Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bishop Vasa: Bastian of Common Sense & Good bye to Laurie Miller/Calendar Additions

Dear All, Continuing the effort to protect children and uphold the rights of parents. Here is Bishop Vasa's latest column. You can make sure are always informed by him weekly, just go to the websites and request this. Web: Email: ************************ E-Column by Bishop Robert Vasa ************************ REVISING STATUTES, SEX ABUSE CONCERNS AND PROMOTING VOCATIONS BEND -- The work at the Annual Presbyteral Assembly centered on the revision of the diocesan statutes and guidelines. I found the discussion to be animated and lively, interesting and interested. It seemed to me that the priests took the work we were engaged in very seriously and recognized that it was important not only for them personally but for the diocese as a whole. I found myself wonderfully energized by and grateful for their conscientiousness in tending to details that at times were nothing but tedious. Having heard the comments and suggestions of the priests and continuing to hear the comments and suggestions of the laity, I am now in a much better position to script the next revised draft. My hope is that the next draft can be ready in the next few months and that it can be reviewed once more at the deanery level and then put into final form for official adoption prior to the end of 2006. There are several sections that require further very serious review and at least one, relating to clergy health care benefits and retirement, that still needs some rather major work. I am most hopeful, at this time, that the document ultimately produced can serve the Church of Eastern and Central Oregon at least as well as its predecessors have served the diocese in the past. Pray that it is so. That used up a significant portion of the week. Another thing that occupied a lot of time was trying to respond to all the folks across the nation who wrote and mostly emailed with expressions of concern about "safe environment" programs for children. My public expression of my own concerns and questions seems to have created a kind of locus to which a significant number of concerned parents have gravitated. I am not ready at this time to pursue publicly the questions I raised in a past column, but I do want to engage in as thorough a study of this issue as necessary to allay, if possible, my own fears and concerns. A number of people have sent links to articles and websites as well as their own questions and concerns, and I appreciate the level of interest in this topic. It shows me that there are many folks out there who share my fears and concerns and whose concerns are so grave that they have withdrawn their children from such programs, refused to offer these programs to the children of others and objected to participation in them themselves. It seems to me that this is a very serious issue that needs to be weighed and considered most assiduously from a Catholic perspective to try to determine if the fears presented and questions asked have any validity. Proceeding to mandate programs of questionable value or origin under the guise that we hope they will be an effective means of keeping children safe in the future just does not sound right. At the very least, I have an obligation to assure myself, after some kind of due diligence, that these programs do not violate basic Catholic principles, unduly usurp parental rights or contradict basic common sense. It seems to me that the questions are serious enough to receive serious consideration, and a knee-jerk reaction that this is simply a group of "radical right organizations . . . working feverishly to keep our children in the dark about their sexuality and their right to make determinations about their own lives" is simply too dismissive. Many of the same objections which are raised about the highly questionable sex-education programs offered or mandated in schools for children of all ages may be applied legitimately to "safe environment" programs. I certainly do not want to confuse the two issues, for they are different, but some of the principles are certainly the same. I hope to continue to pursue this issue with the hope of coming to some fuller understanding of the dynamics involved. The study of these dynamics needs especially to extend to the children themselves. In 1995 Focus on the Family published a report on an organization known as SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States), which has, among other even more disturbing citations, these two. The first by an original SIECUS board member: "Incest between adults and younger children can prove to be a satisfying and enriching experience." The second by a SIECUS co-founder: "The major effects of [child sexual molestation] are caused not by the event itself but by outraged, angry, fearful, and shocked reactions of the adults who learn of it." Unfortunately, this same organization, and others like it, actually endorse some of the programs supported and promoted and mandated for our Catholic children under the guise of keeping them safe. One such program was actually designed by the purveyors of such tripe. Ever hear of a wolf in sheep's clothing? This is an area where parents have a most serious personal obligation to ensure that their children are not inadvertently exposed to principles and values that may be contradictory to those held by the parents or at a time not of the parents' choosing. At the same time I want to reiterate that I endorse the safe-environment programs sponsored for adults and those in positions of responsibility for children in our parishes and schools. I