Monday, September 30, 2013

Jubilee Weekend October 11-13

Click here to access prayer resources from Jubilee USA for Jubilee Sunday, October 13.  You may recall that "Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations, 250 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners.  Jubilee USA Network is building an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable" (from the Jubilee USA website).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week 4: Prayer and Fasting for Immigration Reform

The theme for week 4 is ensure workers' rights.  What are you doing for the 40 days of prayer, fasting and advocacy for immigration reform?

Here is a prayer for those who influence public opinion, from the Fast Action website:

Almighty God,
you proclaim your truth in every age
by many voices.
Direct, in our time, we pray,
those who speak where many listen
and write what many read,
that they may do their part
in making the heart of this people wise,
its mind sound,
and its will righteous;
to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Why are garment workers striking in Bangladesh?

Click here to read an article from Aljazeera America detailing the garment workers' strike in Bangladesh.  Why is this important?  In order to be informed consumers, we must be aware of the conditions in which the items we purchase are manufactured.  While we congratulate ourselves on finding the lowest prices for the items we purchase, are we aware of the human rights' violations that occur to give us these bargains?  Do we convince ourselves that this is OK because we cannot possibly know all the "ins and outs" of every corporation's international dealings?  After reading this article, ask yourself, "What am I doing to aid these workers?" and "What am I being called to do?"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Give Help and Hope to Flood Victims

Click here to find out how to help Catholic Charities USA help flood victims in Colorado.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How did you observe the International Day of Peace?

Assumption College for Sisters, Mendham, NJ -- a sponsored work of the Sisters of Christian Charity -- shared a few photos of its celebration of International Day of Peace on September 21, 2013.  Click here to view a brief slideshow of the photos.  So many cultures, countries and languages were represented in this prayer service! How did you observe the International Day of Peace this year?  Please share with us and we will post it on this blog in the future.

Week 3: Prayer and Fasting for Immigration Reform

The intention for week 3 is care for refugees and asylees.  What are you doing for the 40 days of prayer, fasting and advocacy for immigration reform?

Here is a prayer for migrants from the Fast Action website:

For all those who see “home” and all it means
Disappear behind them;
For all those who cannot see a home
In the days ahead of them;
For all those who dwell in
Daily insecurity;
For all those who are weary and
Without a safe place to rest their heads;
For all families in migration we pray.
May the image of the Family
Fleeing oppression
Stay with us as we enter
A New Year, and
Stay with us each night
As we are blessed
With returning to a home.
May we also be blessed
With compassion for those
Still weary, still seeking,
Still with so far to go.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Let There Be Peace on Earth . . .

. . . and let it begin with me.  (E-mail subscribers:  Click here if you do not see a video link below.)  What are you doing for the International Day of Peace?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"A Big Heart Open to God"

By now, you have probably heard many variations of the words of Pope Francis in his interview with Jesuit journals around the world.  Click here if you'd like to read the interview on the America website.

Here are a few excerpts:

 "My authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative....but I have never been a right-winger.”    [In this quotation, Pope Francis is referring to the authoritarianism he displayed as provincial superior of the Jesuits in Argentina, a post to which he was appointed at the "crazy" (his words) age of 36.]

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person.”

“We should not even think, therefore, that ‘thinking with the church’ means only thinking with the hierarchy of the church.”

“If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing.”

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that...The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."

"I am a sinner."

International Day of Peace

Click here to go to the United Nations page for International Day of Peace (September 21) messages and resources. Remember, too, this blog post that supplies a copy of the Evening Prayer for the International Day of Peace.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Do You Know the Code?

Every year an estimated 1.2 million children are forced into prostitution and pornography.  Because many victims are isolated from the public, travel companies have the distinct opportunity to identify and rescue them. The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, developed by ECPAT (End Childhood Prostitution and Trafficking) sets a standard of responsible business practices that deters child sexual exploitation. 

