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SEALED WITH GOD'S SPIRIT: A Child's View of Community

Length10 min.
Age GroupPI - Primary -Intermediate
PublisherSt. Anthony Messenger Press
TopicsCatechist Resources
Spirituality

This program is presented as a child's religion class report on Church. A young person's crayon drawings "come alive" in video images depicting what it means to "be Church." Diverse cultures are represented to help children see that "my Church" is broader

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  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Chris Helgren, ReutersBy Rhina GuidosWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Citing the significant economic contributions of immigrants under a federal program known as Temporary Protected Status, a new study says ending the program -- as some in the Trump administration have suggested -- would negatively impact the U.S. economy. That's because more than 80 percent of the approximately 325,000 immigrants in the country with the status known as TPS have jobs, many have mortgages, pay taxes and work in industries crucial to the economy, such as construction, child care and health care, and collectively have some 273,000 U.S.-born children, says a July report by the Center for Migration Studies in New York. Kevin Appleby, the center's senior director of international migration policy, said if extensions for the migrants are not granted or the program is terminated, crucial industries would see a shortage of workers, banks would see defaults in mortgages, and government coffers would lose out on tax revenues and consumer spending. "Let's hope the financial industry realizes that," he said. Deporting TPS recipient parents also would create thousands of orphans in the country, which would increase foster care costs, place a burden on local and state governments, and alienate the children affected, said Appleby. He was one of three officials from the center who explained the report "Statistical and Demographic Profile of the U.S. Temporary Protected Status Populations From El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti" in a July 20 video conference. Demographer Robert Warren said TPS recipients have high participation in the U.S. labor force, 81 percent to 88 percent, well above the 63 percent rate for the total U.S. population; almost half of them have mortgages, and 11 percent are self-employed, creating jobs for themselves and others, the study says. They work in construction, food service, child care centers and the health care industry, said Warren, senior visiting fellow at the Center for Migration Studies. The TPS program has been around for 27 years and provides a work permit and reprieve from deportation to immigrants from some countries recovering from conflicts or natural disasters. Immigrants from war-torn countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti account for 90 percent of program's beneficiaries in the U.S. Donald Kerwin, the center's executive director, said: "TPS has been a vitally important and successful protection and humanitarian program for 27 years. It's definitely not a perfect program, but its imperfections have more to do with who it doesn't cover than who it does." The program also doesn't provide a path toward a more permanent status for migrants since the Department of Homeland Security has to periodically grant extensions. A TPS beneficiary from Haiti, for example, who was granted protections following the devastating earthquake in 2010 has to see if the U.S. government will grant extensions to the program to determine whether she or he can legally remain the U.S. The extensions can go on for years and, in the meantime, TPS beneficiaries get jobs, get married, have children, buy homes and become involved in the community. Though recently a six-month extension was granted to Haitians, Homeland Security on its webpage tells Haitian TPS recipients to use the time before Jan. 22, 2018, to prepare for and arrange departure from the United States. DHS also will look at what to do with TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador and Honduras in early 2018. Kerwin said many are deeply embedded in the U.S. communities and have long contributed to the country, adding that roughly half of Salvadorans and Honduran TPS recipients have been in the country 20 years or more. "The concern is that the Trump administration could terminate the TPS designations for these nations, which our paper concludes is the worst option," Kerwin said. "It's really not just a lose-lose option. It's a lose-lose-lose option because, as the report shows, it would be bad for the U.S., for its communities, for families, for the housing market, for certain industries in particular and for the economy overall." It also would be detrimental to the migrants' countries of origin, said Kerwin, because they already have said they can't safely accommodate returning populations. Some migrants may not leave and even those who do may attempt a return to be with family in the U.S. in the future, he said. Termination of TPS would only create yet another group of residents in the United States without legal permission, Kerwin said. Immigrant advocate groups are urging more extensions, knowing that under a Trump administration more permanent options, and even legislative options, are simply not a reality. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration has repeatedly advocated for the extensions and, in May, its chairman, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, thanked DHS for the TPS extension for Haitians. Other groups, such as the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, said even though the extension was a positive development, it was a temporary fix. Countries such as Haiti, whose citizens benefit from the program, need more stability before masses of people are sent back, CLINIC officials said. Some say that destabilizing these countries with the influx of people is only going to result in even more people trying to leave their homelands for the U.S. "Extension of TPS is not the perfect option but it looks to be the best available option at this point," said Kerwin, adding that legislative options would be more difficult to bring to fruition. Many advocates worry that the worst possible option, ending the program altogether, is under consideration by the Trump administration. DHS Secretary John Kelly "has already indicated a posture of the administration not to extend TPS to these countries. ... It's becoming clear that the administration wants to end