Help Needed to Supply Annual Food Baskets


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?

Catholic Campaign for Human Development and World Day for the Poor

November Election Information


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 

Parish Receives Award


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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Dangers of Dehydration


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

Presentation on Upcoming Farm Bill

Statements on Immigration by the U.S. Bishops

A Statement from Daniel Cardinal DiNardo

June 13, 2018

Fort Lauderdale, FL—"At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General's recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence. Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors. We urge courts and policy makers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life.

Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB's Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration's zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral."


U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Urges Administration to Keep Families Together

June 1, 2018

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security has recently acknowledged implementation of the policy. . . of separating families arriving at the U.S./Mexico Border. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in response:

"Forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary to our Catholic values. Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching. 'Children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.' (Psalm 127:3) Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God.

Rupturing the bond between parent and child causes scientifically-proven trauma that often leads to irreparable emotional scarring. Accordingly, children should always be placed in the least restrictive setting: a safe, family environment, ideally with their own families.

My brother bishops and I understand the need for the security of our borders and country, but separating arriving families at the U.S./Mexico border does not allay security concerns. Children and families will continue to take the enormous risks of migration—including family separation—because the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle remain: community or state-sanctioned violence, gang recruitment, poverty, and a lack of educational opportunity. Any policies should address these factors first as we seek to repair our broken immigration system."


St. Joseph/St. Raphael Parish is dedicated to protecting our environment in any way feasible. Fr. Bill has signed the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration on our behalf.
U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration
As Catholic communities, organizations, and institutions in the United States, we join with state, tribal, and local governments, as well as businesses, financial institutions, and other faith organizations, to declare that we are still in on actions that meet the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.
The Catholic Church has long recognized—and 55 years ago Pope Paul VI eloquently described--the tragic consequences of unchecked human activity (Laudato Si', 4). This reality includes the problem of excess greenhouse gas pollution and the reality of human-forced climate change. In 2001 the U.S Bishops said that “global climate is by its very nature a part of the planetary commons,” and that prudent action must be taken to protect it (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, 2001). On numerous occasions Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have called for an international climate change agreement.
Climate change is an urgent moral issue because it compromises the future of our common home, threatens human life and human dignity, and adds to the hardships already experienced by the poorest and most vulnerable people both at home and abroad. We teach that governments exist to protect and promote the common good, and that “the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all." (Laudato Si', 23).
"[A]t its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both 'the human environment' and the natural environment. It is about our human stewardship of God's creation and our responsibility to those who come after us" (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, 2001).
In December 2015, the leaders of 195 nations adopted the Paris Agreement that established a framework for nations to reduce carbon emissions to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, and to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. The Holy See and the U.S. Bishops have repeatedly voiced their support for it.
On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement, the only nation to do so. In response, the U.S. bishops declared, “The President's decision not to honor the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement is deeply troubling” (USCCB Statement on the President's Withdrawal from Paris Agreement, June 1, 2017).
As Catholic communities, organizations, and institutions in the United States, we join with other institutions from across American society to ensure that the United States remains a global leader in reducing emissions. We call for the Administration to join the global community and return to the Paris Agreement.



Our 2018 theme has finally been announced: GOD IS WITH US: EVERY DAY!  EVERY WAY!

Notice how the theme is in green which is also the color of Ordinary Time?  That's because God doesn't wait for the special times, like Christmas and Easter, to be with us.  Or for us to be in special places, like church.  Jesus comes to us in the ordinary foods of bread and wine when we gather for the Eucharist, and God is with us everywhere we go - EVERY DAY!  EVERY WAY!




Mass of Remembrance for MLK

April 4, 1968-2018

April 4, 1968-2018

A Mass of Remembrance in Honor of the 50th Anniversary

of the Martyrdom of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Mass will be held on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 7:00 p.m. at the Church of the Resurrection – Bond Hill, 1619 California Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio 45237. The Most Rev. Joseph Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will serve as presider and preacher. We’ve chosen, “A Time Comes When Silence Is Betrayal – A New Spirit Is Rising Among Us” as the theme for this night of remembrance.  In this gathering of God’s people, the faithful and the faith-filled will honor the life and legacy of Dr. King and commit once more to eradicate the sin of racism, intolerance and hatred in our time and place.

St. Joseph/St. Raphael Parish would like to take a group to Cincinnati to celebrate this Mass.  Details of the trip are still being determined, but we would need at least 40 people in order to charter a bus. 

Update on trip to Cincy for MLK Mass of Remembrance:

Date: April 4, 2018
Departure Time: 3:30 p.m. from St. Raphael Church parking lot
Return time: Approximately 10:30 p.m.
Cost: $35 plus dinner
We will be going directly to the Church of the Resurrection (with a stop on the way for dinner) and returning home immediately after mass.
We will NOT be making stops at the Freedom Center or the Rankin House.

