- First African Priests' National Gathering
- Haitian Priests' Retreat
- Apostleship of the Sea Chaplaincy School
- Regional Meetings
- 1998 Maritime Ministers Gulf Coast Conference
- Coming Soon: PCMR Network Consultation
- Ethnic Ministries Small Grant Program 1997
- Called to Be One in the Spirit: National Migration Week 1998
- U.S. Bishops' Conference and CELAM hold Catechetical Meeting
- First Offering of Pastoral Course for Migrant Farmworkers
- Annual Meeting of Pastoral Ministers to People on the Move
- Meet the Kmhmu
- Update on Guestworker Legislation
- Mark Franken - New MRS Executive Director
- NCCB Committee on Migration News
- Pope John Paul II Beatifies First Nigerian
- Jubilee 2000 - Korean Translation
- PCMR Resource Briefs
- PCMR Staff
First African Priests' National Gathering The Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees facilitated the first national gathering of African priests ministering in the United States at the Franciscan Center in Tampa, Florida, January 13-16, 1998. Twenty-five priests from eleven African countries—Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda—participated at the gathering. Reverend Callist Nyambo, Director of the Office of Black Catholics at the Diocese of St. Petersburg, was host to the gathering which focused on ministry and the priesthood in the contemporary church. The meeting provided participants an opportunity to share their ministerial experiences in the United States, and to interact with one another.
Although unable to deliver his keynote address in person, Bishop John S. Cummins, National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Chair of the Committee on Migration conveyed his welcome by fax and offered prayers for the success of the gathering. He noted that this first national gathering of African priests, "represents a long and rich tradition of priestly service in the United States... a reminder of a blessing that has strengthened the church in this country." Also, he noted that the church by nature overcomes language and cultural barriers, and nationality boundaries.
Speakers included: Reverend Clarence Williams, CPPS President of the Catholic African World Network, Reverend Aniedi Okure, OP, Coordinator of Ethnic Ministries at the United States Catholic Conference's Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees (PCMR), Mrs. Maria Jerkins, President of Black Catholic Conference, Florida, Dr. Emmanuel Akpan, Esq., Attorney at Law. In his presentation, Father Aniedi Okure noted that there are approximately 400 African priests residing and ministering in the United States in various capacities: pastors, associate pastors, directors of diocesan offices, campus ministers, chaplains (hospital, prison and military), teachers and students in residence offering part-time pastoral services. The gathering was an historic event, the first step in building a network of support for African priests ministering in the United States. Participants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to meet and interact with one another and looked forward to the next gathering in early 1999.
Haitian Priests' Retreat On February 9, twenty-seven priests active in the Haitian Apostolate, spent a five-day retreat at the Dominican Retreat House in South Miami, Florida. The Retreat Master, Father Midy, a Haitian Jesuit, discussed the role of the Holy Spirit in priestly work. The spiritual renewal and the strengthened solidarity that resulted from these days of prayer and reflection have given new vigor to the participants, who came from all along the East Coast of the United States.
Source: Rev. Guy Sansaricq, Director, National Center of the Haitian Apostolate
Apostleship of the Sea Chaplaincy School Seven students completed the 1998 Houston Training Program for newcomers to port ministry. Of the seven, four were Catholics. They came from East and West Coasts, the Gulf of Mexico and New England to learn more about the maritime industry and the needs of those who work in it. The speakers were from the maritime industry and governing bodies, such as Customs and the U.S. Coast Guard. Other speakers were expert seafarer center managers and fund raisers. Of most importance were those who spoke on how to attract volunteers, train them, and keep them.
Source: MRS National Office for the Apostleship of the Sea, United States Catholic Conference
Regional Meetings In the fall of 1997, PCMR convened five regional meetings with diocesan directors and other diocesan representatives. These meetings addressed personnel issues relating to pastoral agents from other countries ministering in the United States. These gatherings also provided an opportunity to introduce staff from the MRS Office of Refugee Programs and Office of Migration and Refugee Policy.
