor, who also was present in 1970, called it amazing to see the return of the historical documents to a place that was instrumental in building the black Catholic movement in its infancy.
“November as Black Catholic History Month is a project of the black Catholic clergy, so this is a perfect time to accept the invitation to place our chronicle with the Notre Dame archives on the American Catholic Heritage,” he said.
The Notre Dame visit was one step toward a greater appreciation of the black Catholic movement to be explored in 2018.
Father Williams, who is chairman of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus’ 50th anniversary committee, said the group was “putting things in place” as the anniversary approaches. The anniversary will mark the beginning of the black Catholic movement that began “with the clergy leading it,” he added.
The priests met with the National Interracial Justice Conference in Detroit the week after the April 4, 1968, assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee. “These priests asked that those Negro priests present could gather as a caucus to share their feeling and thoughts of the Negro mood,” said a news release on the delegation’s visit to Notre Dame.
The result of those meetings in the late 1960s “was a statement on the racism of the Catholic Church and the formation” of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, said the news release. “The rest is history.”
The clergy caucus has a standing committee to review documents and articles that will continue to build the black Catholic collection now at Notre Dame.
“We are open to the contribution of others who wish to preserve our black Catholic history and invite their participation,” Father Taylor said. “In a special way, we dedicate our efforts in the memory of (Benedictine) Cyprian Davis, who recently died.” The priest was the leading example, he said, about the need “to value the contribution of our unique Catholic journey. He was the keeper of the archives and now that he is no longer here to protect and preserve, we must take up that responsibility.”
Father Davis, who died May 18, 2015, at age 84, was considered the pre-eminent chronicler of black Catholic history. He wrote six books, including “The History of Black Catholics in the United States,” published in 1990. He was working on a revised edition of the book at the time of his death.
He also had also written what is considered the definitive biography of Mother Henriette Delille, the black foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family in antebellum New Orleans. Her sainthood cause was opened in 1988 and she was declared venerable in 2010.