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Sr. Constance Veit, L.S.P.
During a recent family reunion my elderly mother and I were the only ones at the table without smart phones. We felt left out. A few days later I read that Pope Francis advised parents to ban mobile devices from the dinner table to help restore the quality of family relationships.
These two occurrences reminded me of the life of our foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan. In her time the poor were essentially swept aside in the wake of the French Revolution and rapid industrialization. Today we are experiencing a different type of revolution as digital technologies evolve nearly every day.
New modes of social communication, it is claimed, foster unimagined levels of human connectedness. But just as the poor and elderly were marginalized in Saint Jeanne Jugan’s day, they are often left behind in the communications revolution of today when they lack the means or the know-how to keep up with the latest technology. Consider these statistics from the Pew Internet and American Life Project:
Regardless of age, users of social networking say they interact more with other digitally connected people than with those who do not use digital communication. These new forms of technology, with their rapid changes, have created a new generation gap.
Recently I was shocked to read that more than one million older people in the United Kingdom go a month without talking to another human being. This figure would surely be comparable in our own country. Such loneliness is deadly! Studies show that inadequate social interaction is linked to premature death. The increased mortality risk associated with loneliness is comparable to smoking, and twice as great as the risk associated with obesity!
I hope you find this data as startling as I do. Through Pope Francis’ repeated calls for a culture of encounter I believe God is asking us to do something to relieve the social isolation of the elderly and poor. During this Jubilee Year of Mercy he is inviting us to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; among these are visiting the sick and imprisoned and comforting the afflicted.
So what can we do? If you know an older person, who has the means but not the know-how to access digital media, then practice mercy by teaching them how to use the technology they already own.
For those unable to afford computers and smart phones, as well as those whose physical or cognitive limitations prevent them from being able to use them, visit them with your laptop on a regular basis and facilitate their connection to long-distance loved ones via Skype or a similar platform.
Finally, enrich the lives of the elderly through real, in-person face time. What better way could there be to celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy than to commit to spending time with our elderly loved ones or homebound neighbors and sharing a meal or a memory with them?
Pope Francis inspires us to practice this form of mercy: “Sharing and knowing how to share is a precious virtue!” he said. “Its symbol, its ‘icon,’ is the family gathered around the dinner table. The sharing of meals – and in addition to food also of affection, of stories, of events – is a common experience.”
The pope added, “A family that hardly ever eats together, or that does not talk at the table but watches television, or looks at a smartphone is a ‘barely familial’ family … It is like a boarding house!”
Let’s apply the pope’s thinking to our relationships with elders. Let’s do all we can to make sure that family togetherness and intergenerational bonds grow stronger during this Jubilee Year of Mercy!
Sister Constance Veit is the communications director for the Little Sisters of the Poor in the United States.
As the calendar turns to 2016, El Pasoans already have an idea of significant issues and events that will confront our community, region, state and nation in the coming year.
The most immediate, and most anticipated, is the Feb. 17 visit of Pope Francis to Juárez. It will mark the first time a pope has ever visited the U.S.-Mexico border region.
Francis is widely expected to speak on a theme that has been important during his papacy, the treatment of refugees and other migrants in an increasingly complex world. Read More Click Here
JUÁREZ — Pope Francis is expected to meet and deliver a message of hope to 800 inmates at the Cereso state prison No. 3 in south Juárez during his historic visit to the border city Feb. 17, according to church officials. The Cereso prison, located at 1650 Barranco Azul in the General Toribio Ortega neighborhood, will be the pontiff's first stop after his arrival in the city.
The itinerary says Francis will travel from the Abraham González International Airport to the Cereso prison, where he is scheduled to spend 90 minutes visiting with inmates, their families and the religious leaders who serve the prison. READ More Click Here
-Sr. Doris Turek, Dir., Office of Worship
Bishop Mark Seitz has designated the following churches Jubilee Churches, pilgrimage sights for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Jubilee plenary indulgence may be obtained at these churches.
“…To obtain the Indulgence, make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop. This moment must be linked ... to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy ... and with the profession of faith and prayer for me and for my intentions ... the Jubilee Indulgence can be obtained for the deceased.” - Pope Francis
Saint Patrick Cathedral El Paso, 1917
The first stone was laid and blessed. on July 31, 1914, the feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola and dedicated on November 29, 1917. On April 3, 1914, Pope Pius X established El Paso as a Diocese. Rev. Anthony J. Schuler, S.J., was appointed the first Bishop in June, 1915. On November 19, 1917, the church was officially designated as the Cathedral.. In 2005, the parish dedicated a nave to the memory of San Pedro de Jesús Maldonado, the martyr of the Diocese of El Paso, who was ordained in the Cathedral in 1918. St. Patrick Cathedral is faithfully served by Father Trini Fuentez as rector.