How can you help?
  1. Patronize a company that has signed the Code.  Go to the ECPAT USA site to find a list. 
  2. Inform hotel staff that you made your decision to stay there based on that hotel's association with the Code.  (The local staff might not know what you're talking about, depending on how well they received the word from corporate headquarters.  This provides an opportunity for education.
  3. Use social media to praise the hotels that have signed the Code.
  4. When booking large events, ask companies to sign the Code.
  5. Go to the ECPAT USA site to find more ways to help.  (Be sure to scroll down to the final suggestion, "Buy a Tassa Tag."  Many of our Sisters use Tassa Tags on their luggage currently.  Click here to learn more about Tassa Tags.)

September UN Update from Partnership for Global Justice

Click here for the most recent United Nations update from the Partnership for Global Justice.  In this file, you will find information about Syrian refugees and resources for the International Day of Peace. 

You may recall that the Partnership for Global Justice (previously known as Religious Orders Partnership) is a network of religious congregations that stands in solidarity with those who are oppressed, and fosters reverence for diversity of cultures.  Click here to go to the website to learn more about Partnership for Global Justice.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl

On Monday, September 16, Sister Joseph Spring and Sister Mary Irene Sorber attended the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking workshop in preparation for the 2014 Super Bowl to be held in the Meadowlands, NJ. The workshop was held at Jewish Federation Center in Whippany, NJ in order to help those present to be prepared to collectively make contact with over 150 hotels in the New Jersey area in preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII.

The NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking efforts around Super Bowl XLVIII focus on:
  • Raising awareness about human trafficking
  • Mobilizing volunteers around anti-trafficking efforts with a specific focus on the tourism and travel industry.
  • Supporting and partnering with the New Jersey Attorney General's Human Trafficking Task Force efforts.
  • Strengthening relationships with and among New Jersey-based anti-trafficking organizations.
  • Building infrastructure at the grassroots to fight human trafficking with an emphasis on high schools, colleges, religious organizations, municipal organizations and community-based organizations including men's and minority organizations.
Further information can be found at and

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Evening Prayer for International Day of Peace

Remember that a copy of this year's Evening Prayer for the International Day of Peace (September 21) was distributed earlier this month.  Click here to access a copy of the prayer.  Would you like to share your observance of International Day of Peace?  Click "Post a comment" at the bottom of this post (on the blog, not in your e-mail) to share. 

Week 2 of Prayer, Fasting and Advocacy for Immigration Reform

From the Interfaith Immigration Coalition:  "People of faith continue to make their voices heard on immigration reform. . . .We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in the movement for immigration reform. As people of faith, we believe that we must engage our communities in prayerful action in solidarity with those whose lives are directly impacted by our immigration policies. . . .We are convinced that what we need now is a “compassion surge.”  We add our voices to the voices of the majority of Americans and urge Congress to fix our broken immigration system and enact reform that reflects the best of our values and helps to build a stronger, more welcoming country."

This week's theme is to provide a pathway to citizenship for all.  Click here to go to the Interfaith Immigration Coalition site.

Friday, September 13, 2013

CCHD New Evangelization Webinar Series

A message from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development:

Catholic Campaign for Human Development
New Evangelization Webinar Series
The New U.S. Poverty Statistics and Our Catholic Response
September 19
The U.S. Census Bureau will release new poverty data just a few days before this webinar. What will we learn? Is poverty on the rise? How are children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations faring? Join Tom Mulloy, policy advisor for Domestic Social Development at the USCCB to explore the new data and what it means for our national and local advocacy efforts. We will also hear from a Catholic parish that is taking seriously Bishop Blaire's call in his 2013 Labor Day statement to promote human dignity through economic justice. This free webinar is Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Register now.
New Evangelization Webinar Part 1:
Living our Baptism, Transforming Our World
September 23
How does the New Evangelization connect with our work for life, dignity, justice and peace? Join Sr. Madge Karecki, SSJ-TOSF, Director of the Office for Mission Education and Animation for the Archdiocese of Chicago, to explore the New Evangelization and living out our baptismal call as Christ's disciples on mission in the world. We'll also hear from an inspiring on-the-ground example of discipleship in action. Come ready to be challenged and motivated! This free webinar is Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET. Register now.
New Evangelization Webinar Part 2:
Aparecida's Call to be Missionary Disciples
October 29
What is the Aparecida document?  How is it reflected in Pope Francis' teachings? The historic Aparecida document, of which Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) was a primary author in 2007, sheds important light on our work for the New Evangelization.  We are called to be missionary disciples who proclaim God's love to transform hearts-and unjust structures that perpetuate poverty and suffering. Join Sr. Madge Karecki, SSJ-TOSF, Director of the Office for Mission Education and Animation for the Archdiocese of Chicago, as she explores themes from Aparecida that have major implications for our work for life, dignity, justice and peace. This free webinar is Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.  Register now.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

