Severe Flooding in Bolivia

Bishop Morgan Casey of our Latin America Apostolate recently wrote about the flooding that has occurred in Bolivia. Below is a message from him, in his own words. Please keep him and the people he serves in the Vicariate of the Pando in your prayers.

Bishop Morgan CaseyMay you be filled with peace and the will power to prepare well for the celebration of the death and resurrection of our Saviour.

As always, I am writing to thank you for your generous gift. We certainly need your help and appreciate you continued support for our mission. The big news here is the floods that we are having in the Vicariate.

Thousands of people have been displaced. It is the worst anyone alive has seen here. Some are blaming a hydroelectric power plant built several years ago by the Brazilian government, but in my opinion this is just speculation and people looking around for someone, anyone, to blame for the awful tragedy.

In and around Riberalta entire communities in the rural sector, and neighborhoods in the urban sector, have been flooded and people have been forced to leave their homes. The latest information we have from local authorities and the local Red Cross is that 840 families, consisting of 4,897 people, have been forced out of their homes. People have been staying in difficult conditions in 28 different schools and other buildings in Riberalta that have been commandeered as refuge shelters. A few of these have now been consolidated so students can start classes again. They were supposed to start the semester on February 3, but the schools have been full of people with nowhere else to go.

In other municipalities such as Puerto Gonzalo Moreno and San Lorenzo the populations are less dense, but the effects are the same. In those areas we have statistics that 523 families have been affected by the flooding, with 51 of those losing everything to a complete washout. In this zone, 393 hectares (one hectare is 10,000 square meters) of cultivatable land has been flooded out. Crops of bananas, plantains, corn, rice and yucca have been lost. Some of the 21 rural communities affected in this zone include Agua Dulce, Candelaria, Dos Palmas, Las Piedras, Portachuelo, San Carlos and Villa Nueva.

Just in the last 10 days the flooding of communities has also started in Guayaramerín, which had been relatively unaffected until now. The river Mamoré, which is the border between Bolivia and Brazil and borders Guayaramerín, is spilling its banks and its tributaries cannot empty into the river and are backing up. As of March 5, the last date for which we have good information, there were 594 families whose homes were flooded in Guayaramerín and 38 surrounding rural communities (rural communities such as Cachuela Esperanza, Villa Bella, Santa Teresita Rosario, Santa Emilia, Santa Lucia, San Pedro, Firmeza, and many more). Crops on 773 hectares of cultivatable land have been flooded out.

The water is ever-so-slowly going down in Riberalta, but that could change with just a couple days of good rain either here or upstream from us. Remember all the water that falls even in much of northwestern Bolivia eventually makes its way downstream to the Amazon basin so there is still serious risk while we remain in the rainy season. Local authorities are warning people in the urban part of Riberalta to not try to go back too soon into their homes. Local rains can flood urban tributaries and houses can again be filled with water quickly. People are also being warned against trying to live in flooded homes without proper cleaning as sediment leaves contaminants that can be highly dangerous to human health, especially for young children and old people.

People are, as you might expect, wanting to get back into their homes. Apart from the damage, inconvenience and economic hardship of the flooding, many want to protect what little they have left. There have been cases of looters coming into homes that have been left alone and taking whatever valuables they can find. There are also reports of some people who have not been affected trying to claim relief benefits. It is an unfortunate reality that some people do this kind of thing to their neighbors during difficult times.

The Vicariate has formed a commission to look into how we might help the affected families. My assistant, Esteban, is part of this commission along with several other persons. Esteban is serving as the general coordinator while others are actually going out to meet with the people and get information so they can formulate a plan. They are gathering information in a deliberate fashion on what the needs are and how best to try to provide relief. Right now it appears the greatest need is food supplies. People simply need to eat. The commission meets frequently, and hope to have all the information on where to focus our efforts and with what. It is important to us that that we avoid duplication of efforts by local authorities and the Red Cross, and that we get help to the people who are truly needy and to this point have been neglected because they are not politically connected. The resources we have will not be enough to help everyone, and in that way we open ourselves to criticism from different quarters. But in any case, we will get working at actually delivering the relief directly to the people that most need it at this time, but it is a process that we must go about in a thoughtful and efficient way and not just throwing money at the problem.