Please call 323-7523 or e-mail Lisa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to make your reservation by March 20.





Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving are the three pillars of Lent, each forming us in our faith.  Instead of giving up candy for Lent, why not participate in one or more of these adult faith formation opportunities?


Synced Studies - This year our 3 adult faith groups will be aligning their studies for your convenience.  All groups will be using the same study and covering the same content each week.  Is Sunday morning best for you this week, but you work next Sunday?  No reason to skip!  You can hop between the groups at your convenience.  We hope this gives some who have never been a part of our adult faith groups before an opportunity to join.


Our synced study is “Lent: Season of Transformation.”  During Lent, we clear our lives of all the clutter & allow ourselves to be transformed by the Word of God.  These 6 special sessions will help you focus on God & reorient your life to the Gospel.  Sessions begin on Monday, Feb. 12 & end Sunday, March 25. 


Monday Night Bible Study meets in the St. Joseph Parish Center at 7:00 p.m.


Thursday Morning Bible Study meets in the St. Joseph Parish Center at 10:00 a.m. – noon.


Sunday Morning Adult Faith meets in the St. Raphael Parish Center at 9:00-10:10 a.m.


Lenten booklets – A variety of free Lenten devotional booklets, containing scriptures, reflections, and prayers, will be available in the back of both churches beginning Feb. 11.  Don’t forget to pick one up!


Stations of the Cross – Join us for this traditional Lenten devotion on all the Fridays of Lent at 5:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Church.


Lenten RetreatThis year we have a special Celtic retreat planned for Saturday, March 17 at 9:00-12:00 in St. Raphael Church with a lunch of Irish stew, leek & potato soup, & soda bread following in Hoban Hall.  There will also be live Celtic music while we eat.  Our guest presenter is spiritual director Lauren Horstman Burdette.


Parish Penance Service – The Parish Penance Service will be held on Monday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. in St. Raphael Church.  This is a communal penance service with communal prayers and multiple priests to hear individual confesions.


The Light Is On – Have you been away from the sacrament of reconciliation for a while.  Do you want to experience the sacrament again, but feel uneasy?  On February 27, we will host the Light Is On from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at St. Raphael Church.  This is an opportunity to experience the sacrament in a non-judgmental, welcoming atmosphere.  This is NOT a communal penance service, and there will be no common prayers.  Participants are welcome to arrive at any time during the two-hour window and to use the church for private prayer or to leave immediately after receiving the sacrament.



CATHOLIC WOMEN’S COLLEGE CLUB is currently accepting scholarship applications. High school seniors who are Catholic and plan to attend a Catholic college or university in the fall may apply; new applications are available in the CCHS office or the parish office. Students who are current recipients of the scholarship or are currently students in a Catholic college or university may apply for renewal scholarship; these applications are available from the CWCC Education Chair. All applications are due by 5pm on Thursday, March 22nd. For more information or questions, please contact CWCC Education Chair Debbie LeMelle at (937) 629-0508.


Are We Having Mass Today?

Mass will only be cancelled if we are at a level 3 snow emergency. We DO encourage everyone to decide if it is safe to drive from your area when roads are icy. For gatherings like CCD, Bible Study, Youth events—we will decide and post the closing in several places. WDTN is the local channel that we use for closings; also look for a red alert banner on the homepage of our website; and check our facebook page. Please know that if you see a delay or cancellation on any of these sites it is valid; we are probably working on getting it on the others. Hopefully we will not have a need to cancel this winter.




Fr. Elmer Smith, beloved pastor at St. Cecilia Parish for almost 27 years, has passed away. He was anointed in the sacraments just before his passing and lovingly cared for up to the moment he took his last breath. All who came to know Fr. Smith knew him as a kind, gentle, and loving man who gave the time of day for anyone who crossed his path. He will be greatly missed. Fr. Smith has donated his body to science. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr will preside at Fr. Smith’s memorial Mass, which will be held on Saturday, December 16, at 10:30 AM here at St. Cecilia. There will be a reception following in the St. Cecilia Commons.

Fr. Smith was assigned to St. Joseph Parish from 1961 to 1981.

In 1961, Father Elmer Smith was assigned as assistant to Father Bernard. Born in Dayton on July 19, 1926, he was ordained on September 8, 1950. Father Smith was well-known in the Springfield community for his active work in promoting a number of ecumenical programs. St. Joseph became known as the “friendly parish” for the warm welcome given to friend and visitor alike. Father Smith called each person by name and spoke to each visitor after Mass. He promoted wide participation in church and school activities. He strived for personal contact with each parish member. Father Smith never kept office hours. Many times he would get a call and we would see him leave in the middle of the night to be with a dying parishioner in the hospital or to console a distressed family, arriving back in time to say morning Mass and begin another full day.


