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Dear Norm and all at St Joseph & St Raphael Parish, boa noite.
Thank you for your note and concern. We understand your suffering because of the deaths in Dayton. We too have many assassinations among our people here. The violence is overwhelming. It is still raining in our area, so the fires are not threatening yet. Though someone set fire to our St. Raphael Center that you helped us build where Sr Dorothy Stang is buried. Yesterday we spent 4 hours battling the flames. The Altamira area is under fire as is our area because of illegal logging. The president encouraged it. Now we and the earth are suffering the consequences. Our people still defend the forest em pé...with her creatures and biodiversity. Hold us in prayer as we do you.

Much love, Jane


Bom dia! Today we are in Altamira for the Public Ministry. The checkpoints in the PDS Esperança that prohibit loggers entering and leaving will be closed as of Saturday. The Esperanza settlement was created by Sister Dorothy Stang, as a way of counteracting the destruction of the forest by loggers.
These sites place a strong emphasis on forest conservation. Settlers can grow their individual plots, but not sell them. The two settlements are giving good results, but - in large part because they have not been fully supported by the authorities - they have not been imitated throughout the region, as Sister Dorothy would have liked. Sr Dorothy was killed in PDS Esperanza in 2005 by gunmen sent by landowners.
The situation is critical. Every year there are fires in St. Raphael. Some seem to be planted, others are a result of cigarette butts or the drought. Sunday seems to have been planted. Dorothy is buried in St. Raphael. St. Raphael is a symbol of the peoples´struggle. Saturday we had a big meeing. But we are trying to secure easier access to water and more
protection. It is the world we live in. Take care...and thanks for your presence in our lives. abraços da Jane


Note Sr. Jane and the people of St Lucy’s have asked us to help repair the St Raphael Center and add a kitchen so people who come to meet and gather can be fed. This year our Advent Alms cans donations will be used for this.
For more specific information on what is happening in St Lucy’s area read “How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis.”



The Grief Recovery Method® Grief Support Group

The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses

Myths about grief:

  • Time heals all wounds
  • Replace the loss
  • Grieve alone
  • Be strong for others
  • Bury your feelings

Your feelings are normal and natural. The problem is that we have been socialized to believe that these feelings are abnormal and unnatural.

 Whether your loss is from:

  • Death
  • Divorce or end of a relationship
  • Loss of a career
  • Loss of faith
  • Loss of health

The 8-Week Program will begin

Tuesday, September 10, 2019-October 29, 2019 from 6:30-8:30 PM

St. Joseph Parish Center, 819 Kenton Street, Springfield, OH 45505

People say you have to let go and move on with your life, but they don’t tell you what you need to do to accomplish that. The Grief Recovery Method® Outreach Program not only makes that possible, but provides partnerships and guidance to ensure that it happens.

Group Facilitated by Richard Fitzwater M.Div. • Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®• Bereavement Coordinator Crossroads Hospice of Dayton

To register call Lisa Lenard at St. Joseph/St. Raphael Parish 937-323-7523, ext. 17.

Hoban Hall is ready and waiting.  We are leaving on Safari on Monday, July 8 at 9:00-11:30.  Registration opens at 8:30 at the doors.

Participants must be between 4 yrs-old and entering 6th grade.

Fellow Parishioners,
I just wanted to follow up with the results of my service project. As many of you know, I recently conducted a shoe drive for the non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls. My original goal was to collect 200 pairs of shoes. In total, 889 pairs of shoes were collected and delivered to Soles4Souls!! Of the 889 pairs of shoes, 365 pairs were donated by St Raphael and St. Joseph Parishioners. I was completely overwhelmed by the generosity and support I received from all of you. Thank you to everyone that contributed to the success of this project. I really appreciate your generosity and willingness to help disrupt the cycle of poverty.
Carter Mayhan

The Archdiocesan One Faith, One Hope, One Love Capital Campaign extends throughout the entire 19 counties of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  It's purpose is to provide financial support for Catholic education (50%), fostering vocations (12%), caring for retired diocesan priests (10%), and Catholic Charities and Social Services (8%).  The remaining 20% will be returned to home parishes for local parish priorities.  The campaign has been underway for some time with Phases 1 and 2 having reached their completion.  St. Joseph/St. Raphael Parish is part of Phase 3 which means the capital campaign is just beginning in our parish.

For more information about One Faith, One Hope, One Love, click here.

As our parish participates in the campaign, please remember that the Archdiocese needs ALL pledge cards for the campaign returned. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, please call Brianna in the parish office at 937-323-7523, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Running a capital campaign is no small endeavor.  If you would like to help with home visits, phone calls, or mailings, please contact Bri.


Lauren is the daughter of Lou Ann and Norm Horstman.  She was raised at St. Raphael Church and attended our very first Safari.  Although Lauren now lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Nick, and their three children, she is a frequent visitor to her home parish.  Besides being an author, she is a busy mother, spiritual director, and blogger.



It is with deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of John Shanahan, our beloved sacristan. John taught many in this community at St. Raphael and St. Joseph schools as a 5th grade and then a 2nd grade teacher. He served the Church in any way he could, first forming young minds and then forming young servers. He will be extraordinarily missed, especially by those who were blessed to hear his stories and enjoy his sense of humor every day.  John's funeral will be held on Tuesday, February 26, at 10:00 at St. Raphael Church.  Visitation will be from 4:00-7:00 on Monday, February 25, at Conroy's.
Saints of God, come to his aid!
Come to meet him, angels of the Lord!
Receive his soul and present him to God,
To God the Most High.
May Christ who called you, take you to himself.
May angels lead you to Abraham's side.
Receive his soul and present him to God,
To God the Most High.
Give him eternal rest, O Lord,
And may your light shine on him forever.
Receive his soul and present him to God,
To God the Most High.

The new ramp is finally finished at St. Joseph Church.  After many months of delays - the project began last spring! - the ramp has been completed, and the new railing has been installed.  The old ramp was very steep, causing some to find the steps easier to use.  It was also dangerous due to pitting concrete and loose railings.  This ramp has a more gentle grade, provided by the switchback, and is up to current codes.  While the process was a bit harrowing at times, the results are well worth the wait.  The new ramp will provide a safe access to all for years to come!  What's next?  New steps out front and at the sacristy door.  The best part of the next project?  We can all use the ramp while it's being completed.

Many have asked when the ramp will be completed at St. Joseph. The bad news is that we have no idea. We have been working on the ramp project since March 2018. It hit several snags before the project even began. In November, we debated waiting until spring to begin construction. However, the old ramp was rapidly deteriorating, and no one felt it would make it safely through another winter so we forged ahead. With the January winter weather finally arriving, we have hit another delay as the materials needed to install the railing require warmer weather. We realize this is incredibly inconvenient. This was not how we intended for this project to work out; however, we made the best decisions we could with the safety of our parishioners in mind. We will have to pray for some warmer weather to appear for a couple of days in order for the railing to be installed before spring. In the meantime, we ask for your continued patience and remind those needing to use a ramp to attend mass at St. Raphael until the project is completed.

Brazil: Bolsonaro supporter works to imprison Dorothy Stang’s successor

Father Amaro was charged and imprisoned earlier this year and held in proximity to the man convicted of organizing Stang’s murder.

ANAPU, Pará state, Brazil – “Dorothy lives!” shouts a student with his fist clenched. Another ten people repeat the gesture and shout: “Always!” The cries of protest close a prayer held round the grave of Dorothy Stang, the U.S. missionary murdered in 2005 in the struggle for Brazilian land reform here in the Brazilian Amazon.

The prayer precedes the second court hearing of Father José Amaro Lopes de Souza, known as Father Amaro. The priest says he relies on his faith to give him strength in the face of yet another round of court charges in a legal drama he’s been enduring since last March.

The priest is Stang’s successor and a member of the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT), an arm of the Catholic Church that works with Brazilian rural workers seeking agrarian land reform. He is charged with conspiracy, threat, extortion, property trespass and money laundering, all in connection with his allegedly being the leader of a criminal organization aimed at occupying land in Anapu in the Xingu basin of Pará state in the Amazon.

These serious charges were made by the president of the Rural Association of Anapu, Silvério Fernandes, a logger and former deputy mayor of the city of Altamira, who ran unsuccessfully for state deputy in the October elections. At that time, Fernandes was also a chief campaigner in the region for then presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who in turn, recorded a video supporting Fernandes’s candidacy.

After Bolsonaro’s win, Fernandes appeared on local Xingu billboards hugging the president elect, with a message thanking voters for their support. As a reward, it is rumored that Fernandes is in line to head the Xingu, Pará, branch of the Brazilian Institute for Settlement and Land Reform (INCRA), which oversees the workers settlements that Father Amaro has helped support in the region.

In addition to being investigated for his participation in a scheme to defraud the federal government known as the SUDAM Mafia in the late 1990s, Fernandes and two of his brothers received R$28.2 million (US$7.2 million) in fines for environmental crimes. “IBAMA [Brazil’s environmental agency] is an industry of fines,” the logger says in his own defense, echoing the rhetoric of the President-elect, who was also fined in the past by IBAMA for an environmental crime, illegal fishing.

Charges and counter-charges

“He is the main organizer of land invasions in Anapu. Father Amaro was behind it all. He was Sister Dorothy’s right hand, and she always encouraged land invasions,” Fernandes says.

Father Amaro denies the allegations: If I did anything wrong it was to direct people to seek their rights at the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office and other agencies, because people were often threatened, they were killed and nothing happened.… If I’ve done anything wrong, it was to help put land in the hands of the workers.”

