Saturday, February 28, 2009

Catholics Confront Global Poverty

The USCCB and CRS call on one million Catholics in the United States to confront global poverty: "Advocate with us to end hunger, disease, conflict, and other issues that affect the lives of our brothers and sisters worldwide." Click here to go to the USCCB website to become "one in a million."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Commission on the Status of Women, March 2-13, 2009

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. The fifty-third session of the CSW will take place March 2-13, focusing on the theme: “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS”. For more information on the upcoming commission go to:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Class Dismissed in Swat Valley

Click here to view the video of an 11-year-old Pakistani girl who is unable to go to school, because girls' schools are now forbidden by the Taliban.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Urgent Action Alert

From the anti-trafficking folks:

Action Alert: Call your Senator about David Ogden

President Obama has nominated David Ogden to be the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice, the #2 spot. According to the Anti-Porn Activist Network (APAN), Ogden has represented the porn industry's interests multiple times. Some examples:
  • David Ogden argued on behalf of Playboy, Penthouse and the ACLU in obscenity and pornography cases.
  • David Ogden opposed the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which includes a provision requiring Internet filters in federally funded libraries.
  • David Ogden opposed the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act (CPOEA), which requires verification that models in pornographic films be certified over age 18 (he argued that keeping records of porn models' ages would “burden too heavily and infringe too deeply on the right to produce First Amendment-protected material.”)
  • David Ogden pushed for taxpayer funding to publish Playboy in Braille.It is critical that you call a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to vote on the nomination on February 26th, and tell them you oppose this nomination.Below are listed the committee members. You can call them all, but at the very least call the one closest to your home state. If you want to follow up with an email that's fine, but Senators prefer the personal touch of a phone call.

Cardin D-Maryland (202) 224-4524; Coburn R-Oklahoma (202) 224-5754; Cornyn R-Texas (202) 224-2934; Durbin D-Illinois (202) 224-2152; Feingold D-Wisconsin (202) 224-5323; Feinstein D-California (202) 224-3841; Graham R-South Carolina (202) 224-5972; Grassley R-Iowa (202) 224-3744; Hatch R-Utah (202) 224-5251; Kaufman D-Delaware (202) 224-5042; Klobuchar D-Minnesota (202) 224-3244; Kohl D-Wisconsin (202) 224-5653; Kyl R-Arizona (202) 224-4521; Leahy Chairman, D-Vermont (202) 224-4242; Schumer D-New York (202) 224-6542; Sessions R-Alabama (202) 224-4124; Specter, R-Pennsylvania (202) 224-4254; Whitehouse D-Rhode Island (202) 224-2921; Wyden D-Oregon (202) 224-5244.



Monday, February 23, 2009

Resolutions to Action

Click here to read the latest issue (January 2009) of LCWR's "Resolutions to Action." This issue covers the topic of "Climate Change and Hunger." There are come good web sites suggested on page 2.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blog Book of the Month

To increase the size of your "books to be read" list, I give you Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together, a true story by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I'm about halfway through. It's a "page-turner." From the publisher's web site:
A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.
An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.
It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.
Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's About Community . . .

While Malcolm Gladwell's newest book, Outliers, is not a featured " Blog Book of the Month," I'm recommending it -- well, maybe only the Introduction for now! The title of the Intro, "The Roseto Mystery," caught my eye because I thought "He cannot possibly mean Roseto, PA!" However, he did, indeed, mean Roseto, PA!

Here's a very brief summary of the story: In the 1950's, a physician named Stewart Wolf was made aware of the town of Roseto, PA and its medical "claim to fame" that it rarely had a resident under 65 with heart disease. Wolf and sociologist John Bruhn set about the task of studying this town to see if this claim could be substantiated and explained. According to Gladwell (p. 7), they found that "virtually no one under fifty-five had died of a heart attack or showed any signs of heart disease. For men over sixty-five, the death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half that of the United States as a whole. The death rate from all causes in Roseto, in fact, was 30 to 35 percent lower than expected." Because these results lay outside everyday experience -- hence the title "Outliers" -- they investigated further.