In 1974, Father Bernard successfully campaigned to the archbishop to name Father Elmer Smith to succeed him as pastor. In 1981, Father Hopping arrived to assist Father Smith. At about this same time, Father Smith received word of his appointment in St. Cecelia Parish in Cincinnati. There was great sadness when Father Smith left, the parish having lost two beloved pastors (the other being Fr. Berard who had recently died) in one year. A brick and glass enclosed sign stating the sermon topic and Mass schedule was erected in front of the church with labor donated by parishioners. It was dedicated to Father Smith for twenty years of service to the people of St. Joseph.



From November 12–18, 2017, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops invites families, parishes, schools, and other Catholic groups to participate in National Bible Week.  This year, readings focus on immigration as part of the Share the Journey campaign. 

SUNDAY:  Read Genesis 12:1-9.  Imagine what it must have been like for Abram to migrate at 75 years of age.  What hardships would he have endured?  Do you think the decision to leave his homeland was easy or difficult?  Why?  How was Abram like modern day immigrants?

MONDAY:  Read Genesis 46:1-7; 47:1-6; and Exodus 1:6-14.  Why did Jacob (aka Israel) and his entire household migrate to Egypt?  Do people immigrate today because of similar hardships?  How were Jacob and his family greeted in Egypt?  Why were later generations oppressed?

TUESDAY:  Read Exodus 22:20-23; 23:9; Leviticus 19:33-34; 23:22; Deuteronomy 10:12-22; 24:17-22.  What are the laws pertaining to aliens and strangers?  Why are aliens often grouped together with widows and orphans?  What does it mean to you to love the alien as yourself (Lev. 19:34)?  Why is there an emphasis on how aliens and strangers are treated?

WEDNESDAY:  Read Isaiah 1:12-17; Amos 2:6-16; 8:4-8 and Micah 6:6-8.  Throughout the books of the prophets, the people of Israel are judged for what they don’t do.  What are some of the things they neglect?   What is meant by “justice” in these passages?  What does God really want from us?

THURSDAY:  Read Matthew 3:16-23.  Those who leave their homelands due to persecution or fear for their lives are called refugees.  Why does Joseph leave his homeland in the middle of the night with his wife and young child?  If the parents of the Innocents had been warned like Joseph, do you think they would have fled also?  Where are people fleeing for their lives and the lives of their children today?

FRIDAY:  Read Matthew 25:31-46.  What does Jesus mean by “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me?”  How are you welcoming to Jesus the Stranger?  What concrete actions can you take to welcome Jesus as a stranger in the future?


SATURDAY:  Read Luke 14:12-14; Romans 12:9-21; and Hebrews 13:1-6.  Depending on the version of the Bible you are reading, these verses either say “exercise hospitality to strangers” or simply “exercise hospitality.”  What does it mean to exercise hospitality?  What does it mean to “entertain angels?”  How do you exercise hospitality?  

Meet Your Neighbors

The best way to get to know someone is by listening to their story.  Below are 8 stories of immigrants.  Read their introductions, and to read their entire stories, follow the link included with each.


Ruth turned her dreams into reality thanks to DACA. What now?

Ruth* takes pleasure in doing simple things other parents may take for granted. One of the most notable is she can drive her kids to soccer practices, school and community service events without worrying about being stopped by law enforcement. But the joy and freedom Ruth experiences from taking her children to their activities may be in jeopardy.

Ruth came to the United States at age nine. Since she arrived, she always lived in fear of being separated from her family due to her legal status in this country. She was young when she made the U.S. her home and didn’t understand all the legal challenges she would later face.

Ruth says she was always forced to live in the shadows, not being able to fully socialize with other kids. She knew from a young age she could not do or enjoy the same activities they did, including simple things like going on road trips with her family.

As an adult, Ruth’s situation got even worse. She was not able to continue with her dream of going to college and becoming a prominent lawyer or working for law enforcement. In fact, she could not even obtain a simple job or drive, much less take trips with her kids or go to an emergency room without being asked for identification.

Continue Ruth's story....


Hanadi, Mohammed and Wafa cross over to independence

Hanadi, Mohammed and Wafa
Born in Damascus.
Living in Cairo.

Hanadi ran a homemade perfume business with her husband. Mohammed owned one of the country’s most successful engine repair shops. Wafa’s hair salon boasted five employees. In Syria, they were prosperous business people. But war and bombing forced them to flee their homes and businesses for the unknown of Egypt, where jobs are scarce — and discrimination and legal obstacles rampant.