I ask you for your prayers for our people and for us. Our Retreat Center, San Luis, has been flooded and the water has reached the roof. This letter is long but I wanted to bring you up to date.

You are part of every Eucharist I celebrate. Thank you.

Bishop Morgan A. Casey

RSVP Now: Consecrated Life - Morning of Reflection, May 10

“The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit” will be the topic of “A Morning of Reflection” for men and women religious and those serving in other forms of consecrated life on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at the Cardinal Rigali Center from 8:30 a.m. until noon. 

Eleonore Stump, Ph.D. , the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at St. Louis University, will present three sessions on the seven deadly sins, seven cardinal virtues, and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. 

To make a reservation, men and women religious should email consecratedlife@archstl.org or call 314-792-7252 by Wednesday, May 7.  There is no fee for attendees.

Last year’s attendees reflect on “Three Stages of Spiritual Life: Purgation, Illumination and Union” as presented by Rev. David Meconi, S.J.

Two Schools and One Spirit: CYC Sports Continues to Promote Christian Values Through "Random Acts of Sportsmanship"


Five years ago, the CYC started a program called Random Acts of Sportsmanship (RAS).  We asked any parent, coach, spectator or player to simply report any and all outstanding acts of sportsmanship they witnessed during a CYC game.  These are acts that we want to encourage all our participants to display every time they take the field or court.  In addition to recognizing winners of games, we feel it is imperative for the CYC to search for and recognize Acts of Sportsmanship at our athletic events.  As a Catholic organization we must train our children to display Christian values in all parts of their lives, especially during athletic competition.

Thank you to Kelly Goersch who sent us the above picture and pointed out this Random Act of Sportsmanship (RAS) recently at the St. Gabriel basketball tournament.  A little background before we get to the story - Immaculate Heart of Mary is closing their school at the end of this year.  The majority of the IHM 7th graders will be attending St. Mark school next year, in 8th grade.  As luck would have it, the two 7th grade teams met in the consolation finals.  St. Mark prevailed in the game, and as they were gathering for a team photo with the trophy, they invited the IHM girls to join in the picture too! Next year they will be playing together!  Very nice, girls.  Good luck this year and next year, too!

If you spot a Random Act of Sportmanship at a CYC game, we encourage you to email Buzz at buzzswanston@archstl.org.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson names new Superintendent of Catholic Education

March 12, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact: 
Katie Pesha
Executive Director of Communications and Planning
Phone: 314.792.7172

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson announced today that Kurt Nelson, Ph.D., has accepted his offer to become the next Superintendent of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, effective July 1, 2014.

Dr. Nelson currently is the President of Aquinas Catholic Schools in LaCrosse, WI, a position he has held since 2006. Two schools in this unified Catholic school system have been designated U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools during his tenure. Previous experience includes serving as a teacher and principal in the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Director of Educational Programming and Instructor at Wildwood Outdoor Education Center in Kansas.

“I am very grateful for the confidence the Archbishop has placed in me and I look forward to working with the dedicated priests, sisters, administrators, faculty, staff, benefactors, and parents who have made Catholic education a priority in the Archdiocese of St. Louis,” said Dr. Nelson. “Together, we will ensure that Catholic education remains a vibrant and vital part of the Church and the community.”

 Dr. Nelson received his Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America in Catholic Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, a program designed to prepare diocesan superintendents. He earned an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from Oklahoma State University and a B.S. in Education as an Honors Scholar from University of Missouri. He holds certifications as a preK-12 Principal, 7-12 Social Studies, 7-12 Science, and 6-8 Mathematics Teacher.

His professional and community involvement include: National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), National Middle School Association (NMSA), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and Knights of Columbus.

Archbishop Carlson stated, “Dr. Nelson comes to the Archdiocese of St. Louis highly recommended by many of his colleagues across the country. He prioritizes strong Catholic identity, academic excellence, special learning needs, and marketing and enrollment management, which will directly support the Alive in Christ! Mission Advancement Initiative.”

