Newsletter, February 23, 2015

From: American Catholic Council <>
Subject: ACC Newsletter as Lent begins
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   American Catholic Council
    Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II 
               Lenten Resolutions    
NEWSLETTER             February 23, 2015
Eye on Francis
   IEC logo
IEC 2015 Gathering
June 26-28   St. Paul, MN
Janet Hauter will be presenting!



COR targets the Synod

 Have you visited theOur Catholic Familywebsite yet?


ACC is one of the groups working on a menu of strategies relating to the upcoming Synod on the Family in Rome in the fall.

Here are some actions that are outlined for you:

1)  Sign the Open Letter to the Vatican and all U.S. bishops, asking them to “widen the circle” of diversity at the Synod

2)  Review the list of suggested candidates to participate in the Synod. Is there someone else you want to suggest?  Let us know!

3)  Hold a Listening Session in your home, parish hall, community room or wherever!  Everything you need to have a spirited and fruitful discussion, with the assurance that your thoughts will be sent to the Vatican, is right here!

4)  Contact your local bishop and let him know what you expect from the Synod.  Ideas on how to do this are provided.


Soon, we will be adding more ideas and actions:  additional methods of telling “your story” and prayer vigil outlines.


Update on ACC plans for a walk in Philly
At the ACC planning meeting last November, we dreamed of creating an “action” to counterpoise the World Meeting of Families’ deliberate exclusion of marginalized Catholics.  
Since then, we have seen that most COR groups will be doing something similar – and we will all work together on a vigil and action event that will highlight the many who will not be included in the Vatican discussions at both the WMF and the Synod on the Family.
These plans are in development and we will keep you updated.
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“Nor do I believe that the papal magisterium should be expected to offer a definitive or complete word on every question which affects the Church and the world. It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound “decentralization.”
Pope Francis(EG#16))
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This is the year! The potential of 2015 is forcing me to think about expectations.  Why do I see this as a profound year for radical change and transformation?  It’s partly because of who Francis is but more, it is about what Francis DOES!  He shows his humanity and his Servant Leadership role consistently in every word and action.  His priority is the poor, where he demonstrates his support for in every way once he understands the need.  Among his many remarkable acts was to install showers on Vatican grounds for the homeless!  His words are all about mercy and love and he has chastised the bishops for their lack of both in interacting with the people.


What if we focused on Lent as that incredible moment in our own history to discern what it personally means to be Catholic and how to take faith out of our heads and into our hands and feet to be the Body of Christ?


Lent could be a celebration if we chose that route as a transformative process where we come to grips with the notion that being Catholic, we are called to act much like Francis is doing now.  Begin now.  Let’s get things done that require all of us to move key projects along to influence the Synod Fathers who meet this October to dialogue, discover, and discern the Spirit for guidance to better understand the contemporary pastoral needs of families.


So here’s the challenge!  Let’s work together to make things happen.   Radical disciples sets goals, timelines and focus on a collaborative, stated outcome.  I have taken the reform projects that ACC is collaborating with on to help you know where to focus your Lenten energies in February.  The only way reform can begin to take root is if we all take ownership of these causes and ACT!  Here are the projects:


Requesting representatives of all types of families to be present at the October Synod so that bishops gain a more broader picture of reality ACC will add a minimum of 150 new signatures this month to the Open Letter on Deadline:  March 3 Synod bishops will have a better opportunity to make decisions based on contemporary reality!
Develop or attend a listening session in your parish, IEC, small Christian community, bible study or ministry you are involved in. ACC will have 50 new listening sessions Data reported by March 31 We will gain a lived experience perspective of family life in contemporary society for the Synod Fathers.
Ask for an appointment with your bishop!  They don’t bite. All resources are ready for you. ACC will report on 25 such meetings March 1 to September 1 Personal contact with decision makers is always a good thing! Francis asked us to establish a relationship with them!


Keep us informed of your progress!

