February days bring us into springtime in the world of nature and usually in the Lenten world of grace. Both bring times of new life – life in the world of nature and life in the world of supernature.
Ash Wednesday, one day beyond February on March 1st, will introduce us into our annual springtime training during the Lenten season. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving (PFA) are the three pillars of the Christian life. We give more deliberate attention to them during the forty day period of Lent. They bring us a deepening springtime in God’s love and presence…springtime in the Spirit.
NEW FRESHNESS IN THE CHURCH:
The following is a very interesting quote from an article in a recent issue of The Tablet, the international Catholic weekly. “There’s a new freshness in the Church, a new joyfulness, a new charisma which speaks to people, and that is something beautiful.” This is the remarkable assessment of the papacy of Pope Francis by his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict, in interviews with him recently published as “Last Testament”: The Francis papacy is a reminder that the Catholic Church is flexible, dynamic and open, that is developing from within, that is not frozen in old patterns, and that surprising things happen again and again. The Second Vatican Council marked the great turning outwards to the world of the Church in the second half of the last century: not in contempt or distaste, but in curiosity and humility, eager for engagement and dialogue, yearning to serve and protect the poor, our most vulnerable.
…Into a world of anxiety and ruthlessness something beautiful is struggling to be born. That, perhaps, is the story of Christianity in a phrase. While each of the five popes to have led the Church since the Council have contributed special gifts to its life and mission, in Pope Francis it has found a personality and voice to express the genius of the Council with uninhibited conviction and charisma.
END OF LIFE ISSUES:
Over the next several months, Our Mother of Sorrows' Consistent Ethic Of Life Committee plans to focus on End-of-Life issues. We feel that addressing this issue for Catholics is especially important now, given the growing acceptance of physician-assisted suicide and related legislation in nearby states.
The mission of our Consistent Ethic of Life Committee is to invite and promote a charitable dialogue regarding a consistent ethic of life within our parish community and beyond; to address all life issues by articulating the authentic teaching of the Church and advocating for the sacredness and dignity of life in all its forms; and to do so with a reconciling spirit of humility, openness and prayer.
Chair, Consistent Ethic of Life Committee
DISRESPECTING AND DISREGARDING THE LIVES OF THE SICK AND THE ELDERLY:
The following is a summary quote from an article by Archbishop William E. Lori which was featured in the January issue of Columbia magazine.
“Compassion and Choices”. Judging only by the name, it sounds like a good-hearted organization. After all, who would withhold compassion or helping people know and understand their options?
In reality, Compassion and Choices is not a new organization but an old one that formerly went by the name of Hemlock Society. Hemlock was the poisonous drink that ended the life of the philosopher Socrates. The old name tells us much more about the nature of the organization, which is dedicated to legalizing doctor-assisted suicide. The compassion it offers is suicide. The choice it offers is death.
Wearing its new Orwellian moniker, Compassion and Choices has mounted a formidable campaign to legalize doctor-assisted suicide throughout the United States and beyond. The group turns up in community health fairs and public libraries. Well-funded and politically savvy, it has recently succeeded in a number of states. In 2017, the organization is targeting many more states.
Let us make no mistake: Compassion and Choices is out to legalize doctor-assisted suicide throughout the United States. We can also be assured that the performance of what our Pope Francis calls “throw away culture” will share their flavor, so as to spread their deceptive message throughout the world.
The starting part for our efforts is confidence in the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. This teaching corresponds to a deep seated instinct in every person to preserve his or her own life. Indeed, “we are the stewards, not the owners of life. God has entrusted it to us.” (paragraph 2280 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church)
A LETTER FROM JOAN MARTIN, OUR HAITI MINISTER:
Dear Msgr. Tom,
Once again, my two week visit to Tucson has passed very quickly. It has been wonderful to see so many old friends and to meet some new friends. The warm OMOS welcome is always a blessing to me.
I wanted to thank you and the OMOS parish and school communities for your very generous support in many areas: Bishop Kicanas' second collection for new parishes and hurricane relief (in November 2016), the OMOS school activities for giving a Christmas party in two of the Haiti parishes (in Nov. 2016), and the regular OMOS second collection for supporting the many activities of our sister parish St. Francis of Assisi (in Jan. 2017). The financial support, the prayers, and the kind words are a tangible sign of our unity as a Catholic Christian community--both here in Tucson and around the world.
Since it is still January, I want to wish all of you a peaceful and healthy New Year 2017. Bondie beni nou byen beni. (May God bless you with a good blessing).
Sincerely, Joan Martin
WHY NEW CHURCH PEWS?:
Over 84% of the 58-year old pews are showing significant signs of wear and damage. When the pews were brought over from the original church of the parish — the present parish hall — they had been painted and had to be dipped in a stripping compound to remove the paint so that the natural oak wood would show. Unfortunately, that process weakened the glued joints and many of the seats are beginning to crack.
Three vendors who specialize in this area have been consulted, including the vendor who did the new pews for St. Augustine’s Cathedral. Our hope was that the pews needing repair and most attention would be handled by one of these vendors. Unanimously they would not guarantee any repairs or the capability of repair of the pews because of their age and condition. The Building & Maintenance Commission and the Liturgy & Worship Commission recommended replacing of the pews to the Parish Council at its May 21st meeting last year. After full discussion at the Parish Council meeting, a motion was passed to replace them. More information will be forthcoming in mid-February on how the parish will move forward to address this challenge and other maintenance challenges within the parish and school campus in preparation for the 60th anniversary of the parish beginning on May 10, 2018.
