The following address was delivered by Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas at the annual gathering of the Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities Jan. 30.
Catholic colleges and universities matter much. Your work makes Christ's mission come alive and flourish. Through you the faith is handed on to others. My respect for you and what you do every day could not be greater.
I esteem the challenge you give your students to live not for themselves but for others, preparing them to contribute selflessly to their community. One of the core characteristics of a Catholic college or university identified by Pope John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae is "an instituional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family" (Ex Corde, 13,3) You live out this commitment in exceptional ways.
I value the scholarship of your faculties, women and men for whom being Catholic means a grand curiosity about life and a willingness to question and explore, always with the blessed assurance of revelation and Church teaching as guide.
I marvel at the countless ways you assist the Catholic community by your counsel and advice, by your involvement and generous sharing of your resources, by your fidelity to your Catholic identity in which you take such pride.
I once was who you are; I once was where you are.
For ten wonderful years, memorable years, I served as rector/president of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Chicago. I loved teaching. Long before Smart Boards, I breathed in chalk dust. I loved being a part of the lives of students who wanted to make their mark on life and to serve the Lord. I treasured the camaraderie and challenge of being a co-worker with gifted faculty willing to support, engage and debate one another as colleagues.
Yes, sometimes there were the petty faculty jealousies and divisions. There were the sometimes interminable, endless faculty meetings. Yes, there were the students who were self-referred and who failed and fell short despite every effort we could make to help them succeed. Yes, there were the budget shortfalls and leaky roofs. Yes, there were the days when you had to ask, "What am I doing here?"
But, like you, I would not trade those days for anything. It was a blessed time, a treasured time.
You gather today sharing a common part of the church's mission as college and university administrators, and it is my challenge today – my joy, really – to accomplish three things with you.
First I will reflect with you about what we can learn from someone who did what you do, who was where you are, John Henry Cardinal Newman. He gives us insights on your lives and work. He was, as you know, an extraordinary human being, brilliant, with a gift for writing , a passion for truth and a great love of the Lord.
Secondly, I will reflect with you about a document that, when issued, now twenty years ago, brought anxiety and concern to some Catholic institutions of higher education but which, I believe, can now be seen as a challenge calling you to renew and strengthen your mission. Ex Corde Ecclesiae applauds your work, calls you to recognize your unique blessing in being Catholic and in being in communion, and invites you, prods you to stay in communion with the church and to permeate all you are and all you do with Christ's message and teaching.
Finally, I will acknowledge and applaud the ways you are contributing to the church's work. Catholic colleges and universities do so much for which we ought to be deeply grateful. I only wish some of you found your home in the Diocese of Tucson. I would delight in that. Come to the Southwest. It’s sunny, it’s warm.
JOHN HENRY CARDINAL NEWMAN
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, an admirer, on Sunday, the Lord's day, September 19, 2010 at Cofton Park at Rednal in Birmingham, England. Although it is not the Holy Father ‘s practice to preside at beatification celebrations, he chose to celebrate and preach for Cardinal Newman's, clearly because of his great regard for him. In his homily given to 50,000 people, Pope Benedict held up Cardinal Newman, not a martyr for the faith, although you might well identify with a martyr with all you have to endure sometimes, but a courageous confessor of the faith, as one we could emulate. Benedict commented, "His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society and into the need for a broadly based and wide-ranging approach to education...continue to inspire and enlighten many all over the world. (Origins, September 30, 2010, Vol. 40, N. 17, p. 259)
In his homily the Holy Father quoted Newman in issuing a challenge to you as Catholic educators of Catholic laity, "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it." (The Present Position of Catholics in England, IX, 390)
In 1851 Newman was invited by Archbishop, later Cardinal, Cullen to form a Catholic University in Ireland. Although he served only four years as its Rector, Newman was totally engaged especially in selecting faculty, including a number of laymen, always looking out for those whose character and ability would foster the work of the University. Some of his choices were not universally applauded. He wanted laity involved, which broke with the tradition that universities should be under the strict control of clerics. According to Christopher Hollis (Hollis, Christopher, "Newman and the Modern World", Hollis and Carter, London,1967) "He even wanted a layman appointed Vice Rector. He suggested the formation of a lay committee to manage the University's finances (Hollis, p. 124)," a move resisted by some.
