- Message on the Lent of the Jubilee Year
- MRS/PCMR Small Grants Project: Information Technology for Kmhmu Cultural Appreciation
- IX National Gathering of Pastoral Ministers with People on the Move
- Pastoral Statement on Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States
- Catholic Migrant Farmworker News
- Death of Rev. Ralph A. Pollone
- A Parish Day at the Circus
- Apostleship of the Sea Senate Convention in Mubai, India
- 200 Congolese Gather for Mass in D.C.
- Refugee Council USA
- African Saints and Martyrs Exhibit
- Available Resources
- Joint Statement on U.S. Immigration Policy
This is a special Lent for all of us. It is the Lent of the Jubilee Year, the special year of conversion to the Lord. This is true of personal conversion where each of us looks into some dark pockets of our souls, scarcely touched by the light of Christ, and resolves to let the Gospel message illuminate that darkness so that, as we live lives of greater integrity and transparency, the light of Christ may more fully shine from within us.
But the conversion to the Lord also refers to our apostolate. The Gospel reading for Monday of the First Week of Lent sets before us the judgement scene in the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 25, where Jesus identifies Himself with the stranger, " I was a stranger and you took me in." This Gospel identification, proclaimed at the beginning of Lent in the Jubilee Year, gives the scriptural base for each of us to become more transparent in our efforts on behalf of the immigrant and refugee.
It is on the local level where this service is most dramatic because the need is so gripping. Throughout the country many people on the grassroots are reaching out to people on the edge of survival, extending a helping hand that brings alienated strangers into community, offering a listening ear to people with desperate stories, searching for jobs and stability for people whose lives are in turmoil. Recently, the National Catholic Reporter featured a pastor in the Brooklyn Diocese, Bryan Karvelis, who has opened his rectory and many rooms in his urban parish plant as a shelter for the newly arrived. As he explains, "It is part of my spirituality. We wish to share and be one with the poor. What better way to be one with them than to offer our home?" Showing an example of hospitality to strangers is "one of the most powerful homilies I could offer to this parish about being Christian."
Such Gospel transparency is the ideal which the Jubilee motivates the diocesan ethnic offices and the national consultants to promote. These roles serve to ignite this kind of Gospel response throughout a whole diocese or a whole region. The many creative programs which diocesan directors and national consultants have established in this cutting edge ministry are remarkable. They inspire others to respond with the evangelical spirit recommended by Jesus in St. Matthew's Gospel. But there continue to be countersigns as well of hostility and indifference in some communities which challenge all of us.
It is our privilege on the national level to be the link which offers solidarity and theological reflection for those on the front lines facing the increasing numbers and variety of newcomers. This came home to me at the recent meeting of the consultants and the advisory board held at the Maritime Institute at the beginning of March. As we discussed the first draft of the pastoral statement on the multi-cultural Church, the input of the participants was so full of realism and wisdom from the trenches that it helped clarify the statement and ground it solidly. This was the first time we brought all the continental groups together: European, African, Asian, along with the advisory board. The mix was very lively and gave us all a sense of the magnitude of the migration issue as well as a greater feeling of solidarity confronting the issue. The banquet honoring those receiving the Archbishop Tomasi Award and the Distinguished Service Award, as well as the Eucharist helped us experience and relish the Gospel image of the table of the Lord open to all guests. As Jesus teaches in the parable of the great feast in the 14th chapter of St. Luke's Gospel; " The master then ordered the servant, "Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled."
The Kmhmu Catholic Community (KCC) decided to utilize the wonders of the Internet to help young Kmhmu-Americans gain an understanding and appreciation of their traditions and art. Through the small grants program of PCMR, the KCC created a website by involving several college age students in the Bay Area and around the country as well as other Kmhmu organizations. Tom Vilaikam is the "Webmaster" who created Kmhmu-catholic.org.
This Internet project was designed to establish a program for young Kmhmu-Americans to "know their culture well, to enjoy and celebrate it; to foster contact with their own cultural group worldwide and to help them understand and appreciate the role of Asians in the history of the U.S. and the world." A very successful orientation of the project for the youth and the Kmhmu community was conducted during the National Kmhmu Catechetical Workshop in the summer of 1999. Tom Vilaikam demonstrated the project including communicating with Kmhmu and others who may wander into the site.
Corollary to the Internet, the project also encouraged the learning and practice of Kmhmu art. The young people trained in Kmhmu dance, story-telling, history and handicrafts so that they can perform during their own celebrations and with their greater social communities. Project outcomes show identification among the youth with Kmhmu culture, familiarization in using the Internet and confidence in making public cultural presentations.
Eighteen priests and women religious from 22 dioceses involved in pastoral outreach with the circus, carnival and race car circuit met for their annual meeting coordinated by Sr. Charlotte Hobelman, SND, in Sarasota, Florida from January 6-10, 2000. Fr. Fausto Stampiglia, Pastor of St. Martha Parish, warmly welcomed the participants once again to this National Circus Church. For the first time, participants visited the International Independent Showmen's Association (IISA), a primary center for carnival industry workers in Gibsonton, Florida. The tour of the facility and meeting with the association board members stimulated discussion on the similarities and differences between pastoral outreach with the circus, carnival and race-car circuit and the need for a multi-purpose facility to meet the needs of retired circus workers and to provide educational programs for circus workers and their children in Florida. The participants also had the opportunity to attend performances of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus Blue Unit, the Gibsonton Showmen's Circus and the Sarasota Circus.
During the annual Circus Mass on January 9, 2000, at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota, Sr. Dorothy Fabritze, MSC, and Sr. Bernard Overkamp, MSC, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart based in Reading, Pennsylvania, were commissioned for full-time circus ministry with the Roberts Brothers Circus.
Besides the U.S. pastoral ministers, Msgr. Anthony Chirayath of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and Mons. Pier Giorgio Saviola from the National Office of the Pastoral Care of Itinerant and Circus People of the Italian Bishops' Conference were also present.
The Committee on Migration of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States is preparing for the body of Bishops to issue a pastoral statement for Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs). This statement will express to the APIs and Asian and Pacific-Americans (APAs) the Bishops' interest and concern for their welfare and pastoral needs. It will provide an important teaching guide for pastoral ministers to promote welcome for the APIs and care for APIs/APAs at every level of the Church.
As directed by the Committee on Migration, MRS/PCMR has begun a series of consultations with theologians, academics, Diocesan Ethnic Ministry Directors and Asian-Pacific American community leaders. A consultative dialogue was held in November 1999 and written comments have been received from various sources.
Drafting of the actual document will commence the second half of 2000. This will be a landmark document focused on Asian and Pacific Islanders at this point in the history of the U.S. Catholic Church.
Catholic Migrant Farmworker News Celine Caufield, Executive Director of the Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network (CMFN); Sr. Marํa Elena Gonzแlez, Executive Director of the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC); and CMFN Board members, Sr. Charlotte Hobelman, SND, Fr. Toribio Guerrero, and Sr. Adela Gross, OSF met at MACC on January 22, 2000 for a Fund Development Planning meeting for this national organization devoted to pastoral outreach with migrant farmworkers across the United States.
CMFN offered its third annual Pastoral Formation Course at the Mexican American Cultural Center from February 17-22, 2000. This highly successful adult leadership program hosted 31 participants from thirteen Catholic Dioceses in eight states: Brownsville and San Antonio in Texas; Fresno, Monterey, San Bernardino, and Stockton in California; Toledo, Ohio; Pueblo, Colorado; Boise, Idaho; Savannah, Georgia; Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids in Michigan; and Green Bay, Wisconsin. Presenters at the course were Sr. Toby Lardie, HM, and Louise Anne Pinette de Siller, on the staff of the Mexican American Cultural Center, and Celine Caufield and Zeferino Gonzalez from the Catholic Migrant Farmworker Networker. The course was provided through grant funding from the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.
The spring Board of Directors meeting of the Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network will take place at Centro Marํa and at the United States Catholic Conference from April 6-9 in Washington, D.C. The Executive Committee will meet with staff of the NCCB Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs, USCC Domestic Social Policy, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and offices of MRS Policy and Pastoral Care, whose work includes the pastoral, policy and organizing issues of agricultural workers in the U.S.
Death of Rev. Ralph A. Pollone PCMR's Circus Apostolate mourns the loss of one of its local circus chaplains. Fr. Ralph A. Pollone, a priest from the Diocese of Springfield, died suddenly on the evening of February 9. He was active in the Circus Fans Association of America and was a founding member of their Wayne McGary Tent. Before his ordination in 1983, Fr. Pollone was an elementary school teacher. As a priest, he continued to have a special concern for youth through support for the Boy Scouts and the Berkshire Community College summer circus camp. At the time of his death, he was serving as pastor of St. Mary The Morning Star Church in Pittsfield and administrator at nearby St. Francis Parish. Fr. Jerry Hogan and Sr. Charlotte Hobelman represented the Circus Apostolate at the funeral liturgy on February 11 at St. Mary The Morning Star Church.
A Parish Day at the Circus Mr. Irvin C. Mohler and his wife, Nancy, coordinated the St. Raphael Parish Adult Club, Day at the Circus, on March 7 in Rockville, Maryland. Mr. Mohler serves as the Secretary-Treasure of the Circus Fans Association of America, and was interested in sharing the work of Catholic Church's circus apostolate with members of his local parish.
The day began with a Mass at St. Raphael Church followed by a continental breakfast. Three presentations filled the morning schedule. Sr. Charlotte Hobelman shared with the gathering of about 40 club members on the role of women religious in the circus ministry, especially on the involvement of the Little Sisters of Jesus and the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Fr. Jerry Hogan talked about how he became involved in this special ministry, its history and the pastoral needs of those who work with the over 50 circuses across the United States. Mr. Donald J. McGarvey, the Circus Fans Association of America District Director, and his wife, Carol, gave a wonderful visual presentation on the theme, Circus Posters: Advertising and Art, using his extensive collection of circus posters dating to the beginning of the 20th century. After lunch, the participants traveled to the Mohler home to see Mr. Mohler's model of a real circus in miniature, a hobby which he has had for many years.
Apostleship of the Sea Senate Convention in Mumbai, India The Apostleship of the Sea senate convened in Mumbai, India on February 13-18, 2000. The members discussed contemporary issues and formulated plans for the future, including the next world congress theme and venues. The AOS Pilgrimage to Rome, which will take place on June 1-3, 2000, was also on the agenda. It is expected that approximately 2,000 members of the AOS will make the Pilgrimage.
After the Senate meeting at Atma Darsham Vincentian Retreat House, the AOS met with Indian Bishops from various port cities to encourage and support the Church in India's outreach to the People of the Sea.
Sunday, February 20, 2000 Cardinal Frederic Etsou, Archbishop of Kinshasa celebrated Mass for the Congolese (Democratic Republic of Congo) Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Washington.
Cardinal Etsou praised the community for fostering their Catholic identity and unity among members, and urged them to pray, and work for peace in D. R. Congo.
About two hundred Congolese from Washington Metropolitan area, and representatives of the Congolese community from Texas participated at the Mass.
Nine national resettlement agencies (including MRS) and the International Catholic Migration Commission have formed a new coordinating entity called the Refugee Council USA.
This new organization will provide the forum through which these agencies will coordinate their interactions with the federal agency partners in resettlement and overseas processing activities, and national and international refugee protection advocacy efforts.
The Office for Ethnic Ministries, Diocese of Worcester, MA, has an exhibit on African Saints and Martyrs for use by diocesan offices, parishes, and schools. Cost (for UPS) is approximately $60-$75 round trip. Contact: Sr. Marie Prefontaine, SND, 49 Elm Street, Worcester, MA 01609; e-mail: Sprefontaine@worcesterdiocese.org; phone: 508-791-7171 x 328 or fax: 508-753-7180.
Available Resources Harvests of Hope: Directory of Services for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers and Their Families: Published by the United States Department of Education Office of Migrant Education, this directory provides a completed overview of Federal Programs, National Organizations, State and Territorial Government and Nongovernmental Organizations across the United States serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families. The Harvests of Hope Directory is available free-of-charge and can be ordered at the toll free number: 1-877-433-7827 (TDD: 1-877-576-7734). It can also be ordered on-line at: http://www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html. Use the reference number, 453503, when ordering this publication.
Migrant Health Services Directory 2000 de Servicios de Salud para Migrantes: Published by Migrant Health Promotion based in Monroe, Michigan, this guide provides an overview of migrant health services in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The directory is free-of-charge. Copies are available while supplies last from PCMR Migrant Ministries. Call (202) 541-3225, fax (202) 541-3351 or e-mail your request to email@example.com. Be sure to include your mailing address, phone number and the number of copies you are requesting.
The National Migrant Education Hotline: 1-800-234-8848. The staff speaks Spanish and English. The line is available 24 hours a day.
Guidelines for Receiving Pastoral Ministers in the United States, published by MRS/PCMR. A complimentary copy plus order form is enclosed. Cost - $5.00; bulk rate - 25 copies for $75 (includes shipping and handling). Contact Amanda Griffin at 202-541-3459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Religious/Cultural information on the following ethnicities: Cambodian/Khmer, Chinese Catholics, Filipinos, Hmong, The New Irish, Kmhmu Cultural Identify, Korean-American Catholics in the US, Lahu, Laotians, Montagnards, Samoans, Southeast Asia Peoples, and Vietnamese is available at: /mrs/pcmr/ethnicities.
The General Services Administration is authorized to transfer surplus property to nonfederal public agencies involved in programs for the homeless, elderly, education, and health. Property includes hand and machine tools, office machines and supplies, furniture, appliances, clothing, etc. "as is." For more information, go to the GSA website at www.fss.gsa.gov and type in "surplus property."
Joint Statement of Cardinal Roger Mahony, Chair, USCC Domestic Policy Committee and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Chair, NCCB Committee on Migration, and John Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO on U.S. Immigration Policy As leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and President of the AFL-CIO, we are committed to work together to fundamentally reform U.S. immigration policy in order to assure protection of fundamental rights of and greater respect for immigrant workers in our nation.
Immigrant workers, regardless of their status, are vital participants in our economy. Yet their dignity and rights are often abused and their important contributions to our society ignored. Our nation must treat immigrants fairly and with dignity and honor their important contributions to our society. We will work together to advocate new policies which include:
- the legalization of immigrant workers and their families, especially those who come to the U.S. fleeing oppression and destitution and make significant contributions to our country;
- greater respect for both the civil and workplace rights of immigrant workers, regardless of their legal status;
- U.S. foreign and economic policies which better address the conflict, poverty, and denial of human rights which pressure persons to come to this country;
- repeal of employer sanctions, which, as a nationwide policy applied to all workplaces, has failed and should be eliminated.