Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflection for World Day of Peace/Solemnity of Mary

Click here for a Pax Christi reflection from John Dear, SJ, including a vow of nonviolence for the new year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

World Day of Peace Message

Click here to read the Holy Father's message for the World Day of Peace on January 1, 2012, "Educating Young People in Justice and Peace."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Homily of Pope Benedict XVI for Christmas Eve



"Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light." Click here for the official English translation of the Holy Father's Christmas Eve homily.



. . . And a blessed Christmas to all!






Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Talitha Kum

Remember Talitha Kum? It is the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons. Here's a recent video by romereports.com to update us on the efforts of the organization. (E-mail subscribers click here if you do not see a video below.)



Here are some objectives of the organization, as noted on its website:





  • To share information, research, best practices, experiences, human and material resources, strategies.


  • To strengthen/intensify communication through the existing and possible means.


  • To provide training so as to enable members to intervene in a strategic way on the causes of trafficking.


  • To take a stance by making public declarations, especially during world events, becoming spokespersons for, and empowering, those who have no voice, sharing strategies for counteracting and limiting supply and demand.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Flooding in the Philippines

From Catholic Relief Services: Flash floods caused by Tropical Storm Washi have killed more than 400 people on the southern Philippines Island of Mindanao. The Catholic Relief Services office in Davao is sending a team to Cagayan de Oro City, site of some of the most severe devastation, to assess urgent needs. We are working with our partners, the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and Xavier University.

Click here for a NY Times story.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Iowa Catholic Sisters' Immigration Reform Campaign



Click here to read about the campaign being launced by Catholic Sisters in Iowa, focusing on seeing the face of Jesus in immigrants. Check out the campaign on Facebook, too, at www.facebook.com/catholicsisters.






Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2: We Remember

Today we remember Sister Ita Ford, Sister Maura Clarke, Sister Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan, who were raped and murdered by the Salvadoran military on December 2, 1980. These missionaries trained catechists, ran sacramental preparation programs, distributed food to the poor and worked to provide food, clothing, shelter and medical care to refugees. As we remember their lives, we continue to strive for the closing of the School of the Americas, which trains many of these military members who commit such atrocities.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ban on Plastic Water Bottles at Grand Canyon? Not Yet!

According to the New York Times, Grand Canyon National Park officials were very close to banning disposable water bottles until Coca-Cola -- a major donor to the National Park Foundation -- stepped in. Read the complete article here and consider taking action by signing this change.org petition.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Murder of Sister Valsa

Click here to read more about the story of Sister Valsa John, who was instrumental in teaching Indian aboriginals about their rights to their land. She was killed by a mob of 30 men allegedly carrying axes, clubs and spears.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Close the SOA

This weekend, we remember in a special way all those who will be protesting at SOA/WHINSEC, especially Sisters Janice, Juliana, Mary Joan and Ruthann. What can we do this weekend in solidarity with those who protest? 1. Pray 2. Click here to tell President Obama to close the SOA. 3. Follow the schedule of events on the SOA Watch website and enter into solidarity with the protestors by educating yourself on the issues being discussed. 4. "Like" SOA Watch on Facebook. 5. Watch the trailer for the new DVD, "Somos Una América" (below), and consider buying the DVD. (E-mail subscribers: If you do not see a video below, click here to go to the blog post to watch it.)



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16: We Remember

On November 16, we remember the six Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter, who were assassinated by the Salvadoran army on November 16, 1989 at the Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador. Rather than calling them "the six Jesuits and two others," as we have been know to do, here are their names: Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., Segundo Montes, S.J., Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J., Joaquín López y López, S.J., Amando López, S.J., Elba Ramos, and Celina Ramos (15 years old, daughter of Elba Ramos).

We also pause to remember the thousands of others who lost their lives or disappeared during the period of 1980-1991 in El Salvador as a result of the Salvadoran Civil War.

As our Sisters prepare to represent us at SOA/WHINSEC this week, we remember!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SOA Link Updated

If you had difficulties clicking on the SOA link in the earlier post, please click here to try again. Thanks for your patience and persistence.

Say "No" to SOA/WHINSEC

As you know, our Sisters will be joining thousands of others in the protest at SOA/WHINSEC this weekend. We offer our prayers for Sisters Janice, Juliana, Mary Joan, and Ruthann. Hopefully, you will be praying the Evening Prayer that we sent out for this purpose. Additionally, we can show our support by contacting our Representatives. See the message from NETWORK below:

H.R. 3368 the Latin America Military Training Review Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives on November 4, 2011. This bill would suspend operations at the SOA/WHINSEC*, investigate torture manuals and human rights abuses associated with the school, and conduct an assessment of military training in Latin America. Your tax dollars are paying for this institution.

Thousands of people will be heading to Columbus, GA, the home of SOA/WHINSEC, this weekend for the twentieth time with the message: CLOSE IT DOWN!

The time is right to show support for the people of Central and South America. Tell your representative to sign on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 3368 the Latin America Military Training Review Act.

Click here to send an e-mail to your representative.* School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pray for Syria

Click here to read the CNEWA blog post about the violence and unrest in Syria.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Room to Read

Click here to read the NYT Op-Ed about John Wood and his charity, "Room to Read," which has opened 12,000 libraries and 1,500 schools in the world. Here's a small portion of the article:

"So many American efforts to influence foreign countries have misfired — not least here in Vietnam a generation ago. We launch missiles, dispatch troops, rent foreign puppets and spend billions without accomplishing much. In contrast, schooling is cheap and revolutionary. The more money we spend on schools today, the less we’ll have to spend on missiles tomorrow.

Wood, 47, is tireless, enthusiastic and emotional: a motivational speaker with no off button. He teared up as girls described how Room to Read had transformed their lives.


