UP Catholic 08 19 2016 E Edition Page 6

I n response to increasing acts of violence, Americans witness and experience a range of emotions. Fear, sadness, anger, and mis- trust are strongly felt in communities across the country. Each time news emerges of another shooting, whether against law enforce- ment officers or against civilians, we struggle to process what happened and how to respond. In July, the president of the U.S. Confer- ence of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, wrote, Peo- ple are suffering because their uni- form is blue, suffering because their skin is black and suffering simply because of their station in life. In light of this suffering, it is important to look at what can be done to pro- mote peace, address racial tensions, and create a culture that values all people. In 1994, the U.S. bishops wrote the starting point for confronting a culture of violence is fostering a respect for all human life. That statement is still as true today as it was then. The Catholic Church has long spoken out for the dignity of all people, including the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled, who are made in the image and likeness of God. Pope Francis, too, has called for individuals to seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves (Address to U.S. Con- fress, 2015). To highlight the dignity of every per- son, Catholics are called to speak out against violence, including fun violence, emphasiz- ing instead the need for dialogue and respect. In response to last months shootings in Min- nesota, Louisiana, and Texas, the USCCB announced Sept. 9, 2016 as a Day of Prayer for Peace. The day also celebrates St. Peter Claver, a Spanish saint who is known for his care of Af- rican slaves. His example, advocating against the slave trade and encourag- ing the humane treatment of slaves, teaches that we too can listen to the needs of others and help their voice to be heard. Racial tensions and vio- lence are not issues for a small few, but ones for all to work on together. The U.S. bishops have also created a task force, led by Archbishop Wil- ton Gregory of Atlanta. This group will engage on critical issues such as race relations, economic opportuni- ty, restorative justice, mental health, and gun violence, among others. The committee will be listening to com- munity needs, developing relation- ships to help prevent conflicts, and advising bishops on best practices. These conversations are difficult - yet necessary - especially during an election season desperately in need of civility and understanding. The message of the Catholic faith re- minds us to be people of action and of hope for others, bringing the value of all human life to political conver- sations. Confronting violence and creating more inclusive communities takes work: promoting neighborhood watch groups, community-oriented policing, and partnerships between law enforcement and the local faith community; addressing root causes of crime; forming relationships with those of different backgrounds; and examining our own attitudes and their impact on violence in society (USCCB: Responsibility, Rehabilita- tion, and Restoration, 2000; Con- fronting a Culture of Violence, 1994). There are no easy answers, but Catholics can play a role in trans- forming fear, sadness, anger, and mistrust in our communities into hope, understanding, compassion, and love. The question is, are we ready? The Word from Lansing is a regu- lar column for Catholic news outlets and is written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) President and CEO Paul A. Long. Michigan Cath- olic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. 6 August 19, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC OFFICIAL APPOINTMENT www.upcatholic.org Love and peace in the midst of violence THE WORD FROM LANSING Paul A. Long THE MESSAGE OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH REMINDS US TO BE PEOPLE OF ACTION AND OF HOPE FOR OTHERS, BRINGING THE VALUE OF ALL HUMAN LIFE TO POLITICAL CONVERSATIONS. OFFICIAL APPOINTMENT Father Gerber returns to ministry Father Brian Gerber began a new assign- ment as associate pastor for All Saints Parish in Gladstone recently. In the Sept. 18, 2015 issue of The UP Catholic, there was an an- nouncement that Father Gerber, the former director of Marygrove Retreat Center, was being placed on administrative leave due to suspected financial improprieties. Vicar for Clergy Father Larry Van Damme said, Since that time, Father Gerber has settled his legal affairs and has very willingly embraced an intense course of treatment for compulsive gambling. Bishop John Doerfler is confident that Father Gerber is fully committed to ongoing recovery and personal, professional frowth, and has therefore deemed that he is suitable for public ministry. While at All Saints, Father Gerber will not have any finan- cial responsibilities, but instead will focus on pastoral ministry. Father Jamie Ziminski, parish pastor, called the addition of Father Gerber to the parish staff exciting news and said, I want you to know how happy I am with this new appoint- ment. Its going to be great having him here at All Saints. Effective August 7, 2016: Most Reverend John F. Doerfler, Bishop of Marquette, announces the following pastoral announcements: Father Brian Gerber is appointed as Parochial Vicar (Associate Pastor) of All Saints Parish in Gladstone, effective August 7, 2016. Find full issues of The U.P. Catholic online at www.upcatholic.org

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