Newman mingled with students and delighted in their company. Hollis says this of Newman, "He encouraged them (students) to keep horses and even rode with them. He started musical societies, debating societies. He put billiard tables in their common rooms." (Hollis, p. 124). After all he was not training seminarians he would say, he was preparing people for life which involved learning the proper use of freedom.
During his relatively short tenure, he established a medical school meeting all of those unique challenges. He opened an engineering school and even made an attempt to establish a polytechnical institute. He set up the University Gazette, a weekly journal and Atlantis, a scholarly publication in which faculty would write up their research. He accomplished a great deal in a short period of time though not without controversy.
University administrator Newman tells you a lot this morning that you can take home and reflect upon. He knows your world. He has been there. He knows what you are up against. He stood up to much of the same. He stayed the course and has now been beatified. He is your brother, your mentor.
Like you, Newman loved his work, worked hard, faced opposition and suspicion, showed courage, and sought to seek and find the truth.
Like you, Newman was forming a generation of laity, eager to form Catholic intellectuals who would be steeped in the teachings of the Church and in their field of expertise,
Like you, Newman sought to answer and not to suppress what was erroneous. He was willing to engage attitudes and ideas different from what the Church taught because he was confident that the truth would prevail and would benefit from that engagement.
Like you, Newman held a great loyalty to the Church. He loved the Church and the faith that he came to embrace with all his heart. Yet he was not afraid to express his opinion even when it differed from ecclesial authorities on issues that did not involve faith and morals.
Newman today would be proud to be in your number. His exceptional and magnetic personality would find him engaged with this organization, probably one of its most outspoken members and surely one of its leaders.
What can you learn from Cardinal Newman?
Above all he would expect that you place Catholic identity first among your concerns. Catholic is not just an adjective accidental to who you are. Catholic is core to your identity, the center of what you are about,
He would challenge each of you to do what you do with integrity. Only when you live what you profess can you hope to influence those who come to your institution.
He would emphasize his understanding that the faithful as a whole possess the Spirit and should be listened to. This has much to say on how we exercise our authority.
He would encourage you to educate a generation of laity who would bring their faith to bear on the burning questions of this time. That is what he did in his time.
NEWMAN AND CATHOLIC IDENTITY
Before the age of accreditation and taxonomies of competencies and behavioral objectives, Newman in his “Idea of a University” set high standards for what a university education is, what it should result in.
He wrote, "But a University training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end; it aims at raising the intellectual tone of society, at cultivating the public mind, at purifying the national taste, at supplying true principles to popular enthusiasm and fixed aims to popular aspiration; at giving enlargement and sobriety to the idea of the age, at facilitating the exercise of political power and refining the intercourse of private life."
"It is education which gives man a clear, conscious view of his own opinions and judgements, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are and to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irrelevant. It prepares him to fill any post with credit and to master any subject with faculty. It shows him how to accommodate himself to others, how to throw himself into their state of mind, how to bring before them his own, how to influence them, how to come to an understanding with them, how to bear with them."
"He is at home in any society, he has common ground with every task, he knows when to speak and when to be silent, he is able to converse. He is able to listen. He can ask a question pertinently and gain a lesson seasonably when he has nothing to impart himself; he is ever ready but never in the way. He is a pleasant companion and a comrade you can depend on. He knows when to be serious and when to trifle and he has a sure tact which enables him to trifle with gracefulness and to be serious with effect." (Newman, "Idea of a Unversity, p. 124)
Catholic Universities today strive to do all this.
Importantly Newman asks us to focus on the relationship that he believed was essential for a true Catholic identity. He gives us a vision of this relationship: it is not enough for a Catholic university to teach Catholic theology, that is critical, but also there needs to be "a direct and active jurisdiction (by the church) over it and in it. (This) is necessary lest it should become a rival of the church...it is not sufficient security for the Catholicity of the University even that the whole of Catholic theology should be professed in it unless the church breathes her own pure and unearthly spirit into it and fashions and moulds it's organization and watches over it's teaching and knits together its pupils and superintends it's action.” (Words of Newman taken from A Newman Symposium: Edited by Victor R. Yanitelli,S.J. Fordham University, 1952)
We need to explore ways that Catholic universities and colleges and the bishops can realize that vision respecting the responsibilities of the University and College administrators and the faculty and those of the bishops.
