As most of you know I attended the annual Assembly of the Association of United Catholic Priests (AUSCP) the last week in June, whose Board I serve on. I want to thank those who have asked about the success of the Assembly. The Assembly went very well with 265 priests and 40 Friends attending the four-day gathering.
We had three dynamic speakers plus a retreat leader address the Assembly. The retreat leader was Sebastian Gomes who is on the staff of Salt and Light were he serves as a producer and host of a number of original series and documentaries. He produced The Francis Effect, a documentary on how Pope Francis has rapidly changed the image of the Catholic Church and new documentary entitled, The Francis Impact.
Sister Norma Pimentel was one of our speakers; she is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, which serves the immigration facilities in El Paso. Norma touched the heart and spirit of all in attendance as she gave us a first-hand description of the conditions that immigrants are held in at our southern boarders.
Dr. Richard Gaillardetz, a world-renowned theologian who is a professor at Boston University School of Theology also spoke. He addressed the topic of the priesthood in the contemporary society in light of the sexual abuse scandal. Our final speaker was Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, who addressed the topic: Ordination Does Note Annihilate Our Baptism. Here are some highlights of his talk:
- Since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has framed the renewal needed today in terms of retrieving an understanding of the Church as synodal, which can only take place if all the baptized fully participate in the life of the Church.
- It is the conversion of men and women, walking together as a synodal Church — parents and priests, catechists and religious, parish leaders and bishops — and the conversion of ecclesial cultures on every continent that we must seek.
- So much more is at stake in ending clericalism than winning back the confidence, respect and trust of our people. It is central to the renewal the Church needs at this time to also turn away from a selfreferential church so that it can be that field hospital in the world.
The Assembly also supported and issued two white papers entitled: Declaration of the Status of Women in the Church and Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism.
The talks and the white papers are available at our website: https://www.uscatholicpriests.org/
Finally, the AUSCP chose the following issues, as the top priorities that we will address over the next year: Immigration, Climate Change, Women in the Church, Clericalism, Issues within the Priesthood and Our Church in the Political World – Preparing the Voice of the AUSCP for our Next Assembly in June 2020.
As you can see this is a very active and spirited group of priests and friends who are excited about the Church and the Good News. Please keep the AUSCP in your prayers and consider joining us a “Friend”.
Thank you for your continued support of our parish.
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,