Thursday, November 29, 2018

Advent Calendar: Rejoice and Be Glad!

The Office of Peace and Justice of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth invite us to journey with Pope Francis this Advent by focusing on the Holy Father's apostolic exhortation, Rejoice and Be Glad: On the Call to Holiness in Today's World.  Click here to access the Peace and Justice page on the Sisters' website.  Click on "Advent Calendar" on the right to access a pdf of the entire calendar, which contains practical suggestions for living holy lives this Advent. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

For Your December Calendar

Here are some dates you may want to remember in December:

December 1:  World AIDS Day
December 2:  Remembrance of the martyrdom of four churchwomen in El Salvador, 1980;
Advent begins
December 3:  International Day of Persons with Disabilities; Hanukkah begins
December 6:  Feast of St. Nicholas
December 8:  Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 9:  Feast of St. Juan Diego
December 10:  Human Rights Day
December 12:  Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 16:  Christmas Novena begins;  Las Posadas begins; Simbang Gabi begins
December 17:  Birthday of Pope Francis
December 18:  International Migrants Day
December 25:  Christmas Day
December 26: Kwanzaa begins

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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'" (Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt, 1845).

Pauline von Mallinckrodt (1817-1881) founded the Sisters of Christian Charity in Paderborn, Germany in 1849.

Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt

Sunday, November 18, 2018

World Day of the Poor: To Cry, to Answer, to Free

The message of Pope Francis (available here) for the second commemoration of the World Day of the Poor begins:  

"'This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him'" (Ps 34:6).  The words of the Psalmist become our own whenever we are called to encounter the different conditions of suffering and marginalization experienced by so many of our brothers and sisters whom we are accustomed to label generically as "the poor."  The Psalmist is not alien to suffering; quite the contrary.  He has a direct experience of poverty and yet transforms it into a song of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.  Psalm 34 allows us today, surrounded as we are by different forms of poverty, to know those who are truly poor.  It enables us to open our eyes to them, to hear their cry and to recognize their needs."

Continuing his message, Pope Francis considers the importance of the three verbs that describe the poor man in his relationship with God -- "to cry," "to answer" and "to free."  He concludes the message:  "Let us not squander this grace-filled opportunity.  On this day, may all of us feel that we are in debt to the poor, because, in hands outstretched to one another, a salvific encounter can take place to strengthen our faith, inspire our charity and enable our hope to advance securely on our path towards the Lord who is to come."

Catholic Relief Services has provided resources for the World Day of the Poor (available here).  These resources include advocating on behalf of those who live in poverty, raising money for the poorest and most vulnerable and praying for global solidarity.  

Friday, November 16, 2018

Prayers for East African Jesuits

In the early morning hours of November 15, Viktor-Luke Odhiambo, SJ, a Kenyan priest, was murdered in the South Sudan residence where he lived with four other Jesuits.  Click here for more information on the America magazine website.

This happened the day before the anniversary of the martyrdom of six Jesuits, their cook and her daughter on November 16, 1989 in El Salvador (the "Martyrs of El Salvador"). 

We remember Rev. Odhiambo, his family and the East African Province of the Jesuits in our prayers. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

An Epidemic, A Crisis, A State of Emergency: The ALTO Response

Over and over, we hear that there is an opiod epidemic, an opiod crisis and/or an opiod state of emergency.  News reports seem quick to blame providers for this.  However, they offer few reports about solutions to controlling the very real pain that patients experience without being prescribed highly-addictive opiates.

The Emergency Department at St. Joseph's University Medical Center, Paterson, NJ -- the busiest Emergency Department in the State of New Jersey -- is the first in the United States to pilot the "Alternatives to Opiates" (ALTO) program to give providers options they can use to effectively alleviate pain without resorting to highly addictive medication. 

From the website:  "Launched in January 2016 in the Emergency Department at St. Joseph's University Medical Center, the Alternatives to Opiates (ALTO) program utilizes protocols that primarily target five common conditions:  renal colic, sciatica, headaches, musculoskeletal pain and extremity fractures. . . . Initial results of the St. Joseph's ALTO program are very promising. Up to 75% of patients have achieved adequate pain relief with alternative therapies and there has been a decrease in opiod use by 50% since the inception of the program."

Click here for more information about this program.  Congratulations to St. Joseph's Health (a sponsored work of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, NJ) for its innovative response to this crisis.  May God bless your mission to "sustain and improve both individual and community health, with a special concern for those who are poor, vulnerable and underserved."