The charges made by Fernandes and other local loggers and landowners led to a police investigation and a dramatic arrest last March of the priest that involved six vehicles and 15 officers. The operation was even given a name: Eça de Queiroz, a reference to a Portuguese writer whose masterpiece The Crime of Father Amaro is about a clergyman’s illicit relationship with a woman. The Xingu Father Amaro was also accused of sexual harassment, a charge that has since been dismissed by prosecutors.

“Instead of murdering him, they [Fernandes and other residents] found a way to discredit him [Father Amaro] by attacking his image and criminalizing him to drive him from Anapu,” the CPT wrote in a statement, comparing the landowners’ current smear campaign strategy with the one conducted against Dorothy Stang in the early 2000s.

An unfolding dispute

It is still early, but already very hot: a typical day in the Amazon biome. The red dust rising from the roads, and the white smoke from burning rainforest, obscure the blue of the sky above. The smoke causes an inevitable sensation of suffocation in outsiders. Near Dorothy’s grave – adorned with flowers and her photo – a red cross is thrust into the ground. It bears the names of 16 rural workers who have been murdered in the last three years in Anapu, a dark reflection on the region’s escalation of violence.

Stang was assassinated, shot six times, in 2005 while on the road to her major legacy, the PDS Esperança, a Portuguese acronym for the Sustainable Development Project Hope – an Amazon land reform effort that settled small-scale farmers onto plots, with 20 percent of the land intended for agricultural production while the remainder was conserved as forest under Brazil’s Forest Code. That system went – and continues to go – against the interests of Xingu-area loggers.

Supporters of Stang and Amaro say that 13 years ago loggers took aim at Sister Dorothy, and now they target her successor.

At the Anapu courthouse, 51-year-old Father Amaro reads a small book, The Liturgy of the Hours, while the prosecutor questions defense witnesses. Amaro wears a shirt emblazoned with Stang’s photo. The priest didn’t speak at this hearing because he wasn’t to be questioned until later. Amaro seemed calm in court but admitted afterward that he distanced himself emotionally from the proceeding, viewing it as he would a movie.

Amaro first dedicated himself to rural workers and their land rights at the age of 19, after hearing a radio report covering the murder of Father Josimo Tavares, then the CPT coordinator in neighboring Maranhão state. Amaro decided then and there to become a priest and work in the same organization as Tavares. “I didn’t even know what the CPT was,” he recalls.

Three years later, Amaro went on to study at the seminary in Belém. There he met Stang, who invited him to do an internship in Anapu. After being ordained priest in 1998, he went to the local parish and worked with Stang at the CPT until she was murdered.

Father Amaro himself was released from jail in late June. He has since left Anapu and now lives at the church’s headquarters in Altamira, surrounded by security guards. Feeling always threatened, he complains of not being able to walk by himself and shows distress at the uncertainty surrounding his future.

In an interview with Repórter Brasil, the first since his 2018 arrest, Amaro blames Fernandes for the ordeal of recent months. He adds that, after the wrongful lawsuit is concluded against him, that he plans to file a countersuit against his attackers, asking for compensation for the psychological pain and suffering that the false accusations have caused. “Did you see how people treat me in Anapu?” he asks, referring to the hugs he received from the local population when he walked out of the courthouse. The case’s conclusion isn’t expected until 2019, and not before Father Amaro and other witnesses have testified.

Land, the source of Amazon conflict

By the time he was released from jail in June, Father Amaro had served 92 days, all of them in the same prison where Regivaldo Pereira Galvão, aka Taradão (Portuguese for Big Pervert) was doing time; he is the rancher convicted of masterminding Stang’s assassination.

“I suspect they set it up [putting me in that particular prison] to kill me in jail,” says the priest.

Local authorities made no attempt to hold the two men separately. “When I got there Taradão was inside. He was the first to wish me a Happy Easter,” Father Amaro revealed. “I didn’t say anything and I didn’t even shake his hand. He [Taradão] said, ‘You’re innocent. I’m innocent. This was something they’ve set up for us.’”

Like so many other killings in the Brazilian Amazon, Dorothy Stang’s murder was motivated by land disputes. Pereira Galvão bought a plot from the Fernandes family. However, that property was already part of the land reform project advocated for by Stang. Then Pereira Galvão sold the plot to logger Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, aka Bida. Later, according to authorities, Bida and Pereira Galvão teamed up to arrange Stang’s 2005 murder.

After the crime, Pereira Galvão hid on the farm belonging to Silvério Fernandes’s brother Délio. Although Délio was also investigated for allegedly masterminding the crime, he was never charged or tried for participating in Stang’s assassination, even though he had supposedly threatened the nun in 2002. Délio Fernandes once offered Stang a ride, and reportedly told her that no one should ever invade his lands or they “would have blood to their ankles.”

During a telephone interview with Repórter Brasil, which lasted more than half an hour, Silvério Fernandes spoke mostly in a polite tone, though raised his voice several times. At one point, he declared menacingly that he wanted to “look in the eye,” presumably of the inquiring journalist. When asked if Fernandes was making a threat, he replied: “What threat? F__k you, lad.” Fernandes also directed anger at Father Amaro, who he called “a pederast, a fagot and a bum.”

“The Fernandes family is part of the consortium that killed Dorothy,” Father Amaro told Repórter Brasil, noting that the family is responsible for the charges he now faces. “They claim to be the owners of these lands. What makes them angry? It’s that the PDS [settlement] was created within the area Délio Fernandes had sold to Taradão.”

Inside Anapu

Despite its small population of just 27,000 people, Anapu is larger than some countries, including Jamaica and Qatar. The population there has soared by 32 percent in the last eight years, a demographic boom caused by its proximity, just 80 kilometers (50 miles) away from the controversial Belo Monte mega-dam. With the conclusion of the dam’s construction in 2015, hundreds of families, without jobs or prospects, came to Anapu in search of homes, work and land.

“Many families arrive and are pressured by loggers to invade [established workers’] settlements,” explained Jorge Jatobá Correia, Brazil’s national agrarian ombudsman.

The influx of people hunting for land helped ignite already smoldering disputes between land reform settlers and illegal loggers. Those conflicts had their origins back in the 1970s when Brazil’s military government invited outsiders to settle along the new Trans-Amazon Highway. The government offered provisional land titles that depended on the properties’ production for the deeds to become permanent.

However, in most cases, the land neither became productive, nor were the provisional titles ever cancelled. Eventually the outsiders began selling the properties. The main buyers – including the Fernandes patriarch and his sons – turned to logging, cutting down the rainforest, extracting and selling timber.

It was in this context that Dorothy Stang arrived in Anapu in 1983 and began fighting for the possession of that same land as eventually justified by Brazilian agrarian reform policies. In 2003, during the administration of President Lula da Silva, the first agrarian reform settlements in the area became official. Stang was murdered less than three years later.

After her assassination, international pressure resulted in a stronger Brazilian government presence in Anapu, which provided some respite from the conflicts. But, the Belo Monte dam’s completion and the surge in unemployed construction workers seeking livelihoods and land caused violence to explode again in 2015.

The clash over Lot 44

The escalation of the clashes, which resulted in the arrest of Father Amaro last Spring, has centered around Lot 44, also known as the Santa Maria Farm, an agrarian reform settlement covering an area equivalent to 3,000 football fields whose possession is disputed by the Fernandes family.

Although the Fernandes family continues to claim Lot 44 ownership, the Brazilian Institute for Settlement and Agrarian Reform (INCRA), and the Federal Prosecutor’s Office both requested the property be slated for agrarian reform – a request accepted by a federal justice in Altamira last August. The Fernandes family has appealed that decision.

In October 2016, the encampment of rural workers living on the property was burned, and Public Prosecutors charged Silvério and Luciano Fernandes with the crime. Asked about it on the phone, Silvério said he “demolished” the houses. “Lot 44 is ours. It’s ours!” exclaimed Fernandes, president of the Rural Association of Anapu, and possibly the next head of the Xingu, Pará, branch of INCRA, with authority over the settlements.

Márcio Rodrigues dos Reis, the primary accuser against the Fernandes brothers in the encampment fire, was himself arrested in March 2017 while trying to rebuild the camp at Lot 44. Reis was accused of trespassing and illegal possession of a firearm. Silvério Fernandes accompanied the police when they came to arrest Reis.

Another accuser of the Fernandes family, Valdemir Resplandes dos Santos, was murdered in January 2018. Two of his relatives have also been killed, as has a witness to the crime. Of the 16 murders of rural workers since 2015, police investigations have led to the arrest of suspects in just one case. Another 15 remain unsolved.

The CPT calls the Civil Police “inoperative” in their failure to identify, arrest and charge perpetrators. “The police act in a partial way, without hiding their proximity to the landowners and land-grabbers who illegally occupy public lands. The impunity of these crimes is one of the causes of continuing violence,” the Catholic organization says.

The press office of the Civil Police was asked to comment for this story, but failed to reply.

Bolsonaro enters the fray

Tensions between landless rural workers and illegal loggers were further fuelled by the May 19 murder in Anapu of Silvério Fernandes’s brother Luciano.

After his brother’s death, Silvério recorded a video asking for assistance from then presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. The shirt displayed in the film, stained with Luciano’s blood, was emblazoned with an image of retired army captain Bolsonaro, who has long expressed his opposition to the landless workers’ movement, and likened its participants to terrorists.

