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Starting June 2018 we have archived our cover stories for you to refer back to: 

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June 2018

CO June 2018

Death in Nigeria: Local priests shaken by attacks in homeland

Violence in Africa hits close to home as three local Nigerian priests are shaken by attacks in their homeland. This month's cover story focuses on how our Nigerian priests are coping, and on the Diocese of Tucson's the long standing spiritual connections with the Nigerian Church.

THIS IS WHITE SPACE



♦ Violence in Africa hits close to home as three local Nigerian priests are shaken by attacks in their homeland.
Tucson's connections with Nigerian priests are spiritual and brotherly.
♦ Nigerian bishops to president: If you can't stop violence, resign
♦ Africa struggles to protect Christions and Human Rights


Tucson's Nigerian priests haunted by violent attacks, murders back home 

 

Nigeria Mourning

Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha

 

Father Samuel Jandeh, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Superior, was angry, scared and frustrated, but mostly angry.

He and two other Nigerian priests serving in the Diocese of Tucson were talking about the murder of their friends, Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, and the more than a dozen parishioners at St. Ignatius Church in Mbalom, of the Benue state. The murders occurred following Mass April 24.

Father Jandeh said that reports from social media indicated that Mass had just finished, and Father Joseph was headed to his car when he and others were ambushed by Fulani herdsmen. He was shot but able to warn the others, including Father Felix, to try to escape.

Media reports say that the Fulani attacks began about six years ago when the herdsmen, identified as Muslims, began grazing their cattle in the fields of farmers, predominantly Christians, residing in the central state, one of the most fertile areas in Africa. It has led to attacks by the herdsmen upon farmers, resulting in areas being abandoned as residents flee from farms they have inhabited for generations.

quote I feel helpless. Our families are under siege," said Father Kusugh. "

"Father Felix was running for his life, when he saw some women struggling to run away. He went back to encourage them to run. They pointed to a young boy who had fallen behind. Father Felix went back to pick up the boy and carry him. When the women looked back, they did not see him. The herdsmen had shot him and slit his throat. The boy was also killed," Father Jandeh said.

Father Jandeh and Father Richard Kusugh, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Parker, are members of Via Christi, a society of apostolic life indigenous to the Diocese of Makurdi, Nigeria. Father John Ikponko is a priest from the Makurdi Diocese who served as chancellor before coming to Tucson in 2017.

Father Ikponko said that Father Felix had served in a mission church in Yogboh. The church had been destroyed earlier this year and its members displaced by Fulani attacks, so Father Felix had been working as a "supply" priest, helping Father Joseph at St. Ignatius.

On New Year's Day, Fulani coordinated attacks killed six dozen in six Benue communities. "They are just killing people, a rampage, and burn their houses before they return to hiding," said Father Jandeh.

Father Kusugh said that the conflict is confusing because it is influenced in part by jihadism and by economic interests. There are also tribal tensions, with the Fulani reacting to a recent anti-open grazing law.

"How do they get away with it?

It seems the federal government is giving them protection," he said. "To see this happening in 2018 defies human logic." "The government there is just not willing to enforce the law. They are just letting this happen," he added. "It just doesn't make sense."

Other news reports note that while Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to send in troops to locate and arrest the killers, he is politically linked to the herdsmen.

quoteSometimes, I feel like maybe people here don't care," Father Ikponko said. "Don't people here care that you have a home, even if it is in Africa? Don't they care what you are going through?"

Father Jandeh said that federal troops only arrive after the Fulani have returned to hiding or fled to other states, and do not maintain a presence in Benue despite the ongoing raids.

"The president is an imam (a Muslim leader). He's also a patron for the ranchers," the priest added. "It's the government's job to provide security for its citizens. It's not doing that," said Father Ikponko.

For the three priests in Tucson, these attacks shake them to the core. "I feel helpless. Our families are under siege," said Father Kusugh. He also said he feels guilty that he cannot be there with his family and the community where he grew up in Makurdi. "It's all those things rolled up in one." "I feel angry, frustrated, devastated and helpless," added Father Jandeh.

Father Ikponko said he wants to be able to help, but it's not clear what he can do. "I am praying. I want to speak out any way I can, so the international community can help."

Father Kusugh visited Nigeria last June for a general meeting of the Via Christi Society and renewed his friendship with Father Joseph. Father Kusugh recalled suffering from severe back pain, which his friend noticed and massaged his back every day. By the time the meeting was over, the treatments had worked and he was able to move around without pain, Father Kusugh said. "This was not an isolated case," Father Kusugh said. "He lived his life for other people."

Following Father Joseph's ordination in 2013, people sought him out for spiritual guidance, Father Kusugh said. "At a previous parish, you would see people standing in line just to see him." "For him to die such a gruesome death …" he started, but not completing the thought. Father Jandeh said that even though there appears to be little reason to think things will change, they must have hope. As their families and friends live so far away, they can't help but think about what they are going through. "We are here because we once had a home there."

quoteFather Ikponko, a native of the village Father Felix fled, said his death has affected him profoundly. Father Kusugh knows that his parishioners here need him, but at the same time, he feels "survivors' guilt."

It's not just the farming communities that are being hit by Fulani raids. Father Kusugh's family lives in Makurdi, Benue's capital. Last Jan. 13, there was a riot that left one person dead and cars and buildings destroyed. Father Kusugh's father and siblings were forced to flee to one room with the family dog as looters ransacked the home. "To this day, I don't know why the dog did not bark," he recalled. "If he had, I would have had to take a leave of absence to go home and bury my family."

Father Jandeh had a similar story, having spent three years earlier in his ministry at a parish that serviced the church in Mbalom. "It could have been me that morning," said the priest, who has been having ongoing nightmares resulting from the reports of the violence.

Father Ikponko, a native of the village Father Felix fled, said his death has affected him profoundly. Father Kusugh knows that his parishioners here need him, but at the same time, he feels "survivors' guilt."

"Sometimes, I feel like maybe people here don't care," he said. "Don't people here care that you have a home, even if it is in Africa? Don't they care what you are going through?"

There hasn't been much published or broadcast about the Nigerian church massacre in the US or Arizona media, so most of his parishioners are not aware of the impact it has on the Nigerian priests serving in the Diocese of Tucson.

"Some people may think, 'Oh, it's over there. We are sure he's doing OK,'" he said, adding that it helps to keep in contact with Fathers Jandeh, Ikponko and other priests from the area for support and information. "That way, I don't have to deal with it alone."

Editor's note: To raise concern about the violence in Nigeria, please call the offices of US Sens. John McCain (520) 670-6334 and Jeff Flake (520) 575-8633.

By MICHAEL BROWN

Managing Editor

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Tucson's connections with Nigerian priests are spiritual and brotherly.

By Bishop emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas

Nigeria Kicanas

The Diocese of Tucson has had a relationship with the Diocese of Makurdi and the Via Christi community (a diocesan religious order in Makurdi) for over 20 years. Bishop Athanasius Usuh, bishop of Makurdi, agreed to send two priests initially to serve in Tucson: Fathers Matthew Asemenega and Francis Iber who both served in the Yuma area. Later Father Iber was pastor of St. Francis Parish in Superior. Several years later I met with Father Angus Fraser, the founder of the Via Christi community, and he agreed to send three priests, Fathers James Aboyi, Sebastian Bula and Richard Kusugh to help us minister to our parishes. What a gift these priests have been, coming as missionaries into a different culture to help care pastorally for our people!

Several years ago, I had an opportunity to visit in the dioceses of Gboko, Lafia, Katsina-Ala and Makurdi. They each have sent us priests to serve here. It was a marvelous experience to witness the living, active faith of the priests and people there. I was privileged to ordain 10 young men for the Diocese of Gboko. The music and participation of the people was incredible; there was such joy in welcoming these new priests. While in Benue State, I had a chance to visit the Via Christi seminary and the seminary in Makurdi and to meet with so many young men who were studying to be priests. One could only admire their enthusiasm and eagerness to serve. During my visit, I met with each of the bishops who had sent priests to serve here including Bishops William Avenya (Gboko), Peter Adoboh (Katsina-Ala), Matthew Audu (Lafia), Wilfred Agnabe (Makurdi) and Cardinal John Onaiyekan (Archdiocese of Abuja) whose brother Michael lives in Tucson. At that time, it was my privilege to visit Bishop Athanasius Usuh who was retired and who was then very ill. He had visited us in Tucson some years ago and we developed a good friendship. He has since gone to the Lord.

Nigeria Kicanas

You can only imagine, in light of our long friendship, the heartache I and others in our diocese feel in to learn of the two priests, Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, along with 17 parishioners who were murdered during Mass by Fulani herdsmen in a horrific attack in Ayar-Mbalom a remote village in Benue State. 

Our heart goes out to the bishops, priests and people in Benue State, Nigeria, where tensions are high. The week after this tragic event, I was in Rome and learned that all the Nigerian bishops were also in Rome visiting our Holy Father Pope Francis as part of the ad limina visit. I had called Bishop Agnabe and Father Theo (head of the Via Christi community) to express our sympathy at their loss. 

We grieve together. We stand in solidarity with the Church in Nigeria which has made such an impact on our diocese. Our prayer is that they know of our concern. We ask the Lord to watch over and protect the community from further violence and loss of innocent life. May those who died rest in peace and may their families be consoled that they now stand in the presence of God. 

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Nigeririan bishops to president: If you can't stop violence, resign.

By PETER AJAYI DADA

Catholic News Service

Nigeria Mass attack

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria's bishops condemned repeated killings of innocent Nigerians by suspected ethnic militias in northeastern Nigeria and said President Muhammadu Buhari should resign if he could not keep the country safe.

Asking, "when will this barbarism end?" the bishops condemned the murder of two priests and their parishioners during the celebration of Mass, at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ayer Mbalom, April 24. Attackers also burned about 50 houses, nearly destroying the small community.

It was the latest in a string of violent incidents involving nomadic herdsmen and farmers, violence linked to grazing rights and dwindling fertile land. Benue state, where the incident occurred, has seen nearly 50 such attacks in the last three years.

The bishops issued their statement from Rome, where they were making a regularly scheduled visit to the Vatican, and said they received the news of the "gruesome, grisly and dastardly murder" with "deep shock, sorrow and utter horror."

"These innocent souls met their untimely death in the hands of a wicked and inhuman gang of the rampaging and murderous terrorists, who have turned the vast lands of the middle belt and other parts of Nigeria into a massive graveyard," the bishops said.

They said the unrestrained mayhem had become a metaphor for the untimely deaths that had now become the fate of many of Nigerian citizens.

"That our two priests, Father Joseph Gor and Father Felix Tyolaha, along with their parishioners were waylaid in the course of the celebration of the holy Mass early in the morning suggests very clearly that their murder was carefully planned," the bishops said. Nineteen people were killed in the attack.

QuoteWe are sad. We are angry. We feel totally exposed and most vulnerable. Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told by some to defend themselves," the bishops said, noting that most people had no weapons to defend themselves....

They said recent events showed Nigerians no longer could trust Buhari. They mentioned the repeated calls from them and many other Nigerians, asking the president to take drastic and urgent steps to reverse the violence.

"It is clear to the nation that he has failed in his primary duty of protecting the lives of the Nigerian citizens," the bishops said.

"Whether this failure is due to his inability to perform or lack of political will, it is time for him to choose the part of honor and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse," they said.

Often, the violence is characterized as a revenge attack, but the bishops asked, "Whom have these priests attacked?"

They cited a Jan. 3 tweet from Father Gor, in which he referred to the Fulani herdsman, a primarily nomadic group. The bishops quoted: "We are living in fear. The Fulanis are still around here in Mbalom. They refuse to go. They still go grazing around. No weapons to defend ourselves."

The priests could have fled, the bishops said, but, true to their vocation, they remained to continue to serve their people right unto death.

"We are sad. We are angry. We feel totally exposed and most vulnerable. Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told by some to defend themselves," the bishops said, noting that most people had no weapons to defend themselves.

"How can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless and (unarmed) citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in their sacred places of worship?"

quote.... How can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless and (unarmed) citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in their sacred places of worship?"

The bishops recalled that during a Feb. 8 courtesy visit to Buhari, they expressed alarm about security in the nation.

"Since then, the bloodletting and the destruction of homes as well as farmlands have increased in intensity and brutality," they said. "Now our churches have been desecrated and our people murdered on their altars."

They said they had consistently advised their people to remain peaceful and law-abiding, but they felt "violated and betrayed in a nation that we have all continued to sacrifice and pray for."

"We are at a loss as to what excuse again we can continue to give about why things are the way they are in our nation, where a nation's landscape is littered with the bodies of its own citizens," they said.

"We are sad and fear that the clock is ticking. The bomb must be defused quickly before it explodes," they said.

"Nigeria can return to normal times if we put our heads together with sincerity," they said, offering prayers for the victims and for peace in the country.

^ Up


Africa struggles to protect Christians, human rights


Africa 1

South Sudan religious leaders persist in hope amid new nation's turmoil


WASHINGTON (CNS) -Christian leaders in South Sudan say they must hold out hope for peace in the war-scarred nation. "It seems to us the American influence is receding," said Bishop Isaiah Majok Dau, head of the Pentecostal Church of South Sudan, part of the delegation. Father James Oyet Latansio, general secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches, said America could declare that "no guns should be imported to South Sudan" as the armed factions - estimates put the number as high as 40 - squabble over wealth and territory.

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Africa 2

Central African cardinal warns against revenge after church attack


BANGUI, Central African Republic (CNS) —A cardinal in the Central African Republic warned against revenge after a priest and at least 24 lay Catholics were killed during a gun and grenade attack on a Mass in the country's capital. "For decades now, what have we done with our country: coups d'etat, mutinies, repeated rebellions?" said Cardinal Dieudonne Nzapalainga, president of the bishops' conference, May 2, the day after an attack.

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africa 3

Burundi's bishops say people are too afraid to vote honestly

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (CNS) —Catholic bishops in Burundi have criticized an upcoming referendum on constitutional reform, warning that voters will be too afraid to express their views. If passed May 17, the proposal would enable President Pierre Nkurunziza, already in power since 2005, to remain in office till 2034. "Many citizens are living in fear, even if they don't say this openly, and don't dare say what they think for fear of reprisals," the bishops' conference said in a statement. 

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africa 4

Nigerian bishops say Buhari should resign if he can't stop violence

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS) — Nigeria's bishops condemned repeated killings of innocent Nigerians by suspected ethnic militias in northeastern Nigeria and said President Muhammadu Buhari should resign if he could not keep the country safe. See link above

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africa 5

Lay Catholics plan more protests in Congo


ARU, Congo (CNS) — Catholics in Congo are planning more large-scale, peaceful demonstrations across the country to protest President Joseph Kabila's refusal to leave power. "Let's stay together, ready to face the worst, to snatch the best," the Church's lay coordination committee said in a May 1 statement. 

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africa 6

Cameroon archbishop survives gun attack after criticizing the government

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (CNS) - The Catholic Church in Cameroon said shots were fired at the residence of Archbishop Samuel Kleda, bishops' conference president, after he criticised policies by the government of President Paul Biya. There were no reports of injuries.

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July 2018

The Catholic Outliook is taking a break in July.

June Cover

August 2018

CO August 2018

Faith in action

The Catholic Church has a long history with immigration and in "welcoming the stranger." Check the Catholic Outlook for information on what the Holy Father's words about immigrants and refugees, a timeline highlighting the words of past pope's and a story about a visit by Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA, to the international border and her observations from a national perspective. Also learn more about Casa Alitas and the work Catholic Community Services provides for migrants.

THIS IS WHITE SPACE



♦ Compassion and advocacy: Pope Francis on migration.
Compasión y acción: El papa Francisco y la migración
♦ Charities president calls migrants' suffering 'unimaginable'
♦ Timeline on papal immigration teachings from 1952 to present
♦ Resources on Pope Francis and Migration


Compassion and advocacy: Pope Francis on migration.

 

Pope Francis at Lampedusa

Giusi Nicolini, the mayor of Lampedusa, an Italian island about half the size of Globe, AZ., said she hoped that Pope Francis' July 8, 2013, visit there would "change history."

"Europe, with its migration policies, has avoided the problem up until now, pretending not to see the immense tragedy of the voyages of hope across the Mediterranean."

The pope, she said, "has made the invisible visible, restoring to the migrants the dignity which countries always have denied them."

Four months later, more than 360 refugees from Africa drowned off Lampedusa's coast. 

Pope Francis visited Lampedusa and preached at an outdoor Mass that had all the markings of the Mediterranean Sea surrounding it. 

The Catholic News Service reported: "The Mass was filled with reminders that Lampedusa is now synonymous with dangerous attempts to reach Europe: the altar was built over a small boat; the pastoral staff the pope used was carved from wood recycled from a shipwrecked boat; the lectern was made from old wood as well and had a ship's wheel mounted on the front; and even the chalice - although lined with silver - was carved from the wood of a wrecked boat."

The pope began his homily: "Immigrants dying at sea, in boats which were vehicles of hope and became vehicles of death. That is how the headlines put it. When I first heard of this tragedy a few weeks ago, and realized that it happens all too frequently, it has constantly come back to me like a painful thorn in my heart."

quoteYet God is asking each of us: 'Where is the blood of your brother which cries out to me?' Today no one in our world feels responsible; we have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters."

The pope used the Genesis reading on the death of Abel to remind listeners of God's question to Cain.

"'Where is your brother?' His blood cries out to me, says the Lord. This is not a question directed to others; it is a question directed to me, to you, to each of us. These brothers and sisters of ours were trying to escape difficult situations to find some serenity and peace; they were looking for a better place for themselves and their families, but instead they found death. How often do such people fail to find understanding, fail to find acceptance, fail to find solidarity. And their cry rises up to God!"

He continued:

"Who is responsible for the blood of these brothers and sisters of ours? Nobody! That is our answer: It isn't me; I don't have anything to do with it; it must be someone else, but certainly not me. Yet God is asking each of us: 'Where is the blood of your brother which cries out to me?' Today no one in our world feels responsible; we have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters."

Recalling the parable of the Good Samaritan, Pope Francis said that we "have fallen into the hypocrisy of the priest and the Levite…: We see our brother half dead on the side of the road, and perhaps we say to ourselves: 'Poor soul!', and then go on our way. 

"It's not our responsibility, and with that we feel reassured, assuaged. The culture of comfort, which makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people, makes us live in soap bubbles which, however lovely, are insubstantial; they offer a fleeting and empty illusion which results in indifference to others; indeed, it even leads to the globalization of indifference. In this globalized world, we have fallen into globalized indifference. We have become used to the suffering of others: It doesn't affect me; it doesn't concern me; it's none of my business!"

The pope continued to hammer away at this theme of globalized indifference. 

"Has any one of us wept because of this situation and others like it? Has any one of us grieved for the death of these brothers and sisters? Has any one of us wept for these persons who were on the boat? For the young mothers carrying their babies? For these men who were looking for a means of supporting their families? We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion - 'suffering with' - others. The globalization of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep!"

Citing that this attitude as what led him to celebrate a Mass of penance that day, Pope Francis challenged his listeners: "Let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty of our world, of our own hearts, and of all those who in anonymity make social and economic decisions which open the door to tragic situations like this. Has anyone wept? Today has anyone wept in our world?"

The homily at Lampedusa became a benchmark for Pope Francis. It set him on a trajectory in which the plight of migrants and refugees were mentioned dozens of times in documents throughout his papacy. The homily at Lampedusa became one in a series of documents that focused on migrants and refugees, progressing into a comprehensive model for response. 

In 2016, he announced the creation of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, along with a special Migrants and Refugees section for which he accepted personal oversight. 

In 2017, he spoke at the Sixth International Forum on Migration and Peace, in which he introduced the "four verb" theme - "to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate" - to be used when responding to the migrant and refugee crisis. 

 

Three duties

 

The pope also talked the root causes of migration and three duties owed to migrants: justice, civility and solidarity.

In the matter of justice, Pope Francis called for an outright redistribution of goods, with more resources going to poorer nations from which people were migrating. 

"We can no longer sustain unacceptable economic inequality, which prevents us from applying the principle of the universal destination of earth's good," he said. "One group of individuals cannot control half of the world's resources. We cannot allow for persons or entire peoples to have a right only to gather the remaining crumbs."

quoteQuoting St. John Paul II's 1995 World Migration Day address, Pope Francis said: "'Irregular legal status cannot allow the migrant to lose his dignity, since he is endowed with inalienable rights that can neither be violated nor ignored.'"

On the duty to civility, he cited the United Nation's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "Our commitment to migrants, exiles and refugees is an application of those principles and values of welcome and fraternity that constitute a common patrimony of humanity and wisdom.

Quoting St. John Paul II's 1995 World Migration Day address, Pope Francis said "'Irregular legal status cannot allow the migrant to lose his dignity, since he is endowed with inalienable rights that can neither be violated nor ignored.'"

For solidarity, Pope Francis returned to his Lampedusa homily. "In the face of tragedies that take the lives of so many migrants and refugees – conflicts, persecutions, forms of abuse, violence, death – expressions of empathy and compassion cannot help but spontaneously well up."

"A duty to solidarity is to counter the throwaway culture and give greater attention to those who are weakest, poorest and most vulnerable," he said.

 

Four stages

 

In 2016, the UN approved the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in response to the ongoing migrant crisis worldwide. It included a pledge to create global compacts on migration and refugees by the end of 2018, a plan heartily endorsed by Pope Francis.

The US initially signed on to the declaration but withdrew under President Donald Trump last year.

In anticipation of the work on the compacts, Pope Francis dedicated the 51st World Day of Peace message, the traditional New Year's Day address, in 2018 to "Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace."

Through the Migrants and Refugees office, he also issued two key documents, each "Responding to Refugees and Migrants." One offered 20 "pastoral action" plans, while the other offered 20 "for the global compacts."  

