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HOLY (SPY) WEDNESDAY: A CHURCH OF JUDASES: SILENCE CRUCIFIES

DEAR FRIENDS:

     The article included below, from the Ignatian Solidarity Network, reminds us that we, too, are an active, guilty party of the detachment that crucified Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Messiah. We constitute a Church of Judases, we crucify Jesus, over and over again, whenever:

     – We keep silent about the assassination of Onesimo Lopez, the 18-year old Guatemalan immigrant, bludgeoned to death by three white racist teenagers, on April 18, 2015 – From the local bishop down through the parish communities, a lethal, crucifying, thundering silence, screaming out to all migrants: “Crucify them” was heard.

     – We ignore and even oppose Pope Francis’ pleas to transform our opulent parishes into shelters for refugees and immigrants.

     – We embrace the social and political rhetoric of hatred, racism and xenophobia.

     – We applaud executive orders that result in the destruction of our common home, the environment, the good Earth created and loved by God.

    – We refuse to notice, and even react in hatred and violence at the sight of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the despised migrants, the discarded.

     -We buy into the anti-Francis rhetoric that accuses him, and all contemporary disturbing, subversive prophets like him, of socialism, communism, heresy, and the like.

        Sadly, I look around, I look at the Catholic communities around me, and, on the one hand, I rejoice at those who risk their reputation and even their physical integrity for speaking out against the blatant injustices we are witnesses to, every day – but I also feel the awful pain of frustration at the majority of our parish Catholics who betray their baptismal commitment, and instead, sell their souls and their baptismal consecration for the thirty pieces of silver that buys them popularity, wealth, power, at the expense of the victims of history.

     With rare and difficult-to-find exceptions, we all are a Church of Judases, a Church that crucifies. We crucify the same Jesus who hangs from crosses above the main altar of our churches. We dip our morsels into the same bowl with him-and then we go out into the night, to sell him out, to crucify him  (Jn 13: 26-30).

      For we are a silent Church, a Church that opts for silent arrogance, hatred and racism, in the face of injustice, rather than speak and thunder forth the subversive, disturbing words of the Gospel.We are a Church that betrays and crucifies the Incarnate Son of God.

       KINDLY READ BELOW

       WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK: SILENCE CRUCIFIES

BY MICHAEL IAFRATE | April 12, 2017

Leonardo Boff once wrote that, just as Jesus died a fully human, political death, Judas was no mere “puppet” in some divine plan, but a “concrete agent, responsible for [his] own decisions.” The church’s traditional name for today, Spy Wednesday, underscores the politics of Judas’ actions—and our own—to betray Jesus and his movement.

In Laudato Si’, we read that Christ is crucified today in the suffering of the poor and of the Earth (No. 241). The Catholic Committee of Appalachia makes this concrete in our recent “people’s pastoral,” drawing attention to “specific crucified places, wounds of Christ in our world… that cry out to be heard and felt.”

Places like Appalachia—crucified on the crosses of poverty, mining, fracking, and poisoned ecosystems—have their own specific Herods who crucify and their own specific Judases who betray. And despite popular rhetoric, these concrete agents are often not “outsiders” but people very close who “dip their hands into the dish with us.”

So many of us are capable of “handing over” the poor, and Earth itself, to death. We are told to trust those who serve us in politics, and yet, as Boff says, “Jesus, we must remember, was sentenced to death in a courtroom.” The poor are condemned there today as well. Likewise, Pope Francis reminds us that church leaders—the apostles’ successors—are no different from the rest of Jesus’ followers in our common capacity to crucify him when we fail to speak against injustice and instead buy into and benefit from it.

Appalachian scholar-activist Helen Lewis writes of the redbud—or “Judas trees”—that blossom at this time of year:

Holding fast in the arms of the mountains, […]
The redbuds… protest the devastation of their living place.

They are also called Judas trees.
Named for the Judas who hung himself in shame from a redbud tree
And dangled the blood money from the branches.
The Flowering Judases blush with shame.

They shout “Shame” to the Judases destroying God’s creation[,]
Crying out for the wilderness: 
Wake up, the earth is being destroyed.
Change your ways of thinking, acting, being.
You are part of all living creatures.