“We have to fight these land invaders, these criminals, these thugs. Anapu has become a place of thugs. You are our hope,” Silvério Fernandes said in the video, which went viral on social media among Bolsonaro supporters. Fernandes accuses Luciano’s murder on social movements, whose actions, he says, are locally led by Father Amaro.

This view, however, is not confirmed by the police investigation of the killing. According to the Chief of the Xingu Civil Police Superintendence Walison Damasceno, the motive behind Luciano Fernandes’ killing is allegedly a dispute between loggers. Damasceno, who is in charge of the nearly finished investigation, says the current crime suspects have no connection whatsoever with Brazil’s social movements.

A month after the murder, the police arrested a person alleged to have ordered the killing. Later, they also arrested Josiel Ferreira de Almeida, aka “The Booted Cat,” accused of acting as a middleman in the crime. In October, Almeida’s two sons were murdered in an Anapu bar.

When asked by Repórter Brasil if he had any involvement in the Almeida sons’ deaths, Silvério Fernandes denied it: “We don’t endorse this terrorism of taking anyone’s life. We are good people. We were defending our property. My brother was murdered and now I become a suspect?”

Instead of sacred images and a cross, the altar of the local church in Anapu displays a painting of a rural worker crucified on a cut tree. Sister Dorothy Stang and Father Josimo Tavares, both members of the CPT, both assassinated, stand on either side. The altar divides the town and even the church, since some parishioners want the painting replaced by a conventional altar.

Bolsonaro enters the fray

The Amazon: a tinder box, ready to explode

The disputes in Anapu echo ideological struggles between the left and the right that in recent years have polarized Brazil as a whole, and which some say helped put leading presidential Workers Party presidential candidate Lula behind bars, while catapulting far right candidate Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency.

Now analysts fear that these tensions, especially between Amazon land-grabbers and agrarian reform settlements, could explode into violence in 2019.

In Anapu, most believe that Silvério Fernandes will become the next head of the INCRA Xingu regional branch sometime after Bolsonaro takes office on 1 January. Asked about this possibility, Fernandes says he isn’t aware of it, but he did reveal his intentions if appointed: “I want to solve the land problem in the region. We came here to guarantee the sovereignty of the Amazon.” In his view, the 1970s land contracts need to be honored, whether their requirements were fulfilled or not, with the land settlements claimed by landless workers handed over to the outsiders.

The dream of accomplishing land reform in Anapu will be more distant if Fernandes is appointed as head of INCRA, according to 78-year-old Sister Jane Dwyer. Born in the United States, she decided to become a missionary when she participated in the historic 1963 March on Washington led by Martin Luther King. Dwyer is still active in the struggle for land democratization, despite the prosecution of Father Amoro, escalating violence in Anapu, and Bolsonaro’s threats against rural activists.

Attending a baptism ceremony in Mata Preta – occupied land expected to become a land reform settlement – the nun, who belongs to the same order as Stang, expresses resistance: “We cannot panic. We have to be patient, keep a cool head and at least preserve what has already been achieved.” Dwyer sees no solution, however, if parishioners paint over the controversial altar in the church: “If they do that, I’ll never set foot in there again.”

As for Father Amaro, he remains outspoken and unbent: “It’s time for a united struggle; for believing in life even when everyone is losing faith; for resisting wherever we are; for believing in the small, because they have their strategies for struggle and resistance.” Amaro is also resolved to follow through to the end: “Suddenly these people [have] found a piece of land. If I have to die defending them, I guess I’m ready.

This story was written by Repórter Brasil with support from DGB Bildungswerk, and is co-published with Mongabay.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18-25, 2019

The theme of this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is "Justice, Only Justice, You Shall Pursue." (Deuteronomy 16:18-20). According to Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII), Christian communities "become newly aware of their unity as they join in a common concern and a common response to an unjust reality. At the same time, confronted by these injustices, we are obliged, as Christians, to examine the ways in which we are complicit. Only by heeding Jesus’s prayer 'that they all may be one' can we witness to living unity in diversity. It is through our unity in Christ that we will be able to combat injustice and serve the needs of its victims." 

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has a history of over 100 years, in which Christians around the world have taken part in an octave of prayer for visible Christian unity.  By annually observing the WPCU, Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper "that they all may be one."  (cf. John 17:21)

In preparation for the WPCU, ecumenical partners in a particular region were asked to prepare a basic text on a biblical theme. Then an international group organized through the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity edited this text, which was jointly published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and WCC, through their Commission on Faith and Order.  The WCC accompanied the entire production process of the text. The final material was sent to member churches and Roman Catholic dioceses, and they were invited to translate the text and contextualize it for their own use. 

Daily Scripture and Prayer Guide


The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) presents us with a new perspective on the "green" housekeeping options with which we are presented when staying at hotels.  Do "green" options maintain justice for workers?  Can we be kind to the environment and our housekeepers also?


In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. The responsibility to make political choices rests with each person and his or her properly formed conscience.

Catholic voters are called to properly form their consciences in preparation for voting and for the continued advocacy for just laws and policies required after voting. This process should focus on moral principles, the defense of life, the needs of the weak, and the pursuit of the common good. It requires constant prayer, understanding of Church teaching, and discernment that goes beyond campaign rhetoric and partisan politics.

Ohio Ballot Issue 1 November 2018 

There is one statewide issue on the November 6, 2018 ballot.  Issue 1 will amend Ohio’s Constitution to reduce penalties for crimes of obtaining, possessing, and using illegal drugs, and put savings obtained from these measures into rehabilitation and crime victim programs. 

 The Catholic Conference of Ohio has not taken a position on this issue. We offer these reflections as an aid to one’s discernment process.  

 Prudential Discernment 

This issue requires prudential discernment. “…Catholics may choose different ways to respond to compelling social problems, but we cannot differ on our moral obligation to help build a more just and peaceful world through morally acceptable means, so that the weak and vulnerable are protected and human rights and dignity are defended.”  


 State Issue 1 

 To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs 

This Constitutional Amendment will: 

 •  Require sentence reductions of incarcerated individuals, except individuals incarcerated for murder, rape, or child molestation, by up to 25% if the individual participates in rehabilitative, work, or educational programming. 

 • Mandate that criminal offenses of obtaining, possessing, or using any drug such as fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and other controlled substances cannot be classified as a felony, but only a misdemeanor. 

 • Prohibit jail time as a sentence for obtaining, possessing, or using such drugs until an individual's third offense within 24 months. 

 • Allow an individual convicted of obtaining, possessing, or using any such drug prior to the effective date of the amendment to ask a court to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor, regardless of whether the individual has completed the sentence. 


• Require any available funding, based on projected savings, to be applied to state-administered rehabilitation programs and crime victim funds. 

 • Require a graduated series of responses, such as community service, drug treatment, or jail time, for minor, non-criminal probation violations.   Catholic Conference of Ohio Reflections 

 We affirm the good intentions behind Issue 1. Our dedicated prison ministers, social services workers and the formerly incarcerated cry out for new approaches and additional funds to combat the drug crisis.  Too many of our current approaches are not fully restoring and rehabilitating people.  It is indeed critical to be suggesting new alternatives. 

 Catholic social teaching supports many of the goals of Issue 1 such as: increased programing for rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment, community reentry, and crime victim support. The question before us involves a prudential determination as to whether Issue 1 is appropriately conceived to achieve these and its other stated goals. Are the provisions the right prescription for the problem? 

 We encourage your careful and prayerful discernment of the pros and cons of this issue. Our Conference website, listed below, offers links to such informational resources.  

 Regardless of the outcome of this issue, we encourage continued advocacy in addressing these important aspects of restorative justice.  

 Reflection Questions 

 1. Will passage of Issue 1 promote the value and dignity of the human person and advance the common good of persons in the state, especially the poor and vulnerable? 

 2. Are the provisions in Issue 1 well-conceived, implementable, and enforceable? 

 3. Will passage of Issue 1 improve public safety while providing additional funds for needed treatment services? 

 4. Will the provisions in Issue 1 result in changes that will help, or hinder, in the fight to address drug abuse?   

 5. Does Issue 1 belong in Ohio’s Constitution, or is this an issue better addressed by the Ohio Legislature? What is the likelihood that the legislature will enact similar legislation? 


Reflections on Choosing Political Candidates

As Catholics, we are part of a community with profound teachings that help us consider challenges in public life, contribute to greater justice and peace for all people, and evaluate policy positions, party platforms, and candidates’ promises and actions in light of the Gospel in order to help build a better world. 


“We take up the task of serving the common good with joy and hope, confident that God, who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son," walks with us and strengthens us on the way (Jn 3:16). God is love, and he desires that we help to build a "civilization of love"-one in which all human beings have the freedom and opportunity to experience the love of God and live out that love by making a free gift of themselves to one another.” Introduction, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship


“For some years now, many of us in the Catholic and other faith communities have been lamenting the disintegration of civility and substance from one major national election to the next…. I invite everyone to take the pledge to promote civility, clarity and compassion this election season. You can do so by going to, where you will also find simple tips to create respectful dialogue.”  Most Rev. Dennis Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, 2017


“The Church’s teaching is clear that a good end does not justify an immoral means. As we all seek to advance the common good— by defending the inviolable sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death, by promoting religious freedom, by defending marriage, by feeding the hungry and housing the homeless, by welcoming the immigrant and protecting the environment—it is important to recognize that not all possible courses of action are morally acceptable. We have a responsibility to discern carefully which public policies are morally sound. Catholics may choose different ways to respond to compelling social problems, but we cannot differ on our moral obligation to help build a more just and peaceful world through morally acceptable means, so that the weak and vulnerable are protected and human rights and dignity are defended.” #20 Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship 

What is the candidate’s commitment to protect all human life, from conception to natural death? 

