Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pope Benedict's World Peace Day Message for 2010

Go to the Vatican website to read Pope Benedict's World Peace Day message, "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation." Also, remember that resources for reflection can be found on the website of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change at

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Amidst the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season, let's take a moment to remember the Prince of Peace:

E-mail subscribers: If you do not see a video clip above, please click here to view "Let There Be Peace on Earth."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jubilee Act

The Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation (HR 4405) was introduced in the House of Representatives on December 16. Go to the Jubilee USA website to send messages to your representative, asking him or her to sponsor the Jubilee Act.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pax Christi USA Announces Completion of the People's Peace Initiative

You may recall that this initiative was begun in 2003, the 20th anniversary of the US Bishops' Peace Pastoral and the 40th anniversary of Pope John XXIII's "Pacem in Terris." The project is now complete in two languages, English and Spanish, and suitable for use by different
kinds of groups. Go to for more information.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Peace in Afghanistan

Go to to read and sign a petition by FCNL (Friends Committee for National Legislation) toward working for peace in Afghanistan

Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent Reflection from Pax Christi

While reminding you that SCC Advent reflections can still be found on the Director's Message page of let's look at Megan McKenna's Pax Christi reflection for today:

Monday, December 21, 2009
Song of Solomon 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18a ~ Luke 1:39-45

What is the quality of our waiting: Is it intense, passionate, on edge, concentrated? Do we wait for the coming of the Word made flesh into the world and into our own flesh like a lover waits? What are we expecting this Word-of-God-made-flesh to say to us? For Christians in the northern hemisphere, it is now the heart of winter; in the southern climes, it is beginning to turn cooler and the rains are coming. We read in the Song of Solomon that when those who seek each other meet, it is the fullness and harvest of spring and summer and the lushness of blossom. Are we watching and listening for Love to appear in our midst, seize hold of us, and bring the world back to life?

There is an anonymous saying: "That which you are seeking is always seeking you." God is always seeking us. Do we move with haste and the freedom of hope? Or do we just learn to stop stock still and look? God is everywhere. There is no place where God is not. Now, we are being taught to look for the presence of God in every human being. Are we learning to see the shining presence of holiness and love hidden and seeping out in the face of everyone?

We hear the same gospel as yesterday-did we catch the revelation? We are all blessed. We have all heard the Word of God that has been proclaimed to us. We have all believed in it-to one degree or another. God's word will be fulfilled in us, as it was in Elizabeth and Mary. Because of the moment of the Incarnation that continues through time and history, we are always being met by the Spirit of God. Irénée Guilane Dioh, an African writer, says, "Every word and every being come knocking at your door, bringing you their mystery. If you open to them, they will flood you with their riches."

For more resources for prayer, study and action this Advent season, click here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another request from NETWORK

From NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby:

Buying Fair Trade Gifts?

Support a Framework for Fair Trade -- Get your Senator on board with the TRADE Act.

NETWORK activists like you have consistently opposed unfair trade agreements. You've helped your members of Congress understand how our trade policies hurt poor and vulnerable communities in the U.S. and in the developing world. Now we have a key opportunity to help Congress map a fair way forward on trade!

Last week, Sen. Sherrod Brown introduced the Senate version of the 2009 TRADE Act (S. 2821). The TRADE Act is an excellent vehicle for re-evaluating U.S. trade policy and re-shaping it so that it serves the common good in stable jobs, environmental protections, public health, and poverty reduction. It sets standards for what must and must not be included in future trade agreements, and requires a comprehensive review of existing trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA that are failing to serve the most vulnerable in the U.S. and our trading partners.

Please email your Senator and urge him or her to co-sponsor this bill. The more co-sponsors the TRADE Act has, the greater momentum we will gain in Congress for a new trade agenda.

You can send an e-mail via:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent Requests from NETWORK

NETWORK -- a national Catholic social justice lobby -- has posted a Christmas "wish list." Here's the first installment:

Advent is almost over - haven't we waited long enough for healing?

People we know are desperate for better healthcare, yet our senators are scheming and dealing and criticizing and positioning themselves for the next election. You are probably tired of the healthcare debate. We are too. But when we listen to the pleas of people all over the country, and we realize how close we are to getting legislation that will start to fix our healthcare system, we know we need to ask you one more time for your advocacy.

