Thursday, November 30, 2017

2017 Advent Calendar

The Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, NJ,  have provided this Advent Calendar to remind us of our commitment to nonviolence.  Each day contains a brief, simple action toward living a more peaceful life. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Whatever God does with me is well done. In every dispensation of Providence, whether it bring joy or sorrow, I will exclaim, 'Thanks be to God'" (Pauline von Mallinckrodt, 1845). 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pauline von Mallinckrodt

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Praying for Vietnam

Click here to read the Global Sisters Report story of the efforts of Vietnamese Sisters to help people to recover from Typhoon Damrey.  Please pray for everyone involved -- those who lost their homes, those who lost their lives, and everyone assisting in the recovery efforts.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thank God Ahead of Time: The Beatification of Solanus Casey

While preparing to commemorate the World Day of the Poor, we were also aware of the Beatification of Capuchin Father Solanus Casey in Detroit on Saturday.  The Rite of Beatification took place in the presence of over 75,000 people at the Eucharistic Liturgy at Detroit's Ford Field.  A video of the Rite of Beatification is available here and the worship aid for the liturgy is available here.  More information about Blessed Solanus Casey -- whose feast day will be celebrated on July 30 --  is available here.  More than observing the ceremonies, perhaps we could strive to remember a simple maxim attributed to Blessed Solanus:  "Thank God ahead of time."  In one of his letters, he wrote, "God knows best, and, while we'll still hope for a favorable surprise, we can hardly do better than not only being resigned to whatever God permits but even beforehand to thank Him for His mercifully loving designs."  What a great message to take with us this week as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Blessed Solanus, pray for us!

P.S.  During the television coverage, it was nice to be reminded that the first beatification on U.S. soil was that of New Jersey's own Blessed Miriam Teresa, a Sister of Charity from Convent Station.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Action Alert: Haitians and TPS

The Department of Homeland Security is required to make a decision to terminate or extend Temporary Protected Statue (TPS) for Haiti by November 23, 2017

What is TPS?  TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized immigration status that allows individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home.

Why should TPS be extended for Haiti?  From September 4-7, a delegation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS) traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to analyze the need for extension of TPS for Haitian nationals living in the United States.  (Currently, TPS is set to expire for them on January 22, 2018.)  The extensive report of their journey is available here.  The delgation's conclusion was:  "Haiti is in no position to accommodate the return of the estimated 50,000 Haitians who have received TPS. Doing so would potentially destabilize the small nation, derail its path to recovery, and possibly harm those returned, particularly the uprooted children.  In addition, terminating TPS would needless create a large unauthorized population in the U.S. and contribute to unauthorized re-migration."

What can we do?  The USCCB urges action prior to the November 23 decision.  "Justice for Immigrants" (part of the USCCB) has provided this petition to urge continued protection for Haitians while their country continues to recover.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Invest in Love

According to the Catholic News Service, between 6,000 and 7,000 people attended today's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the World Day of the Poor.  Most of them are now living in Europe, but they are migrants and refugees from around the world.  In his homily during the Mass, Pope Francis stressed, "What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes."  The entire homily (available here) merits our reflection.  Here are a few excerpts:

  • All too often, we have the idea that we haven't done anything wrong, so we rest content, presuming that we are good and just.  But in this way we risk acting like the unworthy servant [in today's Gospel] . . . But to do no wrong is not enough.  God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and plans.  It is sad when the Father of love does not receive a generous response of love from his children, who do no more than keep the rules and follow the commandments.
  • Omission is also the great sin where the poor are concerned.  Here is has a specific name: indifference.  It is when we say, "That doesn't regard me; it's not my business; it's society's problem." It is when we turn away from a brother or sister in need, when we change channels as soon as a disturbing question comes up, when we grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it.  God will not ask if we felt righteous indignation, but whether we did some good.
  • Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives.  It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbor.  Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away.  What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes. . . . This is the choice before us: to live in order to gain things on earth, or to give things away in order to gain heaven.  Where heaven is concerned, what matters most is not what we have, but what we give.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