What is the candidate’s commitment to addressing threats to marriage and family, as understood by the Church, as well as other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism and other unjust discrimination, the use of the death penalty, resorting to unjust war, the use of torture, war crimes, the failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care, or an unjust immigration policy? 

How does the candidate measure up in both words and actions with the totality of Catholic Social Teaching? 

What would be morally grave reasons to support and/or oppose a candidate? (Please refer to the U.S. Bishops document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, paragraphs 34 through 37). What is my assessment of the candidate’s personal integrity, governing philosophy, performance and ability to influence a given issue? Has the candidate demonstrated sufficient competency to hold such an elected position? 

Examining party platforms in light of Catholic teaching may be a helpful consideration, especially when a voter faces a dilemma in a voting choice.



In honor of Respect Life Month, we will be focusing on a particular life issue every week of October.  To get us ready, we will first discuss a Consistent Ethic of Life.


SEPT. 29-30

A Consistent Ethic of Life

What is the consistent ethic of life?  It is a comprehensive ethical system that links together many different issues by focusing attention on the basic value of life.  In his attempts to defend life, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin first joined the topics of abortion and nuclear war.  He quickly expanded his understanding of a consistent ethic of life to include many issues from all of life.  He stated: “The spectrum of life cuts across the issues of genetics, abortion, capital punishment, modern warfare and the care of the terminally ill.”  Issues are distinct and different; nevertheless, the issues are linked.  He further said: “When human life is considered ‘cheap’ or easily expendable in one area, eventually nothing is held as sacred and all lives are in jeopardy.”

The consistent ethic of life rules out contradictory moral positions about the unique value of human life – and it would be contradictory, for example, to be against abortion but for capital punishment or to work against poverty but support euthanasia.  Often our convictions seem to cluster around ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ viewpoints, but the consistent ethic of life cuts across such divisions, calling us to respect the life in the womb, the life of a criminal, the life on welfare, the life of the immigrant.  It is ultimately rooted in Jesus, in whom the meaning and value of life are definitely proclaimed and fully given.

The consistent ethic of life encourages us to hold together a great variety of issues with a consistent focus on the value of life, and it challenges us to reflect on our basic values and convictions which give direction to our lives.  It also leads us to express our commitment to life in civil debate and public policy.  During respect life month (October), we will have weekly reflections on life issues and information on how you can become involved in supporting these issues.

FOR REFLECTION: What life issues are most important to you?  What life issues do you care little about?  Can you name an issue which does not ultimately impact the quality of someone’s life? 

FOR EXPLORATION: The USCCB has 46 different sub-headings under “Human Life and Dignity.”  Check out what the church teaches on an issue you know little about at: .

FOR PRAYER: Father and Creator, show us your face reflected in the faces of our brothers and sisters, especially the least, the most vulnerable, the defenseless, and those in need.  In refugee families fleeing violence or war, show us your face.  In those suffering from hunger, show us your face.  In children not yet born, show us your face.  In those enslaved by drug addiction, show us your face.  In parents who work two jobs but still struggle to get by, show us your face.  In those on death row, show us your face.  In young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, show us your face.  In those aging and alone, show us your face.  In all faces, we know that your divine image is reflected. Help us to recognize always that image.  Help us to work together to protect the dignity of all people—each one created in your image.   Lord, in our families, communities and world shape your final work of art with the scraps of our frail humanity.  We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.


OCT. 6-7

The Environment

Many of us may not be used to seeing the environment listed among issues of life, but what can be a bigger life issue than the planet upon which all life depends.  "The web of life is one. Our mistreatment of the natural world diminishes our own dignity and sacredness, not only because we are destroying resources that future generations of humans need, but because we are engaging in actions that contradict what it means to be human. Our tradition calls us to protect the life and dignity of the human person, and it is increasingly clear that this task cannot be separated from the care and defense of all of creation."  – USCCB, Renewing the Earth, November 1991

The Catholic Church brings a distinct perspective to the discussion of environmental questions, by lifting up the moral dimensions of these issues and the needs of the most vulnerable among us. This unique contribution is rooted in Catholic teaching calling us to care for creation and for "the least of these." (Mt 25:40)  In 2015, Pope Francis published Laudato Si, his encyclical on the environment, but Pope Francis’ attention to creation is not a new focus for the papacy.  Caring for creation has always been part of Catholic teaching but has seen a new emphasis in the industrial and modern age, especially since 1891, when Pope Leo XIII began the modern tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.  Many popes have reiterated that care for creation is a moral responsibility and a core commitment of the Christian faith.

Pope Francis chose his papal name to honor St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of those who promote ecology.  He described St. Francis as “a man of peace, a man of poverty, a man who loved and protected creation” – in other words, a person who embodies integral ecology.  We are called by our faith to exercise a responsible stewardship over the earth and its natural resources, to dispose of natural resources wisely, and to preserve nature for the generations which come after us.  This requires living in such a manner that these values are reflected in our daily habits. 

In order to be good stewards of the earth, each of us needs to undergo an “ecological conversion.”  In Laudato Si, the Pope says: “It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an ‘ecological conversion,’ whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ becomes evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”

FOR REFLECTION:  How does the way you care for the environment reflect your faith?  Do you have habits that are inconsistent with your beliefs about the value of human life?  What are some concrete ways in which you could improve your stewardship of the earth?

FOR EXPLORATION:  In 2006, the USCCB formed the Catholic Climate Covenant to help implement Catholic social teaching on ecology within the Church.  Take a few minutes to explore their website at: . 

FOR PRAYER: O Lord, grant us the grace to respect and care for your creation.  Bless all of your creatures as a sign of your wondrous love.  Help us to end the suffering of the poor and bring healing to all of your creation. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.


OCT. 13-14


Immigration is certainly the biggest political issue of our time, but it is also a life issue, and Catholic teaching on immigration, migration, and refugees is clear and concise.  The Church supports the human rights of all people and offers them pastoral care, education, and social services, no matter what the circumstances of entry into this country, and it works for the respect of the human dignity of all, especially those who find themselves in desperate circumstances.  The Catholic Church in the United States is an immigrant Church with a long history of embracing diverse newcomers and providing assistance and pastoral care to immigrants, migrants, refugees, and people on the move.  Our Church has responded to Christ’s call for us to “welcome the stranger among us,” for in this encounter with the immigrant, the migrant, and the refugee in our midst, we encounter Christ.

There is a long Biblical foundation for hospitality, but nowhere is it made more clear that persons on the move are special in the eyes of God than in the life and words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. As a baby, Jesus was a refugee who, along with his earthly parents, fled the terror of Herod into Egypt (Mt. 2:14-15). In his public ministry, Jesus was an itinerant preacher, moving from place to place, “with nowhere to lay his Head” (Mt. 8:20). Through his teaching, Jesus instructs us to welcome the stranger: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt. 25-35). In addition to these and other Biblical examples and mandates, a rich body of Church teaching, including Papal encyclicals, Bishops’ statements and pastoral letters, has consistently reinforced our moral obligation to treat the stranger as we would treat Christ himself. 

The Catholic Catechism instructs the faithful that good government has the duty to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person. Persons have the right to immigrate and thus government must accommodate this right to the greatest extent possible, especially financially blessed nations: "The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him." (CCC, 2241)  The U.S. Catholic Bishops accept the legitimate role of the U.S. government in enforcing immigration laws. However, USCCB believes that in the process of so enforcing those laws, the U.S. government must protect the human rights and dignity of all migrants, with particular consideration for the most vulnerable of those migrants – including refugees, asylees, and unaccompanied alien minors.  Furthermore, the U.S. Bishops believe that U.S. immigration policy should prevent the unnecessary detention of asylumseekers, enhance due process protections, and revise parole criteria. 

New immigrants call most of us back to our ancestral heritage as descendants of immigrants and to our baptismal heritage as members of the body of Christ. The presence of brothers and sisters from different cultures should be celebrated as a gift to the Church.

FOR REFLECTION:  If due to war, natural disaster, or economic circumstances, you had to suddenly migrate to another country with your family, how would you want to be treated?  Are your views on immigration consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church and your own opinions on other issues of life?  What have you done to make Jesus say, “I was a stranger, and you welcomed me?”

FOR EXPLORATION:  Share the Journey is a movement begun by Pope Francis in 2017 to encourage Catholics to get to know their immigrant, migrant, and refugee neighbors.  At , you can hear the stories of immigrants around the world and learn how you can share the journey of your own neighbors.

FOR PRAYER: Lord Jesus, today you call us to welcome the members of God's family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Help us by your grace, to banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister; to welcome immigrants, migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs; to realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice; to share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us; to give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.  We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. 



OCT. 20-21

Capital Punishment

We live in a culture of death.  Life is treated as if it were cheap, and many are the threats to the dignity of human life. Yet we believe that all human life is from God, and that God alone is the master of life and of death.  Saint John Paul II made the defense of the dignity of all human life the centerpiece of his pontificate.  In regards to capital punishment, he said: “The dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.”