Catholic Relief Services helps refugees through a project that provides business and legal training, and grants startup capital. Participants write business plans, and can take supplemental vocational training to bolster their technical skills. They receive ongoing legal and technical support. The project supports refugees and asylum seekers from all nationalities living in Egypt, but a significant proportion are Syrians.

“The goal is to go beyond short-term help and give refugees the tools and resources they need to become productive, self-reliant members of Egyptian society,” explains Yumiko Texidor, who oversees the project.

Continue their story.....


Kemal points refugees in the right direction

Kemal El Shairy
Born in Serbia.
Living in Serbia.

As the chief translator for Catholic Relief Services in Serbia, Kemal El Shairy is on the frontlines of our humanitarian response to the European refugee crisis.

A Ph.D. student in international relations at the University of Belgrade, El Shairy helps people at the heavily trafficked border crossings better understand their legal circumstances and potential next steps.

 “I only ask that people try to put themselves in others’ shoes. What would you do if this happened to you?”

“We are on call nonstop. People coming through need information. Many times they don’t know where they are, or they’re not sure if they’re going to be arrested, or registered, or whether they’ll be allowed to leave. So our main job is to explain things to them,” El Shairy says.

Continue Kemal's story....



Ali oversees deadly drought

Ali Hugur
Born in Somaliland.
Living in Somaliland.

“Even all the camels are dying,” says Ali Hugur, the mayor of Bali-Shireh, a district about a 3-hour drive south of Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa, on the border with Ethiopia. “We’ve lost 70% of the camels, with the 30% remaining in terrible condition.”  He adds that, in all his 59 years, he’s never seen such a horrific drought.

Drought-stricken Somaliland is little known to most people. It is a self-declared republic, independent of Somalia, but recognized by no other state, including Somalia.

According to the United Nations, 6.2 million people—more than half the country, and a number equal to the state of Massachusetts—are going hungry. Some 185,000 children could die of starvation if they don’t receive urgent medical attention within weeks. Meanwhile, there hasn’t been a good rain in over 2 years. And there are few aid agencies present.

Normally, families would be dispersed across the region, herding their animals toward good pasture and water, and pitching their homes of makeshift tents wherever they drove their animals. Now they are climate migrants, with camps springing up at an elementary school with a well, the only water for miles.

Continue Ali's story....



Gustavo waits to start over

Born in Colombia.
Living in Ecuador.

Colombia’s six-decade conflict between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces continues to be one of the worst humanitarian crises in the Western Hemisphere. Armed guerilla groups, drug traffickers and human traffickers have forced millions of people—many of them poor—from their homes. An estimated 250,000 Colombian refugees have sought refuge in Ecuador.

Gustavo was a watch and jewelry maker in Colombia. Earlier this year, a group of men came into his workshop and took expensive gold and silver jewelry without paying.  They returned a few days later and demanded more. But when Gustavo explained that he needed money for materials, they assaulted him and sent a threatening letter to his home.

He moved with his mother to his sister’s house, but the same group—known for kidnappings and extortion—found him. Without stopping at his workshop to retrieve his tools, he herded his family — sister Martha, niece Luisa and mother, Clara — onto a bus, rode it to the end of the line, then found someone to take them to Ecuador.

Continue Gustavo's story....


Abdullahi breaks bread with new neighbors

Abdullahi Ali
Born in Somalia.
Living in Maine.

In Scarborough, Maine, Catholic and Muslim families shared a “Building Bridges Dinner.” The dinner was hosted by
 St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in late February 2016. For Abdullahi Ali, who is a native of Somalia and one of the organizers, breaking bread with neighbors is important for the community.

The idea for the dinner was proposed by Monsignor Michael Hencham more than a year ago after he heard a radio story about the anxiety and fear that many Americans have about Muslims resettling in the U.S. Members of both the Muslim and Catholic communities sharing responsibility for cooking the main courses in the parish kitchen. Others brought potluck-style dishes.

With more than 250 people in attendance, new and old acquaintances learned about each other’s lives and cultures – and saw their perceptions of each other change. 

Continue the story....



Toc gives refugees a voice

Born in Thailand.
Living in Oregon.

Toc, the Program Director of Catholic Charities Oregon, was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. Life was not easy. “When I was younger, I was so embarrassed. In school… I dreaded career day. You know how embarrassing it is in class to say that your parents don’t speak English, don’t know how to read or write, and they clean up after people? So I lied! I said they cater!”

“When I see refugees standing there with their light luggage, I know it’s the very beginning, and the sky is the limit.”