“If you can change a girl’s life forever, and the cost is so low, then why are there so many girls still out of school?” he mused."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Important Action Alert: Global Poverty

The USCCB, Catholic Relief Services, and LCWR are asking us to consider taking action to maintain the levels of life-saving, poverty-focused international assistance for FY 2012 as passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee and to oppose any amendments that would cut poverty-focused international assistance. The alert is for all of us, but it is especially important for Pennsylvanians to contact their senators to urge them to support the Senate Appropriations Committee funding levels for fiscal year 2012 Poverty Focused International Assistance. In fact, Pennsylvanians, if you contact only one person, you are encouraged to contact Senator Toomey. Click here for more information and the Action Alert on the Catholic Relief Services website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vatican Offers Moral Perspective on Global Financial Crisis

Please click here for the full text (unofficial translation) of the recently-released Note on Financial Reform from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School Choice in PA

Hello, Pennsylvanians! We are being asked to contact our legislators to encourage them to pass school choice in PA. Click here to go to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference website. Follow the directions to contact your legislator. Don't live in PA? Send this to someone who does! (Note: This is time sensitive, as a vote is expected this week.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hershey: Raise the Bar!

From the change.org site:

It has been ten years since major chocolate companies, including Hershey, committed to ending child labor, forced labor and trafficking in their cocoa supply chains, these egregious labor rights abuses continue. A decade later, hundreds of thousands of children continue to labor in hazardous conditions in West Africa, particularly in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, and the US Department of Labor has noted five West African nations whose cocoa may be tainted by forced and/or child labor.

While many chocolate companies have taken steps to trace their cocoa supply chains and implement labor rights standards among their suppliers, Hershey lags behind its competitors in responsibly sourcing its cocoa. Unlike other companies, Hershey has not committed to sourcing cocoa for its main product lines that has been independently certified to comply with international labor rights standards. Tell Hershey to raise the bar and be a leader in sustainable chocolate and shift toward Fairtrade Certified cocoa!

For more information and action ideas, please visit the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Global Partnership for Education

From LCWR:

In just three weeks, the United States and the world will have a major opportunity to invest in the future of millions of children. On November 7-8, world leaders will meet to pledge new funds to education and to the Global Partnership for Education. In advance of this important education summit, join us in calling on President Obama to support this bold education initiative.

Please consider sending President Obama a message urging him to support the Global Partnership for Education. We know that education has the potential to end poverty, ensure human rights and promote sustainable development.

Sign the petition by clicking here. Then ask your friends and family to sign it, too.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Take the Food Stamp Challenge!

A message from Fighting Poverty with Faith:
Join us for the 4th annual Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization, "Working Together to End Hunger" from Thursday, October 27 to Sunday November 6, 2011. Click here for more information and to find out how you can take the Food Stamp Challenge, contact members of congress, and much more! What's the Food Stamp Challenge? It is an attempt to live for one week on the average food stamp allotment of $31.50 (approximately $1.50 per meal).

Monday, October 10, 2011

SCC in the Philippines

Here's an excerpt from a message from Sister Maria Dolores in the Philippines:
"As of today, all our 16 blind girls are doing well. They are busy with their classes at the Mother Pauline Learning Center for the Blind, at Batino Sped Elementary School, at Quirino High School and at Isabela State University. In the afternoon, our special blind girls - and the other blind residents after they come home from school - are busy doing the Christmas cards at the Helping and Healing Hands Workshop for the Blind. We are going to sell them in a school in Marikina. This school is very much supporting us."

Click here to learn more about our mission in the Philippines.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jubilee Sunday: October 16

October 16 is Jubilee Sunday -- a day of prayer and action for the poor, oppressed, hungry and vulnerable. Join Jubilee Congregations around the United States in dedicating part or all of your time together to pray for global economic justice, deepen communities' understanding of the debt issue and take concrete action for debt cancellation for all impoverished countries. Click here for more information.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Global Debt Justice

Jubilee groups from all around the world are coming together for a week (October 8-16) of action against illegitimate debt and reforming international financial institutions. They are demanding global debt justice by breaking the chains of debt slavery. Click here for more information from Jubilee USA Network.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

Excerpts from a USCCB Press Release:

In advance of the 2012 elections, the U.S. bishops reaffirmed their 2007 document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," in this coming election cycle and beyond, as the “continuing teaching of our Bishops’ Conference and our guidance for Catholics in the exercise of their rights and duties as participants in our democracy.”

The bishops have added an Introductory Note to the document, which "does not modify or interpret the document itself and emphasizes the importance of religious freedom. It raises six 'current and fundamental problems, some involving opposition to intrinsic evils and others raising serious moral questions.' These are: abortion and threats to the lives and dignity of the vulnerable, sick or unwanted; threats to Catholic ministries, including health care, education and social services, to violate their consciences or stop serving those in need; intensifying efforts to redefine marriage; unemployment, poverty and debt; immigration; and wars, terror and violence, particularly in the Middle East."

Click here for more information.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Women, War and Peace" on PBS Starting October 11

"Women, War & Peace" is a new five-part PBS Television Series starting Oct. 11, that challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men's domain. Featuring narrators Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard, "Women, War & Peace" is the most comprehensive global media initiative ever mounted on the roles of women in war and peace. With depth and complexity, the series spotlights the stories of women in conflict zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan and Colombia to Liberia, placing women at the center of an urgent dialogue about conflict and security, and reframing our understanding of modern warfare. Click here for more information.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Kristof on Poverty in Kenya

Clich here to read Nicholas Kristof's, "Sewing Her Way out of Poverty" about poverty, microcredit, and hope in Kenya. Here's the last paragraph of the editorial: "There’s a tendency these days to give up on poverty, to dismiss it as a sad but inevitable feature of humanity, particularly at a time when we have deep economic problems of our own. But if a former prostitute in a Nairobi slum can build a dressmaking business, buy a home in the suburbs and produce over-achievers like Caroline, Anthony and Cynthia, then it’s worth remembering that sheer grit, and a helping hand, can sometimes blaze trails where none seem possible."

Information about donating used bridesmaids' dresses to assist Cynthia in Kenya is available on Kristof's blog here.

"The Spirit of Assisi" -- 25 Years Later

(Note: This explanatory post is rather long. Should you like to "cut to the chase," visit the "Spirit of Assisi" website to explore the materials available there.)

On October 27, 1986, John Paul II realized a great dream: he invited representatives of world religions to Assisi so that a single song of peace might be sent to the one God from many hearts and in many languages. This invitation was accepted by 70 representatives of major religions. They offered hope for a different world: renewed, profoundly fraternal and truly human. The event itself carried an important message: that the desire for peace is shared by all people of good will; but taking into account the situation of the world and the relationship between peoples, real peace can only be achieved through an intervention by God.

