Congratulations Father Justin Agbir!!
While we could not be present for the ordination of Deacon Justin Terna Agbir, 33, in his home country of Nigeria, we certainly were with him in spirit and prayer.
Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe, C.M.F. ordained Father Agbir as a member of the Via Christi society at God the Father of All Mankind Parish in Makurdi, Nigeria. When Father returns to Tucson, he is assigned as a parochial vicar at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Tucson.
My thanks to Hwande Terkulafor sending us photographs from the ordination.
|Above, Bishop Anagbe, C.M.F., Bishop of Makurdi, Nigeria imposes hands on now Father Justin Agbir. At right, (l -r) Father Nicodemus Shaghel, VC, administrator at St. Rose of Lima in Safford, Bishop Anagbe, Father Justine Agbir, Father Martin Atanga, pastor or Our Lady of Lourdes in Benson, and Father Amana Edoka, VC, Parochial Vicar at St. John Neumann Parish in Yuma, joined Father Agbir for his ordination.||Photos courtesy of the Via Christi society|
Meeting of the US Bishops
News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials from the meeting will be posted to www.usccb.org/meetings as soon as possible during the General Assembly.
Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media can use the hashtag #USCCB19 and follow on Twitter (https://twitter.com/usccb) as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/usccb).
Here is one abbreviated summary from the meeting yesterday. We will post any important information on our website as details become available.
Response to church abuse crisis looms large at bishops' spring meeting
By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- At the start of the June 11-13 spring assembly of the U.S. bishops in Baltimore, it was clear the bishops had a task at hand: to respond to the sexual abuse crisis in the church.
Several speakers addressing the group discussed the challenge ahead and the need for the bishops to be both transparent and reliant upon lay leadership. The bishops also examined their plans to vote on procedures and policies in response to the abuse crisis, including some they had put aside during their fall general assembly in November at the Vatican's request.
The delay was addressed from the meeting's onset June 11 in a message from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Vatican's nuncio to the United States.
He noted that there were "some expressions of 'dissent'" by some U.S. bishops at the previous assembly about postponing votes on items related to the reemergent clergy sexual abuse crisis, but he also stressed that "unity prevails over conflict."
"Working together provides us with the opportunity to speak and to listen," said the message from Archbishop Pierre, read by Msgr. Walter Erbi, charge d'affaires at the Vatican's nunciature in Washington. Archbishop Pierre was at the Vatican for a nuncio meeting.
He said that despite the desire among U.S. bishops in November to act quickly to address new crises on clergy sex abuse, the postponement of the votes on the issue allowed the U.S. church to participate more fully at the Vatican's February summit on the protection of minors.
CNS photo/Bob Roller
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, speaks during a news conference. Also pictured are Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the USCCB.
"One of the reasons the Holy Father asked for a delay was that the whole church needed to walk together, to work in a synodal way," Archbishop Pierre said, "with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to make the path forward clearer."
Moving forward was certainly a theme of the day, echoed by National Review Board chairman Francesco Cesareo, who called for a greater role for laity in investigating allegations of abuse or reaction to reports of abuse against bishops . . .
Both the National Review Board and the National Advisory Council pressed the bishops to encourage Vatican officials to release documents regarding the investigation of misconduct by Theodore E. McCarrick, the former cardinal who was laicized earlier this year. The allegations against him were made public nearly a year ago on June 20, 2018.
The bishops were reminded June 11 of the agenda items related to the church crisis on which they will vote June 13.
The big item for discussion and vote is a plan to implement the document "Vos Estis Lux Mundi" ("You are the light of the world") issued by Pope Francis in May to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable.
The "motu proprio" was one of the measures that came out of the Vatican's February Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse attended by the presidents of the world's bishops' conferences.
While many of the directives of the document regarding clergy already have been implemented in the United States with its 2002 "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," the action items before the bishops concern allegations of abuse or negligence on the part of bishops. Bishops were not explicitly included in the charter because authority over the bishops and their discipline rests with the pope himself.
The bishops will also vote on a document titled "Acknowledging Our Episcopal Commitments" in which the bishops promise to hold themselves accountable to the commitments of the charter, including a zero-tolerance policy for abuse, and that any codes of conduct in their respective dioceses regarding clergy apply to themselves as well.
Another related item is the "protocol regarding available nonpenal restrictions on bishops," which outlines what canonical options are available to bishops when a now-retired bishop resigned or is removed "due to sexual misconduct with adults or grave negligence of office, or where subsequent to his resignation he was found to have so acted or failed to act."
The bishops also discussed the upcoming election, the crisis at the border and the issue of young adults leaving the church.
In other action:
--Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president, urged fellow bishops to raise their voice in favor of "more humane policies" for immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. In addition, Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, spoke about an upcoming presentation at the fall meeting on how to respond to the growing number of young people leaving the church.
-In anticipation of the 2020 presidential election, the U.S. bishops' quadrennial document that provides guidance to voters on Catholic social teaching won't change, but it will be supplemented by a brief letter and four 90-second videos that reflect the teaching of Pope Francis, the bishops were told.
The bishops also are voting on other issues not related to the abuse crisis at the spring assembly. They are to decide whether to approve a revised national directory on formation and ministry for permanent deacons, if they should update texts for the ordination of clergy and revise a passage to the U.S. Catechism for Adults about the death penalty.
You're invited to pray
Msgr. Raul Trevizo, Father Jorge Farias Saucedo, Sister Gladys Echenique, OP, Sister Jeanne Bartholomeaux, SC, and I recently recorded a recitation of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. The recordings, in both English and Spanish, now are available at your parish for no cost while supplies last. If you prefer, the recordings also are available as downloadable MP3 files, also at no charge, at our diocesan webpage at https://diocesetucson.org/communications/Rosary-Audio-Download.html
As I wrote in a letter to our priests, " I would like to focus attention on sharing the power of prayer with our brothers and sisters, specifically prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. In the sh0rt time that I've been in our Diocese I have come to understand that the need for more priestly vocations is at the top of our most critical issues for the future. Addressing this need first and foremost with prayer is critical, and for that I need your help."
Each CD or MP3 download includes a very brief introduction to prayer followed by me praying the first decade. The others follow me, each praying a decade or two. I encourage you to join us in prayer for priestly vocations.
Kino Soccer Tournament
Friday and Saturday, June 14 -15
Begins Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday matches begin at 7 a.m.
This popular event employs soccer matches to highlight and bring awareness to the need for vocations.
The highlight of the tournament always is the Priests versus Seminarians match. Come cheer on your pastor or parochial vicar, or of course, our seminarians.