The President has put forth a new plan for addressing the difficult situation in Iraq. This proposal is rightly generating intense discussion in Congress and across our country. As our nation weighs the President's proposals and considers alternatives offered by others, our Conference of Bishops seeks to once again lift up a key moral question that ought to guide our nation's actions in Iraq: How can the U.S. bring about a responsible transition in Iraq?
Each course of action, including current policies, ought to be evaluated in light of our nation's moral responsibility to help Iraqis to live with security and dignity in the aftermath of U.S. military action. Our nation's military forces should remain in Iraq only as long as their presence actually contributes to a responsible transition. Our nation should seek effective ways to end their deployment at the earliest opportunity consistent with this goal
The Holy See and our bishops' Conference expressed grave moral concerns about military intervention in Iraq and the unpredictable and uncontrollable negative consequences of invasion and occupation. In light of current realities, the Holy See and our Conference support broader regional and international engagement to increase security, stability and reconstruction in Iraq.
Benchmarks for progress toward a responsible transition in Iraq include: minimally acceptable levels of security; economic reconstruction to create employment for Iraqis; and political structures and agreements that help overcome divisions, reduce violence, broaden participation, and increase respect for religious freedom and basic human rights. These measures may address whether the traditional principle of "probability of success" can be met. Any action or failure to act should be measured by whether it moves toward these benchmarks and contributes to a responsible life. Another necessary step is more sustained U.S. leadership to address other deadly conflicts in this region, especially the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the Crisis in Lebanon.
In repeatedly calling for a "responsible transition," our Bishops' Conference has also consistently called for substantive, civil and non-partisan discussion of ways to bring about a responsible transition in Iraq. Such civil dialogue is even more essential and urgent at this moment of national discussion and decision..
As pastors and bishops we are deeply concerned for the lives and dignity of the people of Iraq who suffer so much and for the men and women in the U.S. military who serve bravely, generously and at great risk. As religious leaders and defenders of human rights, we have expressed particular alarm at the deteriorating situation of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq. Their great vulnerability demonstrates the growing dangers facing the entire population of Iraq, including Sunnis and Shiites.
At this critical juncture as our nation seeks a new way forward in Iraq, our leaders have a moral obligation to examine where things genuinely stand in pursuing justice and peace in Iraq, to assess what is actually achievable there, and to evaluate the moral and human consequences of alternative courses of action and whether they truly contribute to a responsible transition. At this difficult moment, let us pray for our nation, for the people of Iraq and for all those who bear the responsibility and burden of these difficult choices. We ask God for courage, humility and wisdom as we seek a path to a responsible transition in Iraq.
Bishop William S. Skyland
Bishop of Spokane
January 12, 2007
The Lenten Season The Lenten Season begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes with the Church's celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. Fast & Abstinence Regulations 1. Everyone 14 years of age or over is bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Friday's of Lent. 2. Everyone 18 years of age and under 59 years of age is bound to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. 3 On these two days of fast and abstinence, only one full meatless meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one's needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted on these two days, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices are allowed. When health or ability to work would be seriously affected, new law does not oblige. 4 To disregard completely the law of fast and abstinence is sinful. 5 Lent is the principal season of penance in the Christian year. All of the faithful are strongly urged to develop and follow a program of voluntary self-denial (in addition to following the Lenten regulations), serious prayer, and a performance of works of charity and mercy. Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is a day of universal fast and abstinence. During Mass, ashes are blessed and imposed after the homily. When distributed outside of Mass, a Liturgy of the Word is celebrated, the rite of blessing is performed and, after the imposition of ashes, the celebration concludes with the general intercessions, the Lord's Prayer and a hymn. Dinner & Dialogue with the Wheaton Franciscans Monday, February 26, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Our Lady of the Angels Convent 26 W. 171 Roosevelt Road, Wheaton The "Dinner..." will begin with a simple meal, followed by a prayer, engaging presentations, and then a table discussion. This session, Love Is All around: An Introduction to the Franciscan Theological Genius of John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) will touch on the topics of discovering grace, beauty and relationship in ourselves, in each other and in God. Cost $15 for this session or $40 for all four 2007 sessions. To register, please call the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creating Office at 630-874-2555, or email us at email@example.com. University of St. Francis Campus Visit Day Saturday, February 24, at 