New Year, New Possibilities

Well 2017 is off to quite a start – for better or for worse depending on your political leanings. While I can control nothing in the world of politics, I can do my part in making our world a better place and I believe all of us do that by our involvement in CITI Ministries. I think perhaps my biggest issue with CITI is that we are so isolated from one another. Too often I become disillusioned because I do not see results on a day to day basis. I become disenchanted and feel as though I have a job of running a referral service but not really a ministry of touching lives. Sifting through emails, printing out certificates, data entry, paying bills, producing agendas for our board meetings are tasks which are necessary and vital to the life of this organization. The problem is that I tend to lose sight of what our ministry is accomplishing. It is only when I have contact with you that I am reminded of how important this work is.

This past week I was responding to one of our members’ requests so I gave him a call. It turns out that he has had an awful year. His name is Lenny Scezney and he struggled through four rounds of chemo and is now in remission, getting back on his feet. Len only had one wedding this year so he is in need of advertisement help to gain supplemental income. He is a therapist and works with many clients who are out on the margins. Lenny responded to a call from a local church community to help with issues stemming from segregation policies. He ministers to street gang members. I hung up the phone flabbergasted! Damn, we’re doing some good work here! I was humbled and reminded that CITI is not about me. It is about our ministry to others. If I can assist you in that ministry by working on the administrative end then that, in itself, is a ministry. Now intellectually I have known that all along, but my make-up requires that I be personally connected to people. I do hope that I can meet more of you this year and I pray that CITI can grow together as its own community. With that in mind, the Board will begin making its calls this month as we reach out to each of you to learn more about your ministry and to listen to what your needs are regarding CITI Ministries. I plan to send Lenny’s more detailed story in a Spotlight attachment next month. Louise had already provided me with an article which needs to be seen by all of you this month. Please be sure to read the second document that I attached.

CITI Dialogue Update:
On Friday evening February 3 several CITI Board members participated in a telecon with CORPUS and other organizations interested in working towards a married priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. While many topics were discussed, the immediate call is for us to contact our bishops in response to the positive movement being led by the Brazilian bishops. https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/brazil-may-soon-have-married-priests-says-leonardo-boff
It was suggested that each leader of their respective organizations ask their members who are willing to write a brief letter to their local bishop. The following is a paragraph written by one of the telecom participants: It should be very personal, not a form letter, giving an example (s) that show how important their parish community and their Catholic faith is to them. They should express their idea that married men of good character and proven family life, may also have a vocation to the priesthood. This may be the answer to the past 50 years of prayer for an increase of vocations to the priesthood. Meanwhile, instead of closing parishes, in cases of need and emergency, bishops should consider vetting and recalling priests who have married. Canon law already provides for this. Why don’t the Bishops use what they already have at their disposal? Pope Francis has expressed his willingness to allow this. But he is waiting for the local bishops’ conference to request this. Why are the US bishops waiting? Perhaps you, as CITI Ministries priests, can weigh in.

ICCC Conference – Cherry Hill, NJ
I am inviting each of you to consider attending the annual ICCC Conference this year, especially those members living on the East Coast. The location is in Cherry Hill, NJ. CITI Ministries will have a separate gathering during that week so we can get to know one another better. The ICCC Conference runs from Monday July17 through Thursday, July 20th. The good news is it does not involve the weekend so it won’t interfere with wedding season. The bad news is that many of you still work day jobs so it may be difficult to get time off. You may attend all or part of the meeting. I do hope you will join us! Here is a link to the ICCC Conference page. http://www.icccnow.org/annual-conference/

Renewal Time – (Should be over!)
The renewal forms for 2017 were emailed in November. We are still waiting to hear back from 20 members. Please call or email if you need to discuss payment plans or if you are choosing not to renew. The transition to Paypal as our credit card payment plan has been successful and is a great financial benefit to CITI. This system does not allow us privileges to enter credit card information from our members so if you choose to pay by credit please go to our website, click “Donate” and follow the prompts. Please remember to send in the renewal form either by mail, email or fax (301) 464-5691.

Thank you again for all of the work you do in ministry.
The CITI Ministries Board of Directors thanks you for your prayers and support!
Judy Lorenz, President Donna Podobinski, Director
Patrick Journet, Vice-President Mallory Schmitt, Director
Donald Horrigan, Secretary/Clerk/Treasurer David Lorenz, Director
Charlie Schmitt, Chairman Frank McGrath, Director Emeritus
Tom Brooks, Director William Podobinski, Director Emeritus

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