Watch out for the Summary Report in the mail. Please call Toni Pyke at 202-541-3366, if you do not receive a copy within the next two weeks.
1998 Maritime Ministers Gulf Coast Conference Approximately sixty people met March 8-10 at the International Seafarer and Trucker Center in Gulfport, Mississippi for the 1998 Maritime Ministers Gulf Coast Conference. The first Gulf conference held in the 1970's attracted only 15 chaplains, all of whom were from ports along the Gulf of Mexico. This year's conference attracted chaplains from as far away as Halifax, Nova Scotia. The total number in attendance was sixty.
The Regional Conference agenda included a memorial service to honor the seafarers who lost their lives at sea. During the playing of taps a wreath was cast into Biloxi Bay.
Source: MRS National Office for the Apostleship of the Sea, United States Catholic Conference
Coming Soon: PCMR Network Consultation The NCCB Committee on Migration at its March 23 meeting, approved a staff proposal to conduct a comprehensive consultation with the networks with which PCMR relates. The purpose of the consultation is (1) to solicit information on pastoral care needs as you anticipate them in the future; and (2) to evaluate some of our past and current resources and programs. As you know, PCMR is in transition and is operating with a decreased staff. (Please refer to the last page for staff listings.) We hope the position of Director, which has been advertised, will be filled soon. We encourage you to complete the survey and return it to MRS/PCMR by the date indicated on the survey. Your contribution will enable us to better serve your needs in the future. We greatly appreciate your cooperation in this endeavor.
Ethnic Ministries Small Grant Program 1997 Diocesan pastoral agents from each of the five PCMR regions in the United States submitted 23 proposals for small grants to fund projects which address the needs of ethnic youth and young adults in the Church. The total amount of funding requested was $25,515; $10,000 was distributed to thirteen dioceses for 20 different projects. Approved proposals dealt mainly with cross-cultural youth and young adult programs, focusing on hearings, listening sessions, or needs assessment of ethnic youth and young adults. Congratulations to those dioceses who made the effort to respond to this venture. We commend you for your work and wish you every success in your ministry.
Called to Be One in the Spirit: National Migration Week 1998 USCC's celebration of National Migration Week during January 6-9, 1998 included daily liturgies, displays on the Cuban and Haitian refugee experience, current trends in refugee flows, recent changes in legislation, and exhibits by Migration and Refugee Services, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the Apostolate of the Sea, and the U.S. Department of State.
In addition, MRS/PCMR hosted the 4th Annual Ethnic Foods Festival in conjunction with a Household Goods Drive. The Conference's household goods drive assisted the Resettlement Program of Catholic Charities, Washington, DC with donations of towels, bedding, dishes, pots, pans, and flatware. This opportunity enabled Conference employees to assist in refugee resettlement, one of MRS's main activities. Donations to the drive went way beyond expec-tations—filling an entire passenger van with goods plus cash contributions of $150. Not only were Conference employees able to celebrate the richness of cultural and ethnic diversity, but they were able to share in the MRS mission of welcoming newcomers to the United States.
U.S. Bishops' Conference and CELAM hold Catechetical Meeting Representatives of the NCCB and USCC met during February 5-8 in Dallas with representatives of the Latin American Bishops' Council (CELAM) to discuss catechesis in America. The theme of the meeting, One Faith, One Church, One America, focused on issues and concerns of both conferences with respect to such matters as evangelization and migration. The bishops "discussed trends..., shared experiences and resources in catechesis and identified common areas for potential collaboration in light of the New Evangelization and the Great Jubilee in the year 2000." The bishops hope to "continue the dialogue and to find ways to collaborate in a hemispheric catechesis that promotes conversion, community, and solidarity in America."