TPS to these countries and if at all possible ... end it altogether," Appleby said. "This administration was elected to implement policies that are in the best interest of this nation and it's clear from our report that extending TPS will be in the best interest of the nation," said Appleby. "Many within the administration want to end it for ideological reasons, but that is not in the best interest of the country and does not best serve the U.S. citizenry." Advocates, including many faith communities, are getting ready battle in defense of the program and of the migrants affected. After all, faith communities were instrumental at the beginning of the TPS program in the late 1980s, early 1990s, said Appleby, recalling that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, New York, who was then the head of the bishops' Migration and Refugee Services, was involved in getting the program to become a reality under the Immigration Act of 1990. "We anticipate the faith community to be involved in this fight, if not outright leaders of it," Appleby said.- - -Follow Guidos on Twitter: @CNS_Rhina.  - - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Robert DuncanBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- No matter the position one takes on national migration policy, Pope Francis, Caritas Internationalis and national Catholic charities across the globe want Catholics to meet a migrant or refugee and listen to his or her story. In late September, Pope Francis will launch the "Share the Journey" campaign, a two-year program of Caritas Internationalis to promote encounters between people on the move and people living in the countries they are leaving, passing through or arriving in. Meeting migrants and refugees and listening to their stories -- and having them listen to the stories of people in their host communities -- mean the walls people have erected in their minds and hearts should begin to fall, said Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis. "You may be afraid of migrants as a large group of people coming in, but when you meet a migrant, then you have a different vision," he said July 27. Listening to their stories makes it clear that "they are human beings, they are human beings who have suffered much; they've left a situation where they could not live anymore because of violence, conflict or just because of misery." "Once you understand the story of the person, then you will have a different attitude," he said. Most people who vote for political parties espousing anti-immigrant sentiments, Roy believes, "have never met a migrant," which makes it easy for politicians to convince them that they have something to fear. Even if the person does not change their mind about the most appropriate political policies for regulating migration, he said, it is necessary to make the fear subside by helping folks get to know the real people who have left all behind because of persecution, violence or extreme poverty. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, president of Caritas Internationalis, wrote a letter in late June asking members of the Caritas federation to participate in the campaign. He said, "One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves as individuals, communities and countries at this time of mass movements of people and global doubt is 'Do I allow fear to prevail in my heart, or do I allow hope to reign?' "Through 'Share the Journey' we hope to dispel fear and understand why so many people are leaving their homes at this time in history," the cardinal wrote. "We also want to inspire communities to build relationships with refugees and migrants. We want to shine a light and lead the way. Migration is a very old story but our campaign aims to help communities see it with new eyes and an open heart." The "Share the Journey" campaign will run at least until 2019. The U.S. bishops' Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, as well as more than 160 other Caritas members around the world, will be sponsoring national and local events to provide opportunities for migrants and members of host communities to meet and share their stories. Through his words and, especially, his gestures, Pope Francis "is inviting everyone on earth to be welcoming" and to protect migrants and help them integrate into the society of their new countries, Roy said. As a central institution of the church, he added, Caritas Internationalis promotes what Pope Francis is asking all Catholics to do. "Catholics are not all convinced that we have to welcome migrants," the secretary general acknowledged, "so I think we have work to do within the church itself." But, he said, the pope is asking "everyone to make a step," and Caritas hopes that will begin with every Catholic being willing to meet a migrant or refugee.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Chaz MuthBy Mark PattisonWASHINGTON (CNS) -- When the vice president has to cast a vote to break a tie in the Senate on whether to debate U.S. health care policy, let alone revise it -- as Mike Pence did July 25 -- it is obvious that passing legislation to repeal, and/or replace, and/or reform the Affordable Care Act is going to be a heavy lift in Congress. Democrats, who boasted of a veto-proof majority to avoid a Senate Republican filibuster, got the ACA passed in 2010. Now, they're in the minority in both the Senate and the House. Yet in the rush to reject Obamacare, as the ACA is popularly known, there lacks unanimity among Republicans in each chamber to make changes. The first House effort to pass the American Health Care Act never got to a vote before it was withdrawn. A second version passed 219-215 despite GOP defections. The Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act never came to a vote, either, when enough Republican senators gave it a thumbs-down for leaders to recognize its chance of passage was nil. The procedural vote July 25 required not only Pence's tiebreaker but the return to the Senate floor of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who had undergone eye surgery that revealed brain cancer, to create the tie in the first place. Later July 25, the Senate rejected a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act in a 57-43 vote with nine Republicans voting against it. On July 26, in an afternoon vote, senators rejected a repeal-only measure. More votes and proposals lay ahead. "There's no such thing as perfect legislation. As things pass, you realize that things don't work out as well as it should," said former Rep. Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who fought to retain pro-life provisions in the ACA and who has written a book, "For All Americans," about the legislative tussling behind the ACA's passage. After it became law, he and other pro-life Democrats also pressed President Barack Obama to sign an executive order stipulating no federal funds could be used to pay for abortions. Stupak, in an interview with Catholic News Service, said the ACA was modeled after "the Massachusetts plan that was instituted by then-Gov. Mitt Romney," a Republican. "Surely we would get other Republicans to join us" for a bipartisan piece of legislation," he added. "That didn't happen. But we did end up with the insurance exchanges. But no one anticipated that 30-some states would never participate. The federal government had to set up exchanges for these 32 states." "Presidents have been imploring Congress to pass a national health care plan" for a century, said Stupak, a Catholic, noting that President Bill Clinton's plan in 1993 -- when he famously assigned his wife, Hillary, to lead the task force to design the bill -- never got out of committee. "I'm pleased we got it done," Stupak said of the ACA. "Does it need work? Yes." "Mustering the political will" to pass the ACA "resulted in a fairly large number of moderate- and low-income people getting health insurance in a more stable way than what they were used to getting, and that's quite an achievement," said Jim Capretta, a resident fellow and health care policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute, which leans toward the conservative side of the political spectrum. "The Affordable Care Act passed with only Democratic votes. I think that's the primary reason why that's unstable now. You don't get buy-in from the other party," he added, making the law "subject to a lot of dispute and disagreement, and half the country sort of distrustful of what was passed." With both parties working together, Capretta said, it shields it from "elements of either party to attack it. That's why (with) big policy changes, you're better off trying to do it in a bipartisan way." But to hear first-term Republican Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida -- a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican -- bipartisanship is hard to come by. "There has been no evidence of any Democrat wanting to team up to repeal and replace Obamacare and give America patient-centric, choice-oriented care," he told CNS July 20. "Unfortunately, the country is very polarized, and we have two radically different views on the size of government," Rooney said later. "I don't know how well they're going to be reconciled. I tend to think that our way is the right way." "Republicans are not bad people. We may disagree on some concepts, but I think everybody agrees on the essentials," Stupak said. If Republicans want to repeal the ACA's individual mandates imposing a fine on people who will not buy insurance, for instance, he added, "once again, you go back to the health care infrastructure. Who pays for it?" "I think President (Donald) Trump will sign any reasonably conservative measure. He said he would sign the House bill, or the Senate bill or the repeal bill," Rooney said during a break from a House session. "So the president isn't the problem. It's the Senate. And all the Republican senators, except maybe one or two, have voted to repeal or replace Obamacare." He added, "I'd be pretty disappointed if we can't get across the finish line with what we've been saying we want to do for six or seven years and what every Republican in office campaigned on. That would take some serious thought on where we are going and do we have the capability to lead the way we've told the people we've wanted to lead." "Once a law is passed," Stupak told CNS, "the duty and responsibility of Congress is to fix the legislation -- or repeal it." While he said he doesn't begrudge the Republicans for the effort to repeal the ACA, he cautioned them to "do it with the best interests of the American people at heart." If up to 32 million Americans would be without health insurance by 2026 -- as the Congressional Budget Office said in scoring the since-scuttled Better Care Reconciliation Act -- "then what would you would do with them?" Even Rooney acknowledged, "It might be a little irresponsible to the American people not to pass a comprehensive repeal and replace." Capretta argued that the unwieldy nature of America's public-private health care structure could be at fault. "Decide what we want," he said. "Right now we have a mishmash." While Capretta favors market-based solutions, the main goal should be cost controls. "One way or the other, there needs to be more discipline in the system on costs," he said, and without them, there will be "more government control." "I still have faith in the United States Congress -- 99.9 percent are there for the right reasons," Stupak said. "Call it whatever you want -- Trumpcare, Ryancare, the Better Health Care Act. Most members of Congress don't care what you call it, but make sure it is equal to, if not better than, what we already have." He added, "Let the talking heads step aside. Let both sides sit down. I think you'd be surprised how quickly it could come together."- - -Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, ReutersBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- After the Senate voted July 25 to proceed with the health care debate, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, urged senators of both parties to "work together to advance changes that serve the common good."The statement from Bishop Dewane, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said the health care reform proposals currently under consideration would "harm millions of struggling Americans by leaving too many at risk of losing adequate health coverage and continue to exclude too many people, including immigrants." "We are grateful for the efforts to include protections for the unborn, however, any final bill must include full Hyde Amendment provisions and add much-needed conscience protections. The current proposals are simply unacceptable as written, and any attempts to repeal the ACA (Affordable Care Act) without a concurrent replacement is also unacceptable," he said in a July 25 statement. During the procedural vote on the Senate floor, 50 Republicans voted yes and two GOP senators -- Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- voted no, along with the Senate's 48 Democrats. The tiebreaking vote was necessary from Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate. The vote to debate