Five Representatives from the Institute of Pastoral Studies traveled to Arizona in early February, Drs. timone davis, Nat Samuel, Mike Canaris, and Peter Jones, joined later by Mariana Miller, to attend two conferences and visit the U.S./Mexico border in Nogales.
Dr. Samuel served as the President of the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry and presided over his final annual AGPIM conference at the Redemptorist Retreat Center in Tuscon, Arizona on February 6 through 8, at that meeting handing over leadership to incoming president Ted Whapham from the Neuhoff School of Ministry, University of Dallas. The AGPIM meeting was well attended and very productive. This is the 15th anniversary of a landmark pastoral letter from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Co-Workers in the Vineyard. That document builds on the Second Vatican Council and attempts to formalize the development of lay leaders in the U.S. Catholic Church. The AGPIM group was joined by representatives of the USCCB and they discussed the rise of private lay-run groups (like “Evangelical Catholic”), the inconsistent way that Co-Workers has been received and acted upon across the U.S., and the need to rewrite and reissue the document based on what has been learned in the last 15 years and in light of the changing context of ministry in the United States. There are plans for the group to develop a volume addressing these and other issues, with our own Nat Samuel and Mike Canaris serving as co-editors along with Jakob Karl Rinderknecht, director of The Pastoral Institute at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio..
Among the groups comprising the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) is a group of schools offering Pastoral, Theological and Ministerial Education. The IPS Assistant Dean of Continuing Education, Mariana Miller, is the past-chair of this group and joined the team in Arizona. This AJCU group met at the same location on Feb 9 and representatives from IPS, Loyola New Orleans, Fordham, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, Seattle University, and more were in attendance. Following a morning meeting, the group traveled to the U.S./Mexico border town of Nogales for an encounter with migrants, refugees, and others seeking asylum in the United States along with those who serve them. The Kino Border Initiative was formed by a partnership among several groups, including the Jesuits, Diocese of Tuscon, Jesuit Refugee Service, and others. Fr. Sean Carroll, SJ., the Executive Director, held a mass in the small building that serves as the first aid clinic, dining area, liturgical space, and a host of other things. Fr. Carroll wrote an op-ed on recent developments and it was published in the Arizona Republic the day of the visit: “Women are raped, children are traumatized because of Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy.”
The AJCU group walked to the Mexican side of the border with Sr. Tracey Horan, who works with the Kino Initiative. She led our tour of sections of the border fence, introduced us to asylum seekers waiting at the fence, and described to us their mission for visitors to the area: HAC = Humanize, Accompany, Complicate. She was true to that mission. The group participated in mass, toured a brand new building that will exponentially impact the services Kino can offer, and talked with Fr. Sean about the work they’re doing and to learn more about the border. The trip was an existentially challenging one for all.
Mike Canaris wrote about the trip, including more historical notes that we’re sure you’ll find very interesting, and this was published as his weekly column in the Catholic Star Herald: The Legacy Father Eusebio Francisco Kino.