In more than 30 years of ministry in the Diocese, Sister Sara Kane and Sister Linda Nicholson moved from Catholic school classrooms to the principal’s office to diocesan leadership to pioneering new ministries.

Read more ...

People have been calling the Ministry Formation Institute and asking if the Introduction to CMFP course will be held this year, and the answer is YES!

Read more ...

The Lovers of the Holy Cross community of religious sisters, who have a presence in our Diocese, have offered their hands and hearts by sewing cloth masks!

Read more ...

COACHELLA—Parishioners of Our Lady of Soledad made the journey—literally—processing 1.3 miles from their old church on Oasis Palm Avenue to their brand new one on Cesar Chavez Street to celebrate its dedication on Dec. 7.

Read More

Day of Reflection at Yucaipa parish helps seniors confront aging and death

Read more ...

Diocese embracing team building program for parish staffs showcased at October conference 

Read more ...

Saint Jeanne's boosts morale by hosting a campus car parade for students and teachers to greet each other while adhering to social distancing guidelines

Read more ...

Our Lady of the Assumption School teacher Tish Godsy interacts with her class through Zoom

School News

With the closing of schools across the state and nation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, virtual learning has gone from an aspirational idea to the only game in town.

Beginning in mid- March, Catholic schools in the Diocese began closing their campuses as their corresponding public school districts did the same. On Apr. 2 Superintendent of Catholic Schools Sam Torres announced, in step with the directive from the State of California, that Catholic school campuses in the Diocese would be closed for the remainder of the academic year.

Read more ...

PERRIS—Perris Mayor Michael M. Vargas participated in a heartwarming event on February 12 when Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment out of Camp Pendleton paid a visit to St. James Catholic School in Perris.

Read more ...

Justice Matters
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

By Jeanette Arnquist

 I often ask myself who I would be in the Gospel narratives of the Nativity if I had lived in Bethlehem in the 1st Century, and if I would have recognized Jesus as something special if I had seen him.

I invite you to time travel back to his birth with me and open this question once again. (This column is supposed to be about social justice. So hang on, we will get there.)

 Before we go, I want you to forget the typical images on Christmas cards depicting the story of the birth of Jesus. In reality, there were no golden halos or nice clean, cute animals. 

 The world into which Jesus was born was divided into a very small number of very rich people, like King Herod and the Romans, and a very large number of very poor people. Most people lived in one room houses with dirt floors. They subsisted day to day. If they were Jews they probably followed the dietary rules and other purity codes. They worked hard, often in the fields or tending flocks. So let’s suppose that we join the group of shepherds.

 We may have noticed the couple taking refuge in the cave. The woman (well, really, a girl) was very pregnant and exhausted after walking 80 miles, a journey of four to eight days. The man was like most men, trying to be helpful, but no one could really help make a woman who is nine months pregnant comfortable in a strange situation. There were lots of people moving around for the census, so this would not have been the first time we had seen people camping in the cave.

 We would not have been surprised that she went into labor. We would have been surprised when our companion shepherds told us that they had had a vision of angels. What were they drinking? When they invited us to go with them to see the Messiah we were overcome with curiosity, so we went.

 What would we have seen? A couple -- just like people in our own families. Poor. Too poor to afford a room. Birth is bloody and there would have been blood around because most women don’t have the energy to clean it up right after giving birth. And remember – blood is unclean – so probably there wasn’t a lot of help available. Perhaps there would have been a midwife there to help.

 A baby boy – just like so many – wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in the manger. Would we be thinking “There is the Messiah?” 

 Let’s suppose that somehow the message got through our thick heads and hard hearts. Let’s suppose that somehow we saw the outpouring, overflowing love that God showered on this family. Let’s suppose that we recognized the inherent dignity possessed by this little baby. Let us suppose that we realized we were in the presence of something very holy and very sacred. 

 So what does this have to do with social justice?

 We recognized the presence of God in a very unlikely situation. We recognized the human dignity in this very undignified situation. We began to understand that the free, undeserved gift God sends each and every one of us is our human dignity. And when we learn to accept this in ourselves and in all of our brothers and sisters, then we understand the underlying principle upon which all of Catholic Social Teaching is built, “Respect for the Life and Dignity of the Human Person.”

 If we can recognize the dignity in Mary in her most unpresentable moment, in Joseph, motivated to hang in there by a dream, and in the naked, newborn baby Jesus, then we can recognize it in the migrant, the homeless person, the children starving in Yemen as well as in the rich and famous people we will never meet in person. If our love for each of these children of God motivates us to compassionate action, then we are not far from the Kingdom of God.


 Jeanette Arnquist is a former Director of the Department of Life, Dignity and Justice for the Diocese. She is reitred and living in Tuscon, Arizona where she remains active in social concerns ministries.

I invite you to time travel back to his birth with me and open this question once again. (This column is supposed to be about social justice. So hang on, we will get there.)

 Before we go, I want you to forget the typical images on Christmas cards depicting the story of the birth of Jesus. In reality, there were no golden halos or nice clean, cute animals. 

 The world into which Jesus was born was divided into a very small number of very rich people, like King Herod and the Romans, and a very large number of very poor people. Most people lived in one room houses with dirt floors. They subsisted day to day. If they were Jews they probably followed the dietary rules and other purity codes. They worked hard, often in the fields or tending flocks. So let’s suppose that we join the group of shepherds.

 We may have noticed the couple taking refuge in the cave. The woman (well, really, a girl) was very pregnant and exhausted after walking 80 miles, a journey of four to eight days. The man was like most men, trying to be helpful, but no one could really help make a woman who is nine months pregnant comfortable in a strange situation. There were lots of people moving around for the census, so this would not have been the first time we had seen people camping in the cave.

 We would not have been surprised that she went into labor. We would have been surprised when our companion shepherds told us that they had had a vision of angels. What were they drinking? When they invited us to go with them to see the Messiah we were overcome with curiosity, so we went.

 What would we have seen? A couple -- just like people in our own families. Poor. Too poor to afford a room. Birth is bloody and there would have been blood around because most women don’t have the energy to clean it up right after giving birth. And remember – blood is unclean – so probably there wasn’t a lot of help available. Perhaps there would have been a midwife there to help.

 A baby boy – just like so many – wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in the manger. Would we be thinking “There is the Messiah?” 

 Let’s suppose that somehow the message got through our thick heads and hard hearts. Let’s suppose that somehow we saw the outpouring, overflowing love that God showered on this family. Let’s suppose that we recognized the inherent dignity possessed by this little baby. Let us suppose that we realized we were in the presence of something very holy and very sacred. 

 So what does this have to do with social justice?

 We recognized the presence of God in a very unlikely situation. We recognized the human dignity in this very undignified situation. We began to understand that the free, undeserved gift God sends each and every one of us is our human dignity. And when we learn to accept this in ourselves and in all of our brothers and sisters, then we understand the underlying principle upon which all of Catholic Social Teaching is built, “Respect for the Life and Dignity of the Human Person.”

 If we can recognize the dignity in Mary in her most unpresentable moment, in Joseph, motivated to hang in there by a dream, and in the naked, newborn baby Jesus, then we can recognize it in the migrant, the homeless person, the children starving in Yemen as well as in the rich and famous people we will never meet in person. If our love for each of these children of God motivates us to compassionate action, then we are not far from the Kingdom of God.


 Jeanette Arnquist is a former Director of the Department of Life, Dignity and Justice for the Diocese. She is reitred and living in Tuscon, Arizona where she remains active in social concerns ministries.