After her father passed away, Toc became increasingly reflective about her Laotian roots and her parents’ sacrifices. “I don’t know how my parents did it. I don’t care how many fancy degrees I have or what fancy title I hold, it will never amount to what they went through. They didn’t speak English. They cleaned toilets, proudly. They raised six kids. The three girls went to college, the three boys went in and out of prison.  When people say that’s unsuccessful, I say, ‘No, that’s pretty darn successful.’

“When I go to the airport, it’s hard not to see my family’s journey unfold in front of me. When I see refugees standing there with their light luggage, I know it’s the very beginning, and the sky is the limit. In some ways, I really worry about them, and in other ways, I am excited for them because I know they are going to make it. Because we did.”

Continue Toc's story....



Hiat, a mother on the run

Born in Hama, Syria.
Living in the Athens.

Just a few years ago, Hiat had a husband, a home and a future. Today, she is in her thirties, a mother of six – and a widow.  Her late husband is one of tens of thousands of civilian casualties of the 5-year old civil war in Syria.

Before the war, Hiat lived with her family in the Syrian town of Hama. Her family lived a quiet, middle-class life. Muhammad, her oldest child, went to school, did his homework, and played tennis and soccer.

But things for Hiat and her family began to fall apart when the war started. The city of Hama is north of the city Homs, where some of the most intense and brutal fighting has taken place. Following the death of her husband, Hiat decided to leave Syria. With the war raging around them, there was so little food that people were starving. Like the structures around them, any semblance of community or society had collapsed.

Traveling to Europe without a male companion is not only difficult for a woman, it is dangerous. Smugglers are known to take vast sums of money from refugees for transportation when a cheap bus ticket would suffice. Hiat fears that some of her children might not survive the hazardous journey that many Syrians make to ultimately reach safe havens in Germany or Sweden.

Continue Hiat's story....

Why YOU are Being Asked to Write 1 of 10,000 Letters


The U.S. Catholic Church is deeply concerned by the many years of failure by Congress, whether controlled by Democrats or by Republicans, to address the plight of immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were young and who have no pathway to regularize their status. Started in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which the Trump Administration has announced will end by March 2018, has protected hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation. In our Archdiocese, many DACA youth worship in our parishes, attend our schools, and contribute to our communities. We urge Congress to provide a path to permanent residency for these young immigrants by passing the DREAM Act or similar legislation.


DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors.  The DREAM Act would cancel removal [deportation]and grant lawful permanent resident status on a conditional basis to an alien who is inadmissible or deportable or is in temporary protected status who: (1) has been continuously physically present in the United States for four years preceding this bill's enactment; (2) was younger than 18 years of age on the initial date of U.S. entry; (3) is not inadmissible on criminal, security, terrorism, or other grounds; (4) has not participated in persecution; (5) has not been convicted of specified federal or state offenses; and (6) has fulfilled specified educational requirements.”  The DREAM Act is only for those who have been granted “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.”


Pope Francis has said, “An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it … If indeed ‘the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics,’ the Church ‘cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice’” (Evangelii Guadium, no. 183). We can put our faith in action and care for refugees in our midst by contributing to the work of organizations like Catholic Relief Services, by volunteering to support local agencies that assist refugees in our own communities, and by using our power through our democracy, where our voice matters. We can ask our government to do all in its power to help organizations meet the immediate needs of refugees and to end the violence that forces people to flee.


You are being asked to write three letters: one for each of your senators and one for your representative. We’re asking Congress to do more to help refugees by funding poverty-focused international assistance, which can increase the capacity of agencies to assist and resettle refugees. Our message to Congress also emphasizes the need to end to the violence, and to encourage efforts to build inclusive societies in Syria and Iraq that will protect the rights of all citizens. It makes a difference when we lift up our voices together, but it’s also important that you personalize your message to your members of Congress.

document Sample Letter to Representative Warren Davidson (13 KB)

document Sample Letter to Senator Sherrod Brown (13 KB)

document Sample Letter to Senator Robert Portman (13 KB)


Please take a few moments to edit the letter by adding your name, a few lines about why this issue is important to you, and your signature and home mailing address. Please also fill in the blanks about this event, noting the name of our institution, your role here (e.g., student, parishioner, etc.). After you sign the letter, place it in the basket.


Ruth takes pleasure in doing simple things other parents may take for granted. One of the most notable is she can drive her kids to soccer practices, school and community service events without worrying about being stopped by law enforcement. But the joy and freedom Ruth experiences from taking her children to their activities may be in jeopardy.

Ruth came to the United States at age nine. Since she arrived, she always lived in fear of being separated from her family due to her legal status in this country. She was young when she made the U.S. her home and didn’t understand all the legal challenges she would later face.