The meeting was one of prayer. The prayer arose in the spiritual context of each of the religions that was present. It invited the participants to touch their own interiority in freedom, carrying the prayer of all humanity and raising it up to God. They recognized that human beings on their own are not able to achieve the peace that they are seeking.

It seems that the climate of universal fraternity found in the city of St. Francis filled people from the most diverse of origins. This experience came to be called the Spirit of Assisi, and in the 1987 message for the World Day of Peace it was also called the "Logic of Assisi". During the first meeting, in front of the chapel of the Portiuncula, John Paul II said that he chose the "city of Assisi as location for this day of prayer due to the special significance of the saint venerated here, St. Francis, who is known by many all over the planet to be a symbol of peace, reconciliation and brotherhood." So the Pope decided to promote this initiative in the name of St. Francis, the man who breaks down barriers, who knows how to open doors and who is brother to all.

The community of SantʼEgidio, involved in the initiative from its beginning, has organized similar meetings every year since in European and Mediterranean cities. In January 1993 the event came back to Assisi during the time of the Balkan war. John Paul II, facing extreme violence and the incapacity of the countries of ex-Yugoslavia to make peace, affirmed that "only in mutual acceptance of the other and in the consequent mutual respect, deepened by love, lies the secret to a finally reconciled humanity."

As plans for the celebration of 2002 got underway, the Pope once again invited religious leaders to come to Assisi. The invitations went out as the twin towers were still burning and bombs were going off in Kabul. The situation highlighted for the world the destructive forces of hate and terrorism which can explode in any corner of the world. The Pope asked world religions to turn themselves into instruments of peace because hate and violence generate nothing except more hate and violence.

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Spirit of Assisi in 2006, Benedict XVI underlined the timeliness of the initiative saying that though the world has changed there is still a great need to search for ways to build peace, noting that “...the third millennium opened with scenes of terrorism and violence that show no sign of abating.” Though it sometimes seems that religions fuel conflicts rather than work to resolve them, the Pope affirms: "When the religious sense reaches maturity it gives rise to a perception in the believer that faith in God, Creator of the universe and Father of all, must encourage relations of universal brotherhood among human beings. In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions."

In 2011 we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first gathering of the Spirit of Assisi. It will be held at the original sites in the city of Assisi. A message of peace is needed as much today as it was 25 years ago, along with a concrete commitment to build peace in our world. As Benedict XVI stated five years ago, the world has changed since the first celebration. Religions are not only asked to dialogue among themselves, but to reach out to all people whether they are believers or not. Even more, they are now being challenged to reach out beyond humanity, because violence is being visited on Godʼs creation as well. There is an ever-growing consciousness in all religious traditions that respect and peaceful relations must be fostered between people and between people and all creatures as well.

It was only because of his strong relationship with the Father that St. Francis was able to see all people and creatures as his sisters and brothers. The very spirit of the expression Spirit of Assisi will help us to become actively involved in promoting peace among human beings and beyond.

If we come together in the Spirit of Assisi and pray as believers in the way our respective religious traditions have taught us, we will be strengthened to commit ourselves to concrete actions that will allow us to work together to confront the threats to peace and to the environment that we face in our world today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

International Day of Peace Celebrated at ACS

Here's a slideshow from the celebration of the International Day of Peace celebration at Assumption College for Sisters, Mendham, NJ. For an explanation of the photos, see our September 19 blog post. E-mail subscribers: If you do not see a slide show, please click here to go to the blog to view it.


video

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The poorest city in the U.S. . . .

According to the 2010 census, the city in the United States with the largest percentage of its residents living in poverty is Reading, PA. Click here for the article from the NY Times.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blessings!

At our gathering on Saturday, September 24, the Sisters of the province extended many blessings. Here you see the Sisters blessing Sister Mary Joan Smith and Sister Ruthann McGoldrick (holding the banner bearing the signatures of all Sisters of the province), who will represent us at Fort Benning this year. The next photo shows most of the Sisters who have represented us at Fort Benning over the years. As you know, the Sisters of the Eastern Province join with the Sisters of the Western Province each year to attend the Vigil and Nonviolent Action to close the SOA/WHINSEC (held this year from November 18-20). The School of the Americas (SOA) is a U.S. Army training school that trains soldiers and military personnel from Latin American countries in subjects like counter-insurgency, military intelligence and counter-narcotics operations. Under Department of Defense jurisdiction, this school is funded by U.S. taxpayer money, all of the training is conducted in Spanish, and most of the classes are taught by Latin American instructors. According to the SOA itself, more than 60,000 members of Latin American militaries have attended the SOA since its inception in 1946. We promise to accompany Sisters Mary Joan, Ruthann, Janice, and Juliana with our prayers.

On Saturday, the Sisters also extended their blessing to Sister Celice Marie Gonzalez, who is being missioned to Chile in January. Pictured with Sister Celice Marie are Sister Adalberta Mette, Superior General, Sister María Jesús, Treasurer of the Chilean province, and Sister Joan Daniel Healy, Provincial Superior of the North American Eastern Province.

E-mail subscribers, click here if you do not see photos.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Making a Difference: Death Penalty

When we are faced with tragedy such as the state-sponsored execution of a human being whose guilt was in doubt (or the state-sponsored execution of ANY human being for that matter), we wonder, "I'm only one person. What can I do?"

Here are some organizations that are trying to make a difference with the death penalty in the U.S.:

The Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty – CMN proclaims the Church's unconditional pro-life teaching and its application to capital punishment and restorative justice. CMN works in close collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to prepare Catholics for informed involvement in campaigns to repeal state death penalty laws and expand or inaugurate restorative justice programs.

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty - PFADP educates and mobilizes faith communities to act to abolish the death penalty in the United States. They are headquartered in North Carolina.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty - NCADP is the nation's oldest organization dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty. They are comprised of an extensive network representing more than 100 state and national affiliate organizations and thousands of advocates and volunteers. Their members include families of murder victims, persons from all points on the political and religious spectrums, past and present law enforcement officials and prominent civil and racial justice organizations working to end the death penalty forever.

"The struggle for justice doesn't end with me . . ."

These were the words of Troy Davis yesterday prior to his execution by the State of Georgia:
"The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I'm in good spirits and I'm prayerful and at peace."