health care legislation took place after months of ongoing discussion and leaves Senate Republicans with a few options, including completely replacing the health care law, or voting for what has been described as a "skinny" repeal that would remove parts of the Affordable Care Act. They also could pass a measure that would repeal the current law without implementing a replacement. Late July 25, the Senate voted down one of these proposals in a 57-43 vote with nine Republicans voting against it. The proposal -- an updated version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act -- would have done away with the ACA's tax penalties for those not buying insurance, cut Medicaid and allowed insurers to sell cheaper policies with less coverage. It also included $100 billion in extra funds to help people losing Medicaid. Senators rejected a "repeal-only" proposal July 26; many in both parties have spoken against repealing the ACA without a replacement plan. As votes were being cast July 25 on the procedural vote, all eyes were on Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who returned to the Senate floor just days after being diagnosed with brain cancer, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, who had not assured the Senate of his vote prior to the tally. Just prior to the vote, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, majority leader, urged fellow senators not to let this moment slip by. "All we have to do today is to have the courage to begin the debate," he added as protesters yelled in the background: "Kill the bill, don't kill us." "Shame." "Will we begin the debate on one of the most important issues confronting America today?" he asked before answering: "It is my hope that the answer will be yes." Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, minority leader, stressed that Democrats had been "locked out" of the recent health care debate and he warned that the Republican plan will "certainly mean drastic cuts" in Medicaid and would cause many to lose health care insurance. McCain urged his colleagues to "trust each other" and "return to order" after casting his vote to move the debate forward. In his July 25 statement, Bishop Dewane said, "There is much work to be done to remedy the ACA's shortcomings" and he called on the Senate to make the necessary changes. He also stressed that "current and impending barriers to access and affordability under the ACA must be removed, particularly for those most in need. Such changes can be made with narrower reforms that do not jeopardize the access to health care that millions currently receive," he added. Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, said in a July 26 statement that she was disappointed with the Senate's vote to attempt to repeal and replace the ACA "without a clear plan to protect access to affordable health care coverage." She said that throughout the health care reform debate, Catholic Charities has insisted that any reform must protect those who have health care coverage and provide more health insurance to those without it. "We urge senators to work together to reject dramatic cuts to Medicaid coverage and provide a health care bill that truly expands coverage, reduces costs and respects human life and dignity, especially for those who are most in need," she said. - - - Carolyn Mackenzie contributed to this report. Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Pascal Rossignol, ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The martyrdom of a French priest killed a year ago while celebrating Mass was an event that "has transformed me as a bishop," Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen said. Father Jacques Hamel's life -- "simple and exemplary -- questions me as a pastor and shepherd on how to consider the life of priests, on what I expect from them in terms of efficiency. I must tirelessly convert, to pass from this request for efficiency to admiration for their fruitfulness," the archbishop said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. Father Hamel was murdered July 26, 2016, when two men claiming allegiance to the Islamic State stormed his parish church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen. After taking several hostages, the attackers slit Father Hamel's throat and seriously injured another parishioner. Witnesses say that in his final moments, the beloved 85-year-old parish priest tried to push away his attackers with his feet, saying "go away, Satan." Following a standoff, police killed the attackers, ending the hostage situation. Despite the violent nature of Father Hamel's death at the hands of terrorists claiming to be Muslims, his martyrdom instead has drawn the Catholic and Muslim communities in the diocese closer together, Archbishop Lebrun said. "This tragic event shared by others has brought me closer to the local society in its diverse components: naturally to the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and then to the other municipalities in the area," the archbishop said. "And from now on, I am bound to the Muslim community and to the other communities of believers in the territory of my diocese." Father Hamel's martyrdom drew the attention of Pope Francis who celebrated a memorial Mass for him Sept. 14, 2016, with Archbishop Lebrun, Roselyne Hamel, Father Hamel's sister, and 80 pilgrims from the diocese. When Archbishop Lebrun presented the pope with a photo of Father Hamel, the pope asked him to place it on the altar and after the Mass told the archbishop, "You can put this photo in the church because he is 'blessed' now, and if anyone says you aren't allowed, tell them the pope gave you permission." Archbishop Lebrun told L'Osservatore Romano that he then spoke with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, regarding the opening of Father Hamel's sainthood cause and the possibility of accelerating "the process to take advantage of the elements of proof which are the testimonies of the other victims of the attack, who are mainly elderly." The first meeting in the process for Father Hamel's sainthood cause took place May 20, and the results of the local investigation into his life should be completed and ready for Vatican review from one to three years from now, the archbishop said. Meanwhile, Father Hamel's life and martyrdom remains "an extremely powerful event" that has united the diocese, priests, the church in France, people within the territory and the Muslim community, Archbishop Lebrun said. "Father Hamel has sown peace," he said. - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.