CCUSA Releases New Human Trafficking Research

A message from Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA):

For more than 30 years, Catholic Charities agencies have been providing services to human trafficking victims across the country, and are leading efforts to offer employment services, family counseling and legal advocacy to trafficking victims from all walks of life. In the past year alone, 29 Catholic Charities agencies reported providing services to 239 victims of sex, labor, drug and organ trafficking.
To support this work, CCUSA commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to conduct a research study of Catholic Charities agencies currently providing services to victims of human trafficking. The research assessed the characteristics of trafficking victims served by Catholic Charities agencies, the types of services provided to these victims, the sources of funding the agencies receive, and other challenges and barriers they face in providing services and raising awareness for human trafficking in their communities. 
For additional findings, please see the research summary, press release, and full report. CCUSA will hold a webinar on Tuesday, September 24th at 3pm EST to share the findings and identify next steps for local and national anti-trafficking efforts. Register here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pope Francis at Centro Astalli

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that when the JPIC Coordinators of the Congregation met in Rome in 2008, Centro Astalli -- a Roman shelter for refugees run by the Jesuit Refugee Service -- was one of the first places visited. So it is with greater interest that we follow reports of the Pope's visit there on Tuesday. (If you're not a long-time reader or you don't recall the report, click here to find it.)

Here is the Zenit report of Pope Francis's remarks at the refugee center, which focused on "serve, accompany, defend" and included: "Dearest men and women religious, the empty convents are useless to the Church if they are transformed into hotels and earn money. The empty convents aren’t ours; they are for Christ’s flesh, which the refugees are. The Lord calls us to live with generosity and courage [to offer] hospitality in empty convents. It certainly isn’t something simple; we need criteria, responsibility, but also courage. We do so much, perhaps we are called to do more, welcoming and sharing with determination what Providence has given us to serve; to overcome the temptation of spiritual worldliness to be close to simple persons and especially the least. We are in need of solidaristic communities that live love concretely!"

9/11: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me bring your love,
Where there is injury your pardon Lord,
And where there’s doubt true faith in you.
Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness, only light,
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.
O Master grant that I may never seek,
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive.
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.
O Master grant that I may never seek,
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
And to love as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive.
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.
(Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Reminder: Liturgical Resources for 9/11

About a month ago, we reminded you about liturgical considerations for the September 11 anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the U.S.  Here's the original post, should you need this information.

Additionally, click here to find the 9/11 anniversary prayer service created by the Western Delegation of the Sisters of Christian Charity.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Advocacy

Forty days of prayer, fasting and advocacy for justice for our immigrant brothers and sisters begin on Monday, September 9.  The Interfaith Immigration Coalition suggests weekly intentions for our prayer and fasting.  This week's intention is to promote family unity and end deportations.  The Coalition has also provided prayers (available here) from all faith traditions.  Here's a prayer from that page to guide us through our first week:

Heart of God, full of mercy, watch over our sister and brother immigrants.
Protect them from harm even as they suffer mistreatment and humiliations on their way.
Touch with your goodness the hearts of we who see them pass by.
Break open our hearts to embrace them and the gift that they are to our communities.
Heart of God, full of compassion, give our brothers and sisters in Congress the gift of compassion.
Open their eyes to the pain and longing of those affected by their decisions.
Give them wisdom as they struggle to repair our unjust immigration system.
Break open their hearts to embrace the dreams of our immigrant parents, siblings, and friends.
Heart of God, full of love, we give you glory for all the blessings you have given us.
Help us to share those blessings with others that we may all know that you are a God of mercy, a God of compassion, a God of love.
Break open our hearts that we might embrace the challenge to build a land, a nation, a community where all are welcome.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Praying and Sharing . . .