First Offering of Pastoral Course for Migrant Famrworkers Twenty-four farmworkers met at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio from February 11-17, 1998 to discuss ways they can combine their faith with their work. This first-time gathering of farmworkers involved in pastoral care to their coworkers was funded by grants from the Koch Foundation and the Lilly Foundation and was sponsored by the Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network (CMFN). Presentations on immigration law, devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and small Christian communities were given to the participants, who came from ten states and thirteen dioceses. Sr. Charlotte Hobelman, PCMR Coordinator of Migrant Farmworker Ministry, said "the course provided an opportunity for farmworkers to meet their fellow workers who were also involved in some capacity in the church, and for promoting the value of church leadership in their families and local communities."
This pastoral course will be offered in 1999 and any contributions to support the 1999 Farmworker Scholarship Fund can be sent to Celine Caufield, CMFN, 1915 University Drive, Boise, ID 83706.
Annual Meeting of Pastoral Ministers to People on the Move Sr. Charlotte Hobelman, SND, Pastoral Care for Migrants & Refugees (PCMR), attended the National Gathering of Pastoral Ministers to People on the Move last January at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, Florida. Fourteen participants from the circus, carnival and race car circuit ministry attended this year's gathering which is usually scheduled to coincide with Sarasota's annual Circus Festival. The three day meeting provided an opportunity for the participants to reflect on the past year, exchange ideas, identify possible pastoral resources for development and plan for the future of this important ministry.
Msgr. Anthony Chirayath representing the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People participated in the gathering and shared a welcoming address from Archbishop Giovanni Cheli. It was the first year that a representative from the Vatican attended this annual meeting. Archbishop Cheli, (now Cardinal Cheli) stated in his welcome, "In the Church and for the Church there are no differences among people; whether they are migrants, refugees, seamen, gypsies or circus and show people, every person is important to the Church, and the salvation of each person is important to her."
Another highlight of the weekend was the Circus Mass on January 4 at St. Martha Church celebrated by Bishop John J. Nevins. Father Jerry Hogan, National Chaplain of the Circus Ministry and a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, delivered the homily. Each year the parish welcomes back the circus performers and workers representing some of the more than 60 circuses in the United States as well as the fans who come to town to celebrate the annual Circus Festival. At the Mass, Sister Adela Gross, OSF, the previous PCMR Coordinator of Migrant Ministry, received a Papal Blessing for her Golden Jubilee and a Papal Medal in recognition of her work with migrant peoples in the United States.
Meet the Kmhmu Father Don MacKinnon, CSSR and Sister Michaela at the Kmhmu Laotian Catholic Community of Oakland, California, have recently created a traveling road show, which includes a slide presentation and a display of Kmhmu' traditional items. They are willing to travel in the Oakland area to give presentations to interested groups who would like to hear more about this Southeast Asian group. The goal of this endeavor is to find support for these newest immigrants.
Update on Guestworker Legistion Although the 1992 Commission on Agricultural Workers, the 1995 Second Interim Report, and the 1997 GAO study of the Agricultural Guestworker Program each concluded that a new guestworker program is not needed, five pieces of legislation concerning guestworker legislation have been introduced since January 1997:
S. 169 - Agricultural Workforce Stability and Protection Act: Introduced by Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig on January 21, 1997, this legislation was referred on March 19, 1997 to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration. This bill aims to simplify the H-2A program by accelerating immigration processing of workers, giving a report on recruitment to growers in less than a month, and changing guestworker request filing deadlines. Growers would not be mandated to provide housing for workers.
S. 1563 - introduced by Oregonian Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) is the Senate version of H.R. 2377 - The Temporary Agricultural Worker Act: This bill would allow the current H-2A program to remain as it is, but would introduce a new, two-year H-2C pilot program that could potentially bring as many as 25,000 additional workers annually.