The death penalty presents itself as a complex moral issue because of the apparently conflicting demands of justice on one hand and charity on the other. Some crimes are so serious and so heinous that they seem to cry out for the ultimate punishment of death. And yet the Gospel message is forever one of forgiveness, of reconciliation, of committed charity toward all without exceptions.  As Christians we are asked to visit the imprisoned, minister to their needs, and encourage them to repent and change. We should never lose our conviction that even the worst offenders are our brothers and sisters in Christ, who offers forgiveness and eternal life to all. That process of reform takes time, often quite a long time. The death penalty takes that opportunity for conversion away.

Today, it is clear that the death penalty no longer serves a useful purpose in protecting the sanctity of human life. Perhaps once it was the only way society could protect itself from those who would destroy the life of others, but today in most modern nations, judicial and penal systems have improved so much that they effectively remove further danger to innocent people by incarcerating the perpetrators of criminal violence. Imprisonment is effective in removing the offender from society. Importantly, it allows time for repentance and rehabilitation. And the one sure result of executing prisoners is to make us as a people more vengeful—seeking retribution and satisfying our outrage at the violent crime by more violence. 

That is why earlier this year, Pope Francis amended the Catechism of the Catholic Church changing Catholic teaching on the death penalty.  Paragraph 2267 now reads: “Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.  Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person’, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

FOR REFLECTION:  What does the Catechism mean when it says: “the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes?”  Does your belief in the sacredness of all life extend to those who have committed the most heinous of crimes?  Do you accept Pope Francis’ amendment of Church teaching on the death penalty as part of your Catholic faith?

FOR EXPLORATION:  The latest updates on efforts to end the death penalty can be found at: .

FOR PRAYER: Merciful Father, we ask your blessing on all we do to build a culture of life. Hear our prayers for those impacted by the death penalty.  We pray for all people, that their lives and dignity as children of a loving God may be respected and protected in all stages and circumstances.  We pray for victims of violence and their families, that they may experience our love and support and find comfort in your compassion and in the promise of eternal life.  We pray for those on death row, that their lives may be spared, that the innocent may be freed and that the guilty may come to acknowledge their faults and seek reconciliation with you.  We pray for the families of those who are facing execution, that they may be comforted by your love and compassion.  We pray for civic leaders, that they may commit themselves to respecting every human life and ending the use of the death penalty in our land.  Compassionate Father, give us wisdom and hearts filled with your love. Guide us as we work to end the use of the death penalty and to build a society that truly chooses life in all situations.  We ask this Father through your Son Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.



OCT. 27-28


Racism is an attack on the image of God that has been given to every one of us by the Creator (Gen. 5:1-3). Racism rejects what God has done by refusing to acknowledge the image of God in the other, the stranger and the one who is different. The fact that we were created in the image of God should remind us that each person is a living expression of God that must be respected and preserved and never dishonored.  Racism is divisive and damages the harmony and oneness that should characterize all our relationships. What divides us does not have to destroy us. Differences do not have to frighten us. Following the advice of St. Paul, we can pray for the grace to look beyond our own prejudices.  The fight against racism concerns everyone. 

To our shame, Christians have been part of the problem. So, as Christians, we need to be part of the solution.  When asked which was the first of all the commandments, Jesus replied the first is this: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ And the second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mk 12: 28-31). Obviously, racism goes against the commandment of love. We are all called, therefore, to oppose racism in our communities. Loving neighbors who are different from us through kind and generous actions can be as simple as forming friendships, supporting minority-owned businesses, or participating in community activities with those of other faiths or other races. Loving our God obligates us to love our neighbors as well.

FOR REFLECTION:  What prejudices do you hold deep inside your heart?  Do you stereotype others based on race or ethnicity, tell jokes which cast them in a negative light, or avoid coming in contact with them?  How can you be a force for change in the fight against racism?

FOR EXPLORATION:  Visit the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development’s blog to find out 5 ways you can cultivate peace and work for racial justice at: .

FOR PRAYER: We pray for healing to address the persistent sin of racism which rejects the full humanity of some of your children, and the talents and potential you have given.  We pray for the grace to recognize the systems that do not support the dignity of every person, that do not promote respect for those who are seen as other, who bear the legacy of centuries of discrimination, fear, and violence.  We pray for graced structures so all children of color in Flint, and all children, have access to clean water and health care.  We pray for graced structures so children of color in Mississippi, and all children, have quality education that will allow them to develop their gifts.  We pray for graced structures so children of color in Camden, and all children, have homes where families can live in dignity and security.  We pray for graced structures so children of color in Chicago, and all children, can grow up without fear, without the sound of gunshots.  Lord of all, we ask you to hear and answer our prayers.  Give us eyes to see how the past has shaped the complex present, and to perceive how we must create a new way forward, with a new sense of community that embraces and celebrates the rich diversity of all, that helps us live out your call to reject the sin of racism, the stain of hate, and to seek a compassionate solidarity supported by your grace and your love.  We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


The following is a letter from Archbishop Dennis Schnurr regarding the cases of sexual abuse by priests which have recently been brought to light in Pennsylvania.  Below that letter is a statement from Cardinal DiNardo, President of the USCCB.


Dear Friends in Christ,

On Tuesday of this week, a Pennsylvania Grand Jury released a report detailing the names of 301 priests who sexually abused over 1,000 minors over a 70-year period in that state. This report, coupled with the recent revelations regarding the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, shocks, saddens, and angers Catholics everywhere, including myself. The depth of depravity and evil described in these reports is stunning. No words can diminish the level of revulsion one feels at reading them.

From the depths of my heart, I am sorry for the terrible pain and suffering experienced by the victims of abuse throughout their lives. I am sorry for the deep shame that Catholic lay people rightfully feel at the inexcusable behavior of members of certain cardinals, bishops, and priests, the emotional exhaustion of having to defend their faith to friends and co-workers, and the discouragement of having to relive a deep tragedy that we all hoped was behind us. I am sorry for the stigma that good and holy priests who are committed to their vocation and vows have to endure wherever they go. I am sorry for the trust that has collectively been violated.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is unequivocally committed to the protection of all people, children and adults, involved with any of our various ministries. At this time, there are no active cases of clerical abuse of minors anywhere in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. If you suspect abuse on the part of any agent of the Archdiocese, please report it to the appropriate civil authorities, as well as to the Coordinator of Ministry to Survivors of Abuse in the Archdiocese at 513-263-6623 or 1-800-686-2724, ext. 6623. If you see something, please say something.

Since 1993, the Archdiocese has embraced and promulgated the Decree on Child Protection, which now also covers vulnerable adults, including:

·         Complete background checks on all clerics, employees and volunteers;

·         Ongoing required training for clerics, employees, and volunteers on recognizing the signs of abuse of children and vulnerable adults;

·         Procedures for reporting suspected abuse;

·         Immediately reporting all allegations of abuse to the appropriate civil authorities;

·         A Child Protection Review Board that is comprised primarily of lay people;

·         Training of children in Catholic schools and religious education programs on warning signs and appropriate responses for their own protection; and

·         Onsite independent audit of policies and procedures by an outside firm.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is committed to transparency. To that end, for the past 15 years, we have published the names and status of all priests credibly accused of abuse on the archdiocesan website. This can be found at

The Archdiocese is also committed to ensuring that the men who will be ordained to the priesthood are indeed suitable for ministry in the Church and worthy of the trust of the Catholic faithful. Every applicant to the seminary undergoes a full battery of psychological testing prior to acceptance into the seminary program. Once accepted, the candidate has, at a minimum, four years of formation in which he is taught what he needs to know in order to be a priest. During this time, his disposition, behavior, self-awareness, and stability and goodness of character are also evaluated. When a man discerns that God might be calling him to the priesthood, the Church has a duty to discern that call as well, to make sure he is truly called and of the right character to serve faithfully and well.

Many of you may be feeling that Jesus has forsaken the Church. This is not true. Rather, some members of the Church have forsaken Jesus and the call to be disciples. Jesus established His Church on earth and promised to never leave us. As we know from the Gospel of John, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:5).

Today, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced the foundation of a plan (included below) to comprehensively address the issue of abuse and the failure in leadership among our bishops. This plan will include the active involvement of both the laity and the Holy See. I pledge my personal dedication to this effort and to keeping you informed of its progress.

Please join me in praying for the healing of all victims of the grave sin of sexual abuse. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of the Catholic Church in the United States, continue to intercede for us. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide and protect us.

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr

Archbishop of Cincinnati


President of U.S. Bishops' Conference Announces Effort That Will Involve Laity, Experts, and the Vatican stating, “Let me ask you to hold us to all of these resolutions,” as U.S. Bishops’ Offer Firm Resolve to Address “Moral Catastrophe”  

August 16, 2018

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement after a series of meetings with members of the USCCB’s Executive Committee and other bishops. The following statement includes three goals and three principles, along with initial steps of a plan that will involve laity, experts, and the Vatican. A more developed plan will be presented to the full body of bishops at their general assembly meeting in Baltimore in November.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows: 

“Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Two weeks ago, I shared with you my sadness, anger, and shame over the recent revelations concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick.  Those sentiments continue and are deepened in light of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report.  We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past that are so evident in the recent report.  Earlier this week, the USCCB Executive Committee met again and established an outline of these necessary changes.

The Executive Committee has established three goals: (1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints.  These goals will be pursued according to three criteria:  proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity.

We have already begun to develop a concrete plan for accomplishing these goals, relying upon consultation with experts, laity, and clergy, as well as the Vatican.  We will present this plan to the full body of bishops in our November meeting.  In addition, I will travel to Rome to present these goals and criteria to the Holy See, and to urge further concrete steps based on them.

