“Being able to connect faith with academics makes the whole circle complete,” she added. “The kids are very aware of who Jesus is and what choices Jesus wants for us in life. I don’t ever have to worry about offending anyone if we talk about Jesus. That’s why I teach here…I honestly don’t know if I could work again in an environment where faith wasn’t included.”
Twenty-year-old Brendon Mezzetti is mastering the musical world at his fingertips and offering his growing talents to the liturgical service of the Catholic Church in Alaska. Mezzetti grew up performing in the Alaska Children’s’ Choir and local small theatrical venues. A Suzuki-trained pianist since age eight, his command at the keyboard was initially harnessed while participating in community theater as a pre-teen, where he was casually tasked with transcribing a 256-page score to accompany a stage production. He dove in, and has accumulated honors at every level.
On Nov. 10 the Bethel City Council unanimously passed dual ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with regards to city employees or outside groups contracting with the city. The move places sexual orientation and gender identity on the same protected legal status as race and religion. Bethel’s move comes just six weeks after Anchorage became the first city in Alaska to pass a sexual orientation non-discrimination law. The Anchorage law, however, is much broader in outlawing discrimination with regards to housing, public and private employment and public accommodations.
I write to you regarding the church’s ministry of ensuring safe environments. I share the hope and confidence of the present and I reiterate my sadness of the past. I am sorry for any harm that has been inflicted on God’s children and their families by clergy and those in leadership who failed to protect. In November, the movie Spotlight will be released which portrays the struggle that reporters of the Boston Globe faced when shedding light on the problem of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy and how some in church leadership failed to respond justly. It has been over 13 years since the Boston Globe broke this story and exposed, nationally, this evil that penetrated our church communities.
Spotlight is a movie about the Boston Globe’s 2002 investigative articles on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It is set for nationwide release on Nov. 20. The drama is directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy and features several notable actors and actresses including: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci and John Slattery.
“I’m a supporter of Planned Parenthood. I believe that the services that are provided for the tens of thousands of Alaskan men and woman, access to not only women’s health care but also access to men’s as well, access to screenings, access to affordable birth control, is an important service and I have supported that,” Sen. Murkowski said last month. “It’s always important to caveat that there are no federal dollars that Planned Parenthood receives that go toward abortions. That’s not the case. So I would like to see the services that men and women receive continue.”
The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance last month establishing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as classifications of prohibited discrimination in the Anchorage civil code. The move places sexual orientation and gender identity on the same legal level as race and religion.
Religious liberty advocates are deeply concerned that the new ordinance compels local churches, faith-based groups and business owners to violate deeply held beliefs by forcing them to hire employees who are openly living a homosexual and/or transgender lifestyle, while also forcing service companies and rental organizations to promote, serve and facilitate causes and events which violate their moral beliefs, especially in the area of sexuality.
For three weeks, Cardinals, archbishops, priests from around the world gathered in Rome to grapple with how Catholics can better reach out to families — inviting them to a fuller encounter with Christ and his church. While much of the global press focused on hot-button debates about whether to let divorced and civilly remarried couples return to Communion, or how the church can use different language in reference to gays and lesbians and those living together outside of marriage, the expressed purpose of the synod was to find ways to support the first cell of the church — the family.
I saw Pope Francis on the eventful day of Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C. and marveled at his determination to be fully present to us. Here was a man just three years older than me. He clearly suffered limitations of his mobility but never let that stop his ministry. It made me feel that my own little aches and pains of growing older are nothing in comparison with what he was experiencing. At times he seemed very weary but continued on courageously.
Alaska’s three-member congressional delegation expressed deep gratitude that Pope Francis took time out of his apostolic visit to the United States to become the first-ever pontiff to speak to both houses of Congress on Sept. 24 in Washington, D.C.
Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, both Catholic, attended the historic papal address in the House Chambers, along with Representative Don Young. Also in attendance were the president’s cabinet and members of the U.S. Supreme Court.