After a delay of more than four hours, the State of Georgia killed Troy Davis for a crime he may not have committed. Yes, there was doubt and they might have executed the wrong man. However, let's use Troy's words to redouble our efforts to abolish the death penalty so that no state can choose to execute any man.

Amnesty International is asking for signers to the "Not in my Name" pledge. Amnesty will also host a call at 7 pm this Friday to discuss Troy Davis and what our work means for the death penaly abolition movement, and what we can do next.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Troy Davis Clemency Denied

It would have been appropriate to post some important information about the International Day of Peace, but today's news is not very peace-filled. On Tuesday, the Georgia Board of Pardons denied clemency to Troy Davis. This means that there is a possibility that Georgia will execute a potentially innocent man on Wednesday, September 21 at 7 pm. Click here to call on the Board to do the right thing today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

International Day of Peace to be Celebrated at Assumption College for Sisters

A press release from Assumption College for Sisters:

On the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Peace (Wednesday, Sept. 21), a group at Assumption College for Sisters (ACS), consisting of sister-students, aspiring religious, lay students, and members of the school’s staff, will mark the occasion with a liturgical service in the college’s chapel of Mary Immaculate.

The public is invited to attend and take an active role in parts of the liturgy. Anyone wishing to do so, however, should first contact the college at 973 543-6528, Extension 230.

Sister of Christian Charity Joseph Spring, president of ACS, explained that the International Day of Peace was created by the United Nations in 1981 –“and is celebrated annually to foster world peace, alleviate tensions and recognize causes of conflict.” Additional goals, she continued, are to inspire ceasefires for at least one day wherever wars are being waged as well as encourage nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

According to Sister Spring, participants in the college’s religious service, which begins at 11:15 a.m. and concludes at noontime, will process up the chapel’s main aisle, two at a time, and enter the sanctuary. There six sister-students will follow one another in reciting a prayer aloud that offers reflections on peace inspired by world renowned figures, past and present: Blessed Pope John Paul 11, Blessed Pope John XX111, Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Saint Francis of Assisi, Maya Angelou, the American writer, poet and civil rights activist, and Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of the best-seller on the problems of evil, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

The ceremony’s first prayer leader, Sister Mary Sabina Ndunge, CPS, of Kenya, East Africa, will offer a prayer that is inspired by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

“O God, Creator of the universe, who extends your paternal concern over every creature and guides the events of history to the goal of salvation, we acknowledge your fatherly love when you break the resistance of mankind and, in a world torn by strife and discord, you make us ready for reconciliation. Renew for us the wonders of your mercy; send forth your spirit that he may work in the in the intimacy of hearts, that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may begin to shake hands and people may encounter one another in harmony…”

While Sister Ndunge prays, Ms. Tam Le from Viet Nam, a discerner for the Sisters of Christian Charity, will hold a globe aloft to symbolize God’s universe; at the conclusion of Sister Sabina’s prayer (and the prayers of each of the five remaining teams) the college’s chapel bell will toll in unison with the United Nation’s Peace Bell in New York. The entire group, along with worshippers in the pew, will then join in the supplication, “Long live absolute world peace.”
The remaining teams will be Sister Mary Do, FMSR, of Viet Nam and Carla Murphy, an American lay student at ACS; Sister M. Joyce Mwanisenga, OSB, of Tanzania and Sister Elfie Del Rosario, FMA, from the Philippines ; Sister Mary Grace Harazim,SCC, from the U.S. and Sister Mary Joseph Thuoc Le, LHC of Viet Nam; Sister Alaina Zachman, FMA, of the U.S. and Sister Anna Duong, LHC, from Viet Nam; Ms. Katie De Lucy, an American postulant for the SCC’s and Sister M. Donatha Gunda, OSB, from Tanzania.

The ceremony closes with all of the congregants singing the recessional whose opening lyric is “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

International Day of Peace

How will you observe the International Day of Peace on September 21? Click here for some suggestions and materials. Interested in "Pinwheels for Peace"? Click here. The National Council of Churches has a Litany of Light for Peace. You are welcome to pray an Evening Prayer for September 21 available at the SCC Generalate website or the SCC Eastern Province website. A Morning and Evening Remembrance can be found on the SCC Western Province website (from Septebmer 11, but still appropriate).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11: Let There Be Peace on Earth

On this 10th anniversary, let's pray ever more ardently for peace on earth. Play this You Tube video of Vince and Jenny Gill singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth." Watch it all the way through. Read the quotations. (E-mail subscribers click here if you do not see a video below.) Let there be peace . . .

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Troy Davis Execution Date Set

As long-time followers of this blog know, Troy Davis has been on death row in Georgia since 1991.

A message from Death Penalty Focus:
Mr. Davis is most likely an innocent man. Despite weak and inconsistent witness testimony and a lack of physical evidence against him at trial, Mr. Davis was convicted and sentenced to death. Since his conviction, seven of the nine witnesses who testified against him have either changed or recanted their testimony.

The case against Mr. Davis is cloaked in serious doubt. The same judge that rejected Mr. Davis' claim of innocence even stated that the case is "not ironclad". The state of Georgia, however, continues to turn a blind eye. An execution date is now set for Mr. Davis for Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 7pm (EDT).

Mr. Davis has come within two hours of execution before. Without a public outcry, we may not be able to stop the clock on his execution again.

The situation is dire. Mr. Davis has exhausted all his appeals, and his life is in the hands of the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles. They are due to hear his plea for clemency on Monday, September 19, 2011.

PLEASE ACT NOW and tell the Georgia Parole Board that it must protect the innocent from execution and stop the execution of Troy Davis. On Friday, September 16, there will be a Global Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis. Organize your own event, hold vigils, retweet #toomuchdoubt messages, or fax in additional letters to the Parole Board at 1-404-651-8502. In Georgia, a march will begin in downtown Atlanta at Woodruff Park at 6pm, ending at the Ebenezer Baptist Church for an interfaith service at 7pm.

(You can also click here to sign the Amnesty International petition that will be delivered to the Georgia Parole Board next week.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Aid Appeal for Drought and Famine Victims in Somalia and East Africa

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) are reaching out to Catholics to request financial support for relief efforts in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. Click here for the USCCB article, which includes a link to donate to CRS online.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Global Economics Webcast

The Partnership for Global Justice wants us to be aware of Global Economics webcasts this Saturday, September 10 and Saturday, October 8, from 9 am to 4 pm. Here are the details, courtesy of Lucianne Siers, OP, Executive Director of the Partnership for Global Justice:

Global Economics Workshop
Webcasts: September 10, 2011 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
and October 8, 2011 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

This program will address the current economic crisis through the lens of Christian ethics and principles.