A husband and father of five, Dr. Nelson says “My wife and I both graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, we frequently visit family members that live in St. Louis, and we were married at Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church.  So even though we have never lived in St. Louis, it feels very much like we are coming home.”

During this transition of leadership, Archbishop Carlson notes, “I wish to also thank Mr. George Henry for his decades of service to the Archdiocese of St. Louis. His tenure as Superintendent of Catholic Education will have a lasting impact on our Catholic schools and parish programs, and I am extremely grateful for his dedicated ministry to our local Church.”

Today and Tomorrow Business Leaders Reception Featured in Ladue News!

 Archbishop Robert J. Carlson hosted a cocktail reception at his residence on January 27, 2014 for local business leaders to present the mission of the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation.  Today and Tomorrow board members were also in attendance.  

Click here to view a slide show of the event from Ladue News.

National Catholic Sisters Week - continued

School Sisters of Notre Dame

Sister Gail Guelker and students Amanda Juegst (left) and Mary Weber (right) attend the Notre Dame Foundation Day Mass at Notre Dame High School. 

Sr. Gail Guelker, S.S.N.D.

President, Notre Dame High School

"I chose to become a Sister because of the influence of School Sisters of Notre Dame who shared not only their educational expertise, but their real love of life and their faith. I was blessed to have teachers who built my confidence, challenged me to be my best self and always to share what I had been given with others." 

 

 

Carmelite Sisters of Trivandrum

Sr. Ruby Devassy (left), Sr. Lissy V. Ouseph and Sr. Priscilla Ferreira display some of their fresh-baked cookies, a favorite of Kenrick-Glennon seminarians!

Sr. Ruby Devassy, C.C.R.

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

"The charism of our congregation is 'prayer and contemplation in action.'  At the seminary, we nourish both the body and spirit of the seminarians.  We cook but we also pray for God to bless each one of them and make them good priests.  The Carmelite Sisters of Trivandrum work in hospitals, schools, orphanages and many other ministries.  I was a teacher first, and I loved teaching.  Then I became a registered nurse at a hospital in India for very poor, poor people.  Often I would stay with patients through the night.  Whenever a patient would die in my arms, I would think, yes, Jesus has called me to do this.  I have enjoyed every bit of religious life."

Sr. Priscilla Ferreira, C.C.R.

 "When I was in fifth grade, I studied with the Carmelite sisters.  One of the sisters, my teacher, would come to my house to collect flowers for the chapel.  She was so kind to my family and knew all of us.  When I was in eighth grade, I expressed my desire to become a sister, and I considered several different congregations.  I decided to become a Carmelite sister in gratitude for all they had taught me.  Now, I serve the priests and seminarians where I feel much love and gratitude every day.  We pray for them and their vocations, and they pray for us and our families."

Franciscan Sisters of Mary

Sr. Katheen Buchheit on one of her medical mission trips to Guatemala and Belize. Her ministry has included serving as a registered nurse and nurse midwife.

 Sr. Kathleen Buchheit, F.S.M.

Director of Mission Integration

"From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to be a sister. My aunt, Sr. Flora, always inspired me. She always made me feel very special, and she had a wonderful sense of humor. Later in high school, I worked at St. Mary’s in the pharmacy. I saw sisters who were very human and happy. I considered that I wanted the same, to be happy and to serve in a healing ministry. Today, I continue to be inspired by my co-workers at SSM Health Care."

 

 

 

 

Sr. Sherri Coleman currently provides compassionate and healing care through her and Sr. André Evanicsko’s ministry of therapeutic massage, PRISM.

Sherri Coleman, F.S.M.

PRISM

"As I look back to my teens and early 20s, it’s especially apparent how God guided me to where I was meant to be. It was a time of searching and considering where I fit in life. I felt an openness during this time and experienced new beginnings. After two years of college, I relocated from my hometown to a larger city for a job. God put wonderful people in my life, and I was able to discern with them about my vocation. God provided opportunities and gave me the grace to respond to varied experiences. I sensed that doors were opening that led me to religious life. With support from family and friends, I became more comfortable and peaceful in making the decision to enter a religious congregation."