In the New Year's Day message, Pope Francis began by reminding listeners that there were 250 million migrants in the world, 22.5 million of whom were refugees. 

"Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing prob­lems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited. By practicing the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, 'within the limits allowed by a correct under­standing of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society,'" he said, quoting St. John XXIII's 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris.

Pope Francis said all migrants and refugees should be treated the same, whether they arrive legally or not. "Most people migrate through regular channels. Some, howev­er, take different routes, mainly out of desperation, when their own countries offer neither safety nor opportunity, and every legal pathway appears impractical, blocked or too slow."

He asked residents and leaders of those countries where migrants and refugees arrive to eschew fear and intolerance. 

"Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and thus demeaning the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God. Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.All indicators available to the international community suggest that global migration will continue for the future. Some consider this a threat. For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace," he said.

Migrants and refugees "do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them."

Pope Francis specifically mentioned the UN effort on the two global compacts."They need to be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process. Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference," he said.

quote"Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age"

Thirteen days later, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for 104thWorld Day for Migrants and Refugees. In a message released the previous August, the pope recalled how deeply his visit to Lampedusa influenced him and his pontificate. 

"Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age," Pope Francis wrote. "This is a great responsibility that the church intends to share with all believers and men and women of goodwill, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities."

He reminded readers again of the four verbs – welcome, protect, promote and integrate.

Citing Pope Benedict XVI, Francis said that acknowledging the human dignity inherent in each migrant or refugee "obliges us to always prioritize (their) personal safety over national security."

Again quoting Pope Benedict, Pope Francis called migrants and refugees "a true resource for the communities that welcome them. This is why I hope that in countries of arrival, migrants may be offered freedom of movement, work opportunities and access to means of communication out of respect for their dignity."

Underage minors should never be held in detention and have access to primary and secondary school education. "Equally, when they come of age they must be guaranteed the right to remain and to enjoy the possibility of continuing their studies," the pope wrote.

The pope also stated that migrants and refugees are entitled to social and professional opportunities, "guaranteeing for all - including those seeking asylum - the possibility of employment, language instruction and active citizenship, together with sufficient information provided in their mother tongue."

Migrant and refugee integration must include a path to citizenship "free of financial or linguistic requirements, and by offering the possibility of special legalization to migrants who can claim a long period of residence in the country of arrival," the pope wrote.

"The Church is ready to commit herself to realizing all the initiatives proposed above. Yet in order to achieve the desired outcome, the contribution of political communities and civil societies is indispensable, each according to their own responsibilities."

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Compasión y acción: El papa Francisco y la migración.

Pope Francis at Lampedusa

Giusi Nicolini, alcaldesa de Lampedusa, una pequeña isla italiana que por su extensión es alrededor de la mitad de Globe, Az., dijo que pensaba que la visita del papa Francisco el 8 de julio de 2013 "cambiaría la historia".

«Europa, con sus políticas migratorias, ha eludido el problema hasta ahora, como si no viera la inmensa tragedia de los viajes de la esperanza a través del Mediterráneo». El papa, decía ella, «ha hecho visibles a los invisibles, devolviendo a los migrantes la dignidad que los países siempre les han negado».

Cuatro meses después, más de 360 refugiados procedentes de África perecieron ahogados en el mar cerca de la costa de Lampedusa. El papa visitó la isla y celebró una Misa al aire libre donde predicó rodeado de símbolos de las travesías marítimas.

La agencia de noticias Catholic News Service reportó: «En la Misa había varios recordatorios de que Lampedusa hoy es sinónimo de los peligrosos intentos de llegar a Europa: el altar había sido armado sobre un pequeño bote; el báculo pastoral que el papa usó fue tallado en madera de una barca naufragada; el atril, también hecho de madera de una nave, tenía al frente el timón de un barco; y hasta el cáliz –si bien el interior estaba recubierto de plata– estaba hecho con madera de un naufragio».

El papa comenzó su homilía así: «Inmigrantes muertos en el mar, por esas barcas que, en lugar de haber sido una vía de esperanza, han sido una vía de muerte. Así decía el titular del periódico. Desde que, hace algunas semanas, supe esta noticia, desgraciadamente tantas veces repetida, mi pensamiento ha vuelto sobre ella continuamente, como a una espina en el corazón que causa dolor».

quote¿Dónde está la sangre de tu hermano cuyo grito llega hasta mí? Hoy nadie en el mundo se siente responsable de esto; hemos perdido el sentido de la responsabilidad fraterna.»

El papa usó la lectura del Génesis sobre la muerte de Abel para recordar a los escuchas la pregunta que Dios le hizo a Caín: «"¿Dónde está tu hermano?" La voz de su sangre grita hasta mí, dice Dios. Ésta no es una pregunta dirigida a otros, es una pregunta dirigida a mí, a ti, a cada uno de nosotros. Esos hermanos y hermanas nuestras intentaban salir de situaciones difíciles para encontrar un poco de serenidad y de paz; buscaban un puesto mejor para ellos y para sus familias, pero han encontrado la muerte. ¡Cuántas veces quienes buscan estas cosas no encuentran comprensión, no encuentran acogida, no encuentran solidaridad! ¡Y sus voces llegan hasta Dios!».

Y continuó: «¿Quién es responsable de la sangre de estos hermanos y hermanas nuestras? ¡Ninguno! Todos respondemos igual: no he sido yo, yo no tengo nada que ver, serán otros ciertamente, yo no. Pero Dios pregunta a cada uno de nosotros: "¿Dónde está la sangre de tu hermano cuyo grito llega hasta mí?"».

«Hoy nadie en el mundo se siente responsable de esto; hemos perdido el sentido de la responsabilidad fraterna; hemos caído en la actitud hipócrita del sacerdote y el servidor del altar, de los que hablaba Jesús en la parábola del Buen Samaritano: vemos al hermano medio muerto al borde del camino, quizás pensamos "pobrecito", y seguimos nuestro camino».

«No nos compete y con eso nos quedamos tranquilos, nos sentimos en paz. La cultura del bienestar, que nos lleva a pensar en nosotros mismos, nos hace insensibles al grito de los otros, nos hace vivir en pompas de jabón, que son bonitas, pero no son nada, son la ilusión de lo fútil, de lo provisional, que lleva a la indiferencia hacia los otros, o mejor, lleva a la globalización de la indiferencia. En este mundo de la globalización, hemos caído en la globalización de la indiferencia. ¡Nos hemos acostumbrado al sufrimiento del otro: no tiene que ver con nosotros, no nos importa, no nos concierne!».

Y el papa insistió en el tema de la globalización de la indiferencia. «¿Quién de nosotros ha llorado por este hecho y por hechos como éste? ¿Quién ha llorado por la muerte de estos hermanos y hermanas? ¿Quién ha llorado por esas personas que iban en la barca? ¿Por las madres jóvenes que llevaban a sus hijos? ¿Por esos hombres que deseaban algo para mantener a sus propias familias? Somos una sociedad que ha olvidado la experiencia de llorar, de "sufrir con": ¡la globalización de la indiferencia nos ha quitado la capacidad de llorar!»

Diciendo que esta actitud es lo que lo llevó a celebrar una liturgia de penitencia ese día, el papa Francisco instó a sus escuchas: «Pidamos al Señor la gracia de llorar por nuestra indiferencia, de llorar por la crueldad que hay en el mundo, en nosotros, también en aquellos que en el anonimato toman decisiones socioeconómicas que hacen posibles dramas como éste. "¿Quién ha llorado?", "¿Quién ha llorado hoy en el mundo?"».

La homilía de Lampedusa se convirtió en un punto de referencia para el papa Francisco. Lo colocó en una trayectoria en la cual el drama de los migrantes y los refugiados se ha mencionado decenas de veces en los documentos de su pontificado. La homilía de Lampedusa ha sido uno de una serie de documentos enfocados en los migrantes y los refugiados que fue generando el modelo para la respuesta.

En 2016, el papa anunció la creación del Dicasterio para el Servicio del Desarrollo Humano Integral, con una sección especial para los migrantes y los refugiados, bajo su supervisión.

En 2017, ante el VI Foro Internacional sobre Migraciones y Paz, presentó una respuesta a la crisis de migrantes y refugiados que estaría articulada en cuatro verbos –acoger, proteger, promover e integrar.

Tres deberes

 

El papa habló sobre las raíces de la migración y sobre tres deberes para con los migrantes: justicia, civilidad y solidaridad. En cuanto a la justicia, el papa hizo un llamado a la redistribución directa de los bienes, para que las naciones más pobres, de donde la gente emigra, reciban más recursos.

«Ya no son sostenibles las inaceptables desigualdades económicas que impiden poner en práctica el principio del destino universal de los bienes de la tierra», dijo. «Un pequeño grupo de individuos no puede controlar la mitad de los recursos mundiales. Pueblos enteros y personas no pueden tener solamente el derecho de recoger las migajas».

Hablando sobre el deber de la civilidad, mencionó la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas de 1948. «Nuestro compromiso a favor de los migrantes, los refugiados y las personas desplazadas es una aplicación de los principios y valores de la hospitalidad y la fraternidad que constituyen un patrimonio común de humanidad y sabiduría».

Citando el mensaje de San Juan Pablo II para la Jornada Mundial de las Migraciones de 1995, el papa Francisco dijo: «la condición de irregularidad legal no permite menoscabar la dignidad del emigrante, el cual tiene derechos inalienables, que no pueden violarse ni desconocerse».

Para el principio de solidaridad el papa volvió a su homilía de Lampedusa. «Frente a las tragedias que "marcan con fuego" la vida de muchos inmigrantes y refugiados –guerras, persecuciones, abusos, violencia y muerte– no pueden menos que brotar sentimientos espontáneos de empatía y compasión. Es deber de solidaridad combatir la cultura del descarte y conceder más atención a los débiles, los pobres y los vulnerables», dijo.

Cuatro piedras angulares

En 2016 la ONU aprobó la Declaración de Nueva York para los Refugiados y los Migrantes en respuesta a la continua crisis de migración que se vive en todo el mundo. Ésta incluía un compromiso de crear cuatro pactos mundiales sobre la migración y los refugiados para fines de 2018, un plan que cuenta con el respaldo pleno del papa Francisco.

Estados Unidos inicialmente firmó la declaración, pero el año pasado, bajo el presidente Donald Trump, se retiró del plan.

quoteCitando el mensaje de San Juan Pablo II , el papa Francisco dijo: «la condición de irregularidad legal no permite menoscabar la dignidad del emigrante, el cual tiene derechos inalienables, que no pueden violarse ni desconocerse»

En anticipación al desarrollo de los pactos, el papa dedicó el mensaje de la 51a Jornada Mundial de la Paz en 2018 a: "Migrantes y refugiados: hombres y mujeres que buscan la paz". Además, mediante la oficina para migrantes y refugiados, emitió dos documentos. En uno de ellos presentó 20 planes de acción pastoral, y en el otro, 20 para los pactos universales.

En su mensaje del día de Año Nuevo, el papa Francisco comenzó recordándoles a los escuchas que había 250 millones de migrantes en el mundo; 22,5 millones de ellos, refugiados.

«Acoger al otro exige un compromiso concreto, una cadena de ayuda y de generosidad, una atención vigilante y comprensiva, la gestión responsable de nuevas y complejas situaciones que, en ocasiones, se añaden a los numerosos problemas ya existentes, así como a unos recursos que siempre son limitados. El ejercicio de la virtud de la prudencia es necesario para que los gobernantes sepan acoger, promover, proteger e integrar, estableciendo medidas prácticas que "respetando el correcto orden de los valores, ofrezcan al ciudadano la oportunidad de ser parte de la nueva sociedad", dijo, citando la encíclica Pacem in Terris de San Juan XXIII, de 1963.

El papa Francisco dijo que todos los migrantes y refugiados deben ser tratados de la misma manera, ya sea que lleguen por conducto legal o no. «La mayoría emigra siguiendo un procedimiento regulado, mientras que otros se ven forzados a tomar otras vías sobre todo a causa de la desesperación, cuando su patria no les ofrece seguridad y oportunidades, y toda vía legal parece imposible, bloqueada o demasiado lenta».

Les pidió a los residentes y líderes de los países adonde llegan migrantes y refugiados que eviten el temor y la intolerancia.

«En muchos países de destino se ha difundido ampliamente una retórica que enfatiza los riesgos para la seguridad nacional o el coste de la acogida de los que llegan, despreciando así la dignidad humana que se les ha de reconocer a todos, en cuanto que son hijos e hijas de Dios. Los que fomentan el miedo hacia los migrantes, en ocasiones con fines políticos, en lugar de construir la paz, siembran violencia, discriminación racial y xenofobia, que son fuente de gran preocupación para todos aquellos que se toman en serio la protección de cada ser humano. Todos los datos de que dispone la comunidad internacional indican que las migraciones globales seguirán marcando nuestro futuro. Algunos las consideran una amenaza. Los invito, al contrario, a contemplarlas con un mirada llena de confianza, como una oportunidad para construir un futuro de paz», dijo.

«Los migrantes y refugiados "no llegan con las manos vacías: traen consigo la riqueza de su valentía, su capacidad, sus energías y sus aspiraciones, y por supuesto los tesoros de su propia cultura, enriqueciendo así la vida de las naciones que los acogen"».

El papa Francisco mencionó específicamente los dos pactos internaciones de la ONU. «Es importante que estén inspirados por la compasión, la visión de futuro y la valentía, con el fin de aprovechar cualquier ocasión que permita avanzar en la construcción de la paz. Solo así, el necesario realismo de la política internacional no se verá derrotado por el cinismo y la globalización de la indiferencia», dijo.

quoteCada forastero que llama a nuestra puerta es una ocasión de encuentro con Jesucristo, que se identifica con el extranjero acogido o rechazado en cualquier época de la historia»

Trece días después, el papa Francisco celebró Misa para la 104a Jornada Mundial del Migrante y del Refugiado. En un mensaje difundido anticipadamente en agosto, el papa recordó el profundo efecto que su visita a Lampedusa había tenido en él y en su pontificado.

«Cada forastero que llama a nuestra puerta es una ocasión de encuentro con Jesucristo, que se identifica con el extranjero acogido o rechazado en cualquier época de la historia», escribió el papa. «Es una gran responsabilidad que la Iglesia quiere compartir con todos los creyentes y con todos los hombres y mujeres de buena voluntad, que están llamados a responder con generosidad, diligencia, sabiduría y amplitud de miras, cada uno según sus posibilidades».

Volvió a recordar a los lectores los cuatro verbos: acoger, proteger, promover e integrar. Citando al papa Benedicto XVI, Francisco dijo que reconocer la dignidad humana inherente en cada migrante y refugiado «nos obliga a priorizar siempre su seguridad personal por encima de la seguridad nacional" y, nuevamente citando a Benedicto, el papa hizo referencia a migrantes y refugiados como "un verdadero recurso para las comunidades que los acogen. Por tanto, espero que, en el respeto a su dignidad, les sea concedida la libertad de movimiento en los países de acogida, la posibilidad de trabajar y el acceso a medios de telecomunicación».

En cuanto a los menores, «es preciso evitarles cualquier forma de detención y asegurarles el acceso regular a la educación primaria y secundaria. Igualmente, es necesario garantizarles la permanencia regular al cumplir la mayoría de edad y la posibilidad de continuar sus estudios», escribió el papa.

El papa también señaló que los migrantes y refugiados tienen derecho a la inserción socio-laboral, «garantizando a todos, incluidos los que solicitan asilo, la posibilidad de trabajar, cursos formativos lingüísticos y de ciudadanía activa, como también una información adecuada en sus propias lenguas».

La integración de migrantes y refugiados debe incluir el ofrecimiento de la ciudadanía «desligada de los requisitos económicos y lingüísticos y de vías de regularización extraordinaria a los emigrantes que puedan demostrar una larga permanencia en el país», continuó el papa.

«La Iglesia está dispuesta a comprometerse en primera persona para que se lleven a cabo todas las iniciativas que se han propuesto más arriba. Sin embargo, para obtener los resultados esperados es imprescindible la contribución de la comunidad política y de la sociedad civil, cada uno según sus propias responsabilidades».

Por Michael Brown
Director Editorial

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Catholic Charities president calls migrants' suffering 'unimaginable'

A visit to the international border reveals families in pain and resilience

 

"The suffering they are going through is unimaginable," said Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities USA, after listening to stories from families waiting to apply for asylum at the international border at Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

Sister Markham, who recently completed a tour of a detention facility for children in McAllen, Texas, said she wanted to visit Nogales to get the whole story behind the current public debate over immigration.

"Their stories," she said, pausing to compose herself. "They are running for their lives. Literally, they left at gunpoint."

She was joined July 11 at the Nogales Port of Entry by Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, executive director of the Kino Border Initiative, and organization that assists mostly families who have been sent back to Mexico following deportation proceedings. With the large influx of refugees seeking to enter the US, Father Carroll, along with other religious-based and nonprofit agencies in Nogales, AZ., have set up temporary shelters and a check-in system for families seeking to enter the US and to apply for asylum.

Were it not for those shelters, families would have to wait in line at the port of entry in the humidity and 100+ degree heat for about two weeks, said Father Carroll.

The first family Sister Markham met included 11 members, four of whom were young children. They left the Mexican state of Guerrero, one of the poorest and least safe areas in the country.

Father Carroll translated their story, explaining how their lives had been threatened by a local political party during the recent presidential election. At the border, their biggest fear is that the father and uncle would be detained, the children taken from them, and the women deported. Knowing that risk, they waited anyway because "they were threatened with death," in the hometown Sister Markham said.

While such conditions might easily  fall into the classic example of political asylum, Peg Harmon, executive director of Catholic Community Services in the Diocese of Tucson and who has served as a CCUSA board member, acknowledged that under the current vetting system, there were no guarantees.

Another family – two women and two young children – also spoke to Sister Markham. One woman held a young girl who appeared to be no older that nine, crying inconsolably, close to her. The mother, also from Guerrero, spoke of her husband being taken and her daughter's life threatened. She was with another woman, with a son about same age. They had tried to cross into the US in January but were stopped and deported in February. Under current US policy, they would not be eligible to enter the country because of the previous attempt, but have no other place to go.

quoteTheir stories," Sister Markham said, pausing to compose herself. "They are running for their lives. Literally, they left at gunpoint?"

 

Sister Maria Engracia Robles Robles, a Missionary Sister of the Eucharist, works at a comedor – a combined soup kitchen and food pantry – run by KBI in Nogales, Sonora. As she listened to the families' stories, she used her cell phone to put their names on the list of applicants waiting to file for asylum.

Several people passing the families as they entered the US from Mexico offered them candy and money. Local charities also supplied blankets and water bottles, kept in large coolers, at the border station.

Following her meeting with the families, Sister Markham said there were two things she hoped to accomplish when she returns to national headquarters outside Washington.

"We need to call all believers to prayer, and we have to educate people who don't have the opportunity to come here," she said.

Sister Markham said that visiting Nogales was a completely different experience from her trip to visit the juveniles held in Texas.  In McAllen, "they are already going through the process; there the process is very slow."

"Here, it is very painful to hear the stories, to know how people have suffered to get this far, especially the children," she said. "It's emotionally overwhelming. It's more painful than I imagined."

The next day, Sister Markham was joined by Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger at Casa Alitas, a family shelter run by CCS in Tucson. Casa Alitas receives families in transition from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, after being processed from the border and immigration court.

Early on July 12, there were two families preparing to leave Casa Alitas and another four being placed there. When the bishop and Sister Markham arrived, Olga, a Honduran refugee, was preparing to leave with her two children to board a bus for a three-day trip to stay with family in Baltimore.

A few hours later, Valentia, a Mexican native, was leaving with her two children for her own cross-country trip to a community in New Jersey.

The Casa staff expected three families from Brazil and one from Mexico to come from ICE by mid- morning .

quoteOur goal is to do everything we can to see that these families are treated with dignity."

Sister Markham visited the home the night before and had a chance to spend some time with the departing families. During her morning visit, she gave hugs and smiles to the familiar faces, and later, interviews with local media who arrived to document the visit.

"Our goal is to do everything we can to see that these families are treated with dignity," she told one reporter.

A glance around the now crowded living area revealed weary women and children, some of whom looked ready for a nap.  Some needed clothing, which was available from a supply room. The smell of a hot breakfast begins to waft out of the kitchen where signs and wipe boards and children's drawings create a homey atmosphere.

Bishop Weisenburger noted that "20 percent of the Gospels is about taking care of the poor and needy."

Taking care of immigrants and refugees is important for those who want "to really live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to call ourselves Christian."

As she began to describe her experience from the day before, Sister Markham again paused to fight back tears after talking about "the babies sitting at the border in the heat."

"I have a big heart," she explained, smiling again.

Quote20 percent of the Gospels is about taking care of the poor and needy", Bishop Weisenburger noted, "Taking care of immigrants and refugees is important for those who want 'to really live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to call ourselves Christian.'"

 

The van carrying the new arrivals from ICE  came early and new families entered the home. Although most of the staff speaks Spanish, none speak Portuguese, so staff calls a contracted interpreter service to translate for the newcomers' information about where they are and what to expect.

The families also learned about the special visitors there that day.

Staff learned that none of the families knew where they were going when they were boarding the van from their previous detention center. All the adults had ankle bracelets equipped with GPS locating ability to help ICE track their locations. One family had another member held in detention but didn't know the person's status or location. All the members of the Brazilian families had passports, which they were able to retain.

Diego Peña Lopez is the site manager for the house. He helps the families get settled and assists in the initial intake form, which includes information about extended family and contact numbers for reuniting them with the newly arrived and those still housed in detention centers elsewhere.

The information he gleans from the temporary residents includes  medical conditions that need attention and other special needs.

Once the intake forms are completed, the families are directed to call loved ones to let them know they are safe. For those who are fleeing domestic violence, it's important to let their next point of contact know that they are safe and to arrange travel plans, he said.