These principles will then be applied to issues that are being discussed as part of the economic agenda including trade, debt, multinational corporations, development and subsidies.

There will be an emphasis on bridging the gap between those who live in plenty and those who live in poverty.

As we come to understand our commitment to justice, we realize that there is an economic component tied to each issue. Therefore we need to understand economic principles as we live out our Christian vocation in the modern world and as we enter into dialogue with corporations and government leaders as well as with those who are unemployed and homeless.

September 10

Speakers: Marci Rossell, PhD A market economist, Dr. Rossell is the former chief economist for CNBC. She began her career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and is currently a popular speaker on the economy, financial issues and globalization.

Ana Martinez de Luco, CCV works with the homeless population of New York City. Being homeless herself, she enters into the community of the homeless and shares the experience of being marginalized.

Facilitator: Lucianne Siers, OP, DMin is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Global Justice and Co-Promoter of Justice for the Dominicans of North America. She serves as an NGO to the United Nations and organizes education programs that relate to the issues that emerge at the United Nations.

Overview of topics:
-A Brief History of Modern Economics
--Basic Principles and Definitions of Economics
-Domestic and International Economics including
Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF/World Bank)
and World Trade Organization
-International and Domestic Investments
-Homelessness and the Marginalized


October 8

Speaker: Amata Miller, IHM, PhD,An economist specializing in economics of development, economic history and problems of the economically disadvantaged. Amata Miller is currently Professor of Economics at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN and also teaches the economics courses in the M.A. in Social Justice program at Marygrove College, Detroit, MI.
Facilitator: Ruthmary Powers, HM, PhD is currently the chair of the Board of Directors for the Partnership for Global Justice. She has served as President of her congregation, the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, and in various education ministries including superintendent of schools, principal and teacher.


Overview of topics:
-Economic systems today - a brief review -Principles of economic justice -Economic globalization and its differential effects -Evidences of economic alternatives underway -Action roles for social transformation
-Economic Issues in Light of Social Justice Ethics
_________________________

Registration information for the webcast:

Cost to connect to the webcast is $20 per session/$40 total. Go to:

https://app.etapestry.com/cart/DominicanSistersofPeace/default/category.php?ref=3751.0.187092009

Cost is $20 per person for attending webcast.


If you have any difficulty in registration, contact: Martin de Porres Center, Dominican Sisters of Peace at 614-416-1910, or email: dfontana@oppeace.org.

This program is sponsored by the Partnership for Global Justice through a grant from the Hilton Fund for Sisters. The program is hosted by the Martin de Porres Center a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Columbus, OH.

September 11: 10th Anniversary

We are reminded that the SCCs have committed to fasting and prayer on the 11th of each month. Because September 11 has such a tragic significance for our country, here are some prayer resources:

The NCEA has prepared a prayer service to commemorate the 10th anniversary of "9/11." Click here to access the prayer service.

Click here for other resources at "The Text this Week."

The SCC North American Western Province (Wilmette, IL) has resources available for the 11th of each month on its site, accessible by clicking here and scrolling down.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Famine in East Africa

As we continue to respond to the needs of the flood victims at home, we are asked to remember the famine victims in East Africa. Partnership for Global Justice has issued the following action alert:

Support life‐saving poverty‐focused international assistance and protect 12 million East Africans from hunger now

More than 12 million of our brothers and sisters in East Africa—more than the entire population of the state of Ohio—face malnutrition and starvation in the midst of the region's worst drought in decades. In our legislatures right now, there are some proposals drastically cutting international and domestic assistance to people in dire need such as those in East Africa.

As Christians, we are called to protect people who are hungry, thirsty, seeking refuge and care. Life‐saving poverty‐focused international assistance that fights hunger, disease and makes drought‐prone communities more resilient to hunger crises is less than 1% of our budgets.

Contact your representatives of Congress or Parliament now and urge them to preserve life‐saving, poverty‐focused international assistance

______
Send email or postcard to: your local or national representatives
_____

Sample email:

Dear ___

I urge you to preserve funding for poverty focused international assistance. It is important to pay attention to those who do not have basic essentials of food, clothing and shelter. While budgets are being cut, we must pay attention to the common good and not build budgets that disproportionately cut essential services to those in need.

The crisis unfolding in East Africa where more than 12 million people face malnutrition and starvation in the midst of a drought illustrates the urgent need to protect poverty-focused international assistance.

The International Disaster Assistance account provides lifesaving services to people in Kenya and Ethiopia who are in dire need of nutrition, health services, water and sanitation. The Emergency Refugee and Migration account is helping people who have fled famine in Somalia to survive.

During this time of austerity and fiscal restraints, I urge you to give priority to programs that help the most vulnerable people in our world.

Sincerely,

__
For More Information

Canadian Catholic Bishops Conference: cccb.ca/site go: to Emergency aid for Horn of Africa

Catholic Relief Services: crs.org/globalpoverty and crs.org/africa

US Catholic Bishops Conference: usccb.org/globalpoverty

Friday, September 2, 2011

More Hurricane Relief

From Father Ed Lambro, for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson, NJ:

To all our Catholic Charities donors and friends:
The recent hurricane has dealt a devastating blow to our friends and neighbors. Many folks have called asking if we are accepting donations to help those in need. The answer is “yes.” There are several ways you can donate.

You can go to our website www.catholicharities.org and click the DONATE button. All donations received in this manner in the next two weeks will be set aside for hurricane relief.

You can send donations directly to Catholic Charities at 777 Valley Road, Clifton, NJ 07013 – marked “hurricane."

All parishes in the Diocese of Paterson will be taking a collection on the weekend of September 10-11. You can make a contribution there.

These are our brothers and sisters in need. Please be generous.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Helping Flood Victims

As many of you know, the flooding from Hurricane Irene is being felt keenly in several places where SCCs minister. As we hear of efforts to help victims of flooding, we'll post them here. Would you like to add a relief effort? Just click on "Comments" at the bottom of this post. (Email subscribers click here to get to the blog.)