For Lewis, creation itself revolts and shouts “Shame!” to its crucifiers. Followers of Jesus, too, can reject death-dealing silence and speak a prophetic word to shame the crucifiers and “rouse” the crucified (Isaiah).

Silence crucifies, but a prophetic word brings life!

Michael Iafrate

Michael Iafrate is Co-Coordinator of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia (CCA) and served as the lead author of CCA’s “People’s Pastoral,” The Telling Takes Us Home: Taking Our Place in the Stories that Shape Us. He is a West Virginia native, a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University (’99 and ’03), and is completing a dissertation in theology for the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. His writing has appeared in National Catholic Reporter and Religion Dispatches and in the collections Secular Music and Sacred Theology, edited by Tom Beaudoin (Liturgical Press, 2013) and the forthcoming Music, Theology, and Justice, edited by Michael O’Connor, Christina Labriola, and Hyun-Ah Kim (Lexington Books, 2017). He is also a singer-songwriter and old time musician.

Sixto

AT THE SUNSET OF OUR LIVES, WE WILL BE JUDGED BY LOVE

St. John of the Cross

“Sayings of Light and Love,” 59

WE WILL NEVER LOVE ENOUGH

Bl. Charles de Foucauld

Letter to Marie de Bondy,

BLOG: https://sixtogarcia.wordpress.com/

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FRANCIS: NEW INTERVIEW ON REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS

DEAR FRIENDS:
     Relentless, passionate, driven by radical and subversive love of Jesus Christ and all men and women, with that “simple eye,” as St. Ignatius of Loyola put it, focused on the demands of justice and mercy, our uncomfortable prophet, Pope Francis will not allow us to breathe, relax and take it easy, when atrocities of endless violence, racism and xenophobia continue to be visited upon refugees and migrants by our opulent societies – Dare they call themselves Christian, when they turn a deaf ear to the cries and pleas for mercy of the crucified victims of history? They – We! particularly the “good Catholics” of our parishes’ 10 AM Mass – will hear Jesus’ favorite disparagement to the self-righteous leaders of his time: “Hypocrites! (17X in the Gospels), bleached sepulchers, snakes, brood of vipers!” (Mt 23: 27-33).
      KINDLY READ BELOW – and do keep in mind the uncompromising demands of the Gospel, whenever we choose to disregard Pope Francis’ plea to transform our parishes in sanctuaries for immigrants and refugees – many, praise God, have already done so – many more, the majority, have chosen to evade to dangerous, passionate, subversive, insane demands of the Gospel’s invitation to justice, mercy and love. We may hope that Jesus’ words in that ever-perturbing text of Mt 25: 31-46: “For I was an alien . . .” will not be lost in a void.
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Read: Pope Francis’ new interview on the struggles of migrants and refugees

This interview with Pope Francis was published today in the Italian journal Libertàcivili. The conversation, which took place on March 28, focuses on the plight of refugees and the creation of a new Vatican department to guide the church’s response to this humanitarian crisis.

Your Holiness, on July 8, 2013, you made this statement while visiting Lampedusa: “I had to come here to pray,” you said, “to make a gesture of closeness but also to reawaken our consciences.” On April 16, 2016, you repeated this statement in Lesbos, adding your prayers to those of Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. How can ecumenical and interreligious dialogue—not only among the three religions of the children of Abraham but also with all the others—contribute to a correct understanding of the problem of migration, with its burden of human suffering, as we look for possible solutions to welcoming those who arrive in Europe?

The visit to Lesbos and the prayers with Archbishop Ieronymos and Patriarch Bartholomew are a sharing of brotherhood, of closeness to the cries of the many innocents who ask only for a chance to save their own lives. Sharing in brotherhood with other religions appeals to our consciences not to turn our backs on the hopes and calls for help of our brothers and sisters in need.

Migration, if handled with humanity, is an opportunity for everyone to meet and grow.

Migration, if handled with humanity, is an opportunity for everyone to meet and grow. We cannot lose our sense of fraternal responsibility. The defense of human beings knows no barriers: We are all united in wanting to ensure a dignified life for every man, woman and child who is forced to abandon his or her own land. There is no difference of creed that can outweigh this wish—in fact, quite the contrary.