Language is more of a problem, he said, because ICE issues all their documents in English, and even the bus tickets are in English and difficult to read. Volunteers who drive the families to the station explain how the ticket works and highlights when they need to transfer to a different bus.

Before leaving to catch her flight back east, Sister Markham showered praise upon the more than half dozen workers and volunteers gathered at Casa Alitas as the new families arrived. "I am just amazed at the staff and the level of attention they give to the families here."

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

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Timeline on papal immigration teachings

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Resourses on Pope Francis and Migration


The documents mentioned in the story can be.
These documents include the following:

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September 2018

CO September 2018

 

What is Catholic social teaching?

It has been called "Catholicism's best kept secret," because few people learned about Catholic social teaching growing up, even though it the Bible is filled with examples and history shows repeatedly how it has played out in every culture and every time.

This series will offer Catholic social teaching's seven themes, as identified by the US bishops. It will include stories about how the bishops of Tucson, dating back to their earliest days, put those basic teachings into practice. There will also be stories identifying ways that Catholics today can live out the social teaching of the church in their own lives.

En español

Theme 1

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.

♦ At Reachout Women's Center, success is measured in birthdays
Women Center's Fedigan a profile in Catholic social teaching
♦ Catholic social teaching and Tucson bishops


♦ Catholic social teaching documents

 


Theme 2

Call to Family, Community, and Participation

The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society -- in economics and politics, in law and policy -- directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.

♦ Erin's Law could help get pedophiles and protect children, says namesake
♦ Catholic faith calls all to study and participate in elections


♦ Catholic social teaching documents

 

 





At Reachout Women's Center, success is measured in birthdays

Reachout

On July 31, when Betty Gludt sat down for this interview, she turned 76 years old. However, in this case, the reality is, she's seen many more birthdays than that.

The executive director of Reachout Women's Center - a ministry that helps pregnant moms give birth to their children rather than have an abortion, and also that teaches women to be good parents – talked about the challenges that come with accompanying women, and sometimes convincing them, to carry their pregnancy to term.

"We see everyone, no matter if they are Christian or what their faith is, or their lack of faith," Gludt said.

Based on their published statistics,  Reachout services  provide more than an alternative to abortion. For the first half of 2018, the center has documented 21 cases where women who initially may have talked about ending their pregnancies carried to term instead.

It also administered 434 pregnancy tests and 239 ultrasounds; an additional 1,058 women received other material assistance, such as diapers, cribs and other items.

The ages of women served by Reachout range between 14-40, with the average age at 24. Women are screened when they arrive, and need only a government ID – state, US or other nation – to receive assistance. The screening protocol is targeted and specific, covering legal questions surrounding the conception - which may include rape, sex trafficking and abuse - and general health. Reachout will provide prenatal vitamins and schedule an ultrasound appointment.

Gludt said sometimes Reachout gets calls from women telling them to cancel the ultrasound because they changed their mind and had an abortion. Women normally come into Reachout sometime between weeks 6-12 of their pregnancy. One woman came in for the first time at 32 weeks, almost eight months pregnant.

After the ultrasound, the women are referred to a parenting class which, if they successfully complete, will get them a layette – a set of resources for a newborn – including clothes, linens, bottles, formula and other items, such as handmade quilts and blankets made by local donors.

quoteWe see everyone, no matter if they are Christian or what their faith is, or their lack of faith,

"We want the women to get a sense of having something that is made just for them," Gludt said..

Besides the baby bling, Gludt added that many of the moms suffer from low self-esteem, and the aim of completing the parenting course is to help feel a sense of accomplishment, as well as learn parenting skills.

"We just want to instill in them that they are doing a good job," she added.

After the baby is born, the family also receives a toy and books for the newborn, and books for other children in the family as a way to promote literacy, Gludt said. The family receives a supply of diapers every 30 days and baby clothes every 60 days, through the child's third birthday.

Sometimes the family will need other items, like a crib or changing table. Those needs can be met only as the donations come in. "As soon as those things come in, they go out," she added.

After age three, the child and its family are referred to other services.

Most of the women who come here are poor – 95 percent are at the poverty line with incomes of $25,100 or less a year for a family of  four  – Gludt said. They may have physical or psychological conditions that require follow-up, and referrals are given to local partners that will support the pregnancy and provide services regardless of income.

Reachout receives no government funding and survives on the generosity of its benefactors.

"We are totally dependent on the generosity of our community."

Gludt said that financial donations are significantly lower in 2018 and that it has become "very tough" making ends meet. Reachout has two full-time staff and two part-time staff. 

The number of volunteers has dropped to 45 people. Ideally, the service works best with 60 volunteers.

"We are in much greater need than we ever have been before," Gludt said.

Still, it's the stories of remarkable births that help keep the mission the center of focus. Gludt noted that one pregnant mom, a rape victim, was willing to carry her baby to term, but did not want to keep it. After referring the woman to a local adoption agency, a baby boy was born on Easter morning, with the adopting family waiting with open arms.

"The mom said, 'I can't love him the way they can," Gludt recalled. "Even in the case of rape, God can work miracles."

Editor's note: To volunteer, donate items or provide financial support, call Reachout Women's Center at (520) 321-4300.

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Women Center's Fedigan a profile in Catholic social teaching

SJWC

Jean Fedigan, founder and executive director of the Sister Jose Women's Shelter is not your typical Catholic.

In fact, for parts of her life, she wasn't Catholic at all.

Raised Protestant, Fedigan joined the Catholic Church in 1971. That decision came after a close Catholic friend of hers had died, and she had a memorable conversation with the friend's priest, Fedigan said. "He was the first person to tell me that God loved me. I had always thought God was a judgmental God."

However, she said her conversion stumbled because she was divorced and it left her feeling uncomfortable and unwanted; she left the practice of her faith. "I mourned that leaving. I felt like I wasn't welcome."

Later, after meeting Msgr. Thomas Cahalane, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows, she was drawn back in through the parish's Alienated Catholics Anonymous Program in 2000 and began an intense journey of faith.

She introduced the JustFaith program to OMOS around that time. JustFaith is a national program that focuses on the application of Catholic social teaching. Fedigan said JustFaith was a moment of conversion for her, giving direction to her life and opening up doors to ministry.

"It just hit me. It was a lightning bolt," she said. "I was mesmerized by Catholic social teaching. I was set on fire."

With the help of Msgr. Cahalane, she quickly progressed from serving as a lector and extraordinary minister of holy Communion - a eucharistic minister - into more immediate contact with those in need, including a stint as a Samaritan Patrol member, a program that provides food, water and other needs to immigrants crossing the desert into Arizona. She also served on the parish Christian Life Committee and Stewardship and Development Council.

During her early ministry work, Fedigan came under the tutelage of Franciscan Sister Jose Hobday, a nationally known Native American author and lecturer. In the mid-2000s, Sister Jose moved to southern Arizona where Msgr. Cahalane introduced the two women.

"It was the beginning of an extraordinary experience for me," Fedigan recalled.

quoteI needed something to spiritually move me forward,

The two studied Scripture together, meeting every Friday night for several years. "She taught me how to read Scripture in a different way." Fedigan, a professional nurse, also helped Sister Jose as her health declined.

After Sister Jose died April 5, 2009, Fedigan volunteered for a week in Lourdes, France, where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Fedigan washed dishes at the onsite hospital and worked in the baths, to which have been attributed countless miracle cures since the apparition.

"I needed something to spiritually move me forward," she said.

 In 2010, Fedigan was among a group of volunteers to open shelters for the homeless

on unseasonably cold nights. There were no shelters set up just for women. With the help of private donors, Fedigan  first rented a 750-square-foot house at 18 W. 18th St., where she and volunteers staffed the first Sister Jose Shelter for women. The number of homeless women continued to increase and the Sister Jose Women's Center moved to a larger, permanent location at 1050 S. Park Ave., in 2017. The shelter serves women of all ages, providing a safe place to sleep, wash, eat and launder clothes. Medical services are also provided several days a week.

After age three, the child and its family are referred to other services.

Most of the women who come here are poor – 95 percent are at the poverty line with incomes of $25,100 or less a year for a family of  four  – Gludt said. They may have physical or psychological conditions that require follow-up, and referrals are given to local partners that will support the pregnancy and provide services regardless of income.

Reachout receives no government funding and survives on the generosity of its benefactors.

"We are totally dependent on the generosity of our community."

Programs have been introduced to teach basic life skills and build confidence and self-esteem.

"My business plan is God. My business plan is prayer," she said. "God gives you gifts and says use those gifts to do whatever you need to do."

Fedigan has been successful in building support among Tucson's various faith communities. "We welcome members of other faith communities to work in this vineyard with us."

Fedigan said she embraces Msgr. Cahalane's belief in everyday holiness, adding that living out the tenets of Catholic social teaching can take on many forms depending on a person's station in life.

If you are a parent raising children and "you love your family and you honor all those who come into your home, you are living out Catholic social teaching."

"When you take the next step to help those you come into contact with, you are already progressing," she said. "It's living a consistent ethic of life. … It's living the ministry of everyday life."

Because of her efforts on behalf of the poor, Fedigan was nominated for the Lumen Christi Award, sponsored by the Catholic Extension Society, in 2015.

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Erin's Law could help get pedophiles and protect children, says namesake

Erin

The national map at erinslaw.org shows more than two-thirds of the states colored dark blue and 15 states, including Arizona, in turquoise.

The turquoise states are those where Erin's Law – legislation that mandates a personal body safety curriculum in grades K-12 – is scheduled for introduction as a bill in the upcoming legislative session.

The other 35 states already have enacted the legislation.

Its namesake, Erin Merryn, spoke in July at "Power over Predators," the inaugural national gathering and training session for the Tucson-based anti-human trafficking group called Sold No More. That gathering drew more than 100 anti-trafficking advocates from states coast-to-coast, and Merryn's keynote set the tone for the gathering. Her address offered her own story stretching from childhood abuse to her legislative advocacy as an adult.

Here in Arizona, the law would require schools to provide students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, age-appropriate curriculum that helps children become aware of sexual abuse and empowers them with techniques they can use to tell a trusted adult.

The law also instructs school personnel about child sexual abuse. It requires that parents and guardians receive information about the warning signs of child sexual abuse, plus needed assistance, referral or resource information to support sexually abused children and their families.

Merryn urged her listeners to become active "and don't let Arizona become the last state" to pass the law. She visited here during the last session, where a bill received support in the House, but did not get a hearing in the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake).

quoteBecause the perpetrators of most sex abuse are family members or trusted friends of the family, it is very difficult for parents to discuss the topic with their children,

The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Daniel Hernandez, a Democrat from Santa Cruz and southern Pima County; and Tucson Democrat Rep. Kristen Engel. Merryn said Glendale Republican Rep. Paul Boyer, chairman of the House Education Committee, expressed strong support for the legislation. However, Allen would not take Merryn's  phone calls to discuss Allen's opposition to considering the bill, Merryn said.

Merryn told the horrific story of her own abuse at the hands of the uncle of her best friend, beginning at age 6, and being threatened into silence by the perpetrator. Abuse was never discussed in the home, and later, only in her schools relative to "stranger danger."

"The only education (about what to do) I was getting was from this monster," Merryn recalled. She later was also raped repeatedly by a cousin and was able to break her silence only much later when her younger sister disclosed that she too had been a victim of the same cousin.

Although the allegations fractured her large family, and the cousin, who later admitted to the crimes, received minimal consequences, it wasn't until years later, through a series of emails, that her rage later turned to peace when the cousin asked for forgiveness, Merryn said.

Because the perpetrators of most sex abuse are family members or trusted friends of the family, it is very difficult for parents to discuss the topic with their children, she added. That is why Merryn says including the curriculum in schools is so important.

The law  already has helped students come forward in the states where it has passed. In one state, where a school superintendent

had strongly opposed  the law, a teacher in that superintendent's school district was arrested shortly after  students were being taught the curriculum. The teacher was accused by multiple students, including the young daughter of the superintendent, Merryn said.

"I will not stop until this law is passed in all 50 states," Merryn added. "It is making a difference and I will get this law passed in this state, too."

Lisa Hansen, who cofounded Sold No More with her father, Jerry Preston, credited Merryn with addressing one of the root factors involved in human trafficking. Many adults who are drawn into sex trafficking – the most common form of human trafficking – have been victims of sex abuse as children.

"That's why what she is doing is so important," Hansen said.

Hansen said  Sold No More recognized that the greatest need in combatting sex trafficking is educating young people in the schools, and the organization has developed its own K-12 Power over Predators curriculum, which has been welcomed in the Tucson Unified School District, and also has been presented to 30,000 students since 2010.

Editor's note: For more information about Erin's Law, visit www.erinslaw.org

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

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Catholic faith calls all to study and participate in elections

Vote

To live out your Catholic faith fully, you have to be engaged civilly, which means you have to vote, said Ana Chavarin.

"People need to connect their call as Catholics and Christians to care for our neighbors. Voting is how we care for our neighbors," Chavarin, associate organizer for the Pima County Interfaith Civic Educational Organization and Southern Arizona Interfaith. "It's part of our duty as citizens."

Among her many duties is helping to organize voter registration drives in areas where there was low voter turnout in the 2016 election. Registration drives in Tucson parishes have focused on St. John's, Our Lady of Fatima, Santa Cruz, St. Augustine's and Sacred Heart parish areas.  Registration drives also occurred in parishes located in areas where there has been higher voter turnout, such as  St. Pius X, Our Mother of Sorrows and St. Cyril's neighborhoods.

quoteTo live out your Catholic faith fully, you have to be engaged civilly, which means you have to vote,

Chavarin said that all someone needs to register is a valid ID. The registration process in the parish usually involves a local leader making some brief comments after Communion at the weekend Masses, including a personal story.

In her case, Chavarin said, she spoke about the health care needs of her children, urging parents in attendance to be sure to become educated, register and to vote in an upcoming election if they wanted to have a say in the current health care debate.

The voter registration form requires the applicant to list a political party or to be unaffiliated. Chavarin said that volunteers assisting at voter registrations cannot advise applicants on party affiliation, nor can they identify the party to which they themselves belong.

Sometimes no one will register; sometimes as many as 10 will register. "What I think I am seeing is that the majority are already registered, but they are just not voting," Chavarin said. Many see the television news and the current bitter political climate "and they just get so disgusted they prefer to step away."

The general election this year is Nov. 6. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 13.

PCICEO's goal is to "focus on their (local) community and the issues the community cares about."

Getting people to register to vote is just the first step. It also is important to give voters opportunities to listen to the candidates and to learn about the issues, Chavarin added.

On Sept. 30, the Pima County Interfaith Council, parent organization for PCICEO, is sponsoring such a session at 3 p.m. in St. Pius X Church, 1800 Camino Pio Decimo. The session will invite candidates for Congress and the state Legislature to state their positions on issues important to the local community, including education, health care and immigration, and local ballot initiatives.  "We ask people to pay attention to what the candidates are saying," she said.

The organizations cannot endorse candidates.

However, when ballot initiatives are discussed, PCIC can take positions when a consensus of their members support it. Chavarin noted that constituent members of PCIC meet quarterly to discuss issues, deciding whether the group will support, oppose or stay neutral.

A consensus is usually designated when 90 percent of the delegates agree. In 2016, PCIC supported the approval of a school bond in the Amphi Unified School District. "It passed with the largest plurality of any school bond in the state," she said.

By asking candidates specific questions about the issues, it means that PCIC will have a starting point to discuss and effect change with the winners after the election, Chavarin added.

There  also are plans on Oct. 13 to send teams door-to-door in low-voting neighborhoods to conduct last minute registrations and to provide polling site and other information to potential voters. 

Getting involved in the political process is one of the most important, responsible and community-minded things Catholics can do in living out their faith, Chavarin added.

"I am not just serving myself, I am serving the community. I have to be aware of the issues in the community. It's not just acting in my own self-interest but acting in the best interests in the community at large."

Editor's note: PCICEO received a grant last year for $70,000 from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to assist in its community organizing efforts. To register to vote, visit www.recorder.pima.gov/regvote

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Catholic social teaching and Tucson bishops

Having served in the Southwest for years, Bishop John B. Salpointe was elevated to the episcopacy shortly after the Arizona territory was established as an Apostolic Vicariate on Sept. 25, 1868. As with any new mission diocese, Bishop Salpointe spent much time on the go, either recruiting priests from Europe to serve in the new territory or visiting the vast outposts in the vicariate, which encompassed the entire state.

During his missionary visits, he was always present to bless and anoint the dying, whether they were Native Americans or American or Mexican soldiers. He provided and blessed teachers working in Tohono O'odham schools.

In 1880, the Sisters of St. Joseph opened St. Mary Hospital and Orphan Asylum in Tucson. In February of 1885, Bishop Salpointe was appointed coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Bishop Peter Bourgade arrived in Tucson on May 9, 1885 and was a willing student of Bishop Salpointe. He was not new to Arizona, having been recruited to come here from France and named a pastor at Immaculate Conception in Yuma in 1871. Because of ill health, he was forced to return to France for two years, before accepting assignments in New Mexico and Texas.

When Bishop Salpointe was named to Santa Fe, his protégé returned. Bishop Bourgade is remembered largely for two things: first, he was the first official bishop of the Diocese of Tucson, erected in 1897; second, he was the moving force behind the construction of the current St. Augustine Cathedral.

quoteI have been desirous to do good, and whatever I may have achieved God knows and let it suffice."

Bishop Bourgade believed strongly in education, and established six high schools and six elementary schools during his tenure. He also established an orphanage, staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. He opened a diocesan office for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, known for its work in the missions, and appointed his eventual successor, then-Father Henry Granjon, to lead it.

In 1899, he likewise was elevated to become the Archbishop of Santa Fe. In a letter to the faithful upon his departure, he wrote: "It is not for me to say whether I have accomplished much or little by my labors in Arizona; for 'we are unprofitable servants' according to our Lord. I have been desirous to do good, and whatever I may have achieved God knows and let it suffice."

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Catholic social teaching documents

 

CST Word Clooud

 

Papal documents key to Catholic Social Teaching

RERUM NOVARUM ON CAPITAL AND LABOR 1891
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum.html

QUADRAGESIMO ANNO ON RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOCIAL ORDER 1931
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19310515_quadragesimo-anno.html

MATER ET MAGISTRA ON CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL PROGRESS 1961
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_15051961_mater.html

PACEM IN TERRIS ON ESTABLISHING UNIVERSAL PEACE IN TRUTH, JUSTICE, CHARITY, AND LIBERTY 1963
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem.html

POPULORUM PROGRESSIO ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES 1967
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_26031967_populorum.html

 OCTOGESIMA ADVENIENS EIGHTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1971
APOSTOLIC LETTER OF POPE PAUL VI
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/apost_letters/documents/hf_p-vi_apl_19710514_octogesima-adveniens.html

LABOREM EXERCENS ON THE NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1981
APOSTOLIC LETTER OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091981_laborem-exercens.html

 

CENTESIMUS ANNUS ON THE HUNDRETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1991
ENCYCLICAL BY POPE JOHN PAUL II 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_01051991_centesimus-annus.html



COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH 2004
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

 

LAUDATO SI'  ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME 2015
ENCYCLICAL BY POPE FRANCIS
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

ENCYCLICAL OF ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH DIMITRIOS FOR THE INDICTION AND DAY OF PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 1989
https://www.patriarchate.org/-/message-by-h-a-h-ecumenical-patriarch-dimitrios-upon-the-day-of-prayer-for-the-protection-of-creation-01-09-1989-



US Bishops' documents key to Catholic Social Teaching

BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO US 1979
PASTORAL LETTER ON RACISM
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/african-american/brothers-and-sisters-to-us.cfm

BISHOPS' STATEMENT ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, 1980
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/death-penalty-capital-punishment/statement-on-capital-punishment.cfm

THE CHALLENGE OF PEACE: GOD'S PROMISE AND OUR RESPONSE 1983
A PASTORAL LETTER ON WAR AND PEACE
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-and-peace/nuclear-weapons/upload/statement-the-challenge-of-peace-1983-05-03.pdf

ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR ALL 1986
PASTORAL LETTER ON CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING AND THE U.S. ECONOMY
http://www.usccb.org/upload/economic_justice_for_all.pdf

WELCOMING THE STRANGER AMONG US: UNITY IN DIVERSITY 2000
STATEMENT ON IMMIGRATION
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/pastoral-care-of-migrants-refugees-and-travelers/resources/welcoming-the-stranger-among-us-unity-in-diversity.cfm

RESPONSIBILITY, REHABILITATION, AND RESTORATION: A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE 2000
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/criminal-justice-restorative-justice/crime-and-criminal-justice.cfm

FORMING CONSCIENCES FOR FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP A CALL TO POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY 2015
FROM THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES WITH INTRODUCTORY NOTE
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

 

OTHER KEY RESOURCES

POPE PAUL'S ADDRESS TO THE UNITED NATIONS 1965
https://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651004_united-nations.html

CELAM CONFERENCE AT MEDELLIN 1968
http://www.povertystudies.org/TeachingPages/EDS_PDFs4WEB/Medellin%20Document-%20Poverty%20of%20the%20Church.pdf

CONFERENCE AT PUEBLA 1979
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/1979/january/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19790128_messico-puebla-episc-latam.html

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septiembre 2018

CO September 2018

¿Qué es la enseñanza social católica?

 

Se le ha llamado "el secreto mejor guardado del catolicismo" porque no son muchas las personas que crecieron aprendiendo la enseñanza social católica, a pesar de que la Biblia está repleta de ejemplos, y la historia muestra una y otra vez cómo se ha manifestado en todas las culturas y en todos los tiempos.