Janet Hauter at ACC Strategy Meeting

With Lenten determination,

Janet Hauter, National Chair, ACC


Forward to a Friend

 Prayer for Lent 
Gracious God,
Bless this season of Lent,

this space, this pause, this time of renewal.

Send us the grace of mindfulness to our inner                                                               struggles

        And to those of the marginalized of our world.

Send us the gift of discernment for our                                                                spiritual growth

        And for growth of peace and justice in our world.

Send us the strength to carry out our resolutions

        And to tackle significant issues in our world.

Be with us as we journey from ashes to empty tomb,

                Opening our hearts with your mercy,

                Opening our minds with your wisdom,

 Opening our hands with your generosity,

                Opening our spirit to your Spirit

So that we will live these forty days in union with

the passion of your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

Pope Francis

An      on 

We continue with our feature from
Reyanna Rice, Board member of Concerned Catholics of Montana and ACC supporter.  She is actively following and analyzing Pope Francis’ statements and actions and will offer a reflection each month to inspire us to integrate reform into our own lives and communities.


What is the Pope doing for Lent?

It would be hard for me to say what exact thing Papa Francesco is doing for Lent.  He loves mate’, the Argentine green tea on steroid he drinks first thing every morning, so maybe he is giving that up for Lent.  Or maybe he is giving up his favorite desert dulce de leche, a sweet caramel based pudding that he had to teach the cooks at Casa Santa Marta how to make.  Or maybe he is doing away with his late afternoon cappuccino he supposedly indulges in at the end of his day.  I don’t think it is any of these.   Would he be giving things up or would he be doing more?  His recent homilies at Santa Marta give me some clues. 

On Friday, February 20, he had this to say and I quote a Vatican Radio report of his words:

“Jesus wants from us a fasting that breaks the evil chains, frees those who are oppressed, clothes those who are naked and carries out justice. This, he explained, is a true fasting, a fasting which is not just an outward appearance or observance but a fasting which comes from the heart.”

This quote is probably more what is inspiring his Lent.  It is what always makes him tick,  And if I wanted to see how he goes about doing this…and remember that he says almost more with his actions than with his words….I wouldn’t have to go any further than an event that took place Sunday, February 8.  He was on his way to say Mass in an outlying parish in Rome, out in one of the poorer sections.  On the way there, he tapped his driver on the shoulder to stop the blue Ford Focus.  They were at the gates of a shanty town.  He had his guards stay back a bit and he walked through the gate into what looked like a courtyard surrounded by a bunch of chicken coops.  But there were no chickens in these coops, just a whole bunch of homeless people.  As the people became aware of his presence, they came running.  At one point he was surrounded by people, 5 layers deep.  His guards were nervously pacing at the back of this crowd.  He was not concerned a bit that these folks were holding onto his hand, his arms, his cassock, little kids and women clinging to him.  He was with people who needed him, needed his words of comfort, as he admired and kissed their babies and kids. He found out they all were from South America so he next prayed with them in Spanish, just an Our Father but it was something to give them a bit of hope. He was at one of those peripheries he talks about often.  He was doing what he loved best to do while he was in Argentina, walk the barrios and be with people.

What does this say to us in our Lenten journeys?   For me what I really need to do more than anything is to get out of my comfort zone, go out to those peripheries wherever they are around me.  I should not be afraid when I do so, just go freely where my gut tells me someone needs a word of comfort a hand to hang onto or a warm meal.  Ask yourself: “Where do I feel the most uncomfortable in my relationships with people?”.  That is a “periphery” existing in your life where you are afraid to venture.  Sometimes those peripheries are right there in our own families, sometimes it is more concrete like serving in a soup kitchen a day a week, a periphery you maybe would never have imagined yourself going out to.  And when you do head out to the peripheries, do like Papa Francesco, leave the guards behind and freely walk into it.  If you want to see Papa Francesco in action, clickhere.


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