Catholic Outlook Catholic Outlook Catholic Outlook


Catholic Outlook Cover Stories

Catholic Outlook publishes over 32,000 issues each month during the calendar year, except for July. We estimate that each issue is read by at least 80,000 people attending the Diocese's 78 parishes, dozens of missions and 25 Catholic schools. Catholic Outlook can be found in diocesan organizations, schools, parishes, and hospitals throughout the Diocese of Tucson.

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



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.


♦ 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.


Managing Editor

^ Up 


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. 

^ Up 


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


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.

^ Up 

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.

^ Up 

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. 

^ Up 

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

^ Up 


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. 

^ Up 

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.

^ Up 


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.


♦ 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

^ Up 


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

^ Up 


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

^ Up 


Timeline on papal immigration teachings

^ Up 


Resourses on Pope Francis and Migration

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

^ Up 

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


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

^ Up 


Women Center's Fedigan a profile in Catholic social teaching


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

^ Up 


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


The national map at 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

By Michael Brown

Managing Editor

^ Up 


Catholic faith calls all to study and participate in elections


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

^ Up 


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."

^ Up 


Catholic social teaching documents


CST Word Clooud


Papal documents key to Catholic Social Teaching














US Bishops' documents key to Catholic Social Teaching













^ Up 


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



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.

^ Up 


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


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.

^ Up 


La Ley de Erin podría proteger a los niños contra pedófilos


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

^ Up 


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


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.

^ Up 


La enseñanza social católica y los obispos de Tucson


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.


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".

^ Up