NEWMAN AND THE CALL TO HOLINESS
“Cor ad Cor Loquitur,” Newman's motto on his episcopal coat of arms, reflects his desire for a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ and his longing to grow in holiness. He knew the importance of prayer and of living his faith not just professing it, a merely notional assent. Well before the time Newman was first received into the Roman Catholic Church by a Passionist priest, Dominic Barberi on October 9, 1845 there stirred in his heart a longing for holiness. His holiness of life, now formally recognized by the Church in his beatification, is a challenge to all Catholic college and university administrators, Catholic or of another faith, to strive for holiness.
Benedict in his homily for his beatification says, "He (Newman) reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness." (Origins, September 30, 2010, p. 258) If we are to call others to a life of holiness in our Catholic colleges and universities, we ourselves have to be on the journey as well.
The editor of Emmanuel Magazine notes that "Newman practiced daily meditation and contemplation, and set apart time each day for quiet conversation with Christ. He gave special importance to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the summit of our Christian lives." (Editorial, "Emmanuel" November/December 2010, p. 485)
Newman’s prayer life sustained him through rocky and turbulent times, through disappointments and failings, through challenges and self-doubt.
I know each of you face many challenges, difficult demands, and expectations that often seem exorbitant, overwhelming. How can you respond? Turn to God in prayer. Give time to prayer. Seek the Lord who alone is our Rock and our Salvation. Continue to strive for integrity. Benedict quotes Newman, "A habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency- prayer, I say, has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualizing and elevating the soul. A man is no longer what he was before...he has imbibed a new set of ideas, and become imbued with fresh principles." (Parochial and Plain Sermons, IV, 230-231)
Your witness of faith to faculty, students, and staff can transform your community. When you meet one truly holy person, that encounter is worth more than a thousand books on spirituality. Be that person of holiness and integrity in your community. Seek out spiritual guidance. It is nearly impossible to make the journey without a soul mate.
Return to and animate the charism and spirituality of the religious founders of your institutions. These gifts of the Spirit and spiritual traditions should characterize life on campus. Among the efforts to do this I would raise up the efforts of the LaSallian institutions to inculcate the educational vision of St. John the Baptist de la Salle in all involved in their schools should be imitated. Laity in our Catholic institutions can benefit from immersion in the charism and spirituality of these founding congregations as a way to holiness.
NEWMAN AND THE EXERCISE OF AUTHORITY
Newman had a “conspiracy theory” about how authority should be rightly exercised in the Church. His “conspiracy theory” came to light in one of his most controversial and criticized writings in the July 1859 issue of his journal, the Rambler. "In Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine" he spoke of the Sensus Fidelium. Paul Crowley, S.J. reflects that "(Newman understood by Sensus Fidelium) the mutual inspiration by the Holy Spirit of teachers and learners in the Church, the conspiratio pastorum...the delicately balanced relationship between the teaching function of the church and the role of the laity in arriving at an explicit knowledge of the content of faith”. (The Sensus Fidelium and Catholicity by Paul G. Crowley, S.J. In John Henry Newman: Theology and Reform, ed. By Michael Allsoppand Ronald Burke, Garland Publishing Inc., New York, 1992, p. 111)
Drew Christiansen writes in America, "It (Newman's article) argues that the church does not consist of pastors attended by dutiful faithful, but that it is rather a conspiracy of pastors and faithful in which the faithful should have a respected place justified by their proven witness to Christian orthodoxy. In the bishops' relationship with the laity, Newman argued, 'there is something... which is not in the pastors alone." ("A Conspiracy of Bishops' and Faithful" by Drew Christiansen in America, Vol. 203, N. 7, September 27, 2010, p. 23)
Newman asserted that the faith comes to us and is received by us through a dialectical relationship between the authority of the magisterium and the Sensus Fidelium, the teacher and the taught are in communication.
Clearly Newman understood and taught the legitimate teaching authority of the Magisterium. He recognized the infallibility of the Pope defined at Vatican I but he called for a listening authority as Drew Christiansen observes, "when the teaching office leans excessively on its authority, it mistakes commanding for teaching." (Christiansen, p. 24) Newman did not hold to a congregationalist approach in which doctrine was decided by majority rule. The Magisterium in the church had the responsibility to teach and govern, but also to listen and consult.
