By BISHOP EDWARD J. BURNS
‘A Bishop’s Perspective’ column in the Juneau Empire
March 2, 2014
The weather this past week has been fantastic with cold but sunny days, and it seems as though it may continue into the beginning of this week. There is no doubt in my mind that we still have some more winter weather in store, but it’s obvious that spring is on its way. As the weather starts to get a little warmer and the days become longer, I realize that I need to do some spring cleaning inside and outside my house.
As spring comes closer and the thought of cleaning things up (and out) come to mind, I have always seen this time of year as an opportunity to do some spiritual housecleaning as well.
Tisket Seslar, left, and Sister Dee Sizler tryout a mask together at the Mardi Gras Masquerade Gala at the Baranof Hotel on Friday. The Gala, a fundraiser for the Shrine of St. Therese, included a sit down dinner, live music, silent auction, and outcry dessert auction. The goal is to raise $25,000 to pay for the Shrine’s septic system upgrades.
Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday. Lent (from the Old English word for spring) begins this Wednesday and lasts for 40 days until the celebration of the Easter Triduum — the remembrance of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. During Lent, the entire Christian community joins together in cleaning house.
The first step in spring cleaning is to identify what needs to be repaired, cleaned up or thrown away. Hard as it might be to believe, this seems to be what lies behind the celebrations of Carnival or Mardi Gras which lead up to the beginning of Lent.
Mardi Gras Masquerade Gala
The Shrine Board is hosting a fundraiser – a Mardi Gras Masquerade Gala including a sit down dinner, live music, silent auction, and outcry dessert auction. The goal is to raise $25,000 to pay for the Shrine septic system upgrades.
When: Friday, February 21, 2014 @ 5:30 pm
Where: Baranof Hotel in Juneau
How much: $100 per person
$1000 for a table
$1500 for a Sponsorship Table (preferred seating and special recognition)
If you can’t join us, please consider an in-kind donation. Also, we are in need of items such as excursions, dinners, artwork, and collectibles for the silent auction.
For more information, purchase tickets, or make a donation, please contact Deirdre at the Shrine Business Office. 907-780-6112 or email@example.com
Tickets may also be purchased from the Shrine’s website at http://www.shrineofsainttherese.org, through the online Donation option.
By Bishop Edward J. Burns,
‘A BISHOP’S PERSPECTIVE’ in the Juneau Empire: 2-16-2014
In reading some of the responses to my previous article in the Juneau Empire, I noticed a common argument among those who disagreed with me and who are opposed to SJR 9 (and its companion measure in the House, HJR 1).
This argument goes as follows: SJR 9 is dangerous to education because it threatens to pull money out of public schools, which are already under-resourced. This is seen as having an unavoidably negative effect on education. I am going to characterize this as the argument for the status quo.
(CNS photo/Ed Langlois, Catholic Sentinel)
While I do empathize with the concerns of proponents of this argument, its conclusion is based on some false premises. This undermines its proponents’ claim to offer a clear picture of a possible outcome of SJR 9 and muddies the waters of the debate.
The first false premise is that there aren’t positive, and current, instances of public/private cooperation in education in Alaska (or beyond). A quick visit to the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development website illustrates that this is not true. There are a host of such arrangements in current practice. That is why one of the stated purposes of SJR 9 is to ensure that these already current educational practices are constitutionally sound.
A trip to the U.S. Department of Education website will reveal similar practices at the federal level. The cultural landscape of America is such that there are many excellent public and private educational opportunities at the college level. State and federal grants support students at both public and private schools, including Church-related universities, an implicit recognition that the government is not the only legitimate provider of education. This fact reveals another false premise of the argument for the status quo: that diversity in educational communities and approaches is bad and betrays American ideals.
Take an Alaskan Cruise through Southeast Alaska with the breathtaking scenes of humpback whales breaking the water surface, eagles flying overhead and majestic views of the mountains and glaciers. Bishop Edward J. Burns invites you to take a cruise with him through the Diocese of Southeast Alaska. This special cruise will include Mass offered every day – either on ship or on land at one of the parishes or shrine of the Diocese.
A Message From Bishop Edward Burns
“I invite you to join me on a fund raising cruise through the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska. Without a doubt, the Diocese of Juneau is one of the most beautiful in the United States. You will have the opportunity to join me at daily Mass and take in the Catholic culture of SE Alaska. We will enjoy the magnificent views of the mountains and explore the native culture found in Alaska. Join me for this summer adventure in the cool and refreshing temperatures of Alaska (and don’t forget to bring your rain gear). I look forward to leading you in prayer and in exploration on this trip of a lifetime in the land of the last frontier.”
Call: World Hopper Travel
Click here for more information on the Diocese of Juneau website: www.dioceseofjuneau.org
Bishop Edward Burns
By BISHOP EDWARD J. BURNS
A BISHOP’S PERSPECTIVE in the Juneau Empire
These past two weeks I have been reflecting on proposed legislation endorsed by Gov. Sean Parnell that would place before the voters the repeal of the Blaine Amendment in the Alaska Constitution. This would give Alaska parents the freedom to use all or part of their child’s share of public educational funding to choose the school that best meets their child’s needs.
The Blaine amendment, which was unfortunately included in the Alaska Constitution, is rooted in 19th century anti-Catholic bigotry and discrimination. Initially proposed in 1875 by Speaker of the House James Blaine as an amendment to the United States Constitution, it was intended, under the rhetoric of “separation of church and state,” to block any public funding of “sectarian” (meaning Catholic) schools, even when this would have been permitted under the First Amendment. Tellingly, Blaine and his supporters had no objection to prayer, Bible reading or religious instruction in the public schools, as long as it was non-denominational and Protestant.
The Blaine Amendment and other national and state laws ostensibly intended to separate church and state grew out of a pervasive prejudice that many Americans held regarding Roman Catholicism, which they believed was incompatible with democracy and freedom. Many 19th century native-born Americans were openly suspicious of the loyalty and patriotism of the millions of Catholic immigrants (mostly Irish) entering the country, fearing that their first and most important allegiance was to the Pope, who they considered an authoritarian and anti-democratic foreign ruler.
Why Catholic Schools?
By Fr. Scott Settimo
Just this past December, in a public school in southern California, the first grade assignment was to find something at home that represented a family Christmas tradition, bring it to school, and share the item in a classroom presentation. Six year old Brynn Wilson decided to bring the Star of Bethlehem that adorned the family Christmas tree. But as the child was giving her presentation the teacher stopped her and told her to sit down, because she was “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school.”
Whereas, at Holy Name School in Ketchikan the parish priest’s recent religion lesson for the sixth grade was on the Fifth Commandment. The children learned that they are created in the image and likeness of God, comprised of body and soul, and that human life is therefore sacred and purposeful. One student’s question led to a constructive discussion about suicide, which, it turns out, had already touched some of their young lives.
Will you help us keep Christ in the classroom? The diocesan special collection for Catholic Schools is Sunday, February 2. Your prayers, certainly, and any monetary gift would help. It might help to know that:
• average weekly compensation of a teacher = $835;
• one month’s tuition = $352; and
• keeping the lights and heat on for a day = $117.
Thank you for supporting Catholic Schools.
Special Diocesan Collection: Feb. 2nd, 2014