Pastoral Messages from Fr. Rick – 9/11/22

REALLY SPECIAL Collection this Weekend for the Retired Priests of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.  The BIG one.  Of course, our special collections are always big and go to some of the most vulnerable people in the world.  Next weekend is a time when we say a particularly big THANK YOU to all those retired priests who have committed their lives and ministries to the Diocese of Salt Lake.  There is no ‘Old Priests’ Home’ where the elderly and infirm retire to in Utah.  We usually find a rectory where there is extra room and where we can make some contribution even as we slip and slide to heaven.  Often priests can draw on family or others to help put together some type of livable arrangement, but the Priests’ Mutual Benefit Society (Utah Diocese retirement plan) provides a big cushion for an often-extended period of life.  (Your local resident priest has tumbled into a particularly amenable garden spot, at least while he is still ambulatory and somewhat lucid).  So please be your usual generous selves and bless the ‘ol Padrecitos with your donations next week.

Hospitality is Ministry:  Remember that we are a ‘Hospitality Parish’ with a major outreach to our many visitors. It would be great to have a couple more ‘teams of two’ participate in this ministry so that each team could serve once every four to six weeks.  Please sign up in the gathering space to help host our Sunday morning Coffee and Muffin gathering.  THANKS

Your Local and Global Church at Work

Resettling the Ukrainian and Afghan Refugees:  See how you can help locally (Utah).   Catholic Community Services of Utah

World Hunger and Disaster Relief:  Catholic Relief Services can help us make a meaningful response throughout the world.

Homily Reflection:  The big message this weekend is the ultimate GOOD NEWS:  We have a merciful God that is not only willing to forgive us and allow us back into the flock, but that He is enthusiastically seeking us out to find us and bring us back.  Like a good shepherd who will leave the flock of 99 to seek out the one lost sheep, He is personally seeking us out to welcome us back.

The big variable might be the NINETY-NINE.  Will the 99 actually be there when the shepherd returns and how easily will they accept the lost sheep.  WHO ARE THE ‘99’ IN OUR COMMUNITIES?  WHO IS READY TO BE GOD’S LOVING PRESENCE WHEN THE STRAYS AND LOST RETURN?

From the Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Life, Justice and Peace

The Utah Department of Transportation announced that their preferred alternative to handle traffic congestion in Little Cottonwood Canyon was a $500 million gondola. That is $500 MILLION to provide an easier ride for people who can afford to ski to get to the resorts. $500 million of state taxpayer money to benefit the few and resolve a problem that really only exists for a few days each winter.

Catholic teaching holds that public policy decisions should be gauged by how they impact the most vulnerable in our communities. In Utah, just about every county is facing a housing crisis. Rural communities are struggling to maintain agricultural production that feeds all of us. Despite the Utah legislature’s best efforts, the fossil fuels industries are discovering growing resistance to continued degradation of our air and environment.  In other words, there are a host of issues in Utah that could use $500 million to ensure the most vulnerable have access to basic needs, such as housing, food, employment and utilities. 

Instead, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment notes, “the state proposes a public subsidy of two ski resorts, coming at a time where the future of the skiing industry is at serious risk due to climate related warmer winters and diminishing snow pack. The congestion is only a problem for 15-20 days a year, and as the skiing season will undoubtedly continue to contract in the future, the problem will become even less frequent. A gondola does little to reduce canyon traffic generated by non-skiers, and it will only push the congestion further down into Cottonwood Heights.

The 262 ft towers would be a permanent blight on the beautiful, natural scenery that is the canyon’s greatest, and irreplaceable public asset. The blasting, digging, and construction of the gondola will almost certainly contaminate the water in the stream.” 

There are so many better things, with real benefits to the public, that half a billion dollars of taxpayer money could do. Thankfully, we have a short window to make our voices heard.  UDOT has opened a public comment period now through Oct. 17. Please submit a comment demanding that the gondola be abandoned and that the state prioritize the needs of people who are struggling.

We urge you to go to UDOT’s website and voice your opposition to the gondola boondoggle