 

Daughters of St. Paul

Sr. Cynthia Guza (left) arranges merchandise with Sr. Mary Joan Baldino at Pauline Books and Media, while postulants Putri Mamesah, Julie Turner and Danielle Lussier prepare books for a traveling display.

Sister Cynthia Guza, F.S.P.

Manager, Pauline Books and Media, St. Louis.

“As an eight year old child, I received a Catholic magazine which related the story of St. Theresa of the Little Flower. I felt attracted to her life with God and, when asked in class, I put up my hand (that I was interested). Because of the influence of good reading on me, I understood the power of the written word. In God's providence, I joined the Daughters of St. Paul who dedicate their lives to spreading the Gospel message together with their Sisters, and who seek a life of union with God. Knowing that He lives and acts through us and touches many people through our mission gives me a joy beyond measure. How wonderful it is to be part of something much bigger than myself!”

Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union

Sr. Peggy Moore helps student Jena Brophy with a theology lesson at Ursuline Academy of St. Louis.

Sr. Peggy Moore

Ursuline Academy of St. Louis

“Looking back, what helped me decide to become an Ursuline Sister is the same thing that has helped me continue . . . a sense of the rightness of the choice. I am someone who has always had a longing for more—what’s here is wonderful, but never enough. I think it is part of what drew me to Ursuline life. In this life there is the opportunity to seek and know God more deeply; there is always more of God’s love to experience, and there is the gift of being able to work directly to bring that love into concrete expression in the world. What I remember most clearly from the Ursuline Sisters I knew when I was in high school is the joy I saw in them and their delight in being together. That certainly drew me. As I’ve lived this life I’ve had opportunities to experience both the joy it can bring and the wonderful companionship of dedicated, gifted women. My parents raised me to be a woman of faith, as they were people of faith. That faith, along with their encouragement, was an important part of my decision to be an Ursuline. My family and friends agreed with me that Ursuline life was a good choice, and their support has helped sustain me.”

In addition to ministering in educaiton, Sr. Elisa Ryan (right) has served in leadership for the Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union both regionally and internationally.  She currently serves as co-director of vocations with Sr. Jean Hopman (left).

Sr. Elisa Ryan, O.S.U.

Co-Director of Vocations, U.S. Provinces

 “Recently a sophomore at Ursuline Academy in Dallas asked, ‘What do you love most about being an Ursuline?’  I could answer immediately—having sisters all over the world. At the Mass for the Feast of St. Angela Merici, our foundress, at our school in St. Louis, candles were lit to represent all who share Angela’s spirit worldwide. We prayed with special concern for our six Ukrainian and 12 Polish Ursulines serving in the Ukraine, for peace for them and the people they serve. My thought was, how blessed we are to be linked to them through Angela. What I really love most, of course, is Jesus. But having been called to follow him in company with the Ursulines means that I have global connections with people I call sisters!” 

ARCHDIOCESE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

March 6, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact: 
Katie Pesha
Executive Director of Communications and Planning
Phone: 314.792.7172

Deacon Frank Chauvin, CPA, retires after 16 years of service

St. Louis, MO — Deacon Frank Chauvin, CPA has announced that he will retire from his position as Chief Financial Officer for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, at the end of 2014.

Deacon Chauvin has served as the CFO since June 1998, following his retirement from a 36-year career as a partner at Ernst & Young, LLP. As CFO, Deacon Chauvin is responsible for all financial matters for the archdiocese, including public reporting of financial information. He oversees the internal audits of all agencies, ministries and parishes and has management oversight for information technology, human resources and buildings and real estate.

Ordained a permanent deacon in February 1986, Deacon Chauvin serves in a pastoral capacity at Ascension Parish in Chesterfield, MO.

“I am grateful to Deacon Chauvin for his many years of service to the archdiocese,” stated Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. “His years of experience and knowledge have been a substantial benefit to our local Church. It has been a great honor to work with Deacon Chauvin in this professional capacity, and I look forward to continuing our clerical ministry together.”