On March 10, 1998, Rep. Robert Smith introduced H.R. 3410 - The Temporary Agricultural Worker Act of 1998. This revised version of his earlier legislation, H.R. 2377, would reduce the H-2C pilot program to 20,000 workers annually and reduce the number of diversity lottery visas and unskilled workers' immigrant visas by 5,000. In addition, it weakens or eliminates even minimal protections, such as, requiring only local recruitment and eliminating the requirement to provide housing.
H.R. 2595 - The Farmers' Temporary Employment Assistance Act: Introduced by Georgia Republican Representative Saxby Chambliss on October 1, 1997, this legislation has been referred to a number of committees. The bill aims to simplify the current H-2A program and replaces it permanently. The number of workers annually brought to the United States would not be subject to limits.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims markup of the H.R. 3410 guestworker legislation occurred on March 12. The bill was approved by voice vote and then referred to the Full House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
On March 11, Bishop John Cummins, Chair, NCCB Committee on Migration, wrote to the members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims expressing concern about H.R. 3410 because "...it could encourage and/or result in the exploitation and victimization of temporary farm workers and could have the unintended consequence of leaving U.S. citizen and Lawful Permanent Resident farm workers unemployed." This has been a long held position by Catholic Bishops in the United States. Additionally, USCC is opposed to the provision in this law that would reduce the number of permanent immigration visas by 10,000 each year in two immigrant visa categories: "diversity" and "other worker."
MRS thanks those who responded to the C.C.USA Advofax urging communication with the Administration and/or whose who have already written letters to Congressional members.
Action: MRS continues to encourage those opposed to the guestworker legislation to send letters or call their Congressional representatives and the members of the House Judiciary Committee, particularly Rep. Henry Hyde, Chairman, House Judiciary Committee, Room 2138, Rayburn House Office Building, or Rep. John Conyers, Ranking Minority Member, House Judiciary Committee, Room B-351C, Rayburn House Office Building, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515 or through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
If you need a copy of the Subcommittee members, please contact Abby Price (202) 541-3231 or Cyndi Phillips (202) 541-3235 at the MRS Office of Migration and Refugee Policy.
If you would like to receive a copy of a sample letter, contact Sr. Charlotte Hobelman, MRS/PCMR, at (202) 541-3035.
The 1995 statement, One Family under God, issued by the NCCB Committee on Migration addresses the issue of guestworker programs.
Workers have the right to work and live without exploitation. All workers within a society deserve the right to an honest wage, to fair treatment by employers, and to full participation in the labor market, which includes the right to organize for collective bargaining. This concern has a particular resonance for immigrant and minority workers who have traditionally suffered ill-treatment with limited opportunities for relief. While this represents larger justice issues that have long plagues this nation, it also has an important resonance in the immigration debate. Temporary labor programs that rely on migrant workers have not had a good history in the United States and continue to spawn abusive situations. We reiterate a concern most recently expressed in 1988 that "temporary foreign labor programs should be gradually eliminated." Every effort should be made to avoid recreating large-scale "Guestworker" programs. Temporary worker categories that are necessary ought to offer full labor market rights, and temporary workers should be accorded health and disability benefits as a means of promoting their human dignity. (pp. 10-11)
Mark Franken - New MRS Executive Director On February 18, 1997 Msgr. Dennis Schnurr, USCC General Secretary, named Mark Franken as the new Executive Director of Migration and Refugee Services. Mark has been with MRS since February, 1980 and has served in various positions within MRS over the years. After his appointment, Mark commented that he looks "forward to working with the NCCB Migration Committee, other Conference offices, and my MRS colleagues to meet these (pastoral) challenges and to ensure that the bishops' concerns for refugees, immigrants, and people on the move are translated into responsive advocacy and programs designed to welcome the stranger."
