Annual Blue Mass planned at St. Paul’s – August 23rd, 10:30 a.m.

BLUE MASS — 10:30 a.m., August 23rd, St. Paul the Apostle Church – Juneau
All parishioners and friends of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and the Diocese of Juneau are cordially invited to join in celebrating the Annual Blue Mass, sponsored by the local Knights of Columbus, to be held this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Paul’s. Bishop Edward J. Burns will officiate.

At the Blue Mass, we pray in a special way for those in law enforcement and fire safety, remember those who have fallen, and support those who serve. Representatives of Federal and local law enforcement and public safety agencies from the Juneau area will attend.

Bishop Edward J. Burns gathers in August of 2013 following the Annual Blue Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church at which members of law enforcement and safety personnel are honored.

Bishop Edward J. Burns, Deacon Charles Rohrbacher and Deacon Gary Horton gather with representatives of Juneau’s safety and law enforcement communities in August of 2013 following the Annual Blue Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church. During the Blue Mass, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, members of Federal and State law enforcement and safety personnel are honored in a special way for their gifts to the community and country.

Eucharistic adoration scheduled throughout Diocese in the aftermath of Sitka tragedy

crossThe Diocese of Juneau will be joining in prayer with St. Gregory Nazianzen parish in Sitka this week following the disappearance of two St. Gregory parishioners, Elmer and Ulises Diaz, and at least one other community member in a large landslide in Sitka yesterday. The mud and debris slide swept through a construction site where the men were working on Tuesday. Search and rescue workers have yet to complete a thorough search of the slide area due to ongoing risk.

Eucharistic adoration is scheduled at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Juneau for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 20; the service will be led by Bishop Burns.

In Sitka, a Holy Hour of Adoration for the healing of the community is scheduled at 7:00 p.m. at St. Gregory’s Church on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings this week, and will be led by Fr. Andrew Sensenig, OMI.

Diocese accepting resumes for position of Executive Director of Shrine of St. Therese

The Diocese of Juneau is accepting applications for the position of

Executive Director of the Shrine of St. Therese

The Shrine of St. Therese is a ministry of the Diocese of Juneau and is located approximately 22 miles north of downtown Juneau. The Shrine has welcomed people of all faiths from all corners of the world for over 75 years. The responsibility of the Executive Director of the Shrine of St. Therese is to oversee the day to day operations of the Shrine as well as the implementation of all policies and procedures. The Executive Director is assisted by the Shrine Board, the caretakers of the Shrine as well as a number of employees and volunteers. The Executive Director is an employee of the Diocese of Juneau.

Link to CatholicJobs.com listing for this position.

If interested in this position, please send your letter of interest and resume to:

Shrine of St. Therese
c/o Diocese of Juneau
415 6th Street, #300
Juneau, AK  99801

Electronic copies may be sent to: bishop@ak.net

For additional information or any inquiries, please call: 907-586-2227 x 25

Sister of Charity in Juneau welcome new Associate

On Friday, August 7th, Destiny Sargeant made a commitment to become an Associate in Mission with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Destiny is a member of St. Paul the Apostle parish in Juneau, and completed the Sisters of Charity Associate formation and discernment process. She joins a group of 9 associates in Juneau who follow the Mission Statement of the community of Sister’s of Charity, founded by Elizabeth Ann Seton.

The Mission Statement is:
Urged by the love of Christ and in the spirit of our founder, Elizabeth Ann Seton,
We, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, strive to live the gospel values,
We choose to act justly, to build loving relationships,
To share our resources with those in need, and to care for all creation.

Associates of Sisters of Charity from Left to right: Angela Smith, Eileen Casey, Destiny Sargeant, Mary Neary, Mary Bodine, Maria Rogers, and Sister Dee Sizler, SC (Sister of Charity)

Associates of Sisters of Charity from Left to right:
Angela Smith, Eileen Casey, Destiny Sargeant, Mary Neary, Mary Bodine, Maria Rogers, and Sister Dee Sizler, SC (Sister of Charity).

Confronting the false god of human relativism

By Deacon Charles Rohrbacher
AUGUST 2015 – SOUTHEAST ALASKA CATHOLIC

“When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities — to offer just a few examples — it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.” (117)
                           Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

Over the past decade I’ve been fortunate to have listened to talks by Filipino Bishop (now Cardinal) Luis ‘Chito’ Tagle. A tireless advocate for the poor and voiceless, his talks are usually characterized by a kind of gentle, self-deprecating humor combined with great theological and pastoral depth. A tireless teacher and preacher, even today, as the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila, he broadcasts a weekly reflection on the Sunday Mass readings, “The Word Exposed,” in English and Tagalog. http://www.catholictv.com/shows/the-word-exposed  

In one of his talks that I was able to attend, he spoke about the long struggle in ancient Israel against the deeply rooted practice of idolatry. He pointed out that idolatry continues to be an ongoing spiritual evil in every generation. Becoming quite serious, he said that the false gods, that the idols, always demand human sacrifices. He concluded by saying that if you want to identify the idols in any society, look for those institutions or ideas or systems that sacrifice the lives of the poor, the vulnerable and the powerless.

I thought about the words of Cardinal Tagle over the past couple of weeks while reading about the disclosure of Planned Parenthood’s repellent trafficking of the body parts of unborn children murdered in its abortion clinics around the country. Not that anyone should be particularly surprised or shocked that the medical staff of an organization that has performed many, if not most of the estimated 58 million abortions in this country since 1973 would be revealed to be callous, greedy and indifferent to the lives and human dignity of their defenseless victims.