Esta serie ofrece los siete temas de la enseñanza social católica, identificados por los obispos de EE. UU. Se incluirán narraciones de cómo los obispos de Tucson, desde el principio, pusieron en práctica esas enseñanzas básicas en nuestro medio. También se presentarán artículos sobre diferentes maneras en que los católicos de hoy pueden aplicar la enseñanza social de la Iglesia en su vida diaria.

 

Tema 1

Vida y dignidad del ser humano

La Iglesia católica proclama que la vida humana es sagrada y que la dignidad de la persona constituye la base de la visión moral de la sociedad. Esta creencia es el fundamento de todos los principios de nuestra enseñanza social. En nuestra sociedad, la vida humana está bajo el ataque directo del aborto y la eutanasia. Por otra parte, el valor de la vida humana se ve amenazado por la clonación, la investigación de células estaminales embrionarias y la pena de muerte. Atacar intencionalmente a civiles en la guerra y cometer atentados terroristas siempre son actos censurables. La enseñanza católica nos señala que hemos de trabajar para evitar la guerra. Las naciones deben proteger el derecho a la vida hallando métodos cada vez más eficaces de prevenir los conflictos y, cuando surgen, resolverlos por medios pacíficos. Creemos que la vida de cada persona tiene un valor inmenso, que la gente es más importante que las cosas, y que cada institución se mide y se define según amenace o realce la vida y la dignidad del ser humano.

♦ En el Centro de asistencia para mujeres, el éxito se mide en cumpleaños
Perfiles de enseñanza social católica: Fedigan y el Centro para mujeres
♦ La enseñanza social católica y los obispos de Tucson


Tema 2

Llamado a la familia, la comunidad y la participación

El ser humano no es solamente sagrado sino también social. La manera como organizamos nuestra sociedad –en economía y política, en derecho y leyes– afecta directamente la dignidad humana y la capacidad de las personas para crecer en comunidad. El matrimonio y la familia son las instituciones sociales centrales que debemos apoyar y fortalecer, no menoscabar. Creemos que la gente tiene el derecho y el deber de participar en la sociedad, buscando juntos el bien común de todos, especialmente el de los pobres y los vulnerables.

♦ La Ley de Erin podría proteger a los niños contra pedófilos
♦ La fe católica nos llama a estudiar y participar en las elecciones

 

 





En el Centro de asistencia para mujeres, el éxito se mide en cumpleaños

 

Reachout

El 31 de julio, día de esta entrevista con Betty Gludt, ella cumplía 76 años. Pero la realidad es que ella ha visto muchos más cumpleaños.

Gludt es la directora ejecutiva de Reachout Women's Center, un ministerio que ayuda a mujeres embarazas a tener a sus hijos en lugar de hacerse un aborto, y les ofrece consejos para la crianza de los niños. Gludt nos habló sobre las dificultades que conlleva acompañar a las mujeres, y a veces convencerlas, para que lleven su embarazo a término.

"Atendemos a todas, sin importar si son cristianas o de otra fe, o si no tienen fe", dijo Gludt.

Según las estadísticas publicadas, este centro provee más que una alternativa al aborto. Durante la primera mitad de 2018, el centro ha documentado 21 casos de mujeres que inicialmente expresaron que querían poner fin a su embarazo, pero luego decidieron lo contrario.

También se administraron 434 análisis de detección de embarazo y 239 exámenes de ultrasonido, y 1.058 mujeres más recibieron asistencia material como pañales, cunas y otros artículos.

La edad de las mujeres que el centro atiende oscila entre 14 y 40 años, con un promedio de 24. Al llegar, se les hace una entrevista inicial para la prestación de servicios, y solamente se requiere un documento de identidad, que puede ser estatal, nacional o de otro país. El protocolo consta de preguntas específicas de índole legal relacionadas con la concepción, por ejemplo, casos de violación, trata de blancas o abuso y temas de la salud en general. Las mujeres reciben vitaminas prenatales y se programa una cita para el ultrasonido.

Gludt dice que a veces Reachout recibe llamadas de mujeres que quieren cancelar el ultrasonido porque cambiaron de opinión y se hicieron un aborto. Las mujeres que acuden a Reachout generalmente lo hacen entre las semanas 6 y 12 de su embarazo. Una mujer fue al centro por primera vez en su semana 32, con casi ocho meses de embarazo.

Después del ultrasonido, se les ofrece la oportunidad de asistir a una clase de crianza de niños y, si la completan, reciben un ajuar de bebé con ropa, sábanas, biberones, fórmula y otros artículos, como colchas hechas a mano y mantas tejidas por donantes locales.

"Queremos que las mujeres sientan que tienen algo preparado especialmente para ellas", dice Gludt.

Aparte de los regalitos para el bebé y la enseñanza, el objetivo de la clase es ayudar a las mujeres, muchas de las cuales tienen baja autoestima, para que sientan que han logrado algo y se beneficien de los consejos.

"Queremos que sientan que están haciendo un buen trabajo", añadió.

Una vez nacido el bebé, la familia recibe un juguete y libros para el recién nacido y para los otros niños de la familia con el fin de promover la alfabetización, dijo Gludt. La familia recibe pañales cada 30 días y ropa para el bebé cada 60 días hasta que el niño cumple los tres años.

A veces la familia necesita otras cosas, como una cuna o una mesa para cambiar los pañales. Esas necesidades se van cubriendo a medida que llegan donaciones. "Ese tipo de cosas, ni bien llegan, salen", añadió.

Después del tercer cumpleaños del niño, la familia recibe información para solicitar otros servicios.

quoteAtendemos a todas, sin importar si son cristianas o de otra fe, o si no tienen fe.»

La mayoría de las mujeres que van al centro son pobres –el 95 por ciento están debajo del umbral de pobreza, con ingresos anuales de $25.100 o menos para una familia de cuatro– dijo Gludt. Algunas de ellas tienen afecciones físicas o psicológicas que requieren de seguimiento, y el centro les da los datos de agencias locales que colaboran apoyando el embarazo y proveen servicios, independientemente de los ingresos de la solicitante.

Reachout no recibe fondos del gobierno y subsiste gracias a la generosidad de sus benefactores. "Dependemos completamente de la generosidad de nuestra comunidad".

Gludt dijo que las donaciones monetarias han sido considerablemente más bajas en 2018, y que se ha vuelto muy difícil cubrir los gastos. Reachout tiene un personal de dos empleados de tiempo completo y dos de medio tiempo. El número de voluntarios ha bajado a 45 personas. Lo ideal es contar con 60 voluntarios.

"Estamos mucho más necesitados que nunca", dijo Gludt.

Aún así, son las extraordinarias historias de los nacimientos las que ayudan a mantener el enfoque en cumplir la misión. Gludt comentó que una mujer embarazada, víctima de una violación, estaba dispuesta a llevar el embarazo a término pero no quería quedarse con el bebé, por lo que el centro le recomendó una agencia de adopciones local. La mañana de Pascua, nació un varón a quien la familia adoptiva esperaba con los brazos abiertos.

"La mamá dijo: "Yo no puedo amarlo como ellos pueden", recuerda Gludt. "Aún en casos de violación, Dios puede obrar milagros".

Nota editorial: Para colaborar como voluntario o donar artículos o dinero, llame al Reachout Women's Center, (520) 321-4300.

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Perfiles de enseñanza social católica: Fedigan y el Centro para mujeres

SJWC

Jean Fedigan, fundadora y directora ejecutiva del Centro para mujeres Sister Jose, no es una católica típica.

De hecho, a lo largo de su vida, no siempre fue católica.

Fedigan creció en la fe protestante, pero se unió a la Iglesia católica en 1971. Ella tomó esa decisión después de la muerte de una amiga, cuando tuvo una conversación memorable con el sacerdote de la difunta. "Él fue la primera persona en decirme que Dios me ama. Yo siempre había pensado que Dios era un Dios sentencioso", dijo Fedigan.

Sin embargo, Fedigan añade que la conversión falló porque ella estaba divorciada, y eso la hizo sentir incómoda; pensaba que no la querían aceptar, y así abandonó la práctica de su fe. "Me dolió dejarla atrás. Pero yo sentía que no era bienvenida".

Más adelante, conoció a Mons. Thomas Cahalane, párroco de Nuestra Señora Dolorosa. Y luego, a través de un programa parroquial para católicos alejados de la fe, volvió a sentirse atraída en el año 2000, y así comenzó con fervor a recorrer un nuevo camino en la fe.

Fue en ese tiempo que ella introdujo en la parroquia un programa de alcance nacional llamado JustFaith que se enfoca en la práctica de la enseñanza social católica. Fedigan dice que para ella fue un momento de conversión que le dio dirección a su vida y le abrió las puertas al ministerio.

"De pronto lo vi todo con claridad. Fue como un relámpago", dice. "Estaba fascinada con la enseñanza social católica. Me sentía enardecida".

Con la ayuda de Mons. Cahalane, rápidamente progresó de lectora y ministro extraordinario de la Santa Comunión a una relación más estrecha con los necesitados, como el trabajo de miembro de la Patrulla Samaritana, un programa que lleva alimento, agua y otras provisiones a inmigrantes que cruzan el desierto hacia Arizona. También sirvió en el comité de vida cristiana y el consejo de corresponsabilidad y desarrollo de la parroquia.

En los comienzos de su trabajo ministerial, Fedigan estuvo bajo la tutela de la hermana franciscana Jose Hobday, autora y ponente nativo-americana reconocida a nivel nacional. A mediados de la década de 2000, la hermana se mudó al sur de Arizona donde Mons. Cahalane puso a las dos mujeres en contacto.

"Fue el principio de una experiencia extraordinaria para mí", recuerda Fedigan.

quoteYo necesitaba algo que me ayudara a avanzar espiritualmente,»

Estudiaron las Escrituras juntas, reuniéndose todos los viernes durante varios años. "Ella me enseñó a leer las Escrituras de una manera diferente". Fedigan, enfermera profesional, ayudó a la Hna. Jose cuando su salud comenzó a declinar.

Después de la muerte de la Hna. Jose, el 5 de abril de 2009, Fedigan realizó servicio voluntario durante una semana en Lourdes, Francia, donde la Virgen María se le apareció a Bernadette Soubirous en 1858. Fedigan lavó platos en el hospital que se encuentra allí y trabajó en las piscinas, a las cuales se les atribuyen incontables curas milagrosas desde la aparición de la Virgen.

"Yo necesitaba algo que me ayudara a avanzar espiritualmente", dijo.

En 2010, Fedigan formó parte de un grupo de voluntarios que abrió refugios para personas sin hogar en noches sumamente frías. No había albergues exclusivos para mujeres, pero, con la ayuda de donaciones privadas, Fedigan alquiló una casa de 750 pies cuadrados en 18 W. 18th St., donde ella y algunos voluntarios atendieron el primer Centro para mujeres Sister Jose. El número de mujeres desamparadas siguió creciendo, y en 2017 el Centro se mudó a un edificio más grande y permanente ubicado en 1050 S. Park Ave. En el albergue se brindan servicios a mujeres de todas las edades que encuentran allí un lugar seguro donde dormir, higienizarse, comer y lavar su ropa. También se ofrecen servicios médicos varios días a la semana, y se han sumado programas para enseñar destrezas básicas y fomentar la confianza y la autoestima.

"Mi plan de negocio es Dios. Mi plan de negocio es la oración", comenta. "Dios te da dones y te dice que los uses para hacer lo que tengas que hacer".

Fedigan ha sido exitosa en conseguir el apoyo de varias comunidades de fe de Tucson.

"Recibimos con gusto a miembros de otras comunidades de fe que deseen colaborar con nosotros en esta viña".

Fedigan dice que ella, como Mons. Cahalane, cree en la santidad diaria, y añade que vivir los principios de la enseñanza social católica toma muchas formas, dependiendo de dónde se encuentre uno en la vida.

Si eres un padre que está criando a sus hijos y "amas a tu familia y honras a todos los que visiten tu hogar, estás viviendo la enseñanza social católica".

"Cuando das el siguiente paso, para ayudar a aquellas personas que encuentras en tu vida, estás progresando", dice. "Es vivir una ética de vida constante... es vivir el ministerio de la vida cotidiana".

En reconocimiento de la labor que realiza a favor de los pobres, en 2015 Fedigan fue nominada para el Premio Lumen Christi, auspiciado por la Sociedad de Extensión Católica.

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

La Ley de Erin podría proteger a los niños contra pedófilos

Erin

En el sitio web erinslaw. org hay un mapa de nuestro país que muestra más de dos tercios de los estados coloreados de azul oscuro, y 15 estados, entre ellos Arizona, en turquesa.

Los estados color turquesa son aquellos donde la Ley de Erin –que exige la implementación de

un currículo para enseñar a los estudiantes de K-12 a proteger su cuerpo– será presentada para su adopción en la próxima sesión legislativa.

Los otros 35 estados ya han adoptado la ley.

Erin Merryn, cuyo nombre lleva la ley, hizo una presentación en julio en la conferencia nacional inaugural y sesión de capacitación del grupo antitráfico sexual basado en Tucson llamado Sold No More. La conferencia Power over Predators atrajo asistentes de todo el país, más de 100 promotores de leyes para combatir el tráfico de personas. En su discurso, que marcó la pauta para la jornada, Merryn ofreció su propia historia, desde el abuso que sufrió de niña, hasta su intervención a nivel legislativo en su adultez.

Aquí en Arizona, la ley requeriría que las escuelas provean a los estudiantes de prekínder hasta el 12o grado, un programa curricular articulado por edades que ayude a los niños a concientizarse del abuso sexual, y los prepare con técnicas que pueden aplicar para hablar con un adulto de confianza.

La ley instruye al personal escolar sobre el abuso sexual de menores, y requiere que los padres y tutores reciban información sobre las señales de advertencia del abuso sexual infantil, además de información necesaria de asistencia, asesoramiento y recursos para los niños víctimas de abuso sexual y sus familias.

Merryn instó a los presentes a tomar medidas y a no dejar "que Arizona sea el último estado" en adoptar la ley. Ella estuvo aquí durante la pasada sesión legislativa, en que el proyecto recibió apoyo en la Cámara de representantes, pero ni siquiera llegó a conseguir una audiencia en el Comité de Educación del Senado, presidido por la senadora Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake).

El proyecto fue presentado en la Cámara por el representante Daniel Hernández, demócrata de Santa Cruz y del sur del Condado de Pima; y la representante demócrata de Tucson, Kristen Engel. Merryn dijo que el representante republicano de Glendale, Paul Boyer, president del Comité de Educación de la Cámara, expresó su apoyo firme a la legislación. Sin embargo, Allen no contestó las llamadas telefónicas de Merryn para platicar sobre la oposición de Allen a considerar la adopción de la ley, dijo Merryn.

Merryn relató la horrible historia de su propio abuso a manos del tío de su mejor amiga desde que tenía 6 años, y de haber sido amenazada para que guardara silencio. En su casa nunca se habló de abuso, y en la escuela, más adelante, solamente en relación con protegerse de los desconocidos.

quoteEn la mayoría de los casos de abuso sexual los perpetradores son miembros de la familia o amigos de confianza, y es muy difícil para los padres hablar del tema con sus hijos, añadió»

"La única educación (sobre qué hacer) que yo recibía era la de ese monstruo", señaló Merryn. Tiempo después, fue violada repetidas veces por un primo, y solamente pudo romper el silencio mucho más adelante cuando su hermana menor reveló que ella también había sido víctima del mismo primo.

Aunque las acusaciones dividieron a la numerosa familia, y su primo, quien más tarde admitió haber cometido los crímenes, recibió consecuencias mínimas, no fue sino hasta pasado mucho tiempo, en una serie de mensajes de email, que la ira se convirtió en paz cuando su primo le pidió perdón, dijo Merryn.

En la mayoría de los casos de abuso sexual los perpetradores son miembros de la familia o amigos de confianza, y es muy difícil para los padres hablar del tema con sus hijos, añadió. Es por eso que Merryn afirma que incluir el currículo en las escuelas es tan importante.

En los estados donde se ha adoptado, la ley ya ha ayudado a estudiantes a denunciar abusos. En un estado, donde un superintendente escolar se había opuesto firmemente a la ley, un maestro del distrito escolar de ese mismo superintendente fue arrestado poco después de que se les comenzara a impartir el currículo a los estudiantes. El maestro fue acusado por varios estudiantes, entre ellos la hija del superintendente, dijo Merryn.

"No me detendré hasta que esta ley sea adoptada en los 50 estados", añadió Merryn.

"Está teniendo un impacto muy positivo y voy a lograr que la adopten en este estado también".

Lisa Hansen, cofundadora de Sold No More con su padre, Jerry Preston, le da crédito a Merryn por encarar uno de los factores radicales del tráfico sexual. Muchos de los adultos atraídos por el tráfico sexual –la forma más común de tráfico de personas– han sido víctimas de abuso sexual en su niñez. "Por eso lo que ella hace es muy importante", dijo Hansen.

Hansen dijo que Sold No More reconoce que la necesidad más grande en la lucha contra el tráfico sexual es educar a los niños y jóvenes en las escuelas, y la organización ha creado su propio currículo K-12 Power over Predators, que ha sido adoptado por el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Tucson, y además ha sido presentado a 30.000 estudiantes desde 2010.

Para ver más información sobre la Ley de Erin, visite www.erinslaw.org

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La fe católica nos llama a estudiar y participar en las elecciones

Votas

Para vivir la fe católica plenamente es preciso estar involucrado en la vida civil, lo cual significa que hay que votar, dijo Ana Chavarin.

"Es necesario que las personas conecten su llamado de católicos y cristianos con hacer el bien a sus vecinos. El voto es nuestra manera de demostrar que nos importa el bienestar de nuestros vecinos", dijo Chavarin, organizadora asociada de PCICEO, organización cívica educativa interreligiosa del Condado de Pima, y Southern Arizona Interfaith. "Es parte de nuestro deber de ciudadanos".

Entre sus responsabilidades, Chavarin ayuda a organizar campañas de inscripción de votantes en zonas donde en las elecciones de 2016 el número de votantes que acudieron a las urnas fue muy bajo. Las campañas de inscripción en las parroquias de Tucson se han concentrado en las áreas vecinales de San Juan, Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Santa Cruz, San Agustín y el Sagrado Corazón. También hubo campañas en parroquias ubicadas en áreas donde un buen número de personas ejercieron el derecho a votar, como los vecindarios de San Pío X, Nuestra Madre Dolorosa y San Cirilo.

Chavarin señaló que lo único que hay que hacer para inscribirse es presentar un documento de identidad válido. El proceso de inscripción en la parroquia generalmente conlleva algunos comentarios breves después de la Comunión en las misas de fin de semana, incluyendo algún relato personal. En su caso, dice Chavarin,

quotePara vivir la fe católica plenamente es preciso estar involucrado en la vida civil, lo cual significa que hay que votar»

ella habló sobre las necesidades de atención de la salud de sus hijos, instando a los padres de familia presentes a que se informaran, se inscribieran y votaran en las próximas elecciones si estaban interesados en hacer oír su voz en la conversación actual sobre la atención de la salud.

En el formulario de inscripción del votante usted puede indicar afiliación a un partido político o declararse no afiliado. Chavarin dijo que los voluntarios que ayudan a llenar los formularios de inscripción electoral no pueden aconsejar a los solicitantes sobre afiliaciones políticas, ni deben identificarse por su preferencia partidista personal. 

A veces nadie se inscribe; a veces hasta 10 personas lo hacen. "Lo que estoy viendo es que la mayoría ya están inscritos, pero no votan", dijo Chavarin. Muchas personas ven las noticias en la televisión y la atmósfera política cargada de resentimientos "y se sienten tan hastiados que prefieren alejarse".

Las elecciones generales este año serán el 6 de noviembre. El último día para inscribirse y votar es el 13 de octubre.

El objetivo de PCICEO es "enfocarse en su comunidad local y en los temas importantes para la comunidad". Motivar a la gente para que voten es tan solo el primer paso. También es importante dar a los votantes oportunidades de escuchar a los candidatos y de aprender sobre los temas actuales, añadió Chavarin.

El 30 de septiembre, el Consejo Interreligioso del Condado de Pima (PCIC), organización matriz de PCICEO, patrocina una session a las 3 p.m. en la iglesia San Pío X, 1800 Camino Pio Decimo. Se invitará a candidatos al Congreso y miembros de la legislatura estatal a presentar sus posturas en temas de importancia para la comunidad local, como la educación, la atención de la salud, la inmigración, y las iniciativas electorales locales.

"Aconsejamos a la gente que presten atención a lo que los candidatos dicen", dijo.

Participar en el proceso político es una de las acciones más importantes, responsables y beneficiosas para la comunidad que los católicos pueden realizar como parte de vivir su fe, añadió Chavarin.

"No me sirvo solo a mí mismo, sirvo a la comunidad. Tengo que ser consciente de los temas que impactan a la comunidad. No se trata de actuar solo por interés propio, sino de actuar por los intereses de toda la comunidad".

Nota editorial: El año pasado PCICEO recibió una subvención de $70.000 de la Campaña Católica para el Desarrollo Humano para apoyar las iniciativas de movilización de la comunidad. Para inscribirse como votante, visite www.recorder.pima. gov/regvote.

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La enseñanza social católica y los obispos de Tucson


Salpointe

Habiendo brindado servicios en el Suroeste durante varios años, el obispo John B. Salpointe fue elevado al episcopado poco después de que el territorio de Arizona quedara establecido como Vicaría Apostólica el 25 de septiembre de 1868. Como era habitual en toda diócesis de misiones nueva, el obispo Salpointe pasó mucho tiempo viajando, a veces reclutando sacerdotes de Europa para que sirvieran en el nuevo territorio, otras veces visitando puestos misioneros remotos de la vasta vicaría, que abarcaba todo el estado.

Durante sus visitas misioneras, siempre estaba presente para bendecir y ungir a los moribundos, ya fueran indígenas del lugar o soldados estadounidenses o mexicanos. También asignaba y bendecía a los maestros que trabajaban en las escuelas Tohono O'odham.