The overarching goal in all of this is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

Allow me to briefly elaborate on the goals and criteria that we have identified.

The first goal is a full investigation of questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick.  These answers are necessary to prevent a recurrence, and so help to protect minors, seminarians, and others who are vulnerable in the future.  We will therefore invite the Vatican to conduct an Apostolic Visitation to address these questions, in concert with a group of predominantly lay people identified for their expertise by members of the National Review Board and empowered to act.

The second goal is to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier.  Our 2002 “Statement of Episcopal Commitment” does not make clear what avenue victims themselves should follow in reporting abuse or other sexual misconduct by bishops.  We need to update this document.  We also need to develop and widely promote reliable third-party reporting mechanisms.  Such tools already exist in many dioceses and in the public sector and we are already examining specific options.

The third goal is to advocate for better procedures to resolve complaints against bishops.  For example, the canonical procedures that follow a complaint will be studied with an eye toward concrete proposals to make them more prompt, fair, and transparent and to specify what constraints may be imposed on bishops at each stage of that process.  

We will pursue these goals according to three criteria.

The first criterion is genuine independence.  Any mechanism for addressing any complaint against a bishop must be free from bias or undue influence by a bishop.  Our structures must preclude bishops from deterring complaints against them, from hampering their investigation, or from skewing their resolution.

The second criterion relates to authority in the Church.  Because only the Pope has authority to discipline or remove bishops, we will assure that our measures will both respect that authority and protect the vulnerable from the abuse of ecclesial power.

Our third criterion is substantial involvement of the laity.  Lay people bring expertise in areas of investigation, law enforcement, psychology, and other relevant disciplines, and their presence reinforces our commitment to the first criterion of independence.

Finally, I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what my brother bishops and I have done and failed to do.  Whatever the details may turn out to be regarding Archbishop McCarrick or the many abuses in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else), we already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership.  The result was that scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone.  This is a moral catastrophe.  It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure.  

We firmly resolve, with the help of God’s grace, never to repeat it. I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures.  It will take work to rebuild that trust.  What I have outlined here is only the beginning; other steps will follow.  I will keep you informed of our progress toward these goals.

Let me ask you to hold us to all of these resolutions.  Let me also ask you to pray for us, that we will take this time to reflect, repent, and recommit ourselves to holiness of life and to conform our lives even more to Christ, the Good Shepherd.”

Pope Francis: Letter to the People of God (full text)

Pope Francis has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse. In an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity, and to join in acts of prayer and fasting in penance for such "atrocities".

Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis
To the People of God

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Cor 12:26).  These words of Saint Paul forcefully echo in my heart as I acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse, the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons.  Crimes that inflict deep wounds of pain and powerlessness, primarily among the victims, but also in their family members and in the larger community of believers and nonbelievers alike.  Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient.  Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.  The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.

1.      If one member suffers…

In recent days, a report was made public which detailed the experiences of at least a thousand survivors, victims of sexual abuse, the abuse of power and of conscience at the hands of priests over a period of approximately seventy years. Even though it can be said that most of these cases belong to the past, nonetheless as time goes on we have come to know the pain of many of the victims.  We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death; these wounds never go away. The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced.  But their outcry was more powerful than all the measures meant to silence it, or sought even to resolve it by decisions that increased its gravity by falling into complicity.  The Lord heard that cry and once again showed us on which side he stands.  Mary’s song is not mistaken and continues quietly to echo throughout history.  For the Lord remembers the promise he made to our fathers: “he has scattered the proud in their conceit; he has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Lk 1:51-53).  We feel shame when we realize that our style of life has denied, and continues to deny, the words we recite.

With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.  We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.  I make my own the words of the then Cardinal Ratzinger when, during the Way of the Cross composed for Good Friday 2005, he identified with the cry of pain of so many victims and exclaimed: “How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to [Christ]!  How much pride, how much self-complacency!  Christ’s betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his body and blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart.  We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us! (cf. Mt 8:25)” (Ninth Station).

2.   … all suffer together with it

The extent and the gravity of all that has happened requires coming to grips with this reality in a comprehensive and communal way.  While it is important and necessary on every journey of conversion to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, in itself this is not enough.  Today we are challenged as the People of God to take on the pain of our brothers and sisters wounded in their flesh and in their spirit.  If, in the past, the response was one of omission, today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history.  And this in an environment where conflicts, tensions and above all the victims of every type of abuse can encounter an outstretched hand to protect them and rescue them from their pain (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 228).  Such solidarity demands that we in turn condemn whatever endangers the integrity of any person.  A solidarity that summons us to fight all forms of corruption, especially spiritual corruption.  The latter is “a comfortable and self-satisfied form of blindness.  Everything then appears acceptable: deception, slander, egotism and other subtle forms of self-centeredness, for ‘even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light’ (2 Cor 11:14)” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 165).  Saint Paul’s exhortation to suffer with those who suffer is the best antidote against all our attempts to repeat the words of Cain: “Am I my brother's keeper?” (Gen 4:9).

I am conscious of the effort and work being carried out in various parts of the world to come up with the necessary means to ensure the safety and protection of the integrity of children and of vulnerable adults, as well as implementing zero tolerance and ways of making all those who perpetrate or cover up these crimes accountable.  We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future.

Together with those efforts, every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need.  This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does.  For as Saint John Paul II liked to say: “If we have truly started out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he wished to be identified” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49).  To see things as the Lord does, to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence.  To do so, prayer and penance will help.  I invite the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.[1]  This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says “never again” to every form of abuse.

It is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the members of God’s People.  Indeed, whenever we have tried to replace, or silence, or ignore, or reduce the People of God to small elites, we end up creating communities, projects, theological approaches, spiritualities and structures without roots, without memory, without faces, without bodies and ultimately, without lives.[2]  This is clearly seen in a peculiar way of understanding the Church’s authority, one common in many communities where sexual abuse and the abuse of power and conscience have occurred.  Such is the case with clericalism, an approach that “not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people”.[3]   Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today.  To say “no” to abuse is to say an emphatic “no” to all forms of clericalism.

It is always helpful to remember that “in salvation history, the Lord saved one people.  We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people.  That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual.  Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in the human community.  God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 6).  Consequently, the only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God.  This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within.  Without the active participation of all the Church’s members, everything being done to uproot the culture of abuse in our communities will not be successful in generating the necessary dynamics for sound and realistic change.  The penitential dimension of fasting and prayer will help us as God’s People to come before the Lord and our wounded brothers and sisters as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion.  In this way, we will come up with actions that can generate resources attuned to the Gospel.  For “whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world” (Evangelii Gaudium, 11).

It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable.  Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others.   An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.

Likewise, penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people’s sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils.  May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled.  A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary.  A fasting that shakes us up and leads us to be committed in truth and charity with all men and women of good will, and with society in general, to combatting all forms of the abuse of power, sexual abuse and the abuse of conscience.

In this way, we can show clearly our calling to be “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1).

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it”, said Saint Paul.  By an attitude of prayer and penance, we will become attuned as individuals and as a community to this exhortation, so that we may grow in the gift of compassion, in justice, prevention and reparation.  Mary chose to stand at the foot of her Son’s cross.  She did so unhesitatingly, standing firmly by Jesus’ side.  In this way, she reveals the way she lived her entire life.  When we experience the desolation caused by these ecclesial wounds, we will do well, with Mary, “to insist more upon prayer”, seeking to grow all the more in love and fidelity to the Church (SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises, 319).  She, the first of the disciples, teaches all of us as disciples how we are to halt before the sufferings of the innocent, without excuses or cowardice.  To look to Mary is to discover the model of a true follower of Christ.

May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.


Vatican City, 20 August 2018 


St. Joseph/St. Raphael Parish has been recognized as a Laudato Si community by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  Our parish had to check off many achievements to earn this banner including hosting educational programs on environmental issues, taking steps to reduce our waste and carbon footprint, committing to use renewable resources whenever possible, and demonstrating that a certain percentage of our parishioners do the same thing at home.

This banner will be on display in the back of our churches for the next several weeks beginning this weekend at St. Raphael.



Bri, our business manager, who has been responsible for many of the steps our parish has taken to reduce our carbon footprint, received our Laudato Si banner. St. Joseph/St. Raphael Parish has been certified as being a "green" parish & living in accord with Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.

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Having had 2 parishioners hospitalized for dehydration this week, we are running a series on dehydration on our Facebook page. Did you know that the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration because as you age you don't feel thirst as much as you do in your younger years? That's why it's important to track how much water you consume daily.

The following articles contain information on how much water you need, the benefits of drinking water, and symptoms of dehydration.  Links to the websites from which these articles are taken have been included for further reading.

dehydration in elderlyDehydration is dangerous for seniors

Dehydration is a common and very serious condition in older adults – it can even result in death.

For seniors, dehydration can cause many major health problems, including:

§  Kidney stones

§  Blood clot complications

§  Passing out

§  Rapid but weak pulse

§  Lowered blood pressure

Being hydrated is also very important for certain medications to work properly.

 Dehydration is a common problem among seniors

In one study, 31% of residents in a long-term care facility were dehydrated. In a related study, 48% of older adults who were admitted to the hospital after being treated in the emergency room had signs of dehydration in their lab tests.


Why do seniors get dehydrated?

There are many factors that make seniors more likely to become dehydrated.

Common reasons include:

§  Being less sensitive to the feeling of being thirsty

§  Decreased ability to keep fluid levels in balance

§  Less efficient kidneys, which causes urine to contain more water

§  Common medications (like those for blood pressure) flushing water from the body

§  Medications causing side effects like diarrhea or excessive sweating

 How much water do seniors need?