Here's one: The Township of Denville asks if you wish to provide assistance to flood victims, please consider clothing gift cards, which are desperately needed. Gift cards may be dropped off at the Social Services Department at Town Hall, 1 St. Mary's Place, Denville, 8 am - 4 pm, Monday to Friday.


Monday, August 29, 2011

USCCB Labor Day Statement

The 2011 Labor Day Statement from the USCCB -- "Human Costs and Moral Challenges of A Broken Economy" -- is available here as a pdf. Inspired by the 120th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, CA, presents the challenges of work and workers today.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peace Be With You



The America Catholic Book Club selection for August is Peace Be With You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World by David Carlson. As the 10th anniversary of "9/11" approaches, this is a timely read. Here's the blurb from America: Published in time for the 10th anniversary observances of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, this book shows the common ground and quest for peace shared by Christians and Muslims in America. Based on 30 interviews with abbots, nuns and monks, its goal is to proffer hope and trust to a weary, sometimes hate-filled and mistrusting world. Carlson chose monastic interviewees because “their training would give [us] a different angle of perception on our suffering.” In a forthcoming review for America, Bill Williams calls the book “a compelling examination of America’s angry response to 9/11” and [the] “radical alternative that would have involved compassion, understanding, deep listening and forgiveness.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Correction!

If you tried to contact Wyndham using the e-mail address in yesterday's post, it was incorrect. Many apologies for that! Here is the correct e-mail to use: alyson.johnson@wyndhamworldwide.com
(I also corrected yesterday's post, so if you look at it and see that it is the same as above, you are correct.)

Say "Thank You" to Wyndham Hotels

You may recall the anti-trafficking efforts in which we have been involved (especially during the World Cup) to encourage hotels to sign the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children. Sparked by over 14,000 letters from change.org members, Wyndham (the parent company of Travelodge and Howard Johnson) has become the third major hotel chain to sign the Code (along with Carlson Companies and Hilton World Wide). In this video excerpt from CNN, Jim Clancy interviews Mary Falvey from Wyndham Hotels on their commitment to protect children from sex trafficking. (E-mail subscribers, click here to see the video if you do not see it below.) Thank you to Wyndham Hotels for working with ECPAT-USA in this important endeavor. As you might have read in the August issue of Stop Trafficking, we are being asked to write to the Wyndham CEO, Stephen P. Holmes, to thank him for signing the Code. The contact information is: Alyson R. Johnson, VP of Corporate Communications, Wyndham Worldwide, 22 Sylvan Way, Parsippany, NJ 07054, phone: (973) 753-6759, or e-mail Ms. Johnson at alyson.johnson@wyndhamworldwide.com















Monday, August 22, 2011

Action Alert: Contraceptive Mandate

To those residing in Pennsylvania:

We wanted to share the following “Action Alert” with you. (It applies to more than PA residents, but the link we're providing is a link for PA residents.)

The recent “preventive services” mandate from the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would require health plans to cover female surgical sterilization and all drugs and devices approved by the FDA as contraceptives, including drugs which can kill an unborn child before and after implantation in the mother’s womb. Under the mandate, employers will have to pay for contraceptives and drugs that can cause abortions, even if it violates their deeply and dearly held moral and religious convictions.

The rule allows an exemption for “religious employers,” but this definition is quite narrow and would exclude most Catholic social service agencies and healthcare providers. Religious exemption would only apply to an employer that “1) has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose; (2) primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets; (3) primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets; and (4) is a non-profit organization…”

We hope that you can see how this definition of “religious employer” is a dangerous one in terms of allowing for religious exemptions. Clearly, Catholic social service agencies and hospitals do not fulfill items 1 through 3 of the definition above.

All concerned citizens are invited to visit, call, fax, or e-mail their members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor and support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act – H.R. 1179 (House Bill) or S. 1467 (Senate Bill).

Click on this link http://www.votervoice.net/core.aspx?aid=718&issueid=25994&siteid=0&app=GAC&ftfrecipientemail=&isvisited=true to be directed to the site of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, where you can e-mail your Representatives and Senators. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to click on “Take Action.” Please share this link with others you know in Pennsylvania.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 16: Call the White House!

Last week, we asked you to contact your representatives to encourage them to sign on to the letter that will be sent to President Obama to ask him to close the SOA. The letter, with 69 signatures of representatives, will be given to the President on August 16. The letter will have the most impact if it is accompanied by calls from around the country telling the President to "Shut it down!" So, call the White House on Tuesday, August 16 and let him know that you support the closure and investigation of SOA/WHINSEC. Click here for instructions and a possible script. Share this information with your friends throughout the country.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kristof: "Rachel's Last Fund-Raiser"

"Rachel's Last Fund-Raiser" by Nicholas D. Kristof
Published in the NY Times: August 10, 2011

The story: In a grim summer, the story of a 9-year-old girl who teaches us adults about maturity truly renews our faith in humanity. Click here to read Kristof's amazing and touching story of Rachel Beckwith. In life and in death, Rachel has a message.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

81 Children Rescued in Raids on Trafficking Ring

China's Ministry of Public Security said that the police rescued 81 children from a major child trafficking ring that had operated throughout eastern China. Click here to read the NYT story.

Notify your Representative: Close the SOA!

The deadline has been extended to August 10 to contact your representative and urge him or her to support human rights by signing on to a letter urging President Obama to issue an Executive Order to close the SOA (now known as WHINSEC). Rep. Jim McGovern has introduced this congressional sign-on letter. Now he needs your help to urge your representative to sign it! Phone calls are best, but e-mails are accepted, too. Click here to go to the SOAW site to take action. The phone number and e-mail contact can be found there. Share this information with as many friends as possible.