What is revealed in those secretly taped interviews with these abortion doctors is abortion as a devouring ‘Moloch’ that demands the sacrifice of enormous numbers of our society’s unborn children. In return, the idol holds out the promises of personal emancipation, individual autonomy and a happy, fulfilled life unencumbered with the ‘burden’ of a child. But this blood-spattered idol, like every other false god, brings those in its thrall only grief and regret or hardened hearts and consequent spiritual blindness, corruption and death.

This is the cover of the English edition of Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home." The long-anticipated encyclical was released at the Vatican June 18. (CNS photo/courtesy U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) See stories slugged ENCYCLICAL- June 18, 2015.

This is the cover of the English edition of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.” The long-anticipated encyclical was released at the Vatican June 18. (CNS photo/courtesy U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

Because abortion is an intrinsic evil (that is to say, the direct and deliberate killing of the innocent is in every circumstance gravely sinful) it is easier to see its malign consequences for individuals and for society. But as the Holy Father points out in his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home, there are many other ways in which we have placed ourselves and our immediate interests in that place reserved for God and God alone.

As Pope Francis writes: “When human beings place themselves at the center, they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative.” (LS 122.) He goes on to point out that: “The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labor on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. This same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests. It is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage.” (LS123.)

In modern political culture and society, those who cherish and defend the lives of unborn children and those who cherish and defend the world that is our common home are oftentimes pitted against each other. The former is labeled a “conservative” cause while the latter is labeled a “liberal” or “progressive” cause. But in Laudato Si’, the Holy Father, drawing on sacred scripture, tradition and magisterial teaching, teaches us that the sacredness of human life, advocacy on behalf of the poor and the powerless, and an abiding love for and stewardship for the entire creation, are indivisible.

The primary demand of Pope Francis’s encyclical is not a drastic reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases (which he strongly supports and encourages national and international leaders and organizations to undertake). Rather, the encyclical challenges the societies and people of the industrialized world to a change of heart, to conversion. He writes: “The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality.”(LS 204.) More…

Our relationship with the Giver of Life

Protesters carry signs and an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Vista, Calif., Aug. 3. Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, head of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee, urged U.S. senators to take the federal money that goes to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and instead fund women's health care providers that do not promote abortion. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

Protesters carry signs and an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Vista, Calif., Aug. 3. Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, head of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, urged U.S. senators to take the federal money that goes to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and instead fund women’s health care providers that do not promote abortion. (CNS photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

By Bishop Edward J. Burns

This past Sunday we heard in the Gospel according to St. John that Jesus identified himself as the ‘bread of life.’ Many sought Jesus out because they recognized that he had the words that spoke directly to their heart. That is to say, he spoke to them with the words of everlasting life.

As we know, there are two different types of hunger—spiritual and physical. With our gift of faith we recognize that Jesus is the source that satisfies the hunger in our hearts, the hunger for truth and fullness of life.

Through Jesus Christ we gain a new relationship with God our Father in which we experience God’s gift of a sacrificial love, Christ’s expression of selfless service and the gifts of holiness, purity, and truth which come from the Holy Spirit. This work of our triune God calls us to be one with him. Hence, created within us is a soul that yearns for the truth and the abundance of life that only God can give.

Much has happened recently that I believe will cause people to yearn for this truth and abundance of life. Pope Francis in his recent encyclical Laudato Si is challenging us in the way we care for God’s creation— recognizing that we can do better. At the heart of Laudato Si, we find this question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (160) Pope Francis continues, “This question does not have to do with the environment alone and in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal.” This leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of existence and its values at the base of social life: “What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts?” I believe that there’s much more we can do in respecting the gift of God’s creation.

Another recent topic, one that is extremely troubling, is the recent Supreme Court decision in redefining marriage. Jesus spoke with the words of everlasting life when he identified that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”. (Mt. 19:5) When the Supreme Court decided to redefine marriage, it not only went contrary to natural law, but brought forth a law that is contrary to the Gospel. I believe that this law will bring forth a major and lasting confusion in our society. I look forward to the work of the Synod on the Family that will take place in Rome this October. Out of this Synod, a time of theological reflection, the Church will have a clear sense of how to respond to such confusion with a direction that is rooted in Christ and his words of life.

Lastly, I continue to agonize over the recent sacrilegious attacks on human life. In particular, I am watching with interest how our legislators will deal with Planned Parenthood and its heartless disregard for the child in the womb. I support the contacting our legislators to let them know that Planned Parenthood should be defunded. Planned Parenthood receives over $500 million in tax payer’s money. Pope Francis has referred to abortion as a byproduct of “a widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many.” As Planned Parenthood continues to promote a culture of death by providing abortions on demand and its leaders openly discuss the marketability of an aborted child, it is important that we ask our legislators—men and women of goodwill —to reevaluate this egregious act and the government’s involvement in it.

While some may not like to address these issues, these are issues of today that must be addressed with charity and compassion. These topics are all about life—the primacy and sanctity of human life, the gift of life in marriage, and the life we live here on earth. These topics are clear illustrations of our need to hunger for Jesus Christ and follow his words of everlasting life.

We recognize that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true bread of life. He alone satisfies the deepest longing and hunger of our hearts with a sacrificial love. Nourished by his expression of love for us, let us in turn embrace Jesus’ words of everlasting life, be truly satisfied by his truth, and uphold him as the one who is the giver of life.

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Editor’s Note: Contact Alaska’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.:
www.contactingthecongress.org