It is precisely in these contexts that we can be brothers working toward good—the same good—every day. If the same unity were embraced by those who govern different countries, as well, then maybe we could take some more concrete, global steps in support of migrants and refugees.

The island of Lesbos, like Lampedusa, shows the world the faces of innocent people who flee from wars, violence and persecution. Men, women and children traveling alone arrive tired, exhausted, hoping to save their own lives with dramatic journeys via land and, unfortunately, also via sea.

In Europe and around the world we are living through a critical moment in the management of migration policies. Those in power must be both far-sighted and coherent in watchful respect for fundamental human rights, as well as trying to end to the causes of forced migration which oblige civilians to flee.

The directives of your Motu Proprio (Aug. 17, 2016) for the creation of a new social Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development within the Catholic Church came into effect on January 1. For the social teaching of the church, the dicastery—which takes over the remit of various pastoral councils—is the new organizational destination of a long historical journey. What mission have you entrusted to the new dicastery, with regard to migrants and refugees?

Yes, I set up the Migrants & Refugees Section of the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development with a start date of Jan 1. 2017.

The multitude of migrants, refugees, displaced people and victims of human trafficking requires particular care. This is why I decided to take care of them personally, at least for a while, and why the section reports to me directly.

The section’s main mission is supporting the church and its leaders—at the local, regional and international levels—to accompany people through each step of the migration process, with particular attention to those who are forced in different ways to move or flee, or who experience disadvantage and suffering in countries of origin, transit or destination.

I am thinking of all those who flee from conflicts, persecutions or humanitarian emergencies, whether natural or caused by human intervention

I am thinking of all those who flee from conflicts, persecutions or humanitarian emergencies, whether natural or caused by human intervention. I am thinking about victims of human trafficking, about undocumented migrants, about migrant workers in exploitative situations and about women, young people and children migrating in situations of vulnerability.

By their very nature, migrations are phenomena that cut across the borders of individual nations and even continents. In this sense, considering demographic projections for the coming decades, there is talk of a Eurafrican continent—momentous transitions, which call into question cultural identities, values and historical baggage. Different national policies must be tied together with international cooperation: This is a necessity you often mention. Having received much, Europe must learn to give. How do we make the move from awareness to action?

Undoubtedly international cooperation is needed in the management of migration policies, which must be respectful both toward those who welcome and toward those who are welcomed.

Like many other countries that have experienced both immigration and emigration, I think European nations must learn from their past. How difficult things were, in the post-war era, for millions of Europeans who took off, often with their entire families, and crossed the ocean to arrive in South America or the United States!

It was not an easy experience for them, either. They suffered the weight of being seen as foreigners, arriving from afar with no knowledge of the local language. It was not an easy process of integration, but it always ended in success!

Therefore, it is important to be aware of the contributions migrants make to their countries of arrival. Europeans contributed greatly to the growth of transatlantic societies. It is the same story. Any exchange of culture and knowledge is a source of wealth and should be valued as such. As I said on November 1, on the way back from my trip to Sweden, we must not be scared, because Europe was formed from a continuous integration of cultures—of many cultures.

[W]e must not be scared, because Europe was formed from a continuous integration of cultures—of many cultures.

If we can view migrants as an added value to our society, then we will be able to practice real welcome and to give what we have received in the past. We have a lot to learn from the past. It is important to act with awareness, without feeding the fear of foreigners.

On Feb. 21, I explained to participants at the Forum on Migration & Peace that we must promote welcome and hospitality toward refugees and displaced people, supporting their integration and bearing in mind the mutual rights and responsibilities of those who welcome and those who are welcomed. Integration—which is neither assimilation nor incorporation—is a two-way process, essentially based on mutual recognition of another person’s cultural wealth. It is not the flattening of one culture against another, and neither is it mutual isolation, which carries the dangerous, or even deadly, risk of ghettoization.

As for those who arrive—who are responsible for not shutting themselves off from the culture and traditions of their host country and for respecting its laws first and foremost—we absolutely must not neglect the familial aspects of integration. Hence why I feel I have to keep reiterating the need for policies which favor and prioritize family reunification.