As you may know, the School of the Americas (SOA) is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, GA. In 2001, it was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). No matter what you call it, the facts remain: since 1946, the SOA has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in coutnerinsurgency techniques, sniper training, psychological warfare, military intelligence, and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refuge by those trained at the School of Assassins.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Paul Farmer's New Book




Partners in Health (PIH) invites you to participate in its five-week, in-depth reading and discussion of Haiti After the Earthquake, Dr. Paul Farmer's newest book. From Evan Lyon, MD, another member of PIH: "During this five-week reading and discussion, you'll be able to chat with PIH staff who are directly involved in our relief efforts, discuss the book with other readers, and enter our contest to win a signed copy of the book. It is my fervent hope that this book will do more than bear witness to the suffering the earthquake caused. Rather, I hope it will educate readers about the historical context in which it occurred and the true scope of what remains to be done." Go to the PIH website for more information

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kristof's Summer Reading List

Thanks to Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times for suggesting this list of atypical "beach books" -- "mindful page turners . . . triumphs of fiction, both fun to read and significant for literary or historical reasons." If for no other reason, check out the article for its catchy title: "Action! Romance! Social Justice."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

South Sudan

Click here to read the Sudan Catholic Radio story on South Sudan's independence, declared Saturday at midnight. Continue to pray for this fledgling country, which continues to experience the pain of extreme poverty

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Human Trafficking Story on CNNs "Situation Room"

Click here to view the video of CNNs Barbara Starr reporting on sex slaves living only blocks from the White House.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Test Your Refugee Knowledge

How much do you know about the world's most vulnerable people -- refugees and displaced people? Click here to be directed to the Refugees International web site to take a quiz aimed at increasing your knowledge. It's only 15 questions; it won't take long. A little more knowledge can't hurt!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

South Kordofan, Sudan

According to the Sudan Tribune: "Intense fighting in South Kordofan has displaced over 60,000 people, with more than 35,000 believed to be heading to El Obeid in North Kordofan, the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs declared on 15 June. On 5 June, fighting broke out in the key northern border state of South Kordofan between the northern army – Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army(SPLA), raising fears of a possible return to war, just weeks before South Sudan becomes independent on the 9 July. The clash followed an ultimatum issued by the northern army ordering their southern counterparts to vacate the states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile; two of the regions which border South Sudan. Insecurity in Kaduguli, the South Kordofan capital has reportedly limited humanitarian organisations from either re-allocating their staff from the town or blocked re-supply of stocks in the region."

Click here to read more from the Sudan Tribune, and here to follow the situation on Sudan Catholic Radio Network.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June 5 - World Environment Day



World Environment Day (WED) was established by the U.N. General Assembly in 1972 and has been commemorated each year since then. The purpose of the day is to stimulate worldwide interest in the awareness of environmental issues and to encourage political attention and action. Click here for more information about WED from the United Nation Environment Programme website.

The USG/UISG Commission for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation in Rome developed a prayer to commemorate World Environment Day. Click here to access the prayer, which focuses on celebration, lamentation, and response.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Remembering

Icon of Franz Jägerstätter by William Hart McNichols:

On this Memorial Day, we pause to remember so many who gave their lives in so many ways. Pax Christi USA asks us to reflect on Franz Jägerstätter, the Austrian Catholic who was martyred on August 9, 1943 for refusing to serve in the armies of the Third Reich. From Pax Christi USA: "As we approach Memorial Day and to commemorate Franz's life, let us pray for the day that no soldier will die in battle for their country, and that in the interim, those soldiers of faith who are opposed to any or all wars, can act on their individual conscience without needing to accept the ultimate verdict bestowed on Franz Jägerstätter."


PCUSA Prayer for Memorial Day: God of peace and love, throughout this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember those who have died in war or who have suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and moral injury, sometimes ending in their taking their own life through suicide. Let us pray and act with the cry "War No More", and until we reach that day, empower us to work to avoid war. Let us help U.S. soldiers whose consciences are awakened to the moral depravity of war to be able to act on their individual conscience without having to suffer the price that Blessed Franz paid. We ask all this through Jesus, who gave us his peace so that we may be people of peace. Amen.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Technical Difficulties

I'm not sure why our e-mail subscribers got a post from Advent 2010, but it happened! Apologies . . .

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Immigration Reform

Click here to read the text of President Obama's speech in El Paso, TX on May 10 and click here to read the response from the USCCB, delivered by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Another Reaction

Congratulations to Lisa Burke on her essay, "Bin Laden is Dead," published on Catholic.org. Click here to read the essay, which brings much-needed reminders about unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness to our conversation.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Christian Response

"What is a Christian response to Osama Bin Laden's death?" asks James Martin, SJ. Here's an excerpt of his May 2 blog post:

"As someone who worked at Ground Zero in the days and weeks following 9/11 I rejoiced to hear that Osama Bin Laden’s long reign of terror, which had dealt death, destruction and untold misery to millions across the world, had finally come to an end. As a Christian, though, I cannot rejoice at the death of a human being, no matter how monstrous he was."

Click here to read the entire post.

And, let's pray for peace!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kristof: What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?




Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times again gives us much food for thought and action in his recent op/ed piece, "What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?" Click here to read the article, in which Kristof chronicles the problem and profiles Rachel Lloyd, trafficking survivor, author of "Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not For Sale," and founder of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS). Read the article; read the book; do something!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hope House



The Salvatorian Sisters (SDS) in San Diego established Hope House in San Diego, CA for women who, because of a situation of enslavement, have spent time in a shelter or emergency housing, but are now ready to undertake the journey toward personal growth and self-esteem development. Click here to learn more about Hope House.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shopping Responsibly

Sometimes the debates about shopping responsibly need to be revived. Here are some books that may help us to re-check where we stand in the debate and why it matters:

  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War by Joe Bageant

  • To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise by Bethany Moreton

Read up. What do you think?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sister Mary Scullion and Joan McConnon to receive Notre Dame's 2011 Laetare Medal

Congratulations to Mary Scullion, RSM and Joan McConnon, co-founders of Philadelphia's Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care, and Education). They have been named as the 2011 recipients of Notre Dame's prestigious Laetare Award. Click here for the story from the University of Notre Dame.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fast to Close the SOA

The seven-day juice fast to close the SOA started on Monday, April 4 in front of the White House. Human rights defenders in other parts of the Americas have joined the fast as well. The fast will end with a festive march through Washington on Sunday, April 10, culminating with a nonviolent direct action at the White House. Click here to view the video, "Hungry for Justice, Starving for Change," containing stories of some of those who are fasting to close the SOA.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Four Orders of Sisters Question Goldman Sachs Executive Compensation

The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia and the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel have questioned the compensation of the executives of Goldman Sachs. Click here to read the story in The Telegraph.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Japan's Sorrow

Click here for the YouTube video of America Magazine's Father Ed Schmidt sharing his thoughts on the suffering and quiet heroism of the Japanese people in the wake of two devastating natural disasters.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

News from Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

A bill to abolish the death penalty in Pennyslvania has been introduced. Pennsylvanians, go to the website for Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty to urge your legislators to vote Yes on SB 423, which would repeal Pennsylvania's death penalty. On that site, you can also urge your legislators to vote NO on HB 317, which would expand Pennsylvania's death penalty.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fair Trade


As we travel through Lent, perhaps we can think of ways to support Fair Trade. Go to the Equal Exchange website to find coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, gifts, and other Fair Trade items.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Remember Free Rice?