Ruth says she was always forced to live in the shadows, not being able to fully socialize with other kids. She knew from a young age she could not do or enjoy the same activities they did, including simple things like going on road trips with her family.

As an adult, Ruth’s situation got even worse. She was not able to continue with her dream of going to college and becoming a prominent lawyer or working for law enforcement. In fact, she could not even obtain a simple job or drive, much less take trips with her kids or go to an emergency room without being asked for identification.

When former President Obama introduced DACA, Ruth says her life completely changed. DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  Over 780,000 youth have received protection from the DACA program since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2012. DACA provides no legal status or government benefits, but does provide recipients with temporary employment authorization to work in the United States and receive a reprieve from deportation.

Because of DACA, Ruth was finally able to come out of the shadows and obtain her dream job. She works at a school and is proud to serve her community.

With DACA, she could obtain a driver’s license, buy a house, and take her oldest son on a road trip to visit colleges. Most recently, she could help him achieve his dream of being accepted to a four-year university. Ruth has gone back to school to further her education, and soon she will obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting. says she would not have been able to reach most of the achievements she has now if it wasn’t for DACA. Her dreams continue. She hopes to finish her bachelor’s degree and help her daughter go to college by supporting her financially and emotionally.




On September 27, 2017, Pope Francis launched a global campaign to support immigrants and refugees around the world called “Share the Journey.” Our brothers and sisters often make perilous journeys, leaving their homelands because they are forced to flee their homes to escape conflict, poverty, persecution and violence . There are more refugees and internally displaced people now— over 65 million—than at any other time in recorded history . Our faith calls us to “love our neighbor,” to see Christ in those who are in greatest need, and to welcome newcomers seeking the security, peace, and opportunity they cannot find in their home countries .

We can join Pope Francis and the Church around the world, and share the journey with fellow children of God by:

Learning about their journeys . Read stories, watch videos, and pay attention to news that can help sensitize us to their reality . Then, share what you learn with others by:

Joining the #sharejourney campaign on social media!

• Meeting immigrants and refugees . Contact your local Catholic Charities agency to learn how you can join or support their programs that serve immigrants and refugees .

• Saying a daily prayer for all people, and especially children, who have fled their homes in search of peace and safety .

• Supporting the work of local and international Catholic agencies, like Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, who help to care for the needs of immigrants and refugees in the United States and around the world.

Joining the following Week of Prayer & Action (Oct. 7-13) activities:

            Oct. 7-13:          Pray the Prayer for Global Migration 

                                      Sign Caring Commitment 

                                      Read Immigrants’ Stories Posted Around the Parish or Online

            Oct. 10:             Share the Journey Film Festival 

            Oct. 12:             Prayer Vigil & Walk to Madonna of the Trail Statue

            Oct. 14-15:       Stay After Mass to Write a letter in Support of DACA 

            Nov. 5:             Attend St. Martin’s Day Luncheon 

            Nov. 12-18:      Read About Immigrants in the Bible

            Dec. 16:           Attend the Parish Advent Retreat “The Journey” 


Learn more about and get involved in the “Share the Journey” global migration campaign at or .

Sharing the Journey Film Festival

Join us for an evening of stories of migrants and refugees that can give us the gift of a deeper connection with Scriptures and the Eucharist. We’ll watch short videos produced by Fr. Dan Groody, who has worked with both Congress and the Vatican, in a one-evening film festival 

Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 6 – 8 p.m.

in the Forum at the Main Branch of the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St.

This film festival will offer insights and conversations to raise awareness about the plight of immigrants and refugees. This free event occurs during the international Week of Prayer and Service, which Pope Francis designated at the start of this two-year global Share the Journey campaign.


The U.S. Catholic Church is deeply concerned by the

many years of failure by Congress, whether controlled by

Democrats or by Republicans, to address the plight of

immigrants who were brought to the United States when

they were young and who have no pathway to regularize

their status. Started in 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood

Arrivals (DACA), which the Trump Administration has

announced will end by March 2018, has protected

hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation.

In our Archdiocese, many DACA youth worship in our

parishes, attend our schools, and contribute to our

communities. We urge Congress to provide a path to

permanent residency for these young immigrants by

passing the DREAM Act or similar legislation.

To that end, we are joining with the other Roman Catholic

dioceses in the State of Ohio on a campaign to generate

10,000 letters to our congressional delegates across the

state. Why this number? Since it began, there have been

nearly 10,000 total applications approved for DACA in

Ohio, including renewals. We encourage other Catholic,

faith-based, and advocacy organizations to partner with us

in this appeal to Congress to live up to its responsibilities to

protect these young people as a step toward fixing our

broken immigration system. We will collect these letters

between now and December 18, International Migrants

Day. For more information, please contact our Catholic

Social Action Office.