As far as indigenous people are concerned, they must be helped: They need to be appropriately sensitized and supported to be positively predisposed towards the process of integration, which is not always simple or immediate but is always essential and indispensable for the future. This is why we also need specific programs favoring meaningful encounters with new arrivals.

As for the Christian community, the peaceful integration of people from different cultures is, in some way, a reflection of its Catholicism

As for the Christian community, the peaceful integration of people from different cultures is, in some way, a reflection of its Catholicism: a unity which does not override ethnic or cultural diversity constitutes a dimension of church life, which in the Pentecostal spirit is open to all— open to embracing everyone.

On Sept. 22, 2016, during an audience with a delegation of Italian journalists, you called for the development of a true culture of encounter. There is no difficulty, you said, which men of good will cannot overcome. In 1991 the Caritas director in Rome, Msgr. Luigi di Liegro, inaugurated an annual dossier of immigration statistics because, he said, real information on dynamics of migration is the only thing that can defeat all the existing prejudice, clichés and closure. For the sake of truth, how do we keep this debate alive in the context of modern-day communications, so extraordinarily amplified by new media?

Mass media should feel obligated to explain the different aspects of migration, schooling public opinion on the causes of this phenomenon. Human rights violations, violent conflicts of social disorder, lack of essential goods, natural catastrophes and catastrophes caused by humans: All these things should be clearly explained in order to support a real understanding of the migration phenomenon and, consequently, a correct approach.

Often, mass media themselves use negative stereotypes when talking about migrants and refugees. Just think of the unfair use that is often made of terms to describe migrants and refugees. How often do we hear people talk of “illegals” as a synonym for migrants? This is unfair: It is information based on the wrong premise, which pushes public opinion to develop negative judgments.

Not to mention, of course, the sensationalism favored by most modern-day media. A bad news story has more impact than a good news story, and so it is more profitable to talk about a few crime cases involving migrants than to tell the many stories of integration promoted by migrants themselves.

Better information could break down the barriers of fear and indifference. The other, the different, is scary when it is unknown. But if we talk about it, and introduce it to people’s homes via images and stories, presented in its most positive, human aspects, then knowledge goes beyond stereotypes and the encounter becomes authentic. And when we get past fear, doors are opened, and welcome is spontaneous.

As I said to E.U. heads of state and government on the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, openness towards the world requires a capacity for dialogue as the basis of encounters on all levels—from dialogue between member states, and between institutions and citizens, to dialogue with the many migrants who arrive on E.U. shores. We cannot simply manage the major migration crisis of our times as if it were just a problem of numbers, economy or security. The issue of migration poses a deeper question, which is cultural first and foremost.

 

Sixto

AT THE SUNSET OF OUR LIVES, WE WILL BE JUDGED BY LOVE

St. John of the Cross

“Sayings of Light and Love,” 59

WE WILL NEVER LOVE ENOUGH

Bl. Charles de Foucauld

Letter to Marie de Bondy,

BLOG: https://sixtogarcia.wordpress.com/

CHRISTOLOGY IN RETREAT: NIEMOLLER’S POEM

CHRISTOLOGY IN RETREAT: NIEMÖLLER’S POEM:

DEAR FRIENDS:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the incurable patients, and I did not speak out-

Because I was not an incurable patient

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

Pastor Martin Niemöller was a member of the anti-Nazi Confessional  Church (founded by Dietrich Bonhoeffer), and suffered prison at the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. However, he always felt a lingering sense of guilt at what he regarded as his insufficient public opposition to Hitler’s regime and his murderous Holocaust. Shortly after the war (1946. 1952?) he wrote the poem quoted above.

Niemöller’s guilt-ridden, yet hope-filled insight is remarkably prophetic for our times. The victims are different, the horror, the racism and the xenophobia are the same:

“First, they came for the Mexicans, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Mexican.”

“Then, they came for the Guatemalans, and I did not speak out, because I am not a Guatemalan.”

“Then they came for the Syrians, and I did not speak out, because I am not a Syrian.”

“Then they came for all the Muslims, and I did not speak out, because I am not a Muslim.”