This of course has implications for you as you exercise authority in your school and also for us as bishops in communication with you and the entire church. We, like St. Benedict, need to attune our ear to all in the community even the youngest. God's voice is heard in the thunder, in the whisper, in those who agree with us and in those who do not.
Clearly those with authority have to make decisions. In the case of the Magisterium, those in the line of the Apostles, are responsible to keep continuity with the Tradition and to be the authoritative interpreters of that Tradition. But in fulfilling both of those responsibilities, listening and communication matter much on how what is taught or decided is received.
Newman can challenge us as bishops and administrators to put down the boxing gloves that sometimes we slip on, to sit together, to converse together, yes and even to have some good laughs together so that we come to a deeper level of respect and trust. Together we can accomplish so much. We need to work alongside one another to strengthen the mission of Jesus Christ to which we are all committed and which is under such challenge and question today.
NEWMAN AND THE LAITY
Yves Congar, the eminent theologian of Vatican II, once wrote that if the Church, secure on her foundations, boldly opened herself to lay activity, she would experience such a springtime as one could hardly imagine.
As Catholic colleges and universities you need to set the laity afire with their responsibility to bring the gospel values to the pressing concerns of our day and to take their proper place as co-workers in the vineyard with the ordained to realize the Lord's mission. The laity have a primary responsibility to become involved in the secular arena but, since Vatican II, they have been encouraged also to use their talents to build up the church. They belong to and should have influence in both spheres .
Your work of evangelization among the young and the not so young is at the heart of the church's work. In his visit to Catholic University of America, Pope Benedict XVI called you, "bearers of wisdom" and so indeed you are. These are challenging times to evangelize especially the young, the millenials, who are often identified with the church but not committed to it. They bring questions. They hold misgivings. They lack trust. They are bombarded with options. Yet they are searching. In your institutions they can encounter the Lord through prayer, retreats, service projects, study, and through an environment that introduces them to the Church.
We need today an active and engaged laity who understand what it means to be Catholic, who take pride in being Catholic, and who will call others to embrace the faith. It is your institutions, Newman believed, that such formation in the faith can best take place.
EX CORDE ECCLESIAE
The church does and indeed must be interested and involved in Catholic institutions of higher education, not to meddle or to cause trouble or conflict, but because who you are and what you do is at the heart of the church's mission.
When Pope John Paul II issued Ex Corde on August 15, 1990, the feast of the Assumption, he emphasized in his conclusion that, "my encouragement and my trust go with you in your weighty daily task that becomes ever more important, more urgent and necessary on behalf of Evangelization for the future of culture and of all cultures. The Church and the world have great need of your witness and of your capable, free, and responsible contributions." (Ex Corde, Conclusion)
Encouragement and trust are the foundations of this document now in place for twenty years. Respect for and appreciation of your institutions by the Holy Father are repeated themes throughout the document. His call for "courageous creativity and rigorous fidelity" challenge you to be both bold and faithful. If we are only faithful we could become hopelessly irrelevant and if we are only bold we could find ourselves adrift, cut off from our moorings.
The Holy Father recognizes the unique and important role you play in "bringing the good news to everyone." (Ex Corde, N. 10)
Your faculties have benefitted from Pope John Paul II's reminder that "In a Catholic University, research necessarily includes a) the search for an integration of knowledge b) a dialogue between faith and reason c) an ethical concern, and d) a theological perspective. In their classrooms and publications, faculty of our universities are challenged to comprehend the awesome task entrusted to them. These are not restrictive guides but broaden your understanding of your responsibilities as teachers in a Catholic school."
Much has happened in the twenty years since Ex Corde was issued:
Initial concerns have lessened as universities and colleges learned that bishops seek communication and desire cooperation and collaboration.
Efforts have been made in a number of institutions to incorporate the norms given in Ex Corde into their governing document, realizing their value in helping Catholic institutions to retain their Catholic identity.
In conversations I have had at a number of Catholic insitutions of higher education, I sense a true and fervent desire to be Catholic, to remain Catholic. I think it is a gross misunderstanding to be suspicious of the intentions of these institutions and their boards regarding Catholic identity. They are proud of that identity and that identity is a central part of their mission statements.
