1AZ Legislative Updates
The past week saw legislative action on a number of important pieces of legislation with committee hearings often lasting well into the evening.
Perhaps one of the most important bills to have a hearing this week is an effort (HB 2575) to allow clergy to visit patients who are in end-of-life situations in hospitals. During the pandemic too many people have sadly died alone and without the opportunity to receive a visit from clergy. Thankfully, the House Health and Human Services Committee, following testimony from the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC), voted 8-1 to advance this measure which should get to the floor soon.
A major school choice bill (SB 1452) was also approved by the Senate earlier this week. SB 1452 would extend the existing Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program by targeting low-income students for eligibility. Additionally, this measure would help students in private high schools by allowing them to combine ESA scholarships with tax credit scholarships as long as it does not exceed the cost of going to a public school.
With regard to vulnerable populations, three virtually identical bills (SB 1420, HB 2685, and HB 2458) each passed out of their assigned committees with overwhelming support. These bills would require that state and local governments accept consular identification cards from non-citizens for purposes of identification as long as the foreign government uses biometric identity verification techniques. These cards cannot be used for purposes of voting, but they are valuable for police to accurately identify with whom they are interacting and for use in obtaining basic utilities. If ultimately passed, Arizona would become the 49th state to accept their usage.
To stay up to date on these measures, and other bills of importance to the Catholic Church in Arizona, please be sure that you sign up to receive these updates at azcatholicconference.org.
2Obituary for Fr. Michael Vigil
Rev. Michael A Vigil of Santa Fe passed away on February 2, 2021. Fr. Vigil was born in Santa Fe on July 18, 1956, to Mike A. and Lucy R. Vigil of Santa Fe.
Fr. Vigil achieved academic success throughout his life. He graduated class valedictorian from St. Katherine’s Indian High School in 1975. He attended seminary at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH, and was ordained a priest on May 18, 1985. Fr. Vigil was first assigned as Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph’s Parish, Winslow, AZ from 1985 to 1987. He then served as Parochial Vicar at St. Mary’s Parish in Bloomfield, NM (1987-1988). From 1988-1990 he served as school chaplain at St. Michael’s School, St. Michael’s, AZ. From 1989-1999 Fr. Michael served as an Army Reserve Chaplain. He then served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Winslow, AZ. from 1990-1999.
Fr. Vigil completed studies in 2001 at the Catholic University of America, achieving a Licentiate/Master’s Degree of Canon Law. Fr. Vigil then served in the Tribunal Office as Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Gallup. In 2006 he was assigned as Pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Farmington, NM where he served until 2012. He served as Pastor for both San Rafael Church in San Rafael, NM and St. Vivian Church in Milan, NM from January 2013 to November 2015. From December 2015 until death, he was assigned to residence in Gallup, NM with special assignments locally and for recovery from medical conditions.
Fr. Vigil was preceded in death by his mother, Lucy R. Vigil (1993), father, Mike A. Vigil (2020), and nephew Lee Aaron Kash (2019). He is survived by sisters Suzanne Kash of Santa Fe, Kathy Livermore (Dale) of Espanola, Carolyn Vigil of Anchorage, AK, Lucy Jo Vigil of MD, brothers James Vigil of Alb., Frank Vigil of Pecos, John Vigil of Chimayo, Stephen Vigil (Christine) of Santa Fe, an 27 nephews, nieces, grandnephews, and nieces. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Fr. Michael A. Vigil’s name to the American Heart Association.
3Obituary for Sr. Dianna Ortiz
Sister Dianna Ortiz, 62, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph for 43 years, died Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Washington, D.C., after a brave battle with cancer. She was raised in Grants, N.M. Sister Dianna called on God to help her survive a traumatic event in her life to become an advocate for torture victims worldwide.
She taught at Immaculate Conception School, Hawesville, Ky., (1983-85) and Blessed Mother School, Owensboro, Ky. (1985-87) before doing mission work with Mayan children in Guatemala. While there in 1989 she was abducted by government forces and tortured. After much prayer and counseling, she became a grassroots organizer for the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission in Washington, D.C. (1994-2000). In 1998, she founded the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) International in Washington, to advocate for the abolition of torture and to support its victims. Her book, “The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth,” was published in 2002. She testified before Congress concerning human rights and torture and received numerous honors for her work from peace and victims advocate organizations.
She served as deputy director of Pax Christi USA in Washington from 2010-2012. She served with the Center of Concern on its Education for Justice Project in Washington from 2012-18. In 2020, she returned to Pax Christi USA as deputy director, where she was serving at the time of her death.
Survivors include the members of her religious community; her mother Amby Ortiz of Grants; sisters Barbara Murrietta of Grants and Michelle Salazar of San Mateo, N.M.; brothers Ronald Ortiz, Pilar Ortiz Jr., John Ortiz and Joshua Ortiz, all of Grants; nieces and nephews.
Donations in honor of Sister Dianna may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356.
May she rest in peace.
4Bishop Wall on Relevant Radio
Are you still struggling with figuring out what to do for Lent? On his monthly guest appearance on Relevant Radio, Bishop Wall gives some practical advice for preparing a penitential mindset.
The Friday news roundup presents a quick overview of Catholic stories and events from around the Diocese of Gallup, United States, and world. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email [email protected], call 505-863-4406 or mail us at PO Box 1338, Gallup NM 87305.