COMING HOME TO ACTIVE FAITH PRACTICE:
For some 30 years now our parish has been offering the six-week Alienated Catholic Anonymous series after every Christmas and Easter. The process continues to be very helpful to folks who have been disconnected from the Church for long periods of time. The following are a sample of responses to the seven open-ended statements on the intake form, which was completed by participants in the first session after Christmas.
1. I am here because:
ANNUAL VALENTINE’S DINNER & DANCE:
This annual event is scheduled to take place in the Parish Hall after the 5:30pm Mass on Saturday, February 11th. The theme is “Arabian Nights”. Tickets are $50 per couple and are available at the parish office. Free childcare is provided by our LifeTeen group for children who are potty-trained through 6th grade.
Married couples will have the opportunity to renew their marriage vows at all Masses on the weekend of February 11-12. Couples coming to the annual dinner and dance are encouraged to participate in the 5:30pm Mass on February 11th and renew their marriage vows during the Mass itself. The annual dinner and dance is very well received and is a blessing opportunity for couples to have time out to celebrate and renew God’s presence in their friendship and in their call to be together in marriage.
As your pastor, I very much encourage married couples to give yourself this gift. You deserve it, you’ve earned it, and you’ll relish it.
ANNUAL WINTER VISITORS RETREAT, MASS AND LUNCHEON:
Welcome back, Winter Visitors! Please join us for this special annual gathering on Tuesday, February 14th. We’ll begin at 9:30am for a time of reflection. Mass begins at 11am, followed by a luncheon in your honor. RSVP by February 10th with the parish office at 747-1321. This luncheon is for all winter visitors… if this your first winter with us or your fifteenth, we’d like to welcome all of you.
THANK YOU TO OUR GENEROUS EPIPHANY PARTY SPONSORS:
Our exceptional sponsors this year included Watson Refrigeration, Bring’s Broadway Chapel, Holy Hope and Our Lady of the Desert Catholic Cemeteries and the OMOS Parish Endowment Trust. We are deeply grateful for your generosity and support of our parish family and for the ministry you provide to those you serve in our community.
FROM VOYAGER RV RESORT:
Parishioners and winter visitors from Voyager RV Resort honored Monsignor Tom at a luncheon on Monday, January 16th. Monsignor Tom blessed the forty or so in attendance with stories of his past. We learned how he studied to become a priest in Ireland and then was convinced by his cousin to travel to Arizona. The first church he was assigned to was in Scottsdale, Arizona and then he transferred to Tucson, where he has been ever since. Monsignor Tom answered questions about the future plans of the parish and ended with a blessing upon all in attendance.
Sandra Smith, Voyager RV Resort
ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL:
Bishop Kicanas will introduce the Diocesan Annual Appeal through a DVD presentation at all Masses next weekend 2/11-12. Our parish goal is $158,000. Thanks to all who participated and helped us make our goal last year. The spirit of generosity alive in our parish will help us to reach this year’s increased goal, which challenges us to a greater generosity of spirit.
MATCHING GIFT PROGRAM... DID YOU KNOW?
Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match any parishioner charitable contributions made by their employees. To find out if your company has a matching gift policy, contact your Human Resource representative or enter your employer's name on the following website link: www.matchinggifts.com/acs. If your company offers such a program, simply request and complete a matching gift form from your employer. Some companies even match gifts made by retirees and/or spouses. The impact of your gift to Our Mother of Sorrows Parish/School may be doubled or possibly tripled!
CELEBRATING OUR FIRST ANNIVERSARY WITH ONE PARISH:
It has been one year since Our Mother of Sorrows jumped on the app bandwagon to deliver one more way to stay connected in prayer, learning, giving, and evangelization – through the free OneParish app for Smartphones and tablets. The OneParish.com app is available to all OMOS parishioners. Included among its many features are parish Mass times and confession schedules anywhere in the country, pastor’s messaging, parish directory, Pope Francis’ Tweets, Catholic radio, daily readings, saint of the day, donations, and more. OneParish is one more way that Our Mother of Sorrows is using technology to reach out and grow our Catholic faith and discipleship of everyone in our parish family. Go to OneParish.com app for the free download. It is safe and secure and there is never a fee.
TIHAN (Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network) - Last week Our Mother of Sorrows joined St. Francis Cabrini and Temple Emanu-El in sponsoring the Poz Café at St. Francis in the Foothills. Seven parishioners including Msgr. Tom enjoyed setting up, preparing a meal, and serving those with HIV. We learned about those living with HIV before lunch and after lunch we had the opportunity to participate in playing bingo. As each guest left they were given a care package which included personal hygiene products collected through the Angel Tree and cleaning products donated by the Ladies Guild. The guests greatly appreciated the meal and gifts. If you are interested in finding out more about TIHAN or helping those with HIV please contact me at the parish office or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Stehle, Social Concerns
OMOS SCHOOL WELCOMES NEW ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL:
In January, the school welcomed Mrs. Louise Kane to the Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic School as the Assistant Principal. Mrs. Kane recently moved to Tucson with her husband from Rhode Island. Her dedication to Catholic education shows through her career as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent. This year, Mrs. Kane has been volunteering with the students at Our Mother of Sorrows. We are excited to have Mrs. Kane bring her experience and dedication to our staff.
Erin Vu, Principal
FRONT OFFICE RECEPTION MINISTERS NEEDED:
We are in need of additional loving ministers to help in the parish office on Sunday mornings. Interested parishioners are encouraged to call Cindy Phillips in the parish office for more information.
February/March Dates to Remember:
Valentine’s Dinner & Dance 2/11/17
Winter Visitors Mass & Luncheon 2/14/17
9:30am (Reflection), 11am (Mass), 12pm (Luncheon)
Ash Wednesday Mass Schedule 3/1/17
6:30am, 8:30am, 10am (School Mass), 3:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm
7:30pm Spanish Mass in Parish Hall