Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Reminder: R-1 Visa

As we shared with you last week, an important law that allows religious brothers, sisters and lay workers to become permanent residents expires on September 30 unless Congress acts.

If you wish to do something about this and you have not done so yet, click here to return to last week's post containing information about how to urge your elected officials to act on this.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why Are So Many Mexican Priests Being Killed?

Mexico, a country whose population is 81% Catholic, has seen its third murder of a Catholic priest in a week.  Further, since 1990, 52 priests have been killed in Mexico -- 40 of those just in the last 10 years.  So, we ask not only, "Why are so many Mexican priests being killed?" but also, "Why is there seemingly so much silence around the murder of so many Mexican priests?"   While prevailing wisdom is that the priests are murdered because of their solidarity with the poor, it seems that the government is attempting somewhat of a smear campaign against them.  We would do well to read several reports and opinions rather than rest on what we might read from one source.  One example is available in Christianity Today (here).  Another is the National Catholic Register (here).  Still another is the Catholic Herald (here).

Whatever the source of information, this much is true:  Priests who work with the poor -- in Mexico and elsewhere -- are being murdered.  Sisters who work with the poor all over the world are being murdered.

Please pray for these priests and sisters, their families, communities and countries.  Pray, too, for a conversion of heart for those who perpetrate these atrocities.

This Day Last Year: Pope Francis in Philadelphia

A year ago, Pope Francis was visiting the United States.  How quickly the year has gone by!  As we reported then, several Sisters of Christian Charity volunteered at and otherwise attended the World Meeting of Families and the Mass. Click here to read a reflection on last year's Mass on the Parkway with Pope Francis and here to see a few photos of our time there.  

Shortly after the Holy Father's departure from the United States, the universal Church began the commemoration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  During the year since the papal visit here and the almost 10 months since the opening of the Year of Mercy, how have we been doing?  Let's use today's anniversary to renew our hearts toward being merciful.  If we are unable to do this, the visit was nothing more than that of a head of state and the Jubilee of Mercy is nothing more than any other year in our lives.

SCCs meeting on the Parkway in Philadelphia last year.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Free Rice and Lazarus

The gospel for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time reminds us, among other things, to feed the hungry in this world. Is there a "Lazarus" lying at our door? What are his or her sores? How can we help? What have we done for the hungry lately? One very easy way to help the hungry -- as this blog has reminded us numerous times -- is to spend a few minutes each day on the website,  For each correct answer you give on this site, sponsors donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Program to help end hunger.  In the amount of time it is taking you to read this message, you can answer questions on English vocabulary, art, science, history or several languages.  If you have previously visited but have stopped, now might be a good time to start again.  If you have never participated before, it is easy:  Click here!

Friday, September 23, 2016

R-1 Visas: Important Message

Our provincial leadership has asked that the following message (from RCRI via LCWR) be shared with our readers:

An important law that allows religious brothers, sisters, and lay workers to become permanent residents will expire September. 30 -- unless Congress acts!

We have until September 30, 2016 to convince Congress to extend the non-minister special immigrant religious worker visa provisions. It is this provision that permits non-ordained religious workers to become legal permitted residents of the United States. If this provision doesn't get extended, thousands of religious brothers and sisters and non-consecrated lay workers will be forced to leave the U.S when their R-1 visas expire.  As you know, non-minister religious workers play an important role in the life of the Church and in ministry to those in need.
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows qualified "special immigrants" to come to the United States and work in their religious ministries. The religious worker section of the law was originally enacted in 1990 and has been renewed multiple times, but has never been made a permanent law. Rather, the law has a "sunset provision" meaning it must be renewed every few years by Congress. In 2015, a permanent solution was proposed. Unfortunately, that version failed and a one-year extension was granted.
  • In 1990, Congress enacted a law allowing non-clergy religious workers to obtain permanent residence (green cards) to work in their religious ministries in the United States.
  • Instead of enacting a permanent solution, Congress has just extended the law each time it is due to expire.
  • Last year, the law was extended for one year and expires September 30, 2016.
  • After September 30, religious workers will no longer be able to get green cards and will be forced to leave the U.S. when their R-1 visas expire.

  • Sign a petition asking Congress to extend the law allowing non-clergy workers to get permanent residence and continue their ministry in the United States.
  • Send a letter to your members of Congress. Please edit the letter to make it as personal as possible.
  • Call your members of Congress-Representative and Senators
o    US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121
o    Suggested Message:  Here again please edit the message to make your call    as    specific to your congregation as possible.

I'm a constituent and a Catholic sister.  I'm calling to ask Congress to enact a law allowing non-clergy religious workers to obtain permanent residence (green cards) to work in their religious ministry in the United States. We need a permanent solution-another extension is not enough.
After September 30, religious workers will no longer be able to obtain green cards and will be forced to leave the U.S. when their R-1 visas expire. This program has been of great benefit to our religious community and the vulnerable populations we serve. Without the Non-Minister Permanent Residence program, religious institutes like ours, will be unable to bring our own sisters to this country to staff our religious institutions and attend to the urgent needs of the people we serve.
Can I count on the Senator/Representative to support the enactment of a law allowing non-clergy religious workers to obtain permanent residence (green cards) to work in their religious ministries in the United States?
Remember, the deadline for the law is September 30, 2016, so time is of the essence.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Assumption College for Sisters Celebrates the International Day of Peace

Thanks to Sister Joseph Spring, president of Assumption College for Sisters, for sharing the following:

On September 21,  international resident students and several faculty of Assumption College for Sisters. Denville,  gathered in the convent chapel to pray a special Evening Prayer commemorating the International  Day of Peace.  The altar was surrounded by flags representing the countries of origin of the resident students. At the beginning of the prayer, ACS faculty member, Jean Wedemeier, explained and distributed mission rosaries that she herself made, reminding the students and those assembled, that only through prayer will world peace be attained.

Flags of the various countries represented by the students were depicted surrounding a globe placed in front of the altar.  Pictured here are the international resident students who have come to Assumption College for Sisters for the first time this year:  Sister Maria Lien Phung, LHC-NT,Sister Ana Leticia Castro Osorio, OMO, Guatemala; Sister Domitille Ndayisenga, BM, Burundi; Sister Cecilia Foleng, STT, Cameroon; Miss Angela Ionnone, Italy; Sister Anna Ngoc, LHC-NT, Vietnam; Sister Mary Elizabeth Pajoc Siney, OMO, El Salvador.

The International Day of Peace was created in 1981 when the United Nations resolved to observe September 21 each year for the purpose of fostering peace throughout the world through focusing on common goals, alleviating tensions and recognizing causes of conflict. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has used the International Day of Peace to call for a nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. UN member states have also been urged to commemorate the International Day of Peace with a global ceasefire in any sort of warfare that they are engaged in.  By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged all of humankind to work in cooperation for this goal.

To inaugurate the day, the "Peace Bell" is rung at UN Headquarters. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents. It was given as a gift by the Diet of Japan, and is referred to as "a reminder of the human cost of war." The inscription on its side reads: "Long live absolute world peace."

Assumption College for Sisters is a two-year Sister Formation College sponsored by the Sisters of Christian Charity.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Let Peace Fill Our World

We need a Day of Peace . . . perhaps now more than ever!  (Email subscribers, please click here if you do not see a video embedded below.)