Our Catholic institutions are incorporating moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church into all they do. Pro-life groups, mission immersions, prayer and retreat opportunities, ethical and moral education in all fields of study are more common than not in your schools. They are part of campus life and the culture of your institutions. Your institutions have taken seriously the Holy Father's admonition not just to teach the faith but to provide opportunities for students to live the faith. "As a natural expression of the Catholic Identity of the University, the university community should give a practical demonstration of its faith in its daily activities." (Ex Corde, N. 39)
However, there are areas to which we need to continue to pay attention.
1. The need for teachers of Catholic theology to receive a mandatum from the local bishop has been, perhaps, the most neuralgic issue resulting from the issuance of Ex Corde. Some have sought the mandatum and others have not. This inconsistency could reflect some distrust or concern about undue interference or not seeing the importance of doing it. Yet involvement of the bishop with faculty teaching Catholic theology is critical to true communion in the church. Students have a right to know that they are learning about Catholic theology, if that is their expectation in particular courses.
Clearly there needs to be room in an academic community for disagreement, debate, and a clash of ideas even in theology. Such debate and engagement can clarify and advance our understanding. In discussions with local bishops, faculty need to be able to disagree and question with mutual respect. However, the bishop is the authentic teacher of the faith and, in union with the Pope and bishops, responsible to interpret the faith. Recognizing and embracing this is not to say that such exercise of this legitimate authority as bishop should be done harshly, unilaterally or without conversation and an effort to reconcile diverse teaching.
When teaching Catholic theology, make clear what is Catholic teaching, what are areas for legitimate interpretation and what is not in accord with Catholic teaching.
2. We need to continue and intensify engagement with one another as bishops and administrators, faculty, and boards to build stronger bonds and relationships. That strong foundation of trust will see the bishop and university through turbulent times when, inevitable conflicts, arise. Brother James Gaffney, President of Lewis University in Romeoville, for 22 years has worked hard to build those bonds with his local bishop and his metropolitan. Trust and respect have resulted.
3. Keep up your efforts to make Catholic identity central to your efforts.
See if you can find additional ways to teach ethical and moral implications in every field of study.
Look at your core curriculum to see if the Catholic tradition is sufficiently being passed on through required courses.
Catholic identity could be enhanced by the integration of three elements in all you do, communion, sacramentality, and a liturgical perspective.
Sacramentality involves recognizing the signs of God in the visible. Catholic symbols would be prominent. And more, the campus would be a place where students look beneath the surface to find the face of the Divine.
Communion means the use of all gifts rightly ordered. This element finds a proper place in the life of the campus, for the bishop, the faculty, the administration, the students, alumni, indeed, all facets of campus life. There would exist a harmony of gifts and a spirit of collaboration.
The Liturgical Year would influence the life and rhythms of the institution. Much can be learned by students in walking through the liturgical year about the mysteries of the faith and the countless witnesses to the faith that are found there.
4. Encourage and prod campus ministry programs to not only focus on a small group of enthusiastic, highly committed young people who deserve our support and encouragement but to the de facto neglect of the vast majority of the baptized in your institutions who are identified as Catholic but not committed, not engaged, not involved.
CONTIBUTIONS TO LOCAL CHURCHES AND THE CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES
I conclude these reflections with an expression of gratitude for all you are doing to assist dioceses and the church in its pastoral work. You benefit the efforts of our dioceses and the work of the church in the United States in countless ways by offering your treasured resources to assist us. I have experienced this first hand in the Diocese of Tucson and now in my work with Catholic Relief services. I have heard the same accolades for you from many of my brother bishops. You do so much good.
Let me point out your efforts in strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary education, in promoting vocations, and in upholding the dignity of all human life: born and unborn.
You do so much to strengthen our Catholic Schools. Cardinal Newman in his tenure as head of a Catholic University sought to enhance the quality of Catholic secondary schools. Five Catholic Schools became affiliated with the University. This same close collaboration is happening today in countless ways as you send us young, enthusiastic teachers to assist in our under-resourced schools, as you partner with us in strategic planning for our schools, as you train our teachers and principals in programs that emphasize the importance of the moral and ethical foundations of leadership.