En el año 1880, las hermanas de San José abrieron el Asilo de Huérfanos y Hospital St. Mary en Tucson. En febrero de 1885, el obispo fue nombrado coadjutor de la Arquidiócesis de Santa Fe.

bouregarde

El obispo Peter Bourgade llegó a Tucson un 9 de mayo de 1885 y se convirtió en dedicado estudiante del obispo Salpointe. Él no era nuevo en Arizona, ya que lo habían reclutado para venir aquí desde Francia y nombrado párroco de la Inmaculada Concepción, en Yuma, en 1871. Debido a cuestiones de salud, se vio obligado a regresar a Francia por dos años, antes de aceptar puestos en Nuevo México y Texas.

quoteMi deseo es hacer el bien, y lo que haya logrado, Dios lo sabe y eso basta»

Cuando el obispo Salpointe fue designado al puesto en Santa Fe, su protegido regresó. Hoy recordamos al obispo Bourgade mayormente por dos cosas: fue el primer obispo oficial de

la Diócesis de Tucson, erigida en 1897; y fue la fuerza impulsora detrás de la construcción de la actual Catedral de San Agustín.

El obispo Bourgade creía firmemente en la educación, y durante su cargo estableció seis escuelas primarias y seis secundarias. También estableció un orfanato, atendido por las hermanas de St. Joseph of Carondelet. Abrió una oficina diocesana para la Sociedad de Propagación de la Fe, ampliamente conocida por su labor en las misiones, y designó a su eventual sucesor, el entonces padre Henry Granjon.

En 1899, ascendió a arzobispo de Santa Fe. En una carta escrita a los fieles al partir, dijo: "No me corresponde decir si he logrado mucho o poco con el trabajo que realicé en Arizona; porque "siervos inútiles somos", según nuestro Señor. Mi deseo es hacer el bien, y lo que haya logrado, Dios lo sabe y eso basta".

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October 2018

CO October 2018

 

What is Catholic social teaching?

It has been called "Catholicism's best kept secret," because few people learned about Catholic social teaching growing up, even though it the Bible is filled with examples and history shows repeatedly how it has played out in every culture and every time.

This series will offer Catholic social teaching's seven themes, as identified by the US bishops. It will include stories about how the bishops of Tucson, dating back to their earliest days, put those basic teachings into practice. There will also be stories identifying ways that Catholics today can live out the social teaching of the church in their own lives.

En español

Theme 3

Rights and Responsibilities

The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities - to one another, to our families and to the larger society.

♦ Family housing program sows seeds of hope and change
♦ Catholic social teaching and Tucson bishops


♦ Catholic social teaching documents

 


Theme 4

Preferential Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.

Yuma parishes' brown bag effort yields a weekly food supply for the poor
♦ St. Vincent de Paul provides more than food, says president
♦ Soup Patrol's simple mission: Go to where the hungry are and feed them.


♦ Catholic social teaching documents

 

 





Family housing program sows seeds of hope and change

Shelter

Sonia H. Lopez said that one of the most rewarding parts of her job is seeing the families she helps come back – sometimes years later – to say thank you.

"I remember when I first started working here, meeting one little boy; he was 4 years old at the time," said Lopez, program director at Pio Decimo Center in Tucson. "He's now attending college on a Fulbright Scholarship."

Lopez administers Pio Decimo's transitional housing program. It's for families that recently found themselves without a place to live. Pio Decimo operates 12 bare-boned apartments where families can stay for up to a year. When that term expires, it is hoped that families will have saved enough money to live with more independence at another step-up unit or, optimally, to buy their own home.

The housing is not free: Tenants are required to pay 30 percent of their monthly income as rent.

A single wage-earner working full-time at minimum wage brings home about $1,500 per month and will pay $450.

Lopez said that Pio Decimo covers utilities – about $150 per month – and provides day care for children ages 3-12 when the parents are working.

Most residents also have to pay for their own transportation, food and other expenses, Lopez said. Pio Decimo provides programming support and tenants are strongly encouraged to learn skills such as financial planning, preventative health and good parenting.

Across town are four duplexes – eight more units – where many of her families will "graduate" into when their year expires. Those units bring added financial challenges – rents are higher and renters have to pay their own utilities. However, most renters make the jump after seeing their wages rise and incomes stabilize.

"We work with them to try to help them advance their careers," Lopez said, adding that thinking about a career "can be hard to focus on when you aren't housed."

Many of the families at this site have not been homeless long – usually, it is between three and six months, she said. Many were living with relatives or friends until circumstances forced them to seek other housing. Some families may have lost homes or apartments through foreclosure or eviction. Others fall into homelessness if the main wage-earner suddenly became unemployed, or through some other dire circumstance like death or divorce. Some are single-parent families fleeing domestic violence.

Most referrals come from school districts, from current renters and from other Pio Decimo staff working with the homeless.

Prior evictions can create very difficult circumstances for a family, Lopez said. Any potential landlord can decide against renting to them because of the negative credit history. Lopez makes sure that families with evictions work to settle those debts quickly, to help build their credit scores going forward.

quoteI remember when I first started working here, meeting one little boy; he was 4 years old at the time,...."

"There are a lot of issues with credit when you have an eviction," Lopez said. "It's hard to rent again."

Job insecurity seems to be less of a problem among the renters, Lopez added, noting that she will hear of someone being laid off one day and starting a new job the next day.

Despite the problems facing families struggling with homelessness, nearly 85 percent of those who enter the transitional program find permanent housing by the time they leave. For some, it means moving into city housing, or renting on the open market. Many families become homeowners, either independently or with the help of other programs such as Habitat for Humanity.

Although Pio Decimo doesn't offer mental health or other health care services, there are providers nearby that serve low-income populations, Lopez said. Pio Decimo includes some programming to help families deal with stress and similar mental health and general health topics.

Families face other obstacles in the health or support area too. Some lack outside assistance; extended families don't always help as expected. Also, if there's a divorce involved, but alimony and child support is not being provided, that can continue to put financial pressure on families.

"Lack of family support and other conflicts don't end just because the families come here," Lopez said.

Another common obstacle – one that is not usually obvious – is car troubles. Unscrupulous mechanics prey upon the poor, knowing how they rely so heavily on transportation, she added.

Lopez said that although she will work with renters who may face temporary setbacks, she expects them to work hard to meet all the requirements of their placement.

"I really care about them a lot," she said, "but I can be a pain."

quote...He's now attending college on a Fulbright Scholarship."

Lopez knows that although the program provides some flexibility, forming good habits now will serve the renters better once they re-enter the housing market.  

Thirteen years ago, Lopez started at Pio Decimo as a case worker, later becoming a program coordinator. She became program director 18 months ago, which means she spends more time with papers that she used to spend with people. However, she said, she enjoys spending time talking to families and helping them settle into a temporary home that later will springboard into a secure, permanent residence.

Although Pio Decimo operates as an agency within Catholic Community Services, almost all its funding comes from county, state and federal grants. It receives in-kind services from CCS.

Pio Decimo also runs programs to help homeowners stave off foreclosure and to assist people who suddenly or unexpectedly become homeless.

Lopez said that she carefully discusses many issues with families before they move in, not the least of which is identifying what items they will be bringing with them. Many will have a large mattress for adults but nothing for the children. Fortunately, Pio Decimo has a storeroom of donated items and furniture that can help families re-establish households.

All the apartments lack one essential item: a wireless connection.

Built 30 years ago, they all have phone jacks for landlines. However, most of the renters have cell phones, and use data plans to stay connected. The children frequently will have homework to do online and can share an office computer or are directed to a local library for internet access.

Lopez said that Pio Decimo used to receive frequent donations of household items, but those have dropped off significantly in recent years. Among the items most needed are paint, blinds, couches, living room furniture, bathroom sets, kitchenware and other items, such as blankets, sheets, towels, cookware and bakeware.

For more information about Pio Decimo's transitional housing program, visit ccs-soaz.org/services/detail/transitional-housing.

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Yuma parishes' brown bag effort yields a weekly food supply for the poor

SJWC

YUMA — At the beginning of each month, 400 brown bags are placed in the backs vestibules of St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Neumann churches, courtesy of the combined St. Vincent de Paul Council.

For the past two years, parishioners Cathy and Antonio Castro have dutifully restocked the lunch bags.  Each week, they placed a note outlining the types of foods needed to supply the food donation boxes to the poor. Each Monday, volunteers come in to sort and redistribute the donations, check expiration dates and prepare the boxes for needy families.

The list on the bags ask for the most meager of donations: cans of tuna, beef stew, pinto beans and cereal, for example. Parishioners choose to pick up the small bag and fill it with items on the list stapled to it. Those making donations put the bags in donation bins at the back of the two churches.

"It truly is amazing to me to see the work they do. I feel this could open people's eyes on how this small but powerful  group works, how helpers  handle their work day to day," she said.

The parish  volunteers used to write down the requested items on slips of paper, but those notes inevitably were found on the floor after parishioners left the church, Castro said.

quoteNo one ever gets refused."

Castro said that while some donations come back in the small brown bags, most usually are brought in with larger bags containing many items.  "People see what's on the list so they know exactly what we are looking for."

The eye-catching novelty has made a difference in donations, too, she added. "We definitely have had a bigger response since we have been using the bags," she said.

Although the food box contents are intended to feed small families, volunteers often will give away two boxes if a family of five or six members needs help.

"We are not going to deny anyone if they need more food," Castro said. "No one ever gets refused."

Cathy is a retired hospital worker and Antonio is a retired teacher. She said the parish communities are "tremendously" supportive of the SVDP's food box program. "We find it rewarding to see how people help other people out."

Week after week, parishioners grab a brown bag and drop off groceries to feed the poor, , just as a matter of putting their faith into practice, Castro said. "They really don't have any idea of the difference they are making in people's lives."

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

St. Vincent de Paul provides more than food, says president

Erin

YUMA —St. Francis of Assisi Parish's concern for the hungry is about more than just brown bags and food boxes

The Yuma parish  also provides more than $82,000 annually in rent and utility assistance to those in need.

Susan Shifflet is council president for the combined St. Francis and St. John Neumann St. Vincent de Paul Society. She noted that although the food pantry provides boxes each week, the Vincentians host another important project that lends support to the area community.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 31, 2017, St. Vincent de Paul received more than $83,000 in combined parish donations and disbursed all but about $400 to local people in need of rental and utility assistance.

"We have some awesome parishioners," she said.

The parishes hold a second collection every fifth Sunday to benefit St. Vincent de Paul; the rest comes in via the poor box and other donations, she said.

Even with those resources, not all the requests can be met. For example, for the last week of August, $2,000 was disbursed. However, the team was only able to meet 10 of the 22 requests for assistance, she said.

Shifflet noted that winter visitors boost donations, and St. Vincent's can only disburse the funds it has on hand. During the summer, most requests are for electric bills and in the winter, it's rent. The organization tries to make full payments, but sometimes can only provide partial ones.

quote[T]he Vincentians have been able to meet 90 percent of requests, assisting a total of about 378 families."

People who seek assistance receive a home visit from St. Vincent volunteers to obtain  information. If a request comes in from someone who has received a grant during the previous 90 days, a phone interview is done instead, Shifflet said.

All grants are paid by check to the landlord or utility company directly, she added. Only once did a landlord balk at receiving a St. Vincent de Paul check, she recalled, but quickly accepted it when he was informed that he would not be receiving a rent payment otherwise.

People who request assistance for the first time receive priority over those who previously received assistance, she said.  For the current fiscal year through Aug. 30, the Vincentians have been able to meet 90 percent of requests, assisting a total of about 378 families.

Shifflet praised the work of all Vincentian volunteers, including the Castros who coordinate the distribution of more than 500 food boxes a year. The value of the groceries in each box is around $45, she said. Between 10-16 boxes are given away every week.

She noted that the Castros were keenly aware of the demographics of St. Francis of Assisi Parish when they used small brown lunch bags, instead of large brown grocery bags, to help stock the food boxes.

"Not all of our parishioners can give a lot, but a lot can give just two items, which is what fits in the smaller bag," said Shifflet.

Although the food box program is designed to serve only those living in the parish area, if someone from outside the area comes seeking help, he or she  won't be turned away. "We will give them a list of the places in their area who can help them," along with one box to get them through, Shifflet said.

The parish elementary school provides food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

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Soup Patrol's simple mission: Go to where the hungry are and feed them.

Soup Patrol

Jeanette Arnquist doesn't need to hear the words.

She knows by the looks on the faces of the homeless drawn to a 12-ounce bowl of soup served from the back of Most Holy Trinity parish's white van.

"Many people will say it's the only thing they've eaten all day," she said.

Arnquist is the coordinator for the parish's Soup Patrol, a "ministry of hospitality" that runs from Nov. 1 through the end of March, providing hot homemade soup to the homeless in three locations during Tucson's winter.

Arnquist has coordinated the ministry since 2017, and volunteered at Most Holy Trinity since moving to Tucson in 2012. She previously served as administrator for the Office of Life, Ministry and Justice in the Diocese of San Bernardino, Calif., and wanted to return to hands-on ministry following her retirement.

This time of year, Arnquist is looking for volunteers to help staff the van and prepare the soup. There are 90 people broken into four-person teams who help serve the food. They gather at the parish around 5:45 p.m. and complete their daily tasks, cleaning up back at the parish about two-and-a-half hours later.

During the week, volunteers at Caridad Community Kitchen, located just a few miles south of the parish, make the soup, but on weekends, volunteers at Most Holy Trinity prepare the food.

The parish has about 40 volunteer cooks who spend three hours preparing the soup from donated items for the evening runs.

The Soup Patrol van has three stops  in the downtown Tucson area. The van usually distributes soup, bread, water or hot chocolate and cookies for about 15 minutes before moving on to the next site. If someone comes after the soup is served, but before the van pulls out, the staff can provide a "snack pack" meal in a brown bag to stragglers.

Arnquist said the numbers start small at first; the van is stocked with five gallons of soup, providing 50 servings. Some nights, they can provide seconds to hungry patrons.

"The worst thing in the world is to run out of soup. The second-worst thing is to have some left over," she said.

Very quickly, the demand requires 7.5 gallons, then 10 gallons of soup. The end of the month always has more demand than the start. "Those are people who didn't make enough money to last till the end of the month," she said.

As the winter goes on, demand also grows. In 2017, the parish ministry served more than 11,000 bowls of soup.

The van also carries a supply of emergency blankets to distribute as the weather gets colder. The ministry used to be able to tap an unlimited supply from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but last year the resource was capped below 200 and this year, only 112 were provided.

Because they are "disaster relief" lower-quality blankets, if they get soaked from heavy rainfall, the blankets literally fall apart.

"If I gave you one last night, and you got stuck in a downpour, you might need another one tonight," she said.

Volunteers are trained to give out the blankets after the soup is served, but sometimes they rely on the patrons themselves to make sure  the resource goes to the person who needs it most. "We had one man who said he was cold, but there was a pregnant woman who needed it more than he did," Arnquist recalled.

There are some regular patrons who they see almost every day, Arnquist said, and others who they see for a while  and then stop coming altogether. "In most cases, homelessness is just a temporary situation. It happens once and never happens again," she said. "We see mostly adults, but we also see children from time to time. It's really heart-breaking."

quoteThe worst thing in the world is to run out of soup. The second-worst thing is to have some left over."

A few are chronically homeless, a condition that can coincide with addictions and mental illness. However, Arnquist recalls one man, a retired cowboy, who simply no longer was able to work and had nowhere else to go.

"There was no pension system for him," she said. "He simply was too old to go out there and herd cattle. He would probably rather not be homeless, but he didn't have any options."

They go out every night, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because "there are other places providing meals on those days," Arnquist said.

Most of the volunteers are seniors because they have the most time available, especially when the start time is 5:45 p.m. Before they are assigned, however, volunteers attend two-hour training sessions. They must also submit to a criminal background check, in line with diocesan policy.

Sometimes, a volunteer will acknowledge that they aren't very good at cooking, but still want to help in the kitchen. That's when the Most Holy Trinity kitchen turns into a bakery filled with the smell of 200-300 homemade cookies.

"What would you rather have, an Oreo or a homemade chocolate chip cookie?" Arnquist asked.

She added that she was impressed by the number of volunteers coming forward each year to offer their help. "People here are really willing to step up.

Editor's note: To volunteer, or donate bread, cookies, bottled water or blankets (twin or full, only), call Arnquist at (520) 500-7278 or email soupcoordinator.mht@gmail.com.

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Catholic social teaching and Tucson bishops

Gerke

Catholic social teaching is not new to the faith, nor was it foreign to the spiritual leaders who served the Diocese of Tucson. Below is the second part of a series showing how the bishops practiced Catholic social teaching during their time.

Bishop Henry Granjon left behind an aristocratic French family to become a priest, and was recruited by Bishop Peter Bourgade to serve in Arizona. He was assigned to Sacred Heart, Tombstone, in the late 1880s and built mission churches in neighboring communities.

It was among Native Americans where he saw a need to provide services. "Only the poor Indians, alas, the thousands of Indians who people the reservations of Arizona saw no 'prayer chiefs' arrive in their midst," he wrote in a letter to a former classmate.

After his mother died in 1892, he returned home and spent four years settling the family estate while dealing with poor health. He returned to the Southwest before being called to serve in Baltimore, Md., with the newly formed Society for the Propagation of the Faith in America. After two years, in 1900, he was appointed the second Bishop of Tucson.

For the next 22 years, the Diocese and state saw many changes, but his dedication to the Native American population was steadfast. With the help of St. Katherine Drexel, he opened and staffed several mission schools on reservations.

During the Mexican Revolution, 1910-20, he provided shelter and refuge in the Diocese to those fleeing violence. The bishop was also known to trade in his vestments for worker's overalls and help with the restoration of San Xavier Mission.

He suffered from high blood pressure and died Nov. 9, 1922, at his family home in Brignais, France, during a stop there after his ad limina visit to Pope Pius XI.

quote[B]ishop Granjon was also known to trade in his vestments for worker's overalls and help with the restoration of San Xavier Mission."

A Philadelphia native, Bishop Daniel J. Gerke was the first American-born Bishop of Tucson, and its longest serving, toiling more than 37 years. He is most remembered for his building projects of all kinds – churches, schools and hospitals.

However, communications also was important, and he established the first Catholic publication, a magazine called The Catholic Observer, in 1924. In 1939, the Diocese was reconfigured with several northern expanses added to the newly erected Diocese of Gallup, NM.

With the onset of the Great Depression in the early 1930s, the bishop focused on meeting the material needs of his people. He started Catholic Social Services in Phoenix and in 1936, expanded it to Tucson. The expansion included adding programs like adoption services, foster care and aid to unmarried mothers.

When he retired at age 86, in 1960, the population of Tucson had grown tenfold during his tenure, from a little over 21,000 to 212,892. He died March 19, 1964, at age 89.

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Catholic social teaching documents

 

CST Word Clooud

 

Papal documents key to Catholic Social Teaching

RERUM NOVARUM ON CAPITAL AND LABOR 1891
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum.html

QUADRAGESIMO ANNO ON RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOCIAL ORDER 1931
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19310515_quadragesimo-anno.html

MATER ET MAGISTRA ON CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL PROGRESS 1961
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_15051961_mater.html

PACEM IN TERRIS ON ESTABLISHING UNIVERSAL PEACE IN TRUTH, JUSTICE, CHARITY, AND LIBERTY 1963
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem.html

POPULORUM PROGRESSIO ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES 1967
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_26031967_populorum.html

 OCTOGESIMA ADVENIENS EIGHTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1971
APOSTOLIC LETTER OF POPE PAUL VI
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/apost_letters/documents/hf_p-vi_apl_19710514_octogesima-adveniens.html

LABOREM EXERCENS ON THE NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1981
APOSTOLIC LETTER OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091981_laborem-exercens.html

 

CENTESIMUS ANNUS ON THE HUNDRETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1991
ENCYCLICAL BY POPE JOHN PAUL II 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_01051991_centesimus-annus.html



COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH 2004
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

 

LAUDATO SI'  ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME 2015
ENCYCLICAL BY POPE FRANCIS
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

ENCYCLICAL OF ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH DIMITRIOS FOR THE INDICTION AND DAY OF PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 1989
https://www.patriarchate.org/-/message-by-h-a-h-ecumenical-patriarch-dimitrios-upon-the-day-of-prayer-for-the-protection-of-creation-01-09-1989-



US Bishops' documents key to Catholic Social Teaching

BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO US 1979
PASTORAL LETTER ON RACISM
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/african-american/brothers-and-sisters-to-us.cfm

BISHOPS' STATEMENT ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, 1980
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/death-penalty-capital-punishment/statement-on-capital-punishment.cfm

THE CHALLENGE OF PEACE: GOD'S PROMISE AND OUR RESPONSE 1983
A PASTORAL LETTER ON WAR AND PEACE
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-and-peace/nuclear-weapons/upload/statement-the-challenge-of-peace-1983-05-03.pdf

ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR ALL 1986
PASTORAL LETTER ON CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING AND THE U.S. ECONOMY
http://www.usccb.org/upload/economic_justice_for_all.pdf

WELCOMING THE STRANGER AMONG US: UNITY IN DIVERSITY 2000
STATEMENT ON IMMIGRATION
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/pastoral-care-of-migrants-refugees-and-travelers/resources/welcoming-the-stranger-among-us-unity-in-diversity.cfm

RESPONSIBILITY, REHABILITATION, AND RESTORATION: A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE 2000
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/criminal-justice-restorative-justice/crime-and-criminal-justice.cfm

FORMING CONSCIENCES FOR FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP A CALL TO POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY 2015
FROM THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES WITH INTRODUCTORY NOTE
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

 

OTHER KEY RESOURCES

POPE PAUL'S ADDRESS TO THE UNITED NATIONS 1965
https://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651004_united-nations.html

CELAM CONFERENCE AT MEDELLIN 1968
http://www.povertystudies.org/TeachingPages/EDS_PDFs4WEB/Medellin%20Document-%20Poverty%20of%20the%20Church.pdf

CONFERENCE AT PUEBLA 1979
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/1979/january/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19790128_messico-puebla-episc-latam.html

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octubre 2018

CO September 2018

¿Qué es la enseñanza social católica?