The Cathedral is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Confessions: Saturdays beginning at 3:30 p.m.
St. John the Apostle Parish
Monahans – 1954
Between 1925 and 1937, Mass depended on the occasional visits of missionary priests. In 1937, a used street car was used for a Catholic church. A priest came every Sunday for Mass. In 1938, two lots were donated for a permanent church named Christ the King.
Augustinian Recollect priests assisted the parish until 1944. A rectory was built in 1948. St. John the Apostle was erected as a parish on July 18, 1954. In 1956, Bishop Metzger purchased two city blocks for a new church. Ground was broken in August 1959. The parish was renamed St. John the Apostle and Evangelist. The church, rectory, and parish hall were dedicated on November 22, 1961. The current pastor is Fr. James Hall.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission
Mission of St. Patrick, Canutillo
Jesuits constructed the first chapel in Canutillo under the patronage of La Purísima Concepción. In 1938 the parish of St. Patrick was created. In April 1939, the building of a new church was announced. The people promised “to work without rest, with good will and harmony until the proposed grand labor was complete.” The church was dedicated on December 29, 1943.
On June 24, 1983, the Westway Project was given the name of Immaculate Heart of Mary and on August 1, 1985, the church was assigned as a mission of St. Patrick. Presently, Deacon Ignacio Torres is the administrator of Immaculate Heart of Mary Mission in Westway.
The doors of the Mission are open:
San Lorenzo Parish
Clint – 1970
Clint was served by the Jesuits from San Elceario Parish. In 1913, construction of St. Lawrence Martyr Chapel began for both Spanish and English-speaking Catholics. On August 14, 1914, the chapel was dedicated to San Lorenzo. The first Mass was celebrated the next day.
In 1970, San Lorenzo Mission was elevated to a parish. Every summer, thousands celebrate San Lorenzo’s feast day with three days of food, music, games and carnival activities. A procession moves from San Elizario Presidio Chapel to San Lorenzo Church on the patron saint’s feast day, August 10.
Rev. Faustino Ortiz-Suarez, MNM serves as pastor.
The church is open from 7:30 a.m until 7:00 p.m. Confessions: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays after the 8:00 a.m Mass; Thursdays at 6:00 p.m and Saturdays at 4:00 p.m.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. EST Saturday, Dec. 19, for Loretto Sister Barbara Ann Shultz, a musician and teacher who served for some 40 years in Catholic schools in Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas, and then moved to Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., where she did community service work for more than 20 years. The Mass will take place at the Church of the Seven Dolors on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse. Sister Barbara Ann died Dec. 7 at Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. She was 94 and in her 73rd year as a Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross.
The daughter of Helen (Colmer) and Cleveland Shultz, Sister Barbara Ann was born Sara Shultz Dec. 19, 1920, in Olney, Ill. She entered the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross in 1942 from St. Joseph Parish in Olney, where she had attended grade school. She was received into Loretto on April 25, 1943, donning the habit and taking the name Sister Barbara Ann. She made her first vows in 1945 and her final vows in 1948. Sister Barbara Ann earned a bachelor’s degree in music theory, with minors in piano and education, from Webster College (now University) in Webster Groves, Mo., and a master’s in music education from Chicago Musical College in 1951.
Sister Barbara Ann first taught at Mary Queen of Peace School in Webster Groves in 1945 and at St. Philomena School in Denver from 1945 to 1946. She taught from 1946 to 1950 at Immaculate Conception School in Highland Park, Ill., and then moved to East Las Vegas, N.M., where she taught from 1950 to 1952 at Immaculate Conception School.
From 1952 to 1966, Sister Barbara Ann served in Sterling, Ill. She taught at St. Mary’s School from 1952 to 1956 and 1960 to 1966, during which the latter period she also served as superior of the Loretto Convent. In addition, from 1956 to 1960, she taught at Newman High School in Sterling. Sister Barbara Ann then moved to El Paso, Texas, where she taught at Loretto Academy High School from 1966 to 1974 and was a math coordinator at Loretto Academy Elementary School from 1974 to 1984.
In 1984, Sister Barbara Ann moved to Loretto Motherhouse, where she served as a gardener, driver and assisted as a postmistress for the Loretto Community. She loved to work in the gardens, especially tending the flowers. In 2005, Sister Barbara Ann moved to Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary, where she carried out a ministry of prayer and community service until her death.
Sister Barbara Ann’s body was cremated. Her ashes will be buried at Loretto Motherhouse Cemetery in Nerinx. There are no immediate survivors. She will be missed by her good friend Loretto Sister Mary Lee Murphy and all her Loretto Community members.
Memorials in Sister Barbara Ann’s name may be sent to the Loretto Community, care of the Loretto Development Office, 4000 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, CO 80123-1308.