A general rule of thumb for how much water to drink each day is to take one-third of the person’s body weight in pounds and drink that number of ounces of water.

For example, a 150 pound person would need 50 ounces of water daily, which is about six 8 ounce glasses of water. Of course, if the weather is very hot or dry, compensate by having them drink more water than usual.

It’s helpful to get an idea of how much water intake is healthy for the average person. But, because each older adult takes different medications and has different health issues, it’s important to talk with their doctor to find out how much water is best.

 Benefits of drinking enough water

Aside from avoiding the scary health consequences, staying well hydrated has its benefits too.


Here are a few:

§  Less constipation / less need for laxatives

§  Fewer falls

§  Reduced risk of urinary tract infection (UTI)

§  Men may have reduced risk of bladder cancer

§  Reduced risk of colorectal cancer

By DailyCaring Editorial Team





Elderly Dehydration: 18 Signs and Symptoms to Look For


The signs and symptoms of dehydration in an elderly person can be virtually identical to those for dementia, which is why if not treated immediately it can lead to death.

The most common signs and symptoms of dehydration include persistent fatigue, lethargy, muscle weakness or cramps, headaches, dizziness, nausea, forgetfulness, confusion, deep rapid breathing, or an increased heart rate. Since seniors often have a reduced sense of thirst, dehydration is one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization after age 65.

Other less common signs and symptoms of dehydration can include:

·         Excessive loss of fluid through vomiting, urinating, stools or sweating

·         Poor intake of fluids, a feeling that they “can’t keep anything down”

·         Sunken eyes

·         Dry or sticky mucous membranes in the mouth

·         Skin that lacks its normal elasticity

·         Decreased or absent urine output

·         Decreased tears

Avoiding Dehydration

Almost everyone gets about half their daily water requirement from solid foods and fruit and vegetable juices. However, seniors often have a reduced sense of thirst and a reduced appetite. Those fruits and vegetables seniors should be able to easily consume to lessen the chances of suffering from dehydration include applesauce, apricots, asparagus (cooked), bananas, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli (cooked), cauliflower (cooked), cherries, grapes, raspberries and strawberries.

Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care.


14 Surprising Causes of Dehydration

Healthy hydration is about more than drinking eight glasses of water a day. Here are 14 factors that may dry you up unexpectedly.


February 05, 2018


1 of 15 Getty Images

Are you running on empty?

Your body is about 60% water. Lose even 1.5% of that H2O—the tipping point for mild dehydration—and your mood, energy levels, and cognitive function all drop, according to research from the University of Connecticut. And while there are obvious reasons you can end up dehydrated—a sunny day, exercise, or not drinking enough in general—other triggers are less obvious. Check out these 14 surprising causes of dehydration and how to prevent them.

People with diabetes—especially people who don't yet realize they have it—are at increased risk for dehydration. When levels of sugar in the blood are too high, the body tries to get rid off the excess glucose through increased urine output, says Robert Kominiarek, DO, a board-certified family physician in Ohio. All of those extra trips to the bathroom can be dehydrating. If you're diabetic and suffer from frequent thirst or urination, talk to your doctor about how you can work together to improve your blood sugar control. And if you're experiencing excessive thirst along with these other type 2 diabetes symptoms, it's time to pay a visit to your doctor.

Your period

Is it that time of the month? Drink an extra glass of water. Estrogen and progesterone influence your body's hydration levels, and when the two are roller-coastering, like when you're in the throes of PMS, you may need to increase your fluid intake to stay hydrated, Dr. Kominiarek says. What's more, for some women who have excessively heavy periods, the amount of blood lost is enough to deplete fluid levels, says OB-GYN Marielena Guerra, MD, of Elite OB/GYN in Florida. If you think the latter might be you, start counting your tampons. If you have to change them more than once every two hours, talk to your gyno.


Prescription meds

Check your prescription's list of side effects. Many medications act as diuretics, upping your urine output and your risk for dehydration, Dr. Kominiarek says. Blood pressure medications are a common example. Plus, any drug that lists diarrhea or vomiting as a potential side effect could end up causing dehydration if you experience those side effects. If your prescription hits any of the above, increase your fluid intake.

Low-carb diets

Carbohydrates are stored in your body right along with fluids. That's why you drop a couple pounds of water weight when you eliminate carbs. That might look good on your scale, sure, but it's bad news for your hydration levels, says dietitian Jaime Mass, RD. Plus, since whole carbs such as oatmeal, whole grain pasta, and brown rice all soak up water during the cooking process, eating them can actually increase your hydration levels. Cut them from your diet and you could be unwittingly reducing your fluid intake, too.


When you're under stress, your adrenal glands pump out stress hormones. And if you're constantly under pressure, eventually your adrenals become exhausted, causing an adrenal insufficiency, Dr. Kominiarek says. Problem is, the adrenals also produce the hormone aldosterone, which helps regulate your body's levels of fluid and electrolytes. So as adrenal fatigue progresses, your body's production of aldosterone drops, triggering dehydration and low electrolyte levels, he says. While increasing fluid intake can help in the short term, mediating your stressors is the only real long-term solution.


Irritable bowel syndrome

As if irritable bowel syndrome wasn't terrible enough on its own, its symptoms (such as nausea and chronic diarrhea) can cause dehydration, Kominiarek says. What's more, many people who suffer from this conditions place themselves on elimination diets to avoid what they believe may be trigger foods, Mass adds. If those diets nix any fluids or fluid-rich foods, they could end up further contributing to dehydration.

Your workout

We typically think of post-workout dehydration as a problem reserved for endurance athletes, but any time you break a sweat, be it an hour-long spin class or quick jog around the block, you're losing water, Mass says. And, week after week, if you are sweating out more than you're sipping, you could become dehydrated. Try this: Weigh yourself immediately before and after your workout. For every pound you've lost (the goal is not to!), drink 16 to 20 ounces of water, she suggests.


Has your baby got you feeling bloated? Chances are your body is retaining water in an attempt to offset dehydration, Guerra says. During pregnancy, your overall blood volume and cardiac output increase, which can thereby increase your fluid requirements. What's more, nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness can also take their toll on hydration levels, she says. If you are suffering from morning sickness, don't just accept it as a given. Talk to your doc about how to ease your symptoms.




As you age, your body's ability to conserve water as well as its sensation for thirst declines, meaning it's easier to become dehydrated and more difficult to tell when you're fluids are low, says Mass. If you have trouble remembering to drink water throughout the day, try making a game of it. Keep a bottle of water near you at all times and, each day, keep a running total of how much you've consumed.

Dietary supplements

Just because it's "natural" doesn't mean it can't send your bladder into overdrive. For example, parsley, celery seed, dandelion, and watercress have all been shown to increase urine output, which could potentially lead to dehydration, Mass says. If you are thinking about taking a dietary supplement—or are already taking one—it's best to speak with a nutritionist, primary care doctor, or naturopathic physician about any potential side effects.

High altitudes

When you travel to high altitudes, your body acclimates by speeding up your breathing as well as increasing your urine output. While both are necessary to a healthy adjustment to the altitude and its oxygen levels, constantly peeing and panting—which causes you to exhale more water vapor than usual—can cause dehydration.

Drinking alcohol

Forget hangovers. Even a well-behaved happy hour could deplete your fluid levels. Why? Because drinking makes you go to the bathroom. Alcohol inhibits an antidiuretic hormone that would normally send some of the fluid you're consuming back into the body, and instead sends it to your bladder. Meanwhile, thanks to the diuretic effect of alcohol, your cells shrink, pushing more water out to your bladder. All this lowers your body's hydration levels, Mass explains. What's more, since alcohol impairs your ability to sense the early signs of dehydration—such as thirst and fatigue—it's easy to drink well past your dehydration point.

Eating too few fruits and vegetables

Filling half of your plate at each meal with produce can score you up to to two extra cups of water a day. So, put another way, if you don't eat your five-a-day, and don't compensate (at least from a fluid perspective) by drinking extra water, you could easily wind up dehydrated.


Breastfeeding is all about moving water—not to mention electrolytes, proteins, minerals, and other ingredients—from mom's body to baby's. So of course it can lower your hydration levels, Dr. Guerra says. If you start to have trouble producing, increase your fluids and talk to your doc. It may be a sign of serious dehydration.

What Should I Do If I'm Dehydrated?


You can become dehydrated for many different reasons. It could be from sweating too much. Vomiting or diarrhea can quickly remove fluids from your body, too. So can medicines than make you pee a lot.

All of these things can cause you to lose more water and electrolytes (essential minerals in your blood and body fluids) than are good for you. If you don’t have enough, your body has trouble doing the things it’s supposed to do.

There’s really only one way to treat dehydration -- replace the fluids and electrolytes your body has lost.

Is Drinking Water Enough?

For a mild case, it should be enough just to drink plenty of fluids. Water is your first choice, but there are lots of special drinks on the market that will help you replace your body’s lost water and electrolytes.

If you can’t get a pre-mixed rehydration solution, don’t try to make one yourself. Instead, replace lost fluids naturally with sips of water, fruit juice, crushed fruit mixed with water, or salty soups or broths.

Fruit juices may upset your stomach, so it’s best to dilute them with water. Avoid coffee, tea, soda, and alcoholic drinks. They’re diuretics, which means they can dehydrate you more because they all pull water from your body.