Please, please contact your senators this week and next week - call them, e-mail them, send them a Christmas card, visit them if you can. Tell them about the people you know who can't get the healthcare they need. Tell them about your own fears. If you need any more motivation, read some of the stories that people like you have told us. No matter what you have heard about the healthcare bills, know that they contain many good and necessary things to help people like you and others. Also please know that there is no opportunity to start over. We need to get the legislation passed now, and fix the things we don't like in the bill later.

You can call both your senators via the Capitol switchboard 202-224-3121, and e-mail them via NETWORK's website:

As we await the celebration of the coming of the Messiah, the great healer, we dare not step back now from efforts to change our country's healthcare system.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


From the Partnership for Global Justice:

The United Nations Climate Change Conference - Copenhagen, 2009 - kicked off with a strong sense of confidence that countries can seal a comprehensive, ambitious and effective international climate change deal in Denmark and with an unprecedented sense of urgency to act on climate change. The highly anticipated conference marks an historic turning point on how the world confronts climate change. You can follow the proceedings via web cast at

One of our colleagues, Sr. Ann Marie Braudis, MM, reports from Copenhagen the plea for recognition that the climate change situation is worse than what we thought, causing rapid changes in Small Island States and in poor African countries…. This was supported by one Island State after another. Cape Verde said, “We demand to survive. We demand a commitment to our survival. If we disappear we will not disappear alone; we will simply precede you in disappearing.”

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Vigils for Survival

A message from Pax Christi USA:

As a member of the climate change crisis coalition,, Pax Christi USA is supporting efforts to influence the gathering of leaders at the Copenhagen climate conference next week. In the middle of the conference, has called for days of action, December 11-13, to highlight the urgency of this moment for action on climate change. In particular, candlelight "vigils for survival" are being held around the world as actions of solidarity with nations whose very survival is threatened by the climate crisis. Click here for more information. (For those of you in the NY/NJ area, there are a few vigils in Manhattan and one in Morristown.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pope's Address to World Food Summit

On November 16, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Rome headquarters of the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), during the World Summit on Food Security. If you missed his address, click here to find the text on Zenit.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Witness in Dorothy Stang's Case is Shot

From a story by the BBC (thanks to Sister Joseph for alerting us to this):

A witness in the case of an American nun who was murdered in the Brazilian Amazon has been shot several times and is in a critical condition.

He was reportedly attacked just hours after being summoned to testify in a fraud case against one of the ranchers accused of ordering the nun's murder.

Dorothy Stang, 73, campaigned to preserve the rainforest and protect the rights of rural workers.

Her killing in 2005 caused international outrage.

The attack on witness Roniery Lopes took place in the same area where Stang led her decades-long campaign.

He was due to testify against Regivaldo Galvao, who is accused of trying to use false documents to obtain the plot of land Stang died trying to defend.

Mr Galvao and fellow rancher Vitalmiro Moura have been accused of hiring gunmen to kill the nun, who came from Dayton, Ohio.

Mr Galvao, who denies the charge, was arrested in 2005 but was freed on bail in 2006 and has not faced trial.

Mr Moura was acquitted at a trial in 2008 but a new trial was ordered earlier this year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Half the Sky

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, brings some stunningly poignant issues home. From Publishers Weekly: New York Times columnist Kristof and his wife, WuDunn, a former Times reporter, make a brilliantly argued case for investing in the health and autonomy of women worldwide. More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century, they write, detailing the rampant gendercide in the developing world, particularly in India and Pakistan. Far from merely making moral appeals, the authors posit that it is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women (9% in Pakistan, for example) participate in the labor force. China's meteoric rise was due to women's economic empowerment: 80% of the factory workers in the Guangdong province are female; six of the 10 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese.
From the product description: From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope. They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS. Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty. Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day 2009

World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year. It is an international day to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS around the world. The first World AIDS Day was December 1, 1988. The UNAIDS website has useful information and statistics on the current state of HIV/AIDS in the world. Let's remember this intention in our prayers today.