The Feast of the Annunciation marked by the Catholic Church falls not long after the vernal equinox, in time for the arrival of new spring growth. It commemorates the biblical story of when a young, unmarried virgin living in poverty, Mary, found herself “greatly troubled by the words” pronounced by an angel. She’d been divinely selected for an “immaculate” conception, with assurance she’d give birth to the masculine incarnation of a paternal, all-powerful God. On this year’s Day of Annunciation, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ formal words of encouragement for Christian community members, a far-ranging document “crowned” by a renewed declaration that Mary, “blessed above all other saints,” be the one Christians turn to for both solace and guidance. She was, said Pope Francis, penultimate in her ability to embody, live and extend the teachings of Jesus.
If you haven’t gone out to look at the Rio Grande, no matter where along its banks you live, now’s the time. The snowmelt is pouring down the channel, causing the river to overbank in lots of places throughout the Middle Rio Grande Valley. In southern New Mexico, the normally dry channel is also running as water managers are moving water from reservoirs to southern New Mexico fields and orchards and to Texas. Speaking of snowmelt, March was an exceptionally warm month in New Mexico. According to the National Weather Service, 143 record-high temperatures were broken across 34 weather stations on 15 days.
[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]CHRIS S. SALAS is a New Mexico Catholic from Albuquerque[/box]
Catholics in New Mexico have long worked to alleviate the suffering of marginalized communities from the effects of poverty and injustice in our state and across the world. Clergy are often advocates for those most vulnerable to inequalities in a society, and people of our faith have always played an integral role in movements for racial justice, worker’s rights, immigrants’ rights and more. Though New Mexicans are facing many obstacles, our challenges are not insurmountable. With the leadership of communities of faith, we can together lift up our families. Catholics in New Mexico have worked for generations to link our faith values to our communities, so I was excited to see the recent appointment of Archbishop John C. Wester, who has a history of being a champion for poor and immigrant communities.
Pope Francis selected John C. Wester as the next Archbishop for the diocese of Santa Fe. Wester was recently the bishop of Salt Lake City. He will replace Archbishop Michael Sheehan, who has to retire after turning 75, in June. In a press conference, Sheehan said, according to the Albuquerque Journal::This appointment was a Pope-Francis kind of appointment, representing the values that the pope himself has,” Sheehan said of Wester. “There were choices.