encourage all parents to take the valuable time to view the available materials so that you can be better instructed in the very real risks that face your children and from which, I am convinced, only you can protect them. My weekend travels took me a short piece up the road to Grass Valley and Wasco where I celebrated a Confirmation Mass. The three youngsters could not hide in the crowd as I questioned them, and I suspect there was this sweet and sour mix of both loving and hating the rather personalized attention focused on them. They did extremely well. The three topics that I have committed myself to promote worked their way into the Confirmation sermon, namely, vocations to the priesthood and Religious life, evangelization and adult religious education. In keeping with the promotion of vocations theme, one young man told his pastor that he had thoughts of being a priest. I subsequently sent an encouraging card, to which the young man reportedly reacted negatively. His response, "Dad, I was just being nice; I did not really mean it." I suspect that even "just being nice" may be a sign of a future vocation to the priesthood. Pray it is so. ****************************************************************************************************** To have a child die seems so "out of order". It doesn't seem fair somehow. May Laurie's short and sweet life make us thankful for our years and do our best to glorify our Creator and work for His Kingdom with the time He has given us. Rest in His Perfect Peace, dear Laurie. Laurie N. Miller March 2, 1994 - October 15, 2005 Laurie N. Miller, 11, of Turner died Oct. 15 after a two-year battle with cancer. She was born in Salem to Thomas and Christy (Rose) Miller. She lived near Salem for a short time before moving with her family to the Turner area. She was a sixth-grade student at St. Mary Catholic School in Stayton. She designed a Nike tennis shoe that was sold to raise money for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. She was the honorary hostess for the “Walk with Laurie” that was held in August in Stayton to raise funds for Doernbecher and the Livestrong Foundation. She enjoyed playing soccer and softball as well as doing arts and crafts. She also enjoyed spending time with her family. She was preceded in death by two great-grandfathers and uncles, Rob Miller and Ernie Kuenzi. Survivors include her parents; siblings, Lee, Clayton, Michael, Maria, Karen, Melissa and Dorathy, all of Turner; grandparents, Valentine and Dolores Miller of Brooks and Eugene and Karen Rose of Turner; and great-grandparents, Irene Rose of Albany and Dora Gilbert of Burns. Remembrances: St. Mary Catholic School, Stayton, or Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Portland. Side Note: To help the family in a more tangible way, Laurie's god-mother, Mary Belleque, would be happy to receive any donations to help the family with necessities she observes. Her address is 3405 Deerpark NE., Salem 97305 or call 503-390-6921. ******************************************************************************************************** Thursday, Friday, Saturday - October 20-22 - 74th Annual Catholic Medical Assn. Conference, PDX "The Biological and Spiritual Development of the Child" This promises to be an excellent conference at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland. All clergy, educators, parents as well as doctors, nurses, etc., are invited. Dr. Lynne Bissonnette-Pitre, local Portland Physician, is coordinator. Total information about the conference can be obtained at Tuesday, October 25th - Vicarate Celebration, Church of the Ressurection, Tualatin Quarterly vicariate celebration of the chaplet of Divine Mercy for Life at the Church of the Resurrection in Tualatin from 5:30 to 7 p.m. . It will be a mass with a Litany for Life, part of the vicariate observance of prayer, remembrance and fasting for life. Friday, Saturday, Sunday - October 28-30, Mother/Daughter Retreat, "Falling in Love, Mary and the Eucharist, Mt. Angel Abbey Sister Therese Improgo, O.S.F. - Retreat Facilitator Sister Therese Improgo is currently on staff at Our Lady of Peace Retreat Center in Beaverton, OR as a spiritual director and private retreat director. In past years, she has been principal, vice principal and teacher in the Catholic School Systems of Oregon and California. She holds a Masters Degree in Theology from the University of San Francisco, enjoys reading, hiking, singing and has traveled to Europe, the Holy Land, Southeast Asia and the Far East. "In today¹s society much of our time is spent in 'hurry-up-and-wait' situations. How do we make this precious time an adventure with God? Come and See!" For reservations contact Mount Angel Abbey Retreat House St. Benedict, OR 97373 /503-845-3025 Retreat begins with registration on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and ends on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. $180.00 for Mother/Daughter sharing a room; $200.00 for Mother/Daughter in separate rooms; $60.00 for each additional Daughter Fee includes meals, lodging, use of facilities and retreat program $35.00 DEPOSIT REQUIRED ********************************************************************************************************** If you have a daughter, maybe it's time to make this retreat. Life and time is too precious to waste. God Bless you all until the end of time, Carolyn The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6 VOCAL Voice of Catholics Advocating Life PO Box 458 Sublimity, OR 97385 Member of Catholic Media Coalition "Inline with the Church, online with the world"

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