5 Ways to Observe the World Day of the Poor

Catholic Relief Services has prepared resources for the World Day of the Poor (available here).  These resources include "5 Ways to Observe the World Day of the Poor."  Each of these is explained more fully within the resource (available through the link above):

1.  Pray for the poor.
2.  Practice the Corporal Works of Mercy.
3.  Make caring for the poor part of your routine.
4.  Learn about the causes of poverty and work to change them.
5.  Support the church's outreach to the poor.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Prayer for World Day of the Poor

Catholic Relief Services has provided this prayer for Sunday's World Day of the Poor:

God of Abraham,
On my television,
On my newsfeed,
On my street,
Everywhere I go,
I see Lazarus.

But I also see so many doors,
Doors that I've built,
That I've closed.
Doors that society has hung and locked.
Doors that separate me from Lazarus.

Lord, teach me to open the door to Lazarus,
To the poor.
To know them as your children,
To lift them in their distress,
To work to help them find a fair share of your bounty. 

This World Day of the Poor,
Help us all turn to those outside the door --
To bless, heal, comfort;
And together, from this day forward, build a world
Where the poor are strangers to none,
And, indeed, the very chains of poverty are broken.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

World Day of the Poor

This Sunday, November 19, the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, has been designated by Pope Francis as the first World Day of the Poor.  In his letter for this commemoration (available here), the Holy Father wrote:  "I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity.  They are our brothers and sisters, created and loved by the one Heavenly Father.  This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter.  At the same time, everyone, independent of religious affiliation, is invited to openness and sharing with the poor through concrete signs of solidarity and fraternity.  God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded."

Resources for the World Day of the Poor (including prayers, homily helps and intercessions) are available through Catholic Relief Services.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Prayer Request for Kidnapped Sisters

Although more specific details do not seem to be available currently, this blog post includes a prayer request for religious Sisters who were kidnapped in Nigeria on Sunday.  Let us pray for them and for their community, the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The World Will Be Saved by Beauty

Perhaps the 120th anniversary of Dorothy Day's birth (November 8) is a good time to mention her granddaughter's new book, Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty (Scribner, 2017).   In this 356-page book, Kate Hennessy, daughter of Dorothy's daughter, Tamar, has written an intimate portrait of her grandmother.  A review is available (here) from America Media.  A discussion guide and an opportunity to join this book's Facebook discussion group (also through America Media) are available here.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Final Excerpt: Als Antwort Auf Gottes Ruf

As part of our ongoing observance of the 200th birthday of Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, we have been posting excerpts of Als Antwort auf Gottes Ruf (Bonifatius, 2016), the history of the Sisters of Christian Charity since 1881, by Sister Anna Schwanz, SCC, translated by Sister Mary Perpetua Rehle, SCC. This is the last excerpt we will post.  We hope that you have become informed and edified by reading these portions of our history and the you have been motivated to read the entire book.  Thank you for reading along!

"In retrospect, it is with wonder and gratitude that we remember the path that the Congregation has traveled since the death of its Founder, Pauline von Mallinckrodt, sometimes full of joy and trustful certainty, sometimes with hesitation and uncertain steps, but always with trust in God's guidance.  For the individual Sister, this looking back also includes a part of her own personal memories along the way that she has traveled with the Congregation, as well as hope and trust in the awareness that all live from the same source.  For the many who in any way have or have had connections to the Community, the view expands and the whole can be seen from the perspective of the individual person and the specific place.  It becomes clear that, despite all the ups and downs, new life has been generated.

"Our history is the foundation upon which we stand today and minister, which permeates our life in the here and now; the history which we are "writing" with our lives in the present is, in turn, the foundation for future generations.  May it not be written just for the Archives!

"From remembrance, hope can grow that even in the present time of upheaval, the possibility is present to go on courageously 'in view of the promises' and to carry the founding spirit into the future.

"'That is our life: To have faith and to be on our way.'"

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Stop Trafficking Newsletter

Click here to access the November 2017 issue of Stop Trafficking, focusing on the vulnerability of indigenous peoples to human trafficking.