9:15 a.m. High school juniors and seniors are invited to take a look and experience USF. Complimentary breakfast at 9:15 a.m.; begins at 10 a.m. Information on all facets of the university including admissions, scholarships, financial aid, housing and extracurricular activities. A student panel with Saints Ambassadors and tours of campus are included. RSVP today by calling 800-735-7500 or online at www.stfrancis.edu/visitday. Elmhurst Catholic M.O.M.S. Group Elmhurst Catholic M.O.M.S. (Moms Offering Moms Support) is a social and spiritual organization that provides an opportunity for mothers of young children from Elmhurst Catholic parishes to meet other mothers. Bi-monthly meetings include one morning mother/child activity and an evening activity just for moms. There are no membership fees and everyone is welcome. M.O.M.S meets in Msgr. Plunkett Hall, lower level of the Immaculate Conception chapel, from 9:30 to 11:00 a. m. Bring the kids and join us on Thursday February 22 at 9:30 a.m. for our regular Thursday morning meeting. Looking forward to seeing everyone! Joliet Area Vocation Association The Joliet Area Vocation Association (JAVA) is sponsoring a Jeremiah Day for boys from the Joliet Diocese in grades 7, 8, 9 & 10 at Mundelein Seminary on Saturday, March 10. This is a day for boys to grow closer to God and to visit a seminary. Activities include a tour of Mundelein Seminary, talks about how God calls us, lunch, recreation time, open gym and Mass. It is hosted and lead by the Joliet Diocese seminarians at Mundelein Seminary. The day begins at 10:30 a.m., and ends with Mass at 4:30 p.m. For more information call the Joliet Vocation Office at 815-834-4004. JAVA is also sponsoring a Marian Day for girls from Joliet Diocese in grades 7, 8, 9 & 10. The girls are invited to spend a day at Loretto Convent in Wheaton and explore vocations in religious life. The day will include talking about how God calls each person , meeting sisters of different communities, lunch, and various activities. It will be held on Saturday, March 10, beginning at 10:00 a.m. including Mass at 4:00 p.m. at Loretto Convent in Wheaton. For more information call the Joliet Vocation Office at 815-834-4004 or Sr. Claire at 630-868-2904. Deadline for registration for both events is March 1. Stations of the Cross Friday, February 23, at 7:00 p.m. Stations of the Cross are being held in Church during the Friday's of Lent. Perhaps you and your family could make a special effort to attend this devotion. Parish News Mary Queen of Heaven Preschool registration continues! Please see our website at www.maryqueenpreschool.org and contact the parish office for more information and registration. Preschool tours scheduled on request. Christian Education Commission Religious Education News HELP!! We are in dire need of a 5th grade catechist at the 5:15 session. We are also in need of two assistant catechists at grade 6 and grade 7 at the 5:15 session. One of our catechists had to leave us because of health reasons, and another was called to duty in Iraq. The Gr. 5 session must be filled or we may have to cancel that class. Please call the REO for more information if you are interested. Please Mark Your Calendar: There is NO regular class on this Wednesday, February 21st. It is Ash Wednesday and we ask all families to bring their children to church for the distribution of ashes either at Noon or at 4:00 PM. Families are also welcome to attend Mass which will be celebrated with the distribution of ashes at 8:30 AM or 7:30 PM. Please make a point to attend one of the four services above to get your Lent off to the right start. For more info on any of the above, please call Mary Ann Woods at the REO, 832-8962. Diocesan News Second City Comedy Group Comes to Villa Park! Saturday, February 24, at 7:00 p.m. At Willowbrook High School, Villa Park (All proceeds benefit St. Alexander School, Villa Park) Performance: Truth, Justice or the American Way. Tickets are $30.00 and can be purchased at Anyways Restaurant, Aurelio's Pizza, Kopper Kitchen, Restaurant, McNally's Irish Pub, Mike's Market, Mr. Z. Supermarket, Pioneer Garden & Feed, or download an order form at www.stalexanderschool.org. This show contains mature subject matter; parental guidance is advised. Call 333-3524 for more information. Community News Fellowship Sunday Today Our monthly Fellowship will be held today in Barrett Hall after the 10:30 a.m. Mass. It is being sponsored by the Lectors. Everyone is cordially invited to join fellow parishioners for coffee, tea, juice, and goodies. Don't forget! We are looking forward to seeing you. MQH Council of Catholic Women "Woman of the Year" Nomination slips for "Woman of the Year" are in the pews. Please nominate a candidate and drop the slip in the box in the church vestibule. A list of candidates with a short biography to assist you in electing the "Woman of the Year" will appear in next week's bulletin and the election will take place the weekend of March 3-4. All parishioners, ages 18 and older, are invited to nominate a woman they feel leads a life of faith and love and who has given generously of her time and talent to the various ministries and organizations in our parish. To be eligible for the "Woman of the Year," nominees must be MQH parishioners, not on the Parish staff, over 18 years of age, and not have held the title in the last 10 years. The woman chosen will be invited to the 29th Annual "Woman of the Year" Mass and Luncheon at the Cathedral of St. Raymond and also honored at our "Ladies Night Out" dinner in June. MQH Help Opportunities For Parishioners Parishioners may submit ads to appear in the bulletin to MQHBulletin@aol.com for approval by the Pastoral Life Coordinator. No ads will be accepted for real estate or by those offering child care services (although those looking for child care providers may place an ad and screen candidates themselves). The parish accepts no responsibility for goods or services offered. The ads are a free service to parishioners. * Parish family is looking for a nanny. Need someone 4 days a week, Mon., Wed., Thur., Fri, 8:00 a.m.