 

Se le ha llamado "el secreto mejor guardado del catolicismo" porque no son muchas las personas que crecieron aprendiendo la enseñanza social católica, a pesar de que la Biblia está repleta de ejemplos, y la historia muestra una y otra vez cómo se ha manifestado en todas las culturas y en todos los tiempos.

Esta serie ofrece los siete temas de la enseñanza social católica, identificados por los obispos de EE. UU. Se incluirán narraciones de cómo los obispos de Tucson, desde el principio, pusieron en práctica esas enseñanzas básicas en nuestro medio. También se presentarán artículos sobre diferentes maneras en que los católicos de hoy pueden aplicar la enseñanza social de la Iglesia en su vida diaria.

 

Tema 3

Los Derechos Y Deberes

La tradición católica enseñia que se puede proteger la dignidad humana y se puede establecer una comunidad saludable sólo si se respetan los derechos humanos y se cumple con los deberes. Por lo tanto, toda persona tiene un derecho fundamental a la vida y un derecho a todo lo necesario para vivir con decencia. A la par de esos derechos, hay también deberes y responsabilidades-de unos· a ot os, hacia nuestras familias y hacia la sociedad en general.

♦ Programa de vivienda familiar siembra esperanza y cambio
♦ La enseñanza social católica y los obispos de Tucson


Tema 4

La Opción Por Los Pobres E Indefensos

Una prueba moral básica es cómo les va a los miembros más indefensos. En una sociedad marcada por divisiones cada vez más agudas entre ricos y pobres, nuestra tradición recuerda la historia del Juicio Final (Mt 25:31-40) y nos enseñia a preocuparnos primero por las necesidades de los pobres e indefensos.

Recolección de alimentos en parroquias de Yuma genera provisión semanal para los pobres
♦ San Vicente de Paul provee más que comida, dice su presidenta
♦ La misión de Soup Patrol es simple: Salir a encontrar al hambriento y darle de comer

 

 





Programa de vivienda familiar siembra esperanza y cambio

 

Shelter

Sonia H. López dijo que una de las partes más gratificantes de su trabajo es cuando una de las familias a quienes ella ha ayudado regresa, a veces años más tarde, a decirle gracias.

"Recuerdo haber conocido a un niño de 4 años cuando empecé a trabajar aquí", dijo López, directora del programa del Centro Pío Décimo en Tucson. "Ahora él está en la universidad con una beca Fulbright".

López administra el programa de vivienda transicional de Pío Décimo, cuyo objetivo es asistir a familias que se queden sin un lugar donde vivir. Pío Décimo opera 12 apartamentos básicos donde las familias pueden permanecer hasta un año. Se espera que cuando ese plazo termine las familias hayan ahorrado suficiente dinero para "graduarse" a otra vivienda con más independencia y responsabilidades o, preferiblemente, para comprar casa propia.

La vivienda no es gratis: Los inquilinos pagan un alquiler de 30 por ciento de sus ingresos mensuales.

Una familia con un solo asalariado en un trabajo de tiempo completo con sueldo mínimo cobra alrededor de $1.500 por mes y pagará $450.

López explicó que Pío Décimo cubre los gastos de servicios como electricidad y agua –alrededor de $150 por mes– y provee cuidado de niños de 3 a 12 años cuando los padres están trabajando.

La mayoría de los residentes pagan además por su propio transporte, comida y otros gastos, dijo López. Pío Décimo ofrece apoyo y aconseja a los inquilinos para que aprendan planificación financiera, prevención de enfermedades y cómo criar exitosamente a los hijos.

Hay cuatro dúplex –ocho unidades–  en la ciudad a donde muchas familias se mudan cuando el año en la primera vivienda termina. En esas unidades las obligaciones son mayores, ya que los inquilinos deben pagar alquileres más altos y las cuentas de los servicios. No obstante, la mayoría de ellos dan el paso adelante al ver que sus sueldos mejoran y los ingresos se estabilizan.

"Tratamos de ayudarlos a avanzar en una carrera", dijo López, añadiendo que ,concentrarse en seguir una carrera "no es fácil cuando la persona no tiene techo".

Algunas de las familias que viven en estos apartamentos no han estado sin hogar mucho tiempo, por lo general, entre tres y seis meses, dijo. En algunos casos, vivían con parientes o amigos hasta que las circunstancias los obligaron a buscar otro lugar. Hay familias que pierden su casa o apartamento debido a una ejecución hipotecaria o al desalojo. Otras quedan sin vivienda cuando el principal sostén de la familia pierde repentinamente el trabajo, o por otras situaciones adversas como el divorcio o la muerte. Algunas son familias monoparentales que han huido de la violencia doméstica.

quoteRecuerdo haber conocido a un niño de 4 años cuando empecé a trabajar aquí.»

La mayoría de las recomendaciones llegan de los distritos escolares, de inquilinos y de personal de Pío Décimo que asiste a los sintecho de la comunidad.

Las órdenes de desalojo crean circunstancias muy difíciles para una familia, dijo López. En cualquier propiedad pueden decidir no alquilarles una vivienda debido a su historial crediticio negativo. López ayuda a familias con desalojos a saldar esas deudas rápidamente para que vayan mejorando su crédito.

"Hay varios problemas con el crédito cuando una persona tiene un desalojo", dijo López. "Es difícil volver a alquilar".

La estabilidad laboral parece no presentar tantos problemas, añadió López, señalando que a veces se entera de alguien que ha perdido el trabajo y al otro día ya encontró otro.

A pesar de los problemas que las personas en estas situaciones precarias enfrentan, casi el 85 por ciento de aquellas que entran en el programa transicional logran encontrar vivienda cuando es hora de egresar. Para algunas, eso significa mudarse a viviendas subvencionadas de la ciudad o alquilar en el mercado abierto. Otras familias se convierten en propietarios de vivienda, ya sea de forma independiente o con la ayuda de otros programas, como Habitat for Humanity.

Si bien Pío Décimo no ofrece servicios de atención de la salud mental u otros servicios de salud, hay proveedores que atienden a personas de bajos ingresos, dijo López. Pío Décimo incluye programas para ayudar a manejar el estrés y a atender problemas similares de la salud mental y general.

Las familias que quedan sin techo enfrentan además otros obstáculos por motivos de salud o por falta de apoyo. Algunas no consiguen asistencia y los parientes a veces no ayudan como sería de esperar. Además, si hay un divorcio de por medio, pero no hay pagos de pensión alimenticia o manutención, la presión económica es una carga continua para la familia.

"La falta de apoyo y los conflictos no terminan cuando las familias llegan aquí", dijo López.

Otro obstáculo común –uno que generalmente se pasa por alto– es el de los problemas con los vehículos. Hay mecánicos inescrupulosos que se aprovechan de los pobres sabiendo cuánto dependen del transporte, añadió.

López dijo que aunque trata de ayudar a los inquilinos cuando se encuentran ante contratiempos pasajeros, ella espera que se esfuercen para cumplir con todos los requisitos de su acuerdo.

"Realmente me importan mucho", dijo, "pero a veces doy lata".

quoteAhora él está en la universidad con una beca Fulbright.»

López sabe que a pesar de que el programa tiene cierta flexibilidad, desarrollar buenos hábitos ahora les servirá a los inquilinos cuando vuelvan a buscar vivienda en el mercado.

Hace trece años López comenzó a trabajar en Pío Décimo como asistente social y luego fue coordinadora. Se convirtió en directora del programa hace 18 meses, lo cual significa que ahora pasa más tiempo en trabajo de oficina que el tiempo que solía pasar con la gente. Sin embargo, dijo, le agrada platicar con las familias y ayudarlas a instalarse en sus viviendas temporales que serán el trampolín para una residencia más segura y permanente.

Aunque Pío Décimo opera como agencia en el marco de Servicios Comunitarios Católicos (CCS), casi todos los fondos que recibe provienen de subvenciones del condado o del gobierno estatal y federal. De CCS recibe servicios en especie.

Pío Décimo también ofrece programas para ayudar a dueños de viviendas a prevenir la ejecución hipotecaria y para asistir a personas que repentina o inesperadamente quedan sin techo.

López dijo que antes de que las familias se muden a los apartamentos, ella les explica detenidamente varios temas, uno muy importante, qué traer consigo. Muchos tienen colchones grandes para adultos, pero nada para los niños. Afortunadamente, Pío Décimo cuenta con un depósito de muebles y artículos donados para ayudar a las familias a poner la casa.

Todos los apartamentos carecen de un elemento esencial: conexión inalámbrica.

Edificados hace 30 años, todos ellos tiene tomas de teléfono fijo. No obstante, la mayoría de los inquilinos cuentan con teléfonos móviles y usan sus planes para conectarse. Los niños frecuentemente tienen tareas para hacer en línea, y pueden usar una computadora de la oficina o dirigirse a la biblioteca local para conectarse a internet.

López dijo que Pío Décimo solía recibir donaciones frecuentes de artículos para el hogar, pero en los últimos años las donaciones han mermado significativamente. Los artículos que generalmente se necesitan son: pintura, persianas, sofás, muebles de sala, juegos de baño y otros artículos como mantas, sábanas, toallas, fuentes para hornear y enseres de cocina.

Para ver más información sobre el programa de vivienda transicional de Pío Décimo visite el sitio ccs-soaz.org/services/detail/transitional-housing.

 

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Recolección de alimentos en parroquias de Yuma genera provisión semanal para los pobres

SJWC

YUMA — Al principio de cada mes 400 bolsas de alimentos llegan a las iglesias San Francis de Asís y St. John Neumann, cortesía del consejo conjunto de San Vicente de Paul.

Durante los últimos dos años, los feligreses Cathy y Antonio Castro han reabastecido las bolsas diligentemente. Todas las semanas colocan notas con la lista de alimentos necesarios para llenar las cajas de comida para los pobres. Cada lunes los voluntarios organizan y redistribuyen las donaciones, verifican fechas de caducidad y preparan las cajas.

Las listas de alimentos solicitados son muy frugales: mayormente cereales y productos enlatados como atún, guisado y frijoles. Los feligreses recogen una bolsa chica y la llenan con los alimentos de la lista engrapada. Luego, las bolsas se colocan en los lugares designados en estas dos iglesias.

quoteNunca se la negamos a nadie»

"Realmente me asombra ver el trabajo que hacen. Siento que esto podría abrirles los ojos a la gente para que vean cómo trabaja este pequeño pero poderoso grupo, cómo los ayudantes realizan su labor diaria", dijo.

Los voluntarios de la parroquia antes escribían las listas de alimentos solicitados en tiras de papel, pero esas notas inevitablemente terminaban en el piso a la salida de los feligreses de la iglesia, dijo Castro.

Castro comentó que si bien algunas personas entregan sus donaciones en la bolsa que va con la lista, en la mayor parte de los casos, vienen con bolsas más grandes que contienen más comida. "Al ver lo que hay en la lista, la gente sabe exactamente lo que estamos buscando".

Esta novedosa iniciativa ha hecho una diferencia en las donaciones, añadió. "Definitivamente hemos tenido una mayor respuesta desde que empezamos a usar las bolsas", dijo.

Dado que el contenido de una caja alcanza para alimentar a una familia no muy numerosa, si los necesitados son una familia de cinco o seis personas los voluntarios les dan dos.

"No vamos a rechazar a alguien que necesite más comida", dijo Castro. "Nunca se la negamos a nadie".

Cathy se retiró de su trabajo en un hospital y Antonio es maestro jubilado. Ella dice que las comunidades parroquiales apoyan enormemente al programa de paquetes de comida de SVDP. "Es gratificante ver cómo la gente ayuda a los demás".

Semana tras semana, los feligreses toman una bolsa y entregan sus donaciones de comida para alimentar a los pobres como práctica de su fe, dijo Castro. "No se hacen idea del impacto positivo que tienen en la vida de otras personas".

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

San Vicente de Paul provee más que comida, dice su presidenta

boxes

YUMA — En la Parroquia San Francisco de Asís la atención de los pobres va más allá de bolsas de comida.

Esta parroquia de Yuma distribuye más de $82.000 al año en asistencia para el pago de alquileres y servicios públicos de los necesitados.

Susan Shifflet es presidenta del consejo de la Sociedad de San Vicente de Paul de las parroquias San Francisco y San John Neumann. Shifflet señaló que si bien distribuyen cajas de alimentos todas las semanas, los vicentinos también realizan un proyecto importante de apoyo a la comunidad de la zona.

En el año fiscal que cerró el 31 de septiembre de 2017, San Vicente de Paul recibió más de $83.000 en donaciones parroquiales y distribuyó todo ese dinero, con excepción de alrededor de $400, a residentes de la zona necesitados de ayuda para pagar el alquiler o las cuentas de servicios públicos.

"Tenemos feligreses maravillosos", dijo.

Las parroquias hacen una segunda colecta cada cinco domingos para contribuir a San Vicente de Paul, y el resto proviene de otras fuentes de donación, dijo.

Aún con esos recursos, no es posible satisfacer todas las solicitudes. Por ejemplo, la última semana de agosto se distribuyeron $2.000, pero solamente se logró responder a 10 de las 22 solicitudes recibidas.

Shifflet señaló que con los visitantes de invierno las donaciones aumentan, pero la Sociedad solo puede distribuir dinero disponible al momento. Durante el verano, la mayoría de las solicitudes son para la cuenta de la electricidad, y en invierno, para el alquiler. Se procura hacer pagos completos, pero a veces solo es posible un pago parcial.

Las personas que buscan asistencia reciben una visita a domicilio de voluntarios de San Vicente para reunir información. Si la solicitud proviene de alguien que ha recibido ayuda en los últimos 90 días, se realiza una entrevista telefónica, dijo Shifflet.

Todo el dinero asignado a un solicitante se le paga directamente al arrendador o a la compañía de servicio, añadió. Solo una vez un propietario se resistió a recibir un cheque de San Vicente de Paul, recuerda Shifflet, pero lo aceptó rápidamente cuando se le informó que de lo contrario no recibiría el pago del alquiler.

quote(L)os vicentinos lograron satisfacer el 90 por ciento de las solicitudes, un total de alrededor de 378 familias. ,»

Las personas que solicitan asistencia por primera vez tienen prioridad sobre quienes ya han recibido ayuda, dijo. Para el año fiscal que cerró el 30 de agosto, los vicentinos lograron satisfacer el 90 por ciento de las solicitudes, un total de alrededor de 378 familias.

Shifflet elogió el trabajo de todos los voluntarios vicentinos, entre ellos los Castro, por su coordinación de la distribución de más de 500 cajas de comida al año. El valor de los alimentos contenidos en cada caja es alrededor de $45, dijo. Todas las semanas se entregan entre 10 y 16 cajas.

Ella señaló que los Castro eran plenamente conscientes del perfil demográfico de la Parroquia San Francisco de Asís cuando usaron bolsas de papel chicas en lugar de bolsas grandes para la recolección de alimentos.

"No todos nuestros feligreses pueden dar mucho, pero muchos pueden donar un par de artículos, que es lo que se puede empacar en las bolsas más chicas", dijo Shifflet.

Aunque el propósito del programa de alimentos es servir a residentes de la zona parroquial, si alguien de fuera del área se presenta pidiendo ayuda, no se le niega. "Le damos una lista de sitios de su zona donde lo podrán asistir" y una caja para que tenga algo mientras tanto, dijo Shifflet.

La escuela primaria de la parroquia reparte canastas de comida en Acción de Gracias y Navidad.

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La misión de Soup Patrol es simple: Salir a encontrar al hambriento y darle de comer

Votas

Jeanette Arnquist no necesita oír las palabras.

A ella se lo dice todo la expresión del rostro de los sintecho atraídos por un tazón con 12 onzas de sopa caliente que se les ofrece desde una camioneta blanca de la Parroquia de la Santísima Trinidad.

"Muchas personas dicen que es lo único que han comido en todo el día", comentó.

Arnquist es la coordinadora del Soup Patrol –patrulla de la sopa– un ministerio que opera desde el 1.o de noviembre hasta el final de marzo, el invierno de Tucson, sirviendo sopa casera caliente a los sintecho en tres localidades.

Arnquist comenzó a coordinar el ministerio en 2017, pero ha sido voluntaria en la Santísima Trinidad desde que se mudó a Tucson en 2012. Ella fue administradora en la Oficina de Vida, Ministerio y Justicia de la Diócesis de San Bernardino, Calif., y deseaba reintegrarse en ese tipo de ministerio después de jubilarse.

A esta altura del año, Arnquist busca voluntarios que ayuden a servir en la camioneta y a preparar la sopa. Hay 90 personas divididas en equipos de cuatro que colaboran en este trabajo. Se encuentran en la parroquia a las 5:45 p.m., cumplen su turno y terminan limpiando cuando regresan, alrededor de dos horas y media después.

Durante la semana, voluntarios de la Cocina Comunitaria Caridad, ubicada a tan solo unas millas al sur de la parroquia, preparan la comida, pero los fines de semana esta tarea la realizan voluntarios en la Santísima Trinidad.

La parroquia cuenta con alrededor de 40 cocineros voluntarios que pasan tres horas preparando la sopa con ingredientes donados.

La patrulla hace tres paradas en la zona centro de Tucson. Por lo general, en cada sitio distribuyen sopa, pan, agua o chocolate caliente y galletas durante 15 minutos. Si alguien se acerca después de que se haya servido la sopa pero antes de que la camioneta se haya ido, los voluntarios le dan un paquetito con algo para llevar.

Arnquist dijo que al principio no hay mucha gente. La camioneta lleva cinco galones de sopa, unas 50 porciones. Algunas noches pueden servirles un segundo tazón a quienes estén muy hambrientos.

"Lo peor que nos puede pasar es que se nos acabe la sopa. Pero tampoco queremos que sobre sopa".

Rápidamente, la demanda de sopa sube a 7,5 galones, y luego a diez galones. A fin de mes la demanda es mayor que principios de mes. "Esa diferencia son las personas a quienes el dinero no les dio para llegar a fin de mes", explicó.

A medida que avanza el invierno, la demanda crece. En 2017, este ministerio parroquial sirvió más de 11.000 tazones de sopa.

quoteLo peor que nos puede pasar es que se nos acabe la sopa. Pero tampoco queremos que sobre sopa.»

La camioneta también va cargada con mantas para distribuir cuando hace frío. En un principio se contaba con un suministro ilimitado de mantas de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias, pero el año pasado fijaron el número en menos de 200, y este año solo se recibieron 112.

Como son mantas de baja calidad para socorro durante desastres, si se empapan en una lluvia copiosa, literalmente se deshacen.

"Si te di una manta anoche y te tocó un chaparrón, probablemente necesites otra esta noche", dijo.

Los voluntarios, según se les ha indicado, reparten las mantas después del servicio de la sopa, y tratan de lograr que este recurso lo reciba la persona que más lo necesite. "Una vez, un hombre nos dijo que tenía frío, pero había una mujer embarazada que necesitaba la manta más que él", recordó Arnquist.

Hay personas a quienes vemos casi a diario, dijo Arnquist, a otras las vemos por un tiempo y luego dejan de venir. "En la mayoría de los casos la falta de techo es una situación temporaria de la persona. Le sucede una vez y nunca más", dijo. "Vemos adultos, mayormente, pero cada tanto, también niños. Da mucha pena".

Para algunas personas no tener techo es crónico, algo que coincide con adicciones y enfermedades mentales. No obstante, Arnquist recuerda a un hombre, vaquero retirado, que ya no podía trabajar y no tenía adonde ir.

"No había un sistema de pensiones para él", dijo Arnquist. "Sencillamente estaba demasiado viejo para arrear ganado. Seguramente él no quería estar desamparado, pero no tenía ninguna opción".

Los voluntarios salen todas las noches, excepto en Acción de Gracias, Nochebuena y Navidad porque "en esos días sirven comida en otros lugares", explicó Arnquist.

La mayoría de los voluntarios son personas de la tercera edad porque son quienes tienen más tiempo disponible, especialmente para una labor que comienza a las 5:45 p.m. Antes de que se les asigne trabajo, los voluntarios deben asistir a sesiones de capacitación de dos horas. Además, en conformidad con la normativa diocesana, deben cumplir con el proceso de investigación de antecedentes penales.

En ocasiones, un voluntario reconoce que no tiene buena mano para hacer sopa, pero de todos modos quiere ayudar en la cocina. Es entonces que la cocina de la Santísima Trinidad se convierte en una panadería perfumada con el aroma de más de 200 galletas recién horneadas.

"¿Qué preferirían, una Oreo o una galleta con chispas de chocolate casera?" preguntó Arnquist.

Luego añadió que le impresiona el número de voluntarios que año a año se presentan para ofrecer su ayuda. "La gente en verdad está dispuesta a dar un paso al frente".

Nota editorial: Para colaborar como voluntario o donar pan, galletas, agua embotellada o mantas (twin o full solamente), llame a Arnquist al (520) 500-7278 o escriba a soupcoordinator.mht@gmail.com.

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La enseñanza social católica y los obispos de Tucson


Gerke

La enseñanza social católica no es algo nuevo en nuestra fe, ni les era desconocida a los líderes espirituales que han servido en la Diócesis de Tucson. A continuación publicamos la segunda parte de una serie que nos muestra cómo los obispos practicaron la enseñanza social católica en su tiempo.