NCCB Committee on Migration News The NCCB Committee on Migration is the Bishops' standing committee with overview of Migration and Refugee Services. The Committee meets four times a year to discuss issues relating to pastoral care, migration and refugee policy, and refugee programs. In addition, the Committee sets the direction for future programs and policy initiatives of the staff relating to immigrants and refugees. At its meeting in Washington on March 23, the Committee addressed such pastoral care issues as Clergy Agreements, retirement benefits for non-incardinated priests, itinerant chaplains ministering across diocesan boundaries, the Asian/Pacific Islanders consultation, regional meetings, financial support for National Ethnic Pastoral Centers, and the PCMR network consultation.
Some of these items will again be discussed at the June meeting. The report of the Asian/Pacific Islanders consultation will now be sent to the NCCB Administrative Committee for follow-up; the summary of the regional meetings will be published; and the PCMR network consultation will begin shortly. MRS/PCMR staff will prepare additional information on the other topics for future discussion at the June bishops' meeting.
Pope John Paul II Beatifies First Nigerian March 21, Pope John Paul II beatified the first Nigerian—Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi—in Onitsha, southeast of the Country before an estimated one million participants. A popular priest of Dunukofia Parish in the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Father Tansi was born in 1903 to parents who followed traditional religion. His parents sent him to a Catholic school where he requested baptism at the age of nine. He taught schools for several years before entering the Seminary and was ordained a priest in 1937. As pastor of Dunukofia, Father Tansi baptized the future Cardinal Francis Arinze, currently President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In 1950, Father Tansi was sent to Mount St. Bernard Abbey in Coalville, England to be trained as a contemplative monk with a view of founding a monastery in Nigeria. The Abbey founded a community in Cameroon, east of Nigeria and Father Tansi was appointed novice master. However, he died in 1964 before he could assume the post. Father Tansi is accredited with inspiring dozens of vocations to the priesthood especially within the Onitsha Archdiocese.
The beatification is a landmark for the Church in Nigeria, which has grown significantly in the past twenty years. About fifteen percent of its estimated 104 million population are Catholics. It has the highest number of indigenous priests and religious of any African country, a large number of seminarians and novices, and many women religious communities. During his March 21- 23 visit, the Pope spoke out forcefully for human rights noting that a respite for human rights was the hallmark for a truly democratic society. The trip marked the 82nd international voyage of his pontificate and the second to Nigeria. The Pope met with Muslim leaders and with the Catholic bishops in Nigeria before leaving for Rome.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has declared the site of the Papal Mass in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city, "The Pope John Paul II National Praying Ground."
Jubilee 2000 - Korean Translation MRS/PCMR has obtained 500 copies of the parish resource packet Jubilee 2000 in Korean from the Korean Bishops' Conference for distribution to Korean communities in the United States. The Korean Pastoral Center in the United States in collaboration with the Resource Center for Ethnic Youth and Young Adult Evangelization (RCYE) will be distributing these copies at a minimal price plus shipping. To order, please contact, Peter Choe, Executive Director, RCYE, 8726 Hayshed Lane, Unit 202, Columbia, MD 21045-3065; phone: (410) 992-0971; fax: (410) 992-0972; e-mail: email@example.com.
PCMR Resource Briefs During 1997, PCMR published ten Resource Briefs on a variety of topics: Scripture and Church teaching, Eastern Catholics, religious worker visas, English language programs, speech training, diocesan orientation programs and resources, and biblical and catechetical resources for Southeast Asian and Asian/Pacific Islander communities. If you wish a copy of any of these resources, please contact PCMR at (202) 541-3230.
PCMR Staff Please contact our staff members below if you hav any questions or need assistance:
Deacon Bob Balderas
National Director, Apostleship of the Sea
Executive Assistant, PCMR
Staff Assistant, AOS & MFW
C. Maureen Gross
NMW Program Coordinator
Charlotte Hobelman, SND
Coordinator, People on the Move
(Migrant Farmworkers, Circus and
Carnival workers, Race Car Circuit workers)
Aniedi Okure, OP
Coordinator, Ethnic Ministries
Ethnic Ministries Staff
(These team members have responsibility for Asia/Pacific Islands, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America.)