Here are some ways in which local communities of Sisters of Christian Charity observed the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria, the Middle East and the world on Saturday, September 7:
  • At Holy Spirit Hospital Convent in Camp Hill, PA, the Sisters observed a day of silence, prayer and fasting.  From 3 to 4 pm, they kept Holy Hour followed by Vespers.  This was open to the public and was televised throughout the hospital.  Sister Elizabeth was kind enough to share the file containing these prayers. Here is a link to the file.  (This is another link, should the first one not work for you.)
  • At the Motherhouse in Mendham, NJ, the Sisters prayed the Peace Prayer of Pope John Paul II after the 8:00 am Eucharistic Liturgy.  They kept a day of fast and had a period of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 2 to 5 pm.  Throughout the week, many of the Sisters of the Motherhouse community were busy telephoning and e-mailing their elected officials in Washington, urging them to vote against a military strike in Syria.  Those who did not have a chance to do this during the week used this day to make an effort to follow through. 
  • Because of the suddenness of Pope Francis calling for this day of prayer and fasting, Sisters in some communities had other commitments and were able to maintain awareness by lighting special candles in their chapels or by individual prayerful observances.
Do you have something you would like to share?  How did you and/or your community observe this day?  Just click on the "post a comment" link at the bottom of this post to share with our readers.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Why are we praying AND fasting today?

In a Lent 2009 message, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio explained to the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires the significance of fasting.  As Pope Francis, he is asking us to pray and fast for peace on Saturday, September 7, 2013.  Click here to read his explanation from 2009, which is just as applicable today. (Thanks to the Diocese of Camden Life & Justice Ministries for pointing us toward this.)

Prayers for Peace

As we prepare for tomorrow's day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East and the world, many resources are available:
  • Prayers for peace from the USCCB are available here
  • The USCCB prayer for the people of Syria is available here
  • The CRS prayer and intercessions for the people of Syria are available here
If you need more resources, simply type "Prayers for peace" or "Prayers for Syria" into your favorite search engine.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Syria: Contact your Senators and Representative

In addition to the prayer and fasting we have committed to for Saturday, perhaps we could act by contacting our elected officials.  Here's the current situation, as described by the USCCB:  During the week of September 9, Congress is expected to take up a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria in response to heinous chemical weapons attacks on innocent civilians.  Providentially, Pope Francis has declared September 7 a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the World.  In solidarity with our Holy Father, USCCB will engage in prayer, fasting and advocacy for peace in Syria.

What can we do?   Call or write your Representative and Senators.  Here's a sample of what you might say:  As Congress debates a resolution authorizing military force in Syria, I urge the Senator/Representative instead to support U.S. leadership for peace.  The Holy See, the Conference of Bishops and the Catholic community have condemned the chemical attack, but remain convinced that only dialogue can save lives and bring about peace in Syria.  In a recent letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace,  wrote: "'[T]he path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option to put an end to the conflict....'  We ask the United States to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial and neutral humanitarian assistance, and encourage building an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities."  (If you click on the "write" link above, the message is included for you; simply complete the rest of the information.)

What does the Catholic Church teach us about this situation? 
Pope Francis' Declaration of a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria: 

(Thanks to LCWR for alerting us to these resources.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Conrad Hilton Foundation's Catholic Sisters Strategy

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation recently awarded five grants directed toward the Foundation's new Catholic Sisters strategy, including at $3.85 million grant over four years to Marywood University to expand opportunities for Sisters in seven African countries to earn a post-secondary education credential.

Click here to read the entire article -- "Shining a Light on Catholic Sisters" -- which details more grants. 

Thank you to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for its overwhelming commitment to and support of Sisters worldwide.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Day of Fasting and Prayer for Syria

In his Angelus message on Sunday, Pope Francis proclaimed September 7 as a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world.  He has invited everyone to participate in whatever way they can on September 7, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace:  "Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love.  She is our mother:  may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children.  Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Labor Day Prayer

Prayer for Work

Creator God,
thank you for providing us
with the gift to share our talents.

Provide our community, our nation, our world
the fortitude to provide work for all
which is decent and fair.

Make us faithful stewards of your creation
to enhance the human dignity
of our global family.

We ask this in the name of Jesus,
who live and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit now and forever.

(From Being Neighbor: The Catechism and Social Justice, USCCB, 1998; accessed via