A search firm has already started its work to find a suitable replacement for Deacon Chauvin.

Homily from the Annual Infertility Support Mass

To read the homily given by Bishop Rice at the annual Infertility Support Mass on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes click here.

SCOUTING PRESENTATION SUNDAY CANCELLED!

In concern for everyone’s safety, the Office of Catholic Scouting ministry has cancelled Presentation Sunday at the Cathedral Basilica for Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm.

Please contact the Catholic Scouting Ministry office with any additional questions at 314-792-7613.

Statement from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson regarding the death of Bishop Raymond Boland

February 28, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact: 
Katie Pesha
Executive Director of Communications and Planning
Phone: 314.792.7172

Last evening I learned of the death of Bishop Raymond James Boland, Bishop Emeritus of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Bishop Boland served the Universal Church as a priest and then bishop for more than half a century. Among other things, he will be remembered for his strong support of Catholic education and vocations to the priesthood and religious life. My brother bishop, Raymond, had a joyful heart and missionary spirit. The Roman Catholic Church is stronger thanks to the ministry of Bishop Boland. I offer my prayers and condolences to his family and to the people in the dioceses he served: Washington, D.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo.

Eternal rest grant upon your servant, Raymond, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

St. Louis Mission Congress: Saturday, April 12th

Please join the Pontifical Mission Societies at the 5th Annual St. Louis Mission Congress!

Saturday, April 12, 2014
8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Kenrick Glennon Seminary
5200 Glennon Drive
St. Louis, MO 63119

This year's theme is "Living in a Missionary Key", reflecting on Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, will be our Keynote Speaker.

You will be assigned a chapter to read when you register for the Mission Congress. There are 5 chapters to Evangelii Gaudium. Reading the chapter prior to the Mission Congress will allow you to share any insights, and any applications to the pastoral life of the Archdiocese and its role in evangelization. Each small group will present key insights from their discussion and any recommendations to be passed along to the Archbishop and the Ministry Team.

You may download a copy of Evangelii Gaudium from the Vatican website.

Cost of the Mission Congress is $10 per person, payable in advance to: Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119. Please write on the check memo: Mission Congress. Registration is due by March 26, 2014. Please feel free to share this information and invite others from your parish or community. For further information, contact Sue Spavale at the Mission Office at 314-792-7662 or email missions@archstl.org. Thank you!

ARCHBISHOP CARLSON TO PRESIDE AT HEALING PRAYER SERVICE FOR VICTIMS OF ABUSE

February 27, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact: 
Katie Pesha
Executive Director of Communications and Planning
Phone: 314.792.7172

Archdiocese of St. Louis invites survivors of all types of abuse

St. Louis, MO — Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will preside at a healing prayer service for victims of abuse on Thursday, March 6th at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1014 Madison Avenue in Washington, MO. The service begins at 7 p.m.

All who are victims/survivors of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse by anyone –clergy, family, friends, co-workers or strangers– are invited to attend the healing prayer service. In addition, family members and friends of survivors are encouraged to participate, as well as those who are involved in helping abused people, who work to prevent abuse, and who want to pray for healing and reconciliation, and the prevention of abuse.

“On behalf of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I apologize to anyone who has been abused by a priest, deacon, religious, employee or volunteer associated with our parishes, schools or other ministries,” said Archbishop Carlson. “Any kind of abuse is contrary to the mission of the Church and we strive to provide spiritual healing and support for victims as we make every effort to protect the safety and dignity of all.”

The archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection in collaboration with the Safe Environment Program and the Office of Sacred Worship are organizing and sponsoring the healing prayer service. This will be the third healing prayer service held in the Archdiocese of St. Louis in the last several years. The first was held in December 2012 at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Richmond Heights and the second was held in January 2013 at Queen of All Saints Church in Oakville.  

The Archdiocese of St. Louis encourages all persons with reports of misconduct with a minor involving a member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Deacon Phil Hengen, Director of Child and Youth Protection, at 314.792.7704, the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800.392.3738 or law enforcement officials.

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