El obispo Henry Granjon dejó atrás una familia francesa aristocrática con el propósito de ser sacerdote y fue reclutado por el obispo Peter Bourgade para servir en Arizona. Hacia el final de la década de 1880 , Granjon fue asignado al Sagrado Corazón, en Tombstone, desde donde instaló iglesias de misión en comunidades vecinas.

En los indígenas del lugar él vio una gran necesidad de proveer servicios. "Los pobres indios, lamentablemente, los miles de indios que pueblan las reservaciones de Arizona, fueron los únicos que no vieron llegar a sus aldeas a ningún 'jefe de oración'", escribió una vez en una carta a un excompañero de estudios.
Después de la muerte de su madre en 1892, él volvió a Francia y estuvo allí cuatro años poniendo en orden asuntos del patrimonio familiar a pesar de sus problemas de salud. Regresó al suroeste y luego se le asignó servir en Baltimore, MD., con la Sociedad para la Propagación de la Fe en Estados Unidos, formada poco tiempo atrás. Después de dos años, en 1900, fue nombrado segundo obispo de Tucson.

Durante los 22 años siguientes, la diócesis y el estado vieron numerosos cambios, pero la dedicación del obispo Granjon a los pueblos indígenas permaneció inalterable. Con la ayuda de St. Katherine Drexel abrió y dotó de personal varias escuelas de misión en las reservaciones.

Durante la Revolución Mexicana, 1910-20, brindó albergue y refugio en la diócesis a quienes huían de la violencia. Se sabía también que el obispo a veces cambiaba su vestidura por ropa de trabajo y ayudaba en la restauración de la Misión de San Xavier.

Padecía hipertensión y falleció un 9 de noviembre de 1922 en la casa de su familia en Brignais, Francia, cuando estaba de paso después de su visita ad limina con el papa Pío XI.

quote[E]l obispo Granjon a veces cambiaba su vestidura por ropa de trabajo y ayudaba en la restauración de la Misión de San Xavier.»

Oriundo de Filadelfia, el obispo Daniel J. Gerke fue el primer obispo de Tucson nacido en Estados Unidos y el que brindó servicios durante más tiempo, ya que ocupó ese cargo durante más de 37 años. Se le recuerda principalmente por sus proyectos de construcción de todo tipo: iglesias, escuelas y hospitales.

Sin embargo, la comunicación era también importante, y en 1924 él estableció la primera publicación católica, la revista The Catholic Observer. En 1939 la diócesis fue reconfigurada con la adición de varios territorios del norte a la Diócesis de Gallup, NM, recién creada.

En los primeros años de la Gran Depresión, a principios de la década de 1930, el obispo se enfocó en satisfacer las necesidades materiales de su pueblo. Estableció la agencia de Servicios Sociales Católicos en Phoenix, y en 1936 expandió los servicios a Tucson. La expansión incluía servicios de adopción, cuidado en hogares de crianza y asistencia a madres solteras.

Cuando se retiró a los 86 años, en 1960, la población de Tucson era diez veces mayor que cuando él había sido nombrado obispo, habiendo aumentado de poco más de 21.000 habitantes a 212.892. Gerke falleció el 19 de marzo de 1964 a los 89 años.

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November 2018

CO October 2018

What is Catholic social teaching?

It has been called "Catholicism's best kept secret," because few people learned about Catholic social teaching growing up, even though it the Bible is filled with examples and history shows repeatedly how it has played out in every culture and every time.

This series will offer Catholic social teaching's seven themes, as identified by the US bishops. It will include stories about how the bishops of Tucson, dating back to their earliest days, put those basic teachings into practice. There will also be stories identifying ways that Catholics today can live out the social teaching of the church in their own lives.

En español

Theme 5

The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God's creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected - the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

♦ Cheating workers out of just wages, benefits is mortal sin, pope says
♦ Catholic social teaching and Tucson bishops


♦ Catholic social teaching documents


Theme 6

Solidarity

We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters' keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice. The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.

Five days in Afghanistan leaves us filled with hope
♦ Ministry reuses medical equipment in Arizona and worldwide


♦ Catholic social teaching documents

 





Cheating workers out of just wages, benefits is mortal sin, pope says

Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY — Loving wealth destroys the soul, and cheating people of their just wages and benefits is a mortal sin, Pope Francis said.

Jesus did not mince words when he said, "Woe to you who are rich," after listing the Beatitudes as written according to St. Luke, the pope said in a morning homily.

If anyone today "were to preach like that, the newspapers the next day (would say), 'That priest is a communist!' But poverty is at the heart of the Gospel," Pope Francis said.

Celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae May 24, 2018, Pope Francis focused his homily on the day's first reading from the Letter of James (5:1-6) in which the apostle scolds the rich. Not only has their wealth "rotted away," the decay and corrosion of their material possessions "will be a testimony against you" on judgment day, the passage says.

James criticized employers who withheld wages from their workers, the pope said, and those workers' cries reached the ears of the Lord.

quoteWage theft, like "skimming" from people's paychecks, ‘is a sin; it is a sin,’ the pope said,...."

People today mistakenly might think James is "a union representative," Pope Francis said, but he is an apostle whose words were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Even in Italy, there are those who leave people out of work to protect their assets, but whoever does this, "Woe to you!" not according to the pope, but according to Jesus, he said.

Jesus, he said, is the one who says, "Woe to you who exploit people, who exploit labor, who pay under the table, who don't pay pension contributions, who don't offer vacation days. Woe to you!"

Wage theft, like "skimming" from people's paychecks, "is a sin; it is a sin," the pope said, even if the employer goes to Mass every day, belongs to Catholic associations and prays novenas.

When an employer doesn't pay what is due, he said, "this injustice is a mortal sin. You are not in God's grace. I'm not saying this, Jesus says it, the Apostle James says it."

The condemnation is severe because "wealth is idolatry" that seduces people, and Jesus knew people could not serve two masters - they must choose either God or money, Pope Francis said.

quote...even if the employer goes to Mass every day, belongs to Catholic associations and prays novenas"

Wealth "grabs you and doesn't let you go, and it goes against the first commandment" to love God with all one's heart, he said.

It also goes against the second commandment to love one's neighbor, he said, because a love of wealth "destroys the harmonious relationship between us" and "makes us selfish," he said. It "ruins life, ruins the soul."

"Preaching about poverty is at the heart of Jesus' preaching. 'Blessed are the poor' is the first beatitude," he said, and poverty is central to how Jesus identifies himself when he returns to Nazareth and preaches in the synagogue: "The Spirit is upon me, I have been sent to proclaim the Gospel, the Good News, glad tidings to the poor."

"But throughout history we have always had this weakness of trying to remove this teaching about poverty, believing it to be a social (issue), politics. No! It is pure Gospel," the pope said.

Wealth can turn people into slaves, Pope Francis said, therefore, "pray a bit more and do a bit more penance" for the rich.

"To be free before wealth you must step back and pray to the Lord," he said. "If the Lord gave you wealth, it is for giving it to others, to do many good things for others in his name."

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Five days in Afghanistan leaves us filled with hope

Afghanistan

Editor's note: There has been no greater local example during the last decade of a person living out the call for global solidarity than Bishop emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas. When he was appointed chairman in 2010, he said, "To be able to serve the poor is any bishop's greatest hope. What a privilege it is to be a part of the hand and heart of the Church in the US that reaches out to the poor worldwide on behalf of all Catholics in our country." Although he no longer serves on the board, the bishop emeritus continues to travel extensively on its behalf, reminding people in the world's darkest corners that Catholics in America have not forgotten them. Below is his reflection from last summer's visit to Afghanistan.

By Bishop emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas

Afghans are war weary. The conflicts have taken the lives of countless innocent people. Many have been displaced; yet, internal conflicts continue in many parts of the country, often involving longstanding tribal rivalries over land. Despite a respite this year after Ramadan (May 15-June 14) when the Taliban and government troops joined hands and announced a ceasefire, ISIS broke that moment of calm and the struggle has returned.

Amid the conflict, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) reaches out to the Afghan people, especially those living in the remote rural areas of the central highlands. People living in these tiny villages suffered greatly from the Taliban's restrictive reign that ended here in 2002. CRS' Livelihood Program helps farmers increase their potato and wheat productivity and explores opportunities for them to market their surplus.

CRS has opened community schools in these rural communities. Illiteracy among women is still prevalent, especially in remote areas where a child might walk more than nine miles roundtrip to get to their government school. While families might allow their sons to walk that distance, their daughters are held back.

In most places, CRS works through partnerships with local agencies. In Afghanistan, CRS implements the Livelihood and Education programs on their own because of the lack of local partners.

quoteIt was exciting to see their eagerness in learning and their parents expressed profound gratitude to CRS for providing an opportunity for their children to get an education they would not otherwise have available."

This summer, I spent five days in Afghanistan witnessing the work of CRS. We began in Kabul, the Afghan capital, where CRS sponsors a school for children who are deaf. It was started by a man who himself is deaf and blind. It was inspiring to see how he brought education to children who have been shut out of the system. There were more than 500 children in the school. Many teachers were also students there. I was inspired by the students' eagerness and excitement to show me their sign language skills. Accepted and valued here, their spirits soared.

The Missionaries of Charity operate a food distribution center in Kabul which also serves as a home for severely disabled children. The work of this community always amazes. The members are restricted to their home and can rarely go out into the street. Three of the four sisters have served there for 12 years. What a challenge that must be.

Most of our time, however, was spent in the central highlands where CRS has most of its programming.

We traveled along mostly unpaved roads to reach two small villages, Yakawlang and Dar e Chasht. On the way, we passed through stunning vistas, similar to what I see traveling around Arizona. There were lush tree-lined farms in the valleys, standing out against the arid mountain backdrop.

These areas are relatively safe since the Taliban left. Afghanistan is an Islamic state comprised predominantly of people who practice Islam. Although many were Sunni, those living in the areas we visited were Shia.

The community schools in the villages operate in the summer and spring. Winters are so severe and the snows so heavy that everything shuts down. CRS recruits and trains teachers to serve here, and in most cases, children have not had any education.

Children vary greatly in ages from 10-18, and gather in one-room classrooms, oftentimes in the local mosque.

It was exciting to see their eagerness in learning and their parents expressed profound gratitude to CRS for providing an opportunity for their children to get an education they would not otherwise have available.

CRS needs additional funding to expand these community schools; there are still about three million children in Afghanistan with no access to education.

CRS helps farmers grow potatoes and wheat. Previously, many of the stored potatoes ended up rotten. Then CRS introduced ventilation into the storage pits and greatly reduced the damage.

CRS has introduced kitchen, or "backyard," gardens and "key hole" gardens (a waist-high raised bed that protects crops from being eaten by animals). The farmers now grow a range of vegetables like cauliflower, shallots, spinach and carrots. Previously, people's diets were very limited.

CRS also has introduced new methodologies for animal care. It added light and ventilation into storage buildings.

In meeting with members of the village shura (community leaders), we heard repeatedly how grateful the villagers are for CRS' work.

The greatest joy of these five days was meeting parents who only want to enhance their children's lives. They are proud to be Afghan and want a chance to live in peace.

We join in prayer that their desire will be fulfilled.

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Ministry reuses medical equipment in Arizona and worldwide

Erin

Michael Johnson remembered the grateful look on the Ajo man's face when he received the wheelchair. It meant he no longer need to use a mechanic's trolley to get around.

Jose Ralls is operations manager for Southwest Medical Aid (SMA), a non-denominational non-profit that redistributes donated medical goods to people who need them through its community partners.

For Ralls, one memorable moment came when a woman picked up a hospital bed for her husband. He had been needing one for years but could not afford it. As Ralls helped load it into a truck, he recalled seeing the tears of gratitude trickle down the woman's face. "All she wanted was to do something to make her husband feel more comfortable."

SMA was founded by the lay Salvatorians Jan Izlar and her husband Jim in 2001 and operates still with a strong Salvatorian influence, which includes Johnson, a lay Salvatorian who currently serves as board president. He calls SMA "the best kept secret in Tucson."

Ralls said donations come from individuals and groups, including the 3000 Club, a large Tucson non-profit which has agreements with local hospitals to collect and distribute overstocked items or those nearing an expiration date.

The items are distributed to local groups, including El Rio Health Center, Gospel Rescue Mission, Most Holy Trinity Parish, Reachout Women's Center and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

SMA operates on a shoestring, Ralls said, and all positions, including his own, are filled by volunteers.

Their facility is about one-third office and two-thirds storage, with "durable goods" – such as racks of crutches and rows of commodes - ready for the taking. Another area houses bins of sorted single-use or short use materials – such as syringes, sample bottles and elastic bandages – that will be collected for special needs boxes stored in another part of the facility.

Ralls said that the ministry has options on another nearby storage site; however, he would rather see the inventory move out as quickly as it comes in.

"An empty warehouse is a happy warehouse," he said.

Ralls has been working at SMA for about 18 months. When he started out, he was helping to inventory the special needs boxes, volunteering about 20 hours a week. However, when the previous executive directors stepped down earlier this year, the board asked him to step in, increasing his hours to 30-35 per week.

quoteFor a lot of people, they have to scrape up the money to see the doctor, but then have nothing left to pay for the equipment they need."

A retired government executive, Ralls admitted he knew little about durable medical goods or much of the medical paraphernalia that volunteer nurses sort through each week.

"You know what this is?" he asked, pointing to a wheeled aid that serves as a seat and a walker for seniors who might have problems with walking or balance. "This is a rollator. You see them all the time, but I never knew what it was called."

Individuals will drop items off if the user has died or no longer needs the item. Wheelchairs are in special demand, and fortunately, are a frequent donation. Ralls added that the ministry can't accept damaged products because it does not have a shop or skilled personnel available to repair them.

In even greater demand is a motorized wheelchair, but when those come in, they either need repair or a new battery, which SMA cannot afford, Ralls said.

SMA counts on its local partners to screen recipients for need, physical and financial, to ensure that the poor have access to the medical items.

The Most Holy Trinity Parish office in Tucson said that they may get calls once or twice a month and forward the information to SMA and the supplies are usually available.

"For a lot of people, they have to scrape up the money to see the doctor, but then have nothing left to pay for the equipment they need," Ralls said.

SMA's only requirement in distributing the medical equipment is that recipients don't sell it. If there comes a time when they no longer need it, they should return it or give it to someone else who needs it, Ralls said.

Johnson, who has made three medical mission trips to Tanzania and once studied to be a Salvatorian priest, said SMA maintains a strong relationship with the Salvatorian Mission Warehouse, which operates a 25,000 square foot stockroom in Wisconsin. Its mission is to assist communities overseas, and in 2017, it sent 43 containers to 35 missions in 16 countries. SMA supplies some of the medical goods that Salvatorian Mission Warehouse distributes internationally.

About 51 percent of the requests filled by SMA come from Southern Arizona, with another 21 percent going to local aid groups traveling to Mexico. In 2017-18, SMA distributed more than 51,000 pounds of materials valued at $2.3 million.

Ralls and Johnson stated that SMA does not accept prescription medication because it would require compliance with myriad government regulations.

What the ministry needs is more visibility, Ralls said. He recently met with officials from the Tucson Fire Department, who spoke to him about the high volume of rescue runs for people calling in with high blood pressure. As a result, SMA assembled blood pressure kits that allowed people to take their own readings, which translated into earlier treatment and fewer call outs for the fire department.

Ralls said that the ministry is in need for cash donations to help cover the rent and peripheral services. It can also use more volunteers. Their hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information about Southwest Medical Aid, call (520) 622-2938 or email sma@southwestmedicalaid.org.

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

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Catholic social teaching and Tucson bishops

Gerke

Catholic social teaching is not new to the faith, nor was it foreign to the spiritual leaders who served the Diocese of Tucson. Below is the third part of a series showing how the bishops practiced Catholic social teaching during their time.

Francis Joseph Green was born July 7, 1906, in Corning, N.Y., but moved to Prescott, AZ, following his father's death in 1911. He attended St. Joseph Academy and was encouraged by the religious sisters to enter the seminary. He began studies at St. Joseph College in Mountain View, Calif., and completed them at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif. He was ordained a priest on May 15, 1932. Following initial assignments, he was appointed pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Tucson, later given the title of "monsignor" and served as vicar general for the Diocese of Tucson.

In 1953, he was appointed as an auxiliary bishop under Bishop Daniel J. Gercke, then as coadjutor before succeeding his predecessor on Sept. 28, 1960.

Bishop Green attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council from 1962-65.

Besides implementing the reforms of the council, Bishop Green expanded programs that provided for the poor, restructuring diocesan Catholic Charities into Catholic Community Services. He added St. Elizabeth Health Center and erected other health care facilities in Nogales, Phoenix and Tucson. Bishop Green also engaged in inter-religious dialogue to address important civic issues.

In keeping with Vatican II reforms, he reinstituted the diaconate locally with one of the stated goals being an increased presence in prison ministry. He also expanded CCS efforts refugee resettlement. He submitted his resignation as required by canon law at age 75, and it was accepted on July 28, 1981. He died 13 years later.

quoteImplementing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Bishop Green expanded programs that provided for the poor, restructuring diocesan Catholic Charities into Catholic Community Services."

His successor, Bishop Manuel D. Moreno, was born on Nov. 27, 1930, in Placentia, Calif., the son of migrant Mexican farmworkers. He wanted to pursue a career in business and graduated from UCLA in 1953 with a degree in business administration. Shortly after graduation, he entered the seminary, after discerning a significant need for Hispanic priests. He attended Our Lady Queen of Angels Seminary in San Fernando, Calif., and St. John Seminary in Camarillo, Calif. He was ordained a priest on April 25, 1961, for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Fifteen years later, he was appointed as an auxiliary bishop there, before his appointment as the fifth Bishop of Tucson on Jan. 12, 1982.

Bishop Moreno sent an immediate message by holding his installation Mass in the historic San Xavier Mission, instead of St. Augustine Cathedral. His focus afterward was on evangelization and lay leadership development, especially among Hispanics. He also worked on efforts to assist Mexican migrants facing moral and social challenges in Arizona. He established a Catholic Social Mission Office in the Diocese.

Because of illness, he resigned on March 7, 2003, and died three years later.

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Catholic social teaching documents

CST Word Clooud

Papal documents key to Catholic Social Teaching

RERUM NOVARUM ON CAPITAL AND LABOR 1891
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_15051891_rerum-novarum.html

QUADRAGESIMO ANNO ON RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOCIAL ORDER 1931
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19310515_quadragesimo-anno.html

MATER ET MAGISTRA ON CHRISTIANITY AND SOCIAL PROGRESS 1961
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_15051961_mater.html

PACEM IN TERRIS ON ESTABLISHING UNIVERSAL PEACE IN TRUTH, JUSTICE, CHARITY, AND LIBERTY 1963
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem.html

POPULORUM PROGRESSIO ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES 1967
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_26031967_populorum.html

 OCTOGESIMA ADVENIENS EIGHTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1971
APOSTOLIC LETTER OF POPE PAUL VI
http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/apost_letters/documents/hf_p-vi_apl_19710514_octogesima-adveniens.html

LABOREM EXERCENS ON THE NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1981
APOSTOLIC LETTER OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091981_laborem-exercens.html

 

CENTESIMUS ANNUS ON THE HUNDRETH ANNIVERSARY OF RERUM NOVARUM 1991
ENCYCLICAL BY POPE JOHN PAUL II 
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_01051991_centesimus-annus.html



COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH 2004
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

 

LAUDATO SI'  ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME 2015
ENCYCLICAL BY POPE FRANCIS
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

ENCYCLICAL OF ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH DIMITRIOS FOR THE INDICTION AND DAY OF PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT 1989
https://www.patriarchate.org/-/message-by-h-a-h-ecumenical-patriarch-dimitrios-upon-the-day-of-prayer-for-the-protection-of-creation-01-09-1989-



US Bishops' documents key to Catholic Social Teaching

BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO US 1979
PASTORAL LETTER ON RACISM
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/african-american/brothers-and-sisters-to-us.cfm

BISHOPS' STATEMENT ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, 1980
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/death-penalty-capital-punishment/statement-on-capital-punishment.cfm

THE CHALLENGE OF PEACE: GOD'S PROMISE AND OUR RESPONSE 1983
A PASTORAL LETTER ON WAR AND PEACE
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-and-peace/nuclear-weapons/upload/statement-the-challenge-of-peace-1983-05-03.pdf

ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR ALL 1986
PASTORAL LETTER ON CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING AND THE U.S. ECONOMY
http://www.usccb.org/upload/economic_justice_for_all.pdf

WELCOMING THE STRANGER AMONG US: UNITY IN DIVERSITY 2000
STATEMENT ON IMMIGRATION
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/pastoral-care-of-migrants-refugees-and-travelers/resources/welcoming-the-stranger-among-us-unity-in-diversity.cfm

RESPONSIBILITY, REHABILITATION, AND RESTORATION: A CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE 2000
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/criminal-justice-restorative-justice/crime-and-criminal-justice.cfm

FORMING CONSCIENCES FOR FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP A CALL TO POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY 2015
FROM THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES WITH INTRODUCTORY NOTE
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

 

OTHER KEY RESOURCES

POPE PAUL'S ADDRESS TO THE UNITED NATIONS 1965
https://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651004_united-nations.html

CELAM CONFERENCE AT MEDELLIN 1968
http://www.povertystudies.org/TeachingPages/EDS_PDFs4WEB/Medellin%20Document-%20Poverty%20of%20the%20Church.pdf

CONFERENCE AT PUEBLA 1979
http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/speeches/1979/january/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19790128_messico-puebla-episc-latam.html

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noviembre 2018

CO September 2018

¿Qué es la enseñanza social católica?

 

Se le ha llamado "el secreto mejor guardado del catolicismo" porque no son muchas las personas que crecieron aprendiendo la enseñanza social católica, a pesar de que la Biblia está repleta de ejemplos, y la historia muestra una y otra vez cómo se ha manifestado en todas las culturas y en todos los tiempos.