Have you been remembering to donate rice through the World Food Programme? Just go to freerice.com and earn 10 free grains of rice for every correct answer! If you haven't visited the site in a while, other categories have been added. Try your luck at Art, Chemistry, Geography, and Math in addition to English vocabulary.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Death Penalty Opponent and Mother of Victim to Speak in Williamsport

From northcentralpa.com:

A moratorium on the death penalty program, presented by Vicki Schieber, is scheduled for Thursday, March 31, 7 p.m. at Lycoming College, Honors Hall / Performance Hall (southeast corner of E 4th and Basin Streets) in Williamsport. The event is free.

Vicki’s daughter, Shannon, was raped and murdered on May 7, 1998 while finishing her first year of graduate school on a full scholarship at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Since this tragic incident, Vicki and her husband, Sylvester, have dedicated their career and lives to a moratorium on the death penalty.

In addition to teaching many high schools and university classes on abolition, Vicki runs workshops for state conferences, is a published author, and served on the 2008 Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment. She is the recipient of the Fannie Mae Foundation Good Neighbor Award, the Courage in Community Award of the McAuley Institute Board of Trustees and the Exceptional Community Spirit Award from Rebuilding Together of Washington, D.C.

Despite her tragic loss she continues to be an advocate for the abolishment of the death penalty. The public is invited to hear her compelling story of reconciliation and forgiveness. For more information about the program, or if you would like a flyer emailed to you, contact Jim Foran at margyjimforan601@cs.com.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Remembering Romero

March 24 marks the 31st anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Click here to go to the Creighton University website that provides more information on the life and death of Oscar Romero

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Litany for Peace

From the Pax Christi USA website:

Litany for Peace by Linda Friern and Tony Bartlett, in The Fire of Peace

Let us pray to Jesus Christ that we may be set free from the chains of violence and war.
Jesus the Christ, by your cross and resurrection
… deliver us.
by your nonviolence and love
by your witness to truth
by your passion and death
by your victory over the grave
from the desire for power
from the conspiracy of silence
from the negation of life
from the worship of weapons
from the celebration of killing
from the slaughter of the innocent
from the extermination of the weak
from the nightmare of hunger
from the politics of terror
from a false peace
from relying on weapons
from the spiral of armaments
from plundering the earth’s resources
from the despair of this age
from global suicide.
By the light of the Gospel
… give us your peace.
by the good news for the poor
by your healing and wounds
by faith in your word
by a hunger and thirst for justice
by the coming of your reign
by the outpouring of the Spirit
by reconciliation of enemies
by gentleness and nonviolence
by the truth that sets us free
by prophecy and witness
by persecution because of your name
by the power of your love.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,
… have mercy on us.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,
… have mercy on us.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,
… grant us peace.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lenten Carbon Fast 2011

Washington (State) Interfaith Power and Light has issued an invitation to join the Carbon Fast for Lent 2011. The Carbon Fast Calendar is available here. For this week, it invites us to the following: Wednesday - Remove one light bulb from a light in your home (without creating an unsafe situation). Do not replace the light bulb . . . for now! Thursday - Refresh your memory regarding which items your city/county allows for curbside recycling. Start adding items to your bin that you normally haven't recycled. Friday - Ensure that your cell phone charger is unplugged when not in use. (Many electronics and appliances continue to draw power even when they are off. Saturday - Set a timer for 5 minutes before your shower, and see how your normal shower length compares. Try to finish your next shower before the timer goes off.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Live Coverage of March for Life

Tune in to EWTN or EWTN.com for live coverage of the March for Life and its various liturgies. Pray for the safety of those traveling to Washington for the March and for life -- the cause for which they march!

2011 March for Life

From the USCCB:
Over 10,000 worshippers, many of them youth from schools around the nation, are expected to gather in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to pray for an end to abortion at the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life, Sunday, January 23, at 6:30 p.m., the eve of the 2011 March for Life. January 22 marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Mass, concelebrated by fellow cardinals and many of the nation's bishops and priests. Following the Opening Mass, the Vigil will continue in the Crypt Church of the Basilica with confessions, a National Rosary for Life, Night Prayer according to the Byzantine Rite, and holy hours led by seminarians from across the country from midnight until 6:00 a.m.

That same evening, The Catholic University of America will host close to 1,300 pilgrims overnight. On January 24, the Basilica will host Morning Prayer at 6:30 a.m. in the Crypt Church and the Closing Mass at 7:30 a.m. in the Great Upper Church. Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, will be the principal celebrant and homilist. At the conclusion of the National Prayer Vigil for Life, participants will join in the national March for Life.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is co-sponsored by the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and The Catholic University of America.

More information is also available at the March For Life website.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

12 Things . . .

From Father James Martin, SJ, on his 50th birthday (via the Huffington Post blog): "12 Things I Wish I Knew at 25: Spiritual Learnings on My 50th Birthday." Click here to read the list.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nancy Smith, SOA Prisoner of Conscience

The following video features Nancy Smith, SOA Prisoner of Conscience, who (on January 5, 2011) was sentenced to six months in prison for her involvement in the non-violent protest to close the School of the Americas. E-mail subscribers: If you cannot see the video below, click here to watch.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

unPLANNED


On Tuesday, January 11, Abby Johson's book, Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line, will be released. Obviously, I haven't read it yet, but from what I see and hear, it is a "must-read." Here's the description from the amazon.com site:
Abby Johnson quit her job in October 2009. That simple act became a national news story because Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who, after participating in her first actual abortion procedure, walked across the road to join the Coalition for Life. Unplanned is a heartstopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation that speaks hope and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue.