In 1964, when I was nine years old and my little sister was four, our family lived in Eagle River, Alaska, a small town near Anchorage. My parents decided to drive nearly 4,000 miles to Memphis, Tennessee, to spend Christmas with my father’s family. A few years earlier, we had driven the Alcan highway in summer to visit family in the “lower 48.” Even that had been quite an adventure, as the highway only had a few hundred miles of paved road back then. This time, however, we were headed south in frigid 30 to 40 degrees below zero weather.
Letter to the Bishops regarding the new revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty
1. The Holy Father Pope Francis, in his Discourse on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum, by which John Paul II promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church, asked that the teaching on the death penalty be reformulated so as to better reflect the development of the doctrine on this point that has taken place in recent times. This development centers principally on the clearer awareness of the Church for the respect due to every human life. Along this line, John Paul II affirmed: “Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this.”
Given the news in the past few weeks regarding Church leadership and sexual abuse, I have had many discussions with people who have expressed outrage, frustration, questions, confusion, and lack of trust in Church leadership. As one person said, the news has brought “a deep sense of darkness that calls out for the grace and light of Christ.”
More than anything, these tragic events are a call to spiritual conversion.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's announcement that he will retire has catapulted Roe v. Wade (the Supreme Court's landmark abortion case) into the news. Pro-abortion groups are pulling out all the stops to urge the U.S. Senate to reject any nominee who does not promise to publicly endorse Roe. And they are misrepresenting the legal and social reality of Roe and what would happen if it is overturned.
The upcoming Supreme Court vacancy provides us with yet another occasion requiring focused prayer. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support or oppose the confirmation of any presidential nominee. However, given this historic moment, the U.S. bishops are urging all people of good will to pray that a change in the U.S. Supreme Court may move our nation closer to the day when every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.
Friday, August 3, 2018 to Friday, September 28, 2018, the weekly Call to Prayer will be adapted as a nine-week Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life. In addition to the current invitation to fast on Fridays, participants are encouraged to pray one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the intention of the novena.
Participants will also be provided with weekly opportunities to learn more about Roe v. Wade, and share that information with their representatives.
Their stories are horrific. They arrive at our boarders looking for a better life. Unaccompanied minors whose parents tell them go, run for your lives. Single mothers fleeing with their little ones to escape sex trafficking by local gangs. Families and asylum seekers trying to find a better life, free from violence and extortion. The human toll currently happening at our borders is unacceptable on so many levels.
We, the Catholic Bishops of Alaska, stand in solidarity with Bishops from across the United States condemning this deplorable situation. It must come to an immediate end. Executive and congressional leadership must work together in solving this crisis.
As citizens of this country and as pastors, we turn our attention to the inhumane and disgraceful practice of separating children from their parents at the US / Mexico border. As of Friday, June 15, the United States Department of Homeland Security confirmed 1,995 minors traveling with 1,940 adults were separated from April 19 through May 31. Some of these children are as young as 18 months old. The lack of humanity is overwhelming.
We raise our voices in protest against such injustice, and join our hearts in solidarity with these immigrant families who seek only safety and asylum. We acknowledge the right of the government to secure our borders, but implore it be accomplished without damaging young lives or rupturing family bonds. A just nation can and must do better. This deplorable situation highlights the need for the leaders in our country to come together in service of the Common Good and reform our nation’s immigration laws. Sincerely,
+Paul D. Etienne, D.D., S.T.L., Archdiocese of Anchorage
+Chad Zielinski, Diocese of Fairbanks
+Andrew Bellisario, C.M., Diocese of Juneau
+Roger L. Schwietz, O.M.I., Archbishop Emeritus of Anchorage
REJOICE AND BE GLAD! HOLINESS AND LIVING YOUR VOCATION
JULY 14TH 9-4PM AT ST RAPHAEL’S PARISH
Sister Dorothy Giloley, SSJ, and Fr. Al Smith, OSFS, will present a day retreat at St. Raphael’s parish
on July 14th from 9-4PM. Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Al at 4pm.
The retreat is entitled, “REJOICE AND BE GLAD!
HOLINESS AND LIVING YOUR VOCATION.”
Topics include: Discerning your Vocation, Praying the Examen,
Finding God in All Things, and Living a Devout Life.
Breakfast and Lunch are provided and a $10 suggested donation to cover food and material costs is much appreciated. To reserve your spot and a receive a free copy of St. Francis de Sales’ “Golden Counsels” booklet please RSVP by July 3rd to Patty Walter at 374-9536.
During the annual celebration of World Youth Day, in February, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, addressed young people saying, “Young people need to know that someone truly believes in you...know that the pope has confidence in you, that the Church has confidence in you!” As bishop of the Diocese ofFairbanks I want our young people to know that I, too, have confidence in you. I have a great desire to see you grow in your faith, be confident in the support you received from your families and parishes and become the missionary disciples that Christ desires you to be. To that end, I want to encourage all of our young people in middle school and high school to consider attending the Alaska Catholic Youth Conference in Anchorage June 3-6!