Asylum Seekers still in transition
You no doubt read or saw the story over the last couple of days about how many more asylum seekers are being "released" to transitional assistance. In our own area, the numbers of families with children being sent to places such as Casa Alitas increased to 60 or 70 persons a day, compared with a far lower number in previous weeks.
Happily, Catholic Community Services and other local organizations providing short term assistance were able to solutions to handle these increased numbers. In addition, the stepped-up releases led to delays because transportation for the asylum seekers was overwhelmed as well, and this now has been compounded by Hurricane Michael in Florida. Peg Harmon, executive director of CCS, said that some of these families were delayed from short stays of 72 hours to as much as 12 days.
This situation has been intensified by hundreds of Guatemalans arriving at International borders to find refuge from rampant violence from gangs and drug cartels in Central America.
Other challenges apart from Asylum Seekers
In addition, situations may continue to escalate in 2019.
On Monday, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration told Catholic News Service that "The Trump administration's cap of 30,000 refugees to be admitted to the United States for fiscal year 2019 will leave thousands more "in harm's way."
"As Christians, we believe it is our duty to welcome and help those who are persecuted, including the vulnerable such as children and religious minorities," Bishop Vasquez said in an Oct. 6 statement. "Resettlement in our country is a way through which we live out our Gospel call to welcome the persecuted into our communities -- individuals and families with no viable options to stay where they are or return home."
He said he was "saddened" by the major reduction in resettlement to 30,000 refugees.
According to the article, "President Donald Trump's memo to the State Department spelled out how the refugee admissions would be allocated: Africa, 11,000; Near East/South Asia, 9,000; East Asia, 4,000; Europe and Central Asia, 3,000; and Latin America/Caribbean, 3,000."
Pray for refugees and those seeking peace and safety. Pray that our country may understand the plight of those in neighboring countries and that compassion and mercy will guide our decisions in caring for those in need of help.
Annual Province Meeting
We bishops from around our province - the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and the dioceses of Gallup, Las Cruces, Phoenix and Tucson - met with directors of Catholic Charities about all areas on care for poor on Monday and Tuesday. The meeting gave bishops a better understanding of what is going on with poverty in Arizona and New Mexico, highlighting the effect of poverty on children and the elderly. It was startling to learn that the largest increase in homelessness now occurs for people 60 and older.
I am looking forward to celebrating the annual Marriage Anniversary Mass on Sunday (October 14) at St. Augustine Cathedral.
Sister Lois tells me we will welcome about 100 couples to receive the Anniversary blessing and declare their continued commitment to each other.
The longest married couple registered this year is Joseph and Mary Ferrang from Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Green Valley. They are celebrating an amazing 72 years of marriage!
Some other couple stats are: five couples married one year, three couples married 10 years, 16 couples married 25 years, 34 couples married 50 years, and 13 couples married 60 years.
Another 30 couples will be present to celebrate their years of marriage ranging from 71 to three years!
The blessing of married couples invites the couple to address a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for their spouse and to ask the Lord to help them remain faithful in their love for each other.
Imagine the family histories involved in all those families. Imagine the deep commitment.
I am also grateful to see newly-wed couples participating. Their presence represents awareness of how blessed they are in their marriages and their continuing interest in keeping God close in their hearts!
Catholic Lawyers Conference
I will celebrate Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish on Saturday evening with Catholic Lawyers Conference participants.
Across the country, dioceses celebrate the annual Red Mass sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society at the Newman Center and the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson.
The honorees this year are Timothy Reckart, Esq. and Nogales Police Officer Jesus Manuel Cordova, whose recognition in being presented posthumously.
Reckart has a long history of service to the community and the church and Officer Cordova died on duty while handling a carjacking situation in late April.
This Mass of the Holy Spirit is offered to inspire, guide and strengthen judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, public officials and all involved in the legal and law enforcement community and their families.
I invite those working in legal occupations and law enforcement to join with us on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 at 5:30p.m., at Saints Peter and Paul Church, 1946 E Lee St., Tucson.
We also will present the annual scholarship in honor of Judge John Roll to a University of Arizona Law Student. For further information, email Laura Conover at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember in prayer
Sister Miriam Claire Arnold, 83, a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who died Oct. 5.
Born in Tiger, AZ, to Peter and Blanche Arnold, she spent 64 years in religious life. Her ministries included being a principal and teaching English at a high school in California, and teaching at Immaculate Heart Catholic High School in Tucson. She also served as provincial of her community.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Harland and sisters Lola Hubbard and Lt. Cmdr. Vivian Arnold, USN (Ret.). She is survived by many nieces and nephews and members of her religious community.
The rosary was recited Oct. 11 at St. Ann Convent, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in the convent chapel. Interment followed in Holy Hope Cemetery.
Ana, daughter of Alicia Corti, our diocesan director of Human Resources, as she recovers from an illness.
Sonya Gutierrez, executive assistant in our Corporal Matters office, as she recovers from elective surgery.
Father Rudy Ofori, parochial vicar from Our Lady of the Mountains Sierra Vista who was admitted to Banner UMC last following some tests and may be there for a few days.
Msgr. Carlos Romero, parochial vicar from St. Francis of Assisi Yuma, who was admitted to St. Mary's hospital late last week for tests and procedures which may take a few days for recovery.
Father Ivan Marsh, O.Carm., who asked for prayer as he is recovering.
Oct. 20 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Annual Rosary Celebration