This effort is part of a two-year, worldwide “Share

the Journey” campaign to be launched by Pope Francis on

September 27, inviting all to share the difficult journey of

migrants and refugees through prayer and support. The

Archdiocese will collect letters between now and

December 18, International Migrants Day.

“The Church stands with these brothers and sisters

of ours who have journeyed great distances to find life,

security, and hope for the future in our own

communities. Not only that, but we walk beside them,

listening to their stories, helping bear their loads, and

celebrating the gifts of culture and faith they bring to

us. Through them, we are reminded of who we really are:

pilgrims on a journey from this life to a greater Kingdom.”


Message for “Share the Journey” Campaign

September 27, 2017

Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr

On September 27, Pope Francis launched a two-year,

worldwide campaign called “Share the Journey.” As

millions of migrants and refugees look for a better life,

many of them fleeing war, persecution, and poverty, Pope

Francis invites us to share in their journey through prayer

and support. I would like to take this opportunity to

reiterate our solidarity with migrants and refugees in our


The Church stands with these brothers and sisters of ours

who have journeyed great distances to find life, security,

and hope for the future in our own communities. Not only

that, but we walk beside them, listening to their stories,

helping bear their loads, and celebrating the gifts of culture

and faith they bring to us. Through them, we are reminded

of who we really are: pilgrims on a journey from this life to a

greater Kingdom.

Many upcoming activities sponsored by the Archdiocese

and our related ministries can enable us to “share the

journey.” They will provide us with an opportunity to

encounter our fellow travelers in our communities,

appreciate their hopes and struggles, and advocate for

their dignity. These include:

 TODAY A presentation on the Catholic Church’s

teaching on migration, titled “Restoring Order and

Human Dignity” on October 1 at 7 p.m. at St.

Joseph Church (101 W. Pearl St., Wapakoneta OH


 A presentation by Fr. Daniel Groody on “Passing Over:

A Compassionate Response to Immigrants and

Refugees” on October 5 at 7 p.m. (with a light dinner at

5:30pm) at St. Albert the Great Church (3033 Far Hills

Ave., Kettering OH 45429).

In addition, ongoing opportunities for education and service

to migrants and refugees exist through Catholic Charities

Southwestern Ohio at (513) 241-7745 and Catholic Social

Services of the Miami Valley at (937) 498-4593.

For more information on any of these or other upcoming

events, please contact our Catholic Social Action Office at

(513) 421-3131, ext. 2660, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As Pope Francis exclaimed, “Welcoming others means

welcoming God in person! Do not let yourselves be robbed

of the hope and joy of life born of your experience of God’s

mercy, as manifested in the people you meet on your

journey!” (2016 Message for World Day of Migrants and

Refugees) May our efforts together to share the journey

with migrants and refugees help straighten our own paths

as we approach our final destinations in God’s Kingdom.



Archbishop Schnurr today sent this message to all priests and deacons of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, along with related homily suggestions, intercessions for use at Mass, and a prayer for peace by Pope Francis.

The bigotry and violence that descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia emerged from the same sin of racism which can plague any community in America, including those of our own Archdiocese. And so, as we approach the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, I echo for the faithful of our local Church the response of Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to these horrendous events and the resulting loss of life:

Let us unite ourselves in the spirit of hope offered by the clergy, people of faith, and all people of good will who peacefully defended their city and country.

We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love’s victory over every form of evil is assured. At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives. Let us join their witness and stand against every form of oppression.

As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia observed, “[t]he wave of public anger about white nationalist events in Charlottesville is well warranted.” Such public displays of bigotry attack our very core belief about who we are as human beings, creations made in God’s image and likeness with infinite dignity. As members of one human family, no one of us can ever claim to be superior to another in God’s eyes, let alone our own.

More needs to be done than to simply hope that such events as Charlottesville do not happen again. I urge all of us to stand firmly against such public displays of hate by being daily mindful of everyone’s inherent dignity in our churches, schools, workplaces and families. I challenge us all to oppose harassment of anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, orientation, or faith tradition. When we find ourselves bystanders to harassment, we must find the courage to stand up for justice and equality. In doing so, we need to summon the grace to respond civilly and not perpetuate the cycle of violence, no matter how righteous our cause.

On September 9, 2016, the Feast of St. Peter Claver, the U.S. Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati made a commitment to be more proactive in addressing racism and violence through the Peace in Our Communities campaign. In the wake of current events, as we approach the anniversary of this Feast, I recommit our local Archdiocese to addressing this disgrace through prayer, dialogue and tangible action.