“Then they came for all those who were not Mexicans, Guatemalans, Syrians, or Muslims, but who dared advocate the Gospel of justice, love and compassion on their behalf, and I did not speak out, because I felt the Gospel of justice, love and compassion was too dangerous and subversive, and I chose to attend my 10 AM Mass every Sunday, and remain safe.”          “Finally, they came for me, and there were no more victims left to support me, embrace me and pray with me.”

Niemöller, after all, was simply defining the social, public, passionate, subversive implications of Mt 25: 31-46: “For I was hungry . . .  for I was an alien . . . ” – It is the public confession that Luke places in Mary’s lips: “He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly” (Lk 1: 51-53).

In our times, Oscar Romero and Rutilio Grande, the martyrs of El Salvador, dared to speak out on behalf of the poor, the indigenous peoples, the discarded, the persecuted, and paid the price all true prophets eventually pay. Pope Francis has drawn the wrath of many among the powerful and wealthy (many of whom are parish Catholics) for sighing: “I wish a Church which is poor and for the poor” (EG 198). Dom Helder Camara prophesized along the lines of Romero and Niemöller when he said: “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

Sooner or later, “they” will come for us – We will be called to take a stand, to give witness to the fullness of our Christian faith, to our fidelity to the Gospel of justice and compassion. The consequences for saying “Yes” may be dire – not, of course, Auschwitz, Treblinka, or Buchenwald (or so I hope – after all, Sheriff Joe’s camps in Arizona, where the undocumented are held, are notorious), but ridicule, isolation, rejection – perhaps jail, perhaps death – THIS HAS ALREADY HAPPENED: the brutal, lethal bludgeoning of 18-year old Onesimo López Ramos, a Guatemalan migrant, at the hands of the three white self-styled “Guat Hunters,” on April 18, 2015, still rings on the souls of all those whose hearts bleed for the crucified of history – Onésimo could not hide his indigenous identity – it was too evident, as was evident, for other reasons, the identity of the Jewish communities in Nazi Germany. The culpable silence of German Christendom had deadly consequences.

And so does, indeed, the silence of the South Florida church face-to-face with Onésimo´s murder, which, with the exception of a handful (and I mean, a handful) of priests, deacons, and committed laity, kept silent, DID NOT SPEAK OUT, against this atrocity –Their silence echoes that of the majority of Christians in Nazi Germany, who remained silent, did not speak out, when their Jewish neighbors where carted off to the camps

The inconvenient, perturbing, subversive question lingers: When “they” come for those who are held to be dangerous, superfluous, a burden to society, a threat to “public safety,” those who look too “foreign,” too indigenous, too mestizo, too beholden to “un-American” religions, too radically powerless, will we speak out? Will we simply say: “I am not (fill in: Guatemalan, Mexican, Syrian, Muslim), I go to the 10 AM Mass on Sundays, I am a good Catholic and do not get involved in ‘political’ issues,” and thereby allow the landscape to be “cleansed” of the “undesirables,” until “they” turn their gaze, notice me, and come for me?

OREMUS PRO INVICEM

 