I am familiar with the work of Boston College in strengthening Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. The University of Notre Dame is sending an army of young teachers and administrators to work in poorer communities in many dioceses through their Alliance for Catholic Education begun by Rev. Tim Scully. Recently this effort is expanding by the formation of Notre Dame ACE Academies at three under-resourced schools in our Diocese to strengthen their academic and formation programs as well as their marketing and finance efforts. This commitment, made possible by a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation, grew out of Notre Dame's significant research study by Rev. Joseph Corpora et al. on factors that limit Hispanic access to Catholic Schools.
Your faculties conduct countless in-service opportunities for Catholic school teachers and principals. Catholic elementary and secondary schools are diminishing. We need your expertise, wisdom, and resources to enhance this educational system that has such a rich and distinguished history. Your help will make a difference.
Through the generous gift of the Lilly Foundation many of you, like Loyola University in Chicago, have been doing research and developing programs on vocational discernment that can be immensely helpful to dioceses in their efforts to attract the young to service in the church.
Newman Centers and campus chaplains across the country are intensifying their efforts to challenge students to share their gifts as priests or religious. Catholic colleges and universities are prime places for vocation promotion. I sense a greater openness in our Catholic colleges and universities to give encouragement and support to those who might be called to serve.
Your efforts in catechesis and faith formation, as I witnessed in symposia at Fordham University and at Boston College, give life to our efforts to introduce this millennial generation to the faith. Your research, insights and recommendations encourage teachers and catechists who sometimes grow weary trying to engage the young.
Over the last five years Catholic Relief Services, which serves in 100 countries around the world, has partnered with many Catholic colleges and universities in a way that has been natural and harmonious, enlivening both institutional bodies and filling the world with hope. Let me offer three examples.
This past year CRS developed a "Peace in Sudan" initiative, aimed at mobilizing a cadre of faithful and committed people to become, "Voices for Peace". CRS turned to its partners, its "instruments of hope" on campuses to lead the way.
Villanova University, whose Augustinian mission invites students to engage in "productive citizenship in order to build a just and peaceful world" unlocked the dynamism of it's student body, propelling CRS's vision for Peace in Sudan initiative to new heights.
Villanova organized a bus trip to Washington to take 25 of the Lost Boys of Sudan to register to vote for the first time. Later in the semester at Villanova's Peace in Sudan vigil, one of the Lost Boys, Malual Deng Duot, thanked the Villanova community for their generosity and for caring about his country which so few knew about.
Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania describes its charism as "education of the heart" and its values as "academic excellence and a commitment to social justice". It is known at CRS as a small school with a big heart. In December, twenty students traveled to Washington, D.C. to make their congressional representatives aware of the pending situation in Sudan and registered their commitment to peace in person. They stood up and spoke out.
Finally, the University of Notre Dame whose "aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice" carried the banner for peace and hope as high as it could for the people of Sudan.
I invite you to continue and intensify your efforts on all of our Catholic campuses to build partnerships with CRS to stand arm and arm with the poor and vulnerable of our world. What a powerful witness that would be and what great effect that would have.
Similarly on so many of your campuses your communities are getting involved in upholding the life and dignity of all. Right to life groups pray, march, travel to Washington, D.C. to seek the overturn Roe v.Wade. The young on your campuses more and more have come to embrace the church's teaching on the dignity of human life in the womb.
In a like effort to uphold life, Calumet College of St. Joseph in Indiana recently held a forum on immigration raising peoples' awareness of this highly emotional and complex issue looking at this issue from a faith perspective seeking to uphold the dignity of all life. St. Mary's College in Moraga, California, like some other Catholic colleges and universities, bring students to the border to learn first hand the challenges of migrants and those who live along the border.
In Spanish we say "Sigan Adelante" (keep going)! That is my final charge. You are a powerhouse that in communion with the larger church can accomplish much good. Let's stand together, work together, cooperate together. You are agents of change in the household of our faith; help us change suspicion into trust, competition into collaboration.
Among the native peoples in my diocese unity, being bound together, matters much.
Recently at a gathering on the largest reservation in my Diocese, I witnessed a young boy, a middle aged man and an elderly lady holding ropes and singing "Bind us together Lord, bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. Bind us together, Lord, bind us together with love" as they sang they intertwined their ropes drawing them closer and closer together until they were one.
My prayer is that we be bound together with cords that cannot be broken, that we be bound together with love.