If your dehydration is serious, you may need to see a doctor to get treated with intravenous (IV) fluids. Severe dehydration may require you to go to the hospital. You should get medical attention immediately if you:

  • Haven’t peed in 8 hours
  • Have had a seizure
  • Are disoriented or confused
  • Have a weak or rapid pulse
  • Feel very tired
  • Feel dizzy when you stand
  • Are too sick (nauseated or vomiting) to take in fluids

The rest of the article may be read at:




Water: How much should you drink every day?

Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

How much water should you drink each day? It's a simple question with no easy answer.

Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years. But your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.

No single formula fits everyone. But knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

Health benefits of water

Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Your body depends on water to survive.

Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, water:

·         Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements

·         Keeps your temperature normal

·         Lubricates and cushions joints

·         Protects sensitive tissues

Lack of water can lead to dehydration — a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

How much water do you need?

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

·         About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men

·         About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.

What about the advice to drink 8 glasses a day?

You've probably heard the advice, "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day." That's easy to remember, and it's a reasonable goal.

Most healthy people can stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than eight glasses a day might be enough. But other people might need more.

Factors that influence water needs

You might need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors:

·         Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It's important to drink water before, during and after a workout. If exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace minerals in your blood (electrolytes) lost through sweat.

·         Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.

·         Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor's recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.

·         Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women's Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters) of fluids a day.

Beyond the tap: Other sources of water

You don't need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100 percent water by weight.

In addition, beverages such as milk, juice and herbal teas are composed mostly of water. Even caffeinated drinks — such as coffee and soda — can contribute to your daily water intake. But water is your best bet because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Sports drinks should be used only when you're exercising intensely for more than an hour. These drinks help replace electrolytes lost through perspiration and sugar needed for energy during longer bouts of exercise.

Energy drinks are different from sports drinks. Energy drinks generally aren't formulated to replace electrolytes. Energy drinks also usually contain large amounts of caffeine or other stimulants, sugar, and other additives.

Staying safely hydrated

Your fluid intake is probably adequate if:

·         You rarely feel thirsty

·         Your urine is colorless or light yellow

A doctor or registered dietitian can help you determine the amount of water that's right for you every day.

To prevent dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It's also a good idea to:

·         Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal.

·         Drink water before, during and after exercise.

·         Drink water if you're feeling hungry. Thirst is often confused with hunger.

Although uncommon, it's possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys can't excrete the excess water, the sodium content of your blood is diluted (hyponatremia) — which can be life-threatening.

Athletes — especially if they participate in long or intense workouts or endurance events — are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average American diet.


14 Overlooked Benefits of Drinking Water

It’s no secret that up to 60% of the human body is comprised of water. But did you know that on any given day you lose 64 ounces of water through perspiration (16 ounces from your feet alone)?

Unless you're working out, most of this perspiration goes unnoticed. But our body is constantly regulating its temperature through sweat. Even when you're sitting in a chair, typing on your computer, your body is still maintaining a healthy core temperature.

We both know that water consumption is imperative for maintaining hydration. But keeping up with that kind of diminishing supply can seem difficult.

In the battle to stay hydrated, it sometimes feels like the only option is countless trips to the bathroom. But before you move your office into the second stall, let’s figure out just how much water you should be consuming each day.

How much water should we drink each day?

The recommended water consumption can vary based on age, weight, sex, activity level, and the climate you live in. But generally speaking, women should drink 90 ounces (11 cups) of fluids per day and men should drink 125 ounces (16 cups) per day. 

But if you want to get specific, there’s a pretty simple way to figure out the exact amount of water you should be drinking each day. Multiply your weight by ⅔ then consider your activity level. You should add 12 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 30 minutes of exercise.

But, other than maintaining 60% of your body mass and a few extra trips to the restroom, what do you get from drinking water all day? If you’re anything like us, you like to know the why behind anything you do.

What are the benefits of drinking water?

You’ll be happy to know that water provides plenty of benefits. And we want to give you 14 of the often overlooked benefits of drinking water.

1. Increases Brain Power and Provides Energy

water provides so many benefits to you

Need a mental boost? Next time you feel your mental performance diminish, skip the cup of coffee and drink some water.

One of water’s many benefits is an increase in brain power. Since your brain is made of 73% water, drinking it helps you think, focus, concentrate, and stay alert. As a result, your energy levels also improve.

According to research, it doesn't take much to feel the impact of dehydration. "Being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor, and immediate memory skills, as well as assessment of the subjective state."

BSX Technologies lists four ways dehydration affects your brain:

1. Dehydration affects your mood.

2. Dehydration reduces your cognitive and motor skills.

3. Dehydration makes you more sensitive to pain.

4. Dehydration affects your memory.

If you begin to feel these dehydration symptoms, grab a glass of water.

2. Promotes Healthy Weight Management and Weight Loss

Your brain isn't the only part of your body to feel the positive impact of staying hydrated.

Water aides in the removal of fat by-products and also helps you feel more full. Not only does this act as a natural appetite suppressant, but it can also improve your metabolism. 

Research on water's impact on your metabolic function is ongoing. But one thing is certain – you're less likely to gain weight when you drink a couple glasses of water before a meal rather than eating the basket of bread. 

3. Flush Out Toxins

water removes toxins from your body

You’ve probably heard the expression, “sweat it out.” Water consumption helps your body flush out waste through sweat and urination. This also prevents kidney stones and protects you from urinary tract infections.

Your body is able to naturally detoxify through the use of its lungs, liver, and kidneys. But sometimes we give it more than it can handle (i.e. holiday eating marathons or a few too many drinks over the weekend).

Consider toxins the boats floating through your body. Water is the river that floats those toxins out. Don't let the water level drop or the toxins make get stuck and cause harm.

4. Improves Your Complexion

It's understandable that if your body is composed of 60% water, dehydration will harm your skin.

As UW Health points out, your skin is an organ. And water is important for organ function. "If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling."

Drinking water is great for your skin. It helps to moisturize it, keep it soft, and removes wrinkles.

5. Maintains Regularity

the advantages of drinking water

Being regular is the result of a healthy digestive system. And drinking water helps your body digest everything you eat.

According to Mayo Clinic, water helps break down food (so that your body can absorb the nutrients) and prevents constipation.

6. Boosts Immune System

Want to know the easiest way to stay healthy during the cold and flu season? Drink more water!

One of the most common overlooked benefits of drinking water is a healthy immune system. And drinking water has been directly related to a stronger immune system.

According to Fit Day, water strengthens your immune system in two ways: First, it carries oxygen to your body's cells, which results in properly functioning systems. And secondly (see the third point mentioned), it flushes harmful toxins from your body.

Water has also been shown to reduce the risk of bladder cancer by rapidly flushing toxins from your bladder.

7. Prevents Headaches

water prevents headaches

One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is headaches. Water is important for brain function. In addition to increasing brain power, drinking water also helps prevent and relieve headaches often caused by dehydration.

Medical News Today explains that a dehydration headache occurs when your body loses essential fluids to function properly. Dehydration can cause the brain to temporarily shrink from fluid loss. This mechanism causes the brain to pull away from the skull, causing pain and resulting in a dehydration headache.

8. Prevents Cramps and Sprains

It’s no secret that dehydration leads to cramping. But did you know that hydrated muscles are also less prone to sprains?

Water acts as a natural lubricant for your muscles and joints. Develop healthy hydration and you’ll be more flexible, less likely to experience sprained ankles, and less likely to be sore after that next killer workout.

9. Helps Regulate Your Body Temperature

water helps you stay healthy and active

One of the more well-known benefits of water is the way it replenishes your body's cooling system source – sweat.

Sweat is the natural cooling system of your body. And since water is a key ingredient of your sweat, your body needs enough water to properly regulate your body’s temperature through perspiration.

10. Prevents Backaches

Dehydration is often an overlooked cause of back pain.

The bones of your vertebrae are supported by discs. And the central nucleus of each disc is made of water. A lack of water can compromise these discs leading to back pain.

11. Improves Your Heart Health

understand the way water keeps you healthy

Research has shown a link between coronary heart disease and water consumption. Water maintains the proper viscosity of blood and plasma and fibrinogen distribution.

12. Prevents Bad Breath

Have you ever hung out in a crowd of runners after a marathon? You'd be wise to remain at a comfortable distance when speaking.

Bad breath is often a clear sign of dehydration. In addition to the food you eat, dehydration can also cause bad breath.

Drinking a sufficient amount of water washes away leftover food particles and oral bacteria that lead to bad breath.


13. Takes the Edge off of Hangovers


Instead of being reactive the next morning, take a proactive approach next time you drink alcohol. Alcohol consumption causes dehydration, which can lead to a hangover.

The unforgiving consequences of alcohol can be prevented by simply drinking a glass of water with each alcoholic beverage.

14. Puts You in a Better Mood

Just as a well-oiled engine runs at top performance, so your body will also work better when properly hydrated. And when your internal systems and organs are running better, you’re more likely to feel better about yourself. In turn, you’re more likely to be in a good mood!

Want to enjoy more benefits of drinking water?

Start your day off right by drinking a glass of water each morning before breakfast. This will jumpstart your mind and body. And carry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day to ensure you remain hydrated.

So maybe your new drinking habits will lead to a couple more trips to the bathroom. But you'll be happier, healthier, and more efficient with a properly hydrated brain.

Be sure to join our email list and we'll send you some helpful resources. You'll get more information sent directly to your inbox explaining why water is powerful. It should be an essential part of your day. 

water improves your mood