IGNATIAN SOLIDARITY: JESUS AND DISSENTING VOICES

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI AND THE MAN BORN BLIND

DEAR FRIENDS:
         Many of us are familiar with the story of St. Francis and the leper (cf. Tomas de Celano, “First Life of St. Francis,” 17). In the early stages of his conversion, as he was riding through a dense forest, St. Francis was struck by a foul odor, a stench beyond belief: it was a leper, hiding, trying to keep his distance from any human contact.
       In the early-to-middle- Middle Ages (St. Francis lived from 1181/2-1226), lepers still suffered the opprobium, the contempt and exclusion of their biblical counterparts. Francis, driven by the insanity of that love which St. Paul qualifies as “moron,” “moria” (cf. 1 Cor 1: 25: “To moron tou theou sophoteron ton anthropon estin” = “The madness of God is wiser than human beings” = i.e., the Cross), approached him and kissed him.
       Francis had a good pair of eyes: he saw the suffering, despised, rejected and discarded Christ in that leper. In today’s Gospel, we read, not about a leper, but about a man born blind. Such people suffered from a similar social stigma: the reasoning of retributive justice, common in ancient Israelite theology (though challenged by the Book of Job, 350-500 years B.C.E.), argued that either he or his parents, or ancestors, must have indulged in some awful sin.        Such, at least, is the way Jesus’ disciples were wired, by a merciless and sclerotized interpretation of the law, to interpret and judge the man they bump into (cf. Jn 9: 2). Jesus challenges their myopic hearts, unable to see through the man’s affliction the splendor of God’s image and likeness (Gen 1: 26). Jesus heals the man, and then disappears for a while, leaving the now-healed blind man to emerge as a sort of biblical Thomas Aquinas, deftly using his sense of logic and an impeccable, and radically subversive, re-interpretation of the Law, to confuse his accusers. 
     In the end, reflecting the background of the later “birkat-ha-minnim” controversies(“The curse against the heretics,” i.e., the “minnim,” Jews converted to Jesus), emerging in the post-war years after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Pharisees throw the man out (Jn. 9: 22: cf. 7: 49, 16: 2). They are blinded by their own self-seeking, culpably ignorant, manipulative, arrogant interpretation of the law – after all, the blind man did not belong to them, the Pharisees, the “perushim,” the “separated ones,” rather, he was a card-carrying member of the “am-ha’aretz,” the rabble, the accursed ones (cf. Jn. 7: 49).
     Like Jesus’ adversaries in today’s Gospel, so many of our parish Catholics fail to see Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of Man, in the poor, the hungry, the migrants, the discarded of our opulent societies. They are only concerned with their own petty, myopic understanding of the law – In their arrogance, lust for power and wealth, their culpable ignorance and racism they ignore the only Law there is: Love of God, with all our heart and power, and love of neighbor, especially those whom Jesus loved preferentially, those with whom He identified Himself: cf. Mtt 25: 31-46: “For I was hungry . . . for I was an alien . . . and you fed me (or not), welcomed me (or rejected me).
     Mary, Mother of Wisdom, you who, at the foot of the Cross, could see Redemption where all others saw destruction, you who, where all others saw only a broken man, His life ebbing away with each passing second, saw Resurrection and healing rapidly approaching, teach us to see your Son in the faces of all the victims, all the crucified of history.
      Oremus pro invicem
Sixto
AT THE SUNSET OF OUR LIVES, WE WILL BE JUDGED BY LOVE
St. John of the Cross
“Sayings of Light and Love,” 59
WE WILL NEVER LOVE ENOUGH
Bl. Charles de Foucauld
Letter to Marie de Bondy,

IGNATIAN SOLIDARITY: SOCIAL BLINDNESS

DEAR FRIENDS:
Allow me to share with you the following Gospel reflection by Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ:

DAY 26: WHO IS TRULY BLIND?

BY SR. NORMA PIMENTEL, M.J. | March 26, 2017
Today’s Readings
Reflexión en español

Across the globe, many are struggling with how to respond to the refugees arriving within their borders.

Daily, I see the suffering of immigrant families fleeing violence and poverty.

Much like the man born blind in John’s Gospel, these people were born into economic and social hardships they did not choose. Like the blind man, they seek a better life in which they can feed their families and live without fear or discrimination.

Although many people and organizations seek to provide humanitarian care to the stranger among us, refugees are often in danger of not receiving the protection and human dignity they deserve as God’s children.

The shoes of Fernando, a four-year-old Guatemalan boy. He and his mother were served by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley after arriving McAllen, Texas. Photo courtesy of Verónica Cárdenas and part of Traveling Soles, a series of images designed to tell the story of immigrants arriving in the U.S.

In today’s Gospel reading the Pharisees criticize Jesus for working on the Sabbath while, at the same time, ignoring the blind man’s deep suffering and Jesus’ healing miracle.

So, we may ask ourselves: Who is truly blind? Is it the man who was not able to see since his birth or the leaders of the establishment who have no vision, no compassion?

Who is truly blind? #RiseUpLent @nspimentel

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In the spiritual tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for the grace of divine sight — sight that would allow you to witness and empathize with those who experience gross inequality.

May your charitable work this Lenten season include advocating for those in most need of mercy and healing. Call upon the leaders of your city, state and nation. Beg them “to see” the injustice of laws that cause or perpetuate suffering.

May God’s grace be visible through you as you rise up in support of the most vulnerable in our midst.

Sr. Norma Pimentel, M.J.

As Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Sister Norma Pimentel oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of various programs: emergency assistance, clinical counseling, housing assistance, pregnancy care and military assistance. In the summer of 2014 she organized the community resources responding to the surge of refugees seeking asylum in the United States. The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, TX and its countless volunteers from the around the country have welcomed more than 71,000 individuals from 31 countries. Sister Norma Pimentel earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and graduate degrees in theology and counseling psychology.

Como Directora Ejecutiva de las Caridades Católicas del Valle del Río Grande, la Hermana Norma Pimentel supervisa el brazo caritativo de la Diócesis de Brownsville, supervisando varios programas: asistencia de emergencia, consejería clínica, asistencia en vivienda, atención de embarazo y asistencia militar. En el verano de 2014 organizó los recursos comunitarios que respondían a la oleada de refugiados que buscaban asilo en los Estados Unidos. “The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen” en McAllen, TX y sus innumerables voluntarios de todo el país han recibido a más de 71,000 personas de 31 países. La hermana Norma Pimentel obtuvo una licenciatura en artes y postgrados en psicología y teología.

CARDINAL CUPICH: THE CHURCH STANDS WITH IMMIGRANTS

 

DEAR FRIENDS:

Kindly read below: Cardinal Cupich is truly a boldly prophetic voice, advocating the cause of the “least of the least”

 

Cardinal Cupich tells national TV audience: Church ‘stands with’ immigrants

Cardinal Blase Cupich gives the homily at Holy Name Cathedral on Jan. 8, 2017.

(Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune)

Kim JanssenContact ReporterChicago Tribune

Town Hall meetings are out of fashion for certain Republican congressmen who have spent the start of 2017 dodging Democratic Party activists.

But Cardinal Blase Cupich got an altogether warmer reception when he used a nationally broadcast town hall this weekend to tell recent immigrants, “the church stands with you.”

 

Organized by Telemundo, the meeting at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood gave the cardinal a chance to showcase his fluent Spanish.

“From this immigrant nation’s early days, the church has accompanied those who sought refuge from persecution, fled poverty and war in their homelands and came here, seeking to trade their labor and loyalty for citizenship,” Cupich told a church packed with first- and second-generation immigrants, according to a translation provided by the archdiocese.

“Priests and religious came with these immigrants, sometimes on the same boats, so they could provide comfort in the familiar language and traditions of their home countries,” he said.

Cupich — who has previously urged all those studying to become priests to learn Spanish — has put himself at the forefront of the battle to protect Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city since the election of President Donald Trump, who has vowed a crackdown on illegal immigration. Cupich last month instructed Chicago priests and Catholic schools not to admit immigration officers onto parish properties without a warrant.

Cupich to priests: No entry for immigration agents without warrants

Speaking to Chicago Inc. on Monday, the cardinal said it was important for him to speak to worshippers in “their language of prayer.”

“Many Latino kids who speak English quite well, because Spanish was a part of their upbringing, that’s the language they pray in,” he said.

Cupich said that though his grandfather was just a teenager when he emigrated from Croatia to the U.S. in the early 20th century, other relatives came in their 20s and spoke “broken English.” In the Nebraska parish where they worshipped, “the homilies were all given in Croatian,” he said, adding that the church made them feel at home in a strange land.

And asked what he thought of Americans who demanded immigrants immediately speak English upon arrival in the U.S., he said, “There’s nothing wrong with being bilingual or trilingual, because it shows that you are able to communicate with more people … otherwise, why are we teaching languages in our schools?”

Cupich declined to comment on what he believes are the president’s personal views about immigration, but on Sunday made pointed remarks about the current political climate.

“The truth that every human being, documented or undocumented, is made in the image of God and (is) deserving of dignity and respect is at the core of our faith,” he said at the town hall event. “Because of that truth, I am here today to assure you that we stand with those made fearful by the hatred expressed and threats made during the past year toward immigrants and refugees.”

The cardinal also quoted Pope Francis‘ words of support for U.S. immigrants from 2015, and added, “We will speak out against prejudice and discrimination, we will provide the services, support and comfort we can and advocate and work for justice until it is achieved.

“The church today, as it was for my grandparents, is a place where you can feel at home. You are our family.”

kjanssen@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @kimjnews

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