Esta serie ofrece los siete temas de la enseñanza social católica, identificados por los obispos de EE. UU. Se incluirán narraciones de cómo los obispos de Tucson, desde el principio, pusieron en práctica esas enseñanzas básicas en nuestro medio. También se presentarán artículos sobre diferentes maneras en que los católicos de hoy pueden aplicar la enseñanza social de la Iglesia en su vida diaria.

 

Tema 5

La Dignidad del Trabajo y Los Derechos de Los Trabajadores

La economía debe servir al pueblo y no al revés. El trabajo es más que una forma de ganarse la vida, es una forma de participar continuamente en la creación de Dios. Si se ha de proteger la dignidad del trabajo, entonces debe respetarse los derechos básicos de los trabajadores-el derecho a un trabajo productive, a salaries adecuados y justos, a organizar sindicatos y a unirse a ellos, a la propiedad privada y a la iniciativa económica.

♦ El papa: Robar sueldos y beneficios al obrero es pecado mortal
♦ La enseñanza social católica y los obispos de Tucson


Tema 6

La Solidaridad

Somos una familia humana cualesquiera que sean nuestras diferencias nacionales, raciales, étnicas, económicas e ideológicas. Somos los custodies de nuestros hermanos y hermanas dondequiera que se encuentren. Amar a nuestro prójimo tiene dimensiones globales en un mundo cada vez más pequeñio. En el mero centro de la virtud de la solidaridad está la búsqueda de la justicia y la paz. El Papa Paulo VI nos dijo: "si quieres paz, trabaja por la justicia". El Evangelia nos llama a ser pacificadores. Nuestro amor por todos nuestros hermanos y hermanas exige que fomentemos la paz en un mundo rodeado de violencia y conflicto.

Cinco días en Afganistán nos colman de esperanza
♦ Ministerio redistribuye equipo médico en Arizona y en el extranjero 

 

 





El papa: Robar sueldos y beneficios al obrero es pecado mortal

 

Shelter

CIUDAD DEL VATICANO — Jesús no midió sus palabras cuando dijo "ay de ustedes los ricos", después de enumerar las bienaventuranzas según escrito por san Lucas, dijo el papa durante una homilía matutina.

Si alguien hoy día "hiciese hoy una homilía así, en los periódicos del día siguiente dirían: 'Ese cura es comunista'. La pobreza está en el centro del Evangelio", dijo el papa Francisco.

 Celebrando Misa en la capilla de la Casa Santa Marta el 24 de mayo, el papa Francisco enfocó su homilía en la primera lectura de la Carta de Santiago (5:1-6), donde el apóstol regaña a los ricos. No solo su riqueza "está podrida", la descomposición y la corrosión de sus posesiones materiales "dará testimonio contra ustedes" el día del juicio, dice el pasaje.

El papa dijo que Santiago criticó a los patronos que no pagaron a sus trabajadores y los reclamos de esos trabajadores llegaron a oídos del Señor.

La gente podría pensar erróneamente que Santiago es "un sindicalista", dijo el papa Francisco, pero él es un apóstol cuyas palabras fueron inspiradas por el Espíritu Santo.

Hasta en Italia hay aquellos que despojan a personas de sus trabajos para proteger sus bienes, pero a quienes hacen eso "¡ay de ustedes!", no según el papa, sino según Jesús, él dijo.

quoteEl robo de salarios, igual que "descuentos" de salario, "es pecado, es pecado", dijo el papa,..»

La mayoría de las recomendaciones llegan de los distritos escolares, de inquilinos y de personal de Pío Décimo que asiste a los sintecho de la comunidad.

Él dijo que Jesús es el que dice "ay de ustedes que abusan de la gente, que explotan el trabajo, que pagan en negro, que no pagan la aportación a las pensiones, que no dan vacaciones. ¡Ay de ustedes!"

El robo de salarios, igual que "descuentos" de salario, "es pecado, es pecado", dijo el papa, aunque el patrono vaya a Misa todos los días, pertenezca a asociaciones católicas y rece novenas.

Él dijo que cuando un patrono no paga lo que se debe "esa injusticia es pecado mortal. No estás en gracia de Dios. No lo digo yo, lo dice Jesús, lo dice el apóstol Santiago".

La condena es severa porque "las riquezas son una idolatría" que seduce a la gente y Jesús sabía que la gente no puede servirle a dos señores; tienen que escoger a Dios o al dinero, dijo el papa.

"La riqueza te agarra y no te suelta, yendo contra el primer mandamiento: amar a Dios con todo el corazón", él dijo.

Él dijo que también va en contra del segundo mandamiento de amar al prójimo porque las riquezas "destruyen el trato armonioso entre los hombres, arruinan la vida, arruinan el alma".

quoteaunque el patrono vaya a Misa todos los días, pertenezca a asociaciones católicas y rece novenas..»

"La predicación sobre la pobreza está en el centro de la predicación de Jesús. 'Bienaventurados los pobres' es la primera bienaventuranza", él dijo, y la pobreza es central en cómo Jesús se identifica cuando regresa a Nazaret y predica en la sinagoga: "El Espíritu del Señor está sobre mí, porque me ha ungido para dar buenas nuevas a los pobres".

 "Pero siempre en la historia hemos tenido la debilidad de intentar eliminar esa predicación sobre la pobreza, creyendo que es algo social, político. ¡No! Es Evangelio puro", dijo el papa.

 La riqueza puede convertir a la gente en esclavos, dijo el papa Francisco, por lo tanto "animo a hacer un poco más de oración y un poco más de penitencia" por los ricos.

 "No eres libre ante las riquezas. Para serlo, debes tomar distancia y rezar al Señor", él dijo. "Si el Señor te ha dado riquezas es para darlas a los demás, para hacer en su nombre tantas cosas buenas por los demás".

 

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Cinco días en Afganistán nos colman de esperanza

SJWC

Nota del editor: En la última década no ha habido en nuestra comunidad un mejor ejemplo de vivir el llamado a la solidaridad mundial que el obispo emérito Gerald F. Kicanas. Cuando fue nombrado presidente de CRS en el año 2010, dijo: «Servir a los pobres es la esperanza más grande de todo obispo. Es un gran privilegio ser parte del corazón y la mano que la Iglesia de Estados Unidos extiende hacia los pobres de todo el mundo en nombre de los católicos del país». Aunque ya no es miembro de la mesa directiva de CRS, el obispo continúa viajando en su nombre para recordarles a los pueblos de los rincones más oscuros del mundo que los católicos de Estados Unidos no los han olvidado. A continuación publicamos sus reflexiones sobre su visita a Afganistán el verano pasado.

Por el obispo emérito Gerald F. Kicanas

Los afganos están cansados de la guerra. Los conflictos se han cobrado la vida de innumerables inocentes. Muchas personas se han visto desplazadas en un país donde las hostilidades internas continúan afectando a varias regiones, a menudo a causa de rivalidades de tribus que desde hace tiempo se disputan territorios. A pesar de que este año hubo un respiro después del Ramadán (15 de mayo al 14 de junio) cuando el Talibán y las tropas del gobierno se dieron la mano y anunciaron un cese al fuego, ISIS quebró ese momento de calma y ha habido un retorno a la lucha.

En medio del conflicto, la agencia Catholic Relief Services (CRS) se acerca al pueblo afgano, especialmente a aquellos que viven en zonas rurales remotas de las tierras altas centrales. La gente que vive en esas pequeñas aldeas ha sufrido enormemente a causa del régimen restrictivo del Talibán, que llegó a su fin allí en 2002. Los programas de asistencia de CRS ayudan a los agricultores a aumentar la productividad de sus plantaciones de patatas y trigo, y a acceder a mercados donde pueden vender el excedente de sus cosechas.

CRS ha abierto escuelas comunitarias en estos pueblos rurales. El analfabetismo todavía es prevalente entre las mujeres, especialmente en las áreas más remotas, donde un niño tiene que caminar más de nueve millas de ida y vuelta para asistir a la escuela del gobierno. Las familias les permiten a los varones que recorran esa distancia, pero a las niñas no.

En la mayoría de los países, CRS trabaja colaborando con agencias locales. En Afganistán, CRS implementa los programas de asistencia y educación por su cuenta porque no hay con quién colaborar.

Este verano yo pasé cinco días en Afganistán observando el trabajo de CRS. Comenzamos en Kabul, la capital del país, donde CRS patrocina una escuela para niños sordos iniciada por un hombre sordo y ciego. Es toda una inspiración ver cómo él logró poner la educación al alcance de estos niños excluidos del sistema. Hay más de 500 niños en la escuela, y varios de los maestros también fueron estudiantes allí. Fue maravilloso ver el ímpetu y el entusiasmo con que los niños me mostraban lo que habían aprendido del lenguaje de señas. Allí, al sentirse aceptados y valorados, su espíritu se ha transformado.

Las misioneras de la caridad manejan un centro de distribución de comestibles en Kabul, que también sirve como hogar para niños con discapacidades graves. La labor de esta comunidad siempre me deja sorprendido. Las integrantes están limitadas a su hogar y rara vez pueden salir a la calle. Tres de las cuatro hermanas han servido allí desde hace 12 años. ¡Qué difícil debe de ser!

Nuestro grupo pasó la mayor parte del tiempo en las tierras altas centrales donde CRS ofrece la mayor parte de sus programas.

quoteFue muy emocionante ver el deseo de aprender de los niños y la gratitud profunda que los padres expresaban a CRS por brindarles a sus hijos la oportunidad de recibir una educación que de lo contrario estaría fuera de su alcance.»

Para llegar a dos pequeñas aldeas, Yakawlang y Dar e Chasht, viajamos mayormente por caminos sin pavimentar. Durante el trayecto, pasamos por paisajes deslumbrantes, similares a los que he visto viajando en Arizona. Vimos granjas exuberantes bordeadas de árboles en los valles, destacándose contra un fondo de montañas áridas.

Estas regiones son relativamente seguras porque el Talibán se ha ido. Afganistán es un estado islámico compuesto predominantemente por gente que practica el islam. Aunque muchos de ellos son sunitas, los habitantes de las zonas que visitamos eran chiitas.

Las escuelas comunitarias de las aldeas operan en primavera y verano. Los inviernos son tan inclementes y las nevadas tan intensas que todo se cierra. CRS recluta y capacita maestros para estas escuelas donde, en la mayoría de los casos, los niños aún no han recibido educación.

Las edades de los alumnos oscilan entre los 10 y los 18 años. Todos se reúnen en un salón de clases generalmente ubicado en la mezquita local.

Fue muy emocionante ver el deseo de aprender de los niños y la gratitud profunda que los padres expresaban a CRS por brindarles a sus hijos la oportunidad de recibir una educación que de lo contrario estaría fuera de su alcance.

CRS necesita fondos adicionales para ampliar estas escuelas comunitarias; todavía hay alrededor de tres millones de niños en Afganistán que no tienen acceso a la educación.

CRS ayuda a los agricultores a cultivar patatas y trigo. Antes, muchas de las patatas que almacenaban se les pudrían. Cuando CRS introdujo la ventilación del producto almacenado, las pérdidas se redujeron considerablemente.

CRS les ha enseñado a sembrar huertas pequeñas en el fondo de las casas para que tengan alimentos al alcance, y a construir huertos en ojo de cerradura, que consisten en un bancal de cultivo elevado a la altura de la cintura para proteger los cultivos de animales que podrían comérselos. Ahora, los granjeros pueden cultivar una variedad de verduras y hortalizas como coliflor, chalotes, espinaca y zanahorias, y su dieta ya no es tan limitada como antes.

Además, CRS ha llevado a estas comunidades metodologías nuevas para el cuidado de los animales, y ha introducido el uso de la ventilación y la luz en los cobertizos de almacenamiento.

En nuestros encuentros con los líderes de las comunidades, oímos una y otra vez cuán agradecidos están por el trabajo de CRS.

La alegría más grande de estos cinco días fue conocer a padres de familia que solo buscan mejorar la vida de sus hijos. Están orgullosos de ser afganos y quieren tener la oportunidad de vivir en paz. Rezamos unidos para que su deseo se cumpla.

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THIS IS WHITE SPAC

Ministerio redistribuye equipo médico en Arizona y en el extranjero

boxes

El ministerio Southwest Medical Aid (SMA) es una organización no denominacional sin fines de lucro que, bajo la dirección de Jose Ralls y a través de socios de la comunidad, distribuye suministros médicos a personas necesitadas.

En una ocasión memorable para Ralls, una mujer recibió una cama de hospital para su esposo. El hombre necesitaba la cama desde hacía años pero no podía comprarla. Ralls recuerda que cuando estaba cargando la cama para transportarla, vio que por el rostro de la mujer corrían lágrimas de gratitud. "Lo único que ella quería era algo que ayudara a su esposo a sentirse más cómodo".

SMA fue fundada por los salvatorianos laicos Jan Izlar y su esposo, Jim, en 2001, y aún es evidente la fuerte influencia salvatoriana, como la de Michael Johnson, un salvatoriano laico que actualmente preside la mesa directiva. Él se refiere a SMA como "el secreto mejor guardado de Tucson".

Johnson todavía recuerda la mirada de agradecimiento de un hombre de Ajo que recibió una silla de ruedas, y ya no tendría que valerse de un carrito de mecánico para ir de un lado a otro.

SMA recibe donaciones de particulares y de grupos, incluyendo el 3000 Club, una agencia sin fines de lucro de Tucson que tiene acuerdos con hospitales para recoger y distribuir suministros excedentes o con fecha de caducidad próxima.

Las donaciones se distribuyen a entidades locales, como el Centro de Salud El Río, la Misión Gospel Rescue, la Parroquia de la Santísima Trinidad, el Centro para mujeres Reachout y la Sociedad de San Vicente de Paul.

SMA funciona con lo mínimo, dijo Ralls, y todos los puestos, incluso el suyo, los ocupan voluntarios.

Las instalaciones son alrededor de un tercio oficina y dos tercios almacén de aparatos y accesorios médicos – como muletas y sillas con inodoro – disponibles inmediatamente. En otra área hay cajas con artículos descartables de un solo uso o de uso limitado – como jeringas, vendas elásticas y frascos para especímenes – que serán empaquetados para necesidades especiales y almacenados aparte.

Ralls dijo que el ministerio tiene la posibilidad de usar otro sitio cercano para almacenar donaciones, pero prefiere que todo se distribuya tan pronto como llega.

"Un almacén vacío es un almacén feliz", dijo.

quoteEn muchos casos, la gente a duras penas logra reunir el dinero para la consulta con el médico, y no les queda para comprar el equipo que necesitan.»

Cuando Ralls comenzó a trabajar como voluntario en SMA hace 18 meses, ayudaba con el inventario de las cajas para necesidades especiales, unas 20 horas a la semana. Pero cuando los directores ejecutivos dimitieron este año hace unos meses, la mesa directiva le pidió a Ralls que asumiera el puesto y ahora él trabaja entre 30 y 35 horas a la semana.

Ralls se jubiló de un cargo ejecutivo en el gobierno, y sabía muy poco de dispositivos médicos duraderos o accesorios y suministros que las enfermeras voluntarias manejan todas las semanas.

"¿Sabes qué es esto?", preguntó Ralls señalando un aparato con asiento y rueditas para personas mayores con problemas de equilibrio o estabilidad. "Se ven por todas partes pero yo no sabía que les llaman andadores".

Hay quienes donan aparatos o equipo médico cuando la persona que los usaba ha fallecido o no los necesita más. Las sillas de ruedas siempre están en demanda y, afortunadamente, recibimos donaciones con bastante frecuencia. Ralls añadió que no pueden aceptar nada dañado porque el ministerio no tiene taller ni cuenta con personal capacitado para hacer reparaciones.

La demanda de sillas de ruedas motorizadas es aun mayor, pero las que recibimos necesitan batería nueva o algún arreglo, lo cual SMA no puede costear, dijo Ralls.

SMA cuenta con que sus socios locales evalúen las necesidades físicas y económicas de los solicitantes, para que los pobres tengan acceso a artículos médicos.

La oficina de la Parroquia de la Santísima Trinidad informa que reciben una o dos llamadas al mes, se comunican con SMA, y por lo general los artículos solicitados están disponibles.

"En muchos casos, la gente a duras penas logra reunir el dinero para la consulta con el médico, y no les queda para comprar el equipo que necesitan", dijo Ralls.

El único requisito de SMA para la distribución de equipo médico es que quien lo recibe no lo venda. En cuanto la persona ya no lo vaya a usar, debe devolverlo o dárselo a alguien que lo necesite.

Johnson, quien ha viajado tres veces a Tanzania en misiones médicas y había estudiado para ser sacerdote salvatoriano, dijo que SMA tiene una muy buena relación con el almacén de la Misión Salvatoriana, que maneja un depósito de 25,000 pies cuadrados en Wisconsin. Su propósito es asistir a comunidades del extranjero, y en 2017 envió 43 contenedores a 35 misiones en 16 países. SMA provee algunos de los suministros y equipos médicos que el almacén de la Misión Salvatoriana distribuye a otros países.

Alrededor del 51 por ciento de las solicitudes atendidas por SMA proceden del sur de Arizona, y un 21 por ciento corresponde a donaciones para grupos locales de auxilio que viajan a México. En 2017-18, SMA distribuyó más de 51,000 libras de materiales con un valor de $2.3 millones.

Ralls y Johnson indicaron que SMA no acepta medicamentos que requieren receta médica porque estos están controlados por un sinnúmero de reglamentos gubernamentales.

Lo que el ministerio necesita es más visibilidad, dice Ralls. Recientemente él se reunió con oficiales del Departamento de Bomberos de Tucson que le mencionaron el elevado número de llamadas de socorro de personas con hipertensión. SMA armó kits de aparatos y los distribuyó para que la gente pudiera tomarse la presión en casa. En consecuencia, las personas procuran tratamiento oportunamente y los bomberos reciben menos llamadas.

Ralls dijo que el ministerio necesita donaciones de efectivo para cubrir costos de servicios relacionados. También les ayudaría contar con más voluntarios. El horario es: martes a viernes, de 11 a.m. a 3 p.m.

Si necesita más información sobre Southwest Medical Aid, llame al (520) 622-2938 o envíe un email a sma@southwestmedicalaid.org.

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La enseñanza social católica y los obispos de Tucson

Bishop Moreno and Bishop Green

La enseñanza social católica no es algo nuevo en nuestra fe, ni les era desconocida a los líderes espirituales que han servido en la Diócesis de Tucson. A continuación publicamos la tercera parte de una serie que nos muestra cómo los obispos practicaron la enseñanza social católica en su tiempo.

Francis Joseph Green nació un 7 de  julio de 1906 en Corning, N.Y., pero se mudó a Prescott, AZ, después de la muerte de su padre en 1911. Asistió a la Academia San José donde las hermanas religiosas lo animaron para que ingresara en el seminario. Así, el comenzó sus estudios en el Colegio San José, en Mountain View, Calif., y al tiempo finalizó su formación en el Seminario San Patricio, en Menlo Park, Calif. Fue ordenado sacerdote el 15 de mayo de 1932. Después de sus primeros encargos, fue designado párroco de la Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo, Tucson. Más adelante recibió el título de monseñor y se desempeñó como vicario general de la Diócesis de Tucson.

En 1953 fue nombrado obispo auxiliar bajo el obispo Daniel J. Gercke. Luego fue coadjutor, y el 28 de septiembre de 1960 fue designado a ocupar el cargo de su predecesor.

El obispo Green asistió a las cuatro sesiones del Concilio Vaticano II, de 1962 a 1965.

Además de implementar las reformas del concilio, el obispo Green impulsó la expansión de programas de servicio a los pobres con la reestructuración de Caridades Católicas para dar paso a Servicios Comunitarios Católicos (CCS). Añadió el Centro de Salud Sta. Elizabeth y erigió instalaciones de atención de la salud en Nogales, Phoenix y Tucson. El obispo Green también participó en diálogos con representantes de otras religiones para abordar temas cívicos importantes.

Conforme a las reformas del Vaticano II, reinstituyó el diaconato local para, entre otros objetivos, aumentar la presencia del ministerio en las prisiones. También expandió la labor de CCS en materia de reasentamiento de refugiados. Dimitió a los 75 años de acuerdo con el Derecho Canónico, y su renuncia fue aceptada el 28 de julio de 1981. Falleció 13 años después.

quoteAdemás de implementar las reformas del concilio, el obispo Green impulsó la expansión de programas de servicio a los pobres con la reestructuración de Caridades Católicas para dar paso a Servicios Comunitarios Católicos (CCS).»

Su sucesor, el obispo Manuel D. Moreno, nació el 27 de noviembre de 1930, en Placentia, Calif., en el seno de una familia de agricultores mexicanos migrantes. Su deseo era seguir una carrera en negocios y se graduó de UCLA en 1953 con un título de administración de empresas. Poco después de su graduación ingresó en el seminario después de haber considerado la gran necesidad de sacerdotes hispanos. Asistió al Seminario de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles, en San Fernando, Calif., y al Seminario San Juan, en Camarillo, Calif. Fue ordenado sacerdote el 25 de abril de 1961 para la Arquidiócesis de Los Ángeles. Quince años después fue nombrado obispo auxiliar allí, antes de ser designado quinto obispo de Tucson el 12 de enero de 1982.

El obispo Moreno inmediatamente dio a conocer su visión para la diócesis celebrando su Misa de investidura en la histórica Misión de San Xavier en lugar de hacerlo en la Catedral de San Agustín. Desde ese momento centró sus esfuerzos en la evangelización y el desarrollo del liderazgo laico, especialmente de los hispanos. También colaboró en iniciativas de asistencia a migrantes mexicanos que enfrentaban obstáculos de índole moral y social en Arizona, y estableció una Oficina de Misión Social Católica en la Diócesis.

Presentó su renuncia por enfermedad el 7 de marzo de 2003, y falleció tres años más tarde.

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