Gulf Pine Catholic

Volume 37 No. 5 November 1, 2019 Catholic A Mississippi na- tive and longtime resident, Sister Mar- tha Milner, died Sun- day, October 20, in St. Louis, Missouri. A Sister of Mercy for 57 years, she would have been 75 years old on Monday, October 21. Born in Hatties- burg, Sister Martha described herself as a “tough old broad of German and Scotch- Irish descent.” She was the daughter of two native Mississippians: Walter Denny Milner, an accountant, and Mary Joachim Milner, a professional dancer. Sister Martha was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Mary Ann. Survivors include her brother, Joe, and his wife, Larissa, and many dear friends, es- pecially Lee Esculano. Sister Martha’s ministries focused on music, edu- cation and social justice, as a teacher, band and choral director, artist, grant writer and community organizer. Known for her energy and drive to “fight the good fight,” Sister Martha had a deeply compassionate heart for those who are overlooked and economically disadvantaged. But any hint of racism or misogyny would bring out her fierceness. Among her ministries, she taught at St. John School in Biloxi and was a choral director and teacher at Mercy High School in St. Louis, then band director and language arts teacher at St. Aloysius High School in Vicksburg, and she served as band director at Sa- cred Heart High School in Biloxi from 1975 to 1981. After earning a master’s degree in music at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., she taught music at St. Alphonsus Elementary School in New Orleans for a year. In addition, Sister Martha designed the music curriculum for Mercy-sponsored Alpha Boys School (now Alpha Institute) in Kingston, Jamaica, and con- tinued to evaluate and support the program, visiting the school as often as possible. SEE SISTER MARTHA’S OBIT, PAGE 8 Sister Martha Milner, RSM Sister Martha Milner, RSM Synod document: New ministries can serve evangelization in Amazon Pope Francis attends the final session of the Synod of Bishops for theAmazon at the Vatican Oct. 26, 2019. Also pictured are Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary- general of the Synod of Bishops, and Cardinal Claudio Hummes, relator general of the synod. CNS photo/Paul Haring BY JUNNO AROCHO ESTEVES Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To proclaim the Gospel message of hope, the Catholic Church in the Amazon must open new paths of evangelization in the region, including by instituting new ministries for lay men and women, the Synod of Bishops said. The final document of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon looked at ways the church can increase its min- istry in the region, including by ordaining married men. But at the heart of the document was the need to bring the good news to the Amazon, a mission that includes safeguarding the indigenous people, cultures and land that are under constant threat of annihilation. “The Amazon rainforest is a ‘biological heart’ for the increasingly threatened earth,” said the final document, released Oct. 26 after synod members voted on it. The Amazon, members said, is on “a rampant race to death. It is scientifically proven that the disappearance of the Amazon biome will have a catastrophic impact on the planet as a whole!” The synod brought together 185 voting members -- cardinals, bishops, 20 priests and one religious brother -- and 80 experts and observers to discuss “new paths for the church and for an integral ecology.” All 120 paragraphs in the final document garnered the necessary two-thirds approval needed for passage. The Vatican said 181 synod members were present, so each paragraph needed 120 votes to pass. The focus of the synod’s final document was the call for the church to further its mission in proclaiming the Good News by uniting itself more to the people of the Amazon who, for decades, have suffered the con- sequences of humankind’s greed. At the synod, “We discovered that the mighty waters of the Spirit, similar to those of the Amazon River, which periodically overflow, lead us to this overflowing life that God offers us to share in the announcement” of the Gospel,” the document said. The document underscores the crucial role of Amazonian ecosystems in regulating the global cli- mate and as an important source of fresh water that “connects ecosystems, cultures and the development of the territory.” The Amazon faces environmental threats that make it “a wounded and deformed beauty, a place of suffer- ing and violence,” the bishops wrote. Violence against nature, in the form of rampant extraction of resources, unsustainable development and climate change, also have “serious social consequences.” To bring greater awareness and responsibility to the universal church, the synod document proposed a defini- tion of ecological sin as an act of commission or omis- sion against God, against one’s neighbor, the community and the environment.” The document also proposed the creation of “special ministries for the care of our ‘common home’” that would promote ways of caring for the environment “at the parish level.” The synod called on all Christians to show their awareness of the value of God’s creation by countering the current “culture of excessive consumption” through recycling, reducing their use of fossil fuels and plastic, as well as by reducing their consumption of meat and fish. In proposing new pathways of ecological conversion, synod members stressed the importance of integral ecol- ogy, in which safeguarding nature and ensuring justice for “the most impoverished and disadvantaged on earth” are “intrinsically united.” SEE SYNOD FINAL DOCUMENT, PAGE 19