Scripture Safari 2017 is about to begin!  Our theme this year is "Fruits of the Spirit - Ours to Share."  So that you can participate in Safari at home, our Safari reflections for adults are available here in their entirety and on our Facebook page each day.

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers….

Having been born at the height of the peace movement, it’s no wonder that my favorite songs growing up were “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” or that Peter, Paul, and Mary still hold a place of honor on my iPod playlist.  My early years were filled with psychedelic peace sign stickers, and I went around chanting “Make Love, Not War” long before I knew what that phrase even meant.  Yet growing up in a conservative military family, I also knew that there was a controversy surrounding peaceniks, peace freaks, and hippies.  There was something divisive about peace, something scandalous about the movement I found so attractive.

I was to experience this polemic again as a young adult during the first Gulf War.  As a student at a Jesuit school which had ties to Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan (who were two of four churchwomen martyred in El Salvador in 1980) I was encouraged to study their lives and the writings of Archbishop Oscar Romero.  Here was a man who spoke powerfully of the duty and responsibility of Christians to make peace.  In his last homily, the one given moments before he was shot to death at his own altar, Romero again called on the fighters to lay down their arms and join in the celebration of the Eucharist, to engage in the rite of peace.  For me, the power of his words lay not in his martyrdom, but in the fact that he said them knowing his martyrdom was inevitable.  With great conviction, I joined with a handful of other students to start a chapter of Pax Christi on our campus.  We had little to suffer other than a few eyerolls from those who did not take our protests seriously, and to be honest, we accomplished little as well, but it was a learning experience for me.

I learned first that peacemaking is not popular.  Whether it’s making a plea for peace at a protest rally or at the lunch table, peacemakers are always seen as the ones disturbing the status quo.  It’s as though the world has a vested interest in conflict and resolving differences peacefully messes with that.  Second, it takes courage to be a peacemaker.  Standing up for peace doesn’t just make one unpopular, it makes one the target of whatever rage is fueling the conflict.  And third, as Christians, we aren’t just invited to be peacemakers, we are expected to be peacemakers.  Romero said we are called to be the “voice of the voiceless.” 

In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”  Then he went on quickly to say, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so people persecuted the prophets who were before you.  You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored?”  These four verses tell us exactly what I learned as part of that little Pax Christi group.  As children of God, we are expected to be peacemakers.  It is part of our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ.  Through our peaceful actions and by spreading the call to peace, we make the Kingdom of God visible and tangible in this world.  This is our mission as the “salt of the earth.”  Sometimes, that’s a thankless job, but Jesus makes it clear that if we are to follow in his footsteps, peacemaking is our duty.


~ by Lisa Lenard

A Statement From the Archdiocese

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Statement Concerning Maribel Trujillo

April 6, 2017


The Trump Administration has repeatedly announced that its approach towards immigration enforcement would focus on public safety and removing criminal elements from our communities.  Today, we plea to our political leaders and law enforcement to live up to that in the case of Maribel Trujillo Diaz, a devoted wife and mother and outstanding member of her church and community. 


Maribel, a wife, a mother of four and an active member of St. Julie Billiart Parish in Hamilton, fled Mexico in 2002.  She currently has a pending asylum case, based on the situation that her family has been targeted by Mexican cartels because they have refused to work for them. 


Last year, when Maribel was close to deportation, thousands of Catholic faithful and other supporters throughout Butler County and Cincinnati sent letters, pleading for her to stay.  Immigration officials then responded by granting her prosecutorial discretion, considering her too low of a priority and no threat to public safety.  Maribel has been reporting regularly since then to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as instructed.  At her check-in appointment on Monday, she was told that she could remain at home as her asylum case was further reviewed.  Suddenly yesterday, ICE arrived at her brother’s house as she prepared to go to work, taking her into custody for imminent deportation without having the chance to say goodbye to all her children.  This is cruel and unacceptable.


Maribel has made a life in Ohio based on positive contributions to her church and her community.  She has no criminal history.  She is a lay leader at her parish, whose members are surrounding her with prayers that she be permitted to remain with them and her family.  Maribel’s children, ages 14, 12, 10 and 3, are all U.S. citizens.  Her 3-year-old daughter has recurring seizures and requires the attention and care of her mother.



We urge that prosecutorial discretion for Maribel be extended.  We fully respect the Department of Homeland Security’s duty to enforce our immigration laws, and we recognize that this is not an easy task.  At the same time, it is clear that the common good cannot be served at this stage by separating this wife and mother from her family.  Our community gains nothing by being left with a single-parent household when such a responsible and well respected family can be kept together.  We urge that our elected and administrative officials exercise mercy for Maribel.

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