-5:00/5:30 p.m. or sometimes a little later. Two children-3-year old and 1-year old. .Must have own transportation to be able to take children to park district activities. Also, although it's not necessary, it would be a plus if the nanny was willing to travel with us a couple times a year. If interested contact Ken and Cathy Gillis, 630-782-5156 or firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Parish News Market Day Orders for February are due Monday, February 19, at noon. Turn in your order form in the box in the back of church or at the rectory. Pickup on Saturday, February 24, from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. in the Social Hall. If you have questions or would like to place an order, please call Maria at 279-2238 or Karen at 279-4108. Collection to Aid the Catholic Church In Central and Eastern Europe Ash Wednesday, February 21, 2007 Theme: "Love is the only light." Pope Benedict XVI writes, "Love is the light-and in the end, the only light-that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working." With a love that brings radiant light, Catholics in the U. S. help through the Collection to build parishes in Magadan, and may other distant, unknown places. Their generous donations support the seminaries, social service programs, youth ministry pastoral centers, church construction and renovation and the spreading of the gospel message through the mass media. Thank you for your generosity again this year. St. Charles Borromeo Grade School Now accepting Fall 2007 registrations for all grades: Full-day Kindergarten - 8th grade with After-school Day Care until 6:00 pm For more information, please call 630-766-0116. MQH Peace and Justice Committee (You CAN make a Difference) YOU are invited to meet with brothers and sisters from Burma, Sudan and Rwanda at St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn, located at 420 Glenwood Ave., from Noon until 3:00 p.m. on March 3, 2007. Share lunch, hear their stories, and learn ways to promote social justice with and for them. This "conversation" with representatives from some of those areas is an opportunity to begin to fulfill the promise of "never again" by: 1) becoming aware of what is happening; 2) learning ways to help change what is happening; and 3) learning ways to minister to those displaced and suffering in the aftermath of violence. RSVP: Joyce or Jen Ruhaak at the Peace and Social Justice Ministry, 815-834-4028. E-mail: joyceru@dioceseofJoliet.org. If you need a ride, please call Milt Honel (279-7086) or Mary Ann Reed (834-4840). EVALUATING PLANS FOR A RESPONSIBLE TRANSITION IN IRAQ (A Statement of the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) Encounter With God's Call March 24-26 Encounter With God's Call, held at Conception Seminary College, is a discernment retreat for young men age 16 and older who are considering the vocation to priesthood. This is an excellent opportunity to meet the seminarians as they share their stories of responding to God's call. This visit is free. For more information, please contact your Pastor or Fr. Burke Masters, the Joliet Diocese Vocation Director at 815-834- firstname.lastname@example.org or Conception Seminary College at 660-944- 2886/Email: email@example.com. Rachael's Vineyard Retreat For post-abortive men and women March 23-25, 2007 Rachel's Vineyard Retreat for is sponsored by the Joliet Diocesan Life Office and will be held at St. Charles Borromeo Pastoral Center. This retreat aims to allow participants to focus on God's unconditional love and forgiveness in a completely non-judgmental setting. Confidentiality and privacy will be strictly observed. To learn more about a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat or to register, contact Kay Corcoran at 815-838-7171. For more information and a list of retreats in other locations: www.rachelsvineyard.org or call the toll free national hotline at (1-877-HOPE-4ME). L.O.S.S. 10 Session Group The L.O.S.S. (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide) Program provides services to those who are grieving a death by suicide of a family member or close friend. Eight weekly sessions and 2 monthly follow-up meetings for those grieving the death of a loved one will be offered. Meetings are held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the: Offices of Catholic Charities (Diocese of Joliet) 26 West St. Charles Rd. Lombard, IL 60148 Mondays, March 19 thru May 7, June 4 and July 9 We need at least 10 people signed up to convene a group. Call 1-800-240-7011 to register or for additional information. The deadline to register is March 14. L.O.S.S. is a program provided by Catholic Charities. Diocese of Joliet "Out of Poverty" Starting Monday, February 26 For 10 consecutive Mondays, at 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Catholic Charities, 26 W St Charles Rd, in Lombard. Catholic Charities plans to hold an "Out Of Poverty" program in an effort to prevent homelessness and improve people's lives. "Out of Poverty" is a program of personal change which affirms that change is possible. By following a step-by-step process within a group context, participants take responsibility for their life and choices, commit to learn and practice new behavior, and finally share experiences and thus find a road to a more prosperous life. In letting go of unproductive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and replacing them with new ones, participants move towards a better quality of life. If you know of someone you think could benefit from this program, please encourage them to enroll by contacting Dennis Haffron (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Larry Cada (email@example.com) 630-495-8008.
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