After studying diet, exercise, genetics, and geographical region, the investigators determined that it was Roseto itself that was responsible for these remarkable findings. How Rosetans lived -- visiting one another, stopping to chat on the street, cooking for one another, living with three generations under one roof, respect of elders, participation in civic organizations, the effect of the church, and the "egalitarian ethos of community -- was responsible! As Gladwell states (p. 9), "The Rosetans were healthy because of where they were from, because of the world they had created for themselves in their tiny town in the hills." This finding was significant because it pointed toward thinking about good health in terms of good community. That is, "the values of the world we inahbit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are" (p. 11).

Now, this might not be startling news to my loyal blog readers. However, it's important when we get wrapped up in advocacy, policy, the new administration in the US, etc., etc., etc., to step back and remember that it's about WE rather than ME. There's no greater point that a JPIC blog can make today.

P.S. Still have your doubts? Consider this: In 1992, Brenda Egolf and Judith Lasker published "The Roseto Effect: A 50-year Comparison of Mortality Rates" in the American Journal of Public Health. After comparing 50 years of mortality rates(1935 to 1985) from Roseto with those of nearby Bangor, PA, these researchers determined that citizens in Roseto had a lower mortality rate from myocardial infarction over the course of the first 30 years, but the rate rose to the level of Bangor's following a period of erosion of traditionally cohesive family and community relationships.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"The World Needs Crazy Ideas to Change Things. . ."

I was fascinated by this NY Times opinion piece -- "Yes, They Could. So They Did" -- written by Thomas L. Friedman, while attending the the Energy and Resources Institute climate conference in New Delhi. Briefly: In New Delhi, according to Friedman, it was refreshing to meet idealistic young people who are not waiting for governments to act, but are starting their own projects and driving innovation. Read it (by clicking on the link) and see what you think!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lenten Practice: Buy Fair Trade

As a result of the SCC Enlarged Council's discussions in Chile, we have been asked to participate in the USG/UISG suggested practice for Lent 2009. The proposal reads as follows: The JPIC Commission and JPIC Economic Justice Working Group call on their fellow religious to consider the purchase of some Fair Trade products during Lent 2009 as a concrete expression of solidarity.

Sister Joan Daniel has requested that each local community in the Province -- as it is able -- consider purchasing a Fair Trade product during Lent 2009. Fair Trade products include items that many of us already buy each week, such as coffee, tea, sugar, rice, fruit and cocoa. Go to to find a store or restaurant near you that carries Fair Trade products. You can also visit to purchase products online.

Friday, February 13, 2009

CCUSA President Appointed to Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

On February 5, Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, became one of the first to be named to the newly created President's Council of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. President Barack Obama created the new office, headed by Joshua DuBois, by Executive Order. The Council will advise the new office and offer advice on policy issues to the President.

Father Snyder will work with 24 other religious and community leaders of diverse political, religious, and community backgrounds from across the country. As a member of the Council, he will represent a rich tradition of service to the most vulnerable and marginalized and advocate on behalf of the dignity of all human beings.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

World Day of Social Justice - February 20

A message from the USG/UISG JPIC Commission in Rome:

February 20, 2009 is an important day for all persons in our global village but especially for those of us committed to living the Good News of peace and justice. The World Day of Social Justice is being observed for the first time following its unanimous adoption by the 192 member States of the United Nations during their November 2007 General Assembly.

You are invited and asked to share with your members this prayer for the World Day of Social Justice. It was developed by members of the USG/UISG Secretariat Commission for Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation in Rome. The dream of the members is that all consecrated religious throughout the world will not only be aware of this day but join with our brothers and sisters everywhere in prayer on this day.

The prayer is developed using the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. It has been created to allow adaptation to various cultural realities such as songs and art from one’s culture and to the time constraints that exist in a particular local community, convent or monastery.

We encourage the extended use of this prayer in the parishes, schools, colleges, universities and other ministerial realities of your congregation. We invite you to send this prayer to your members or co-workers in these ministries.

Additionally, click here to go to the UN's World Day of Social Justice page.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

World Day of the Sick

Today is the World Day of the Sick. Click here for Pope Benedict's message for this day. Additionally, the National Association of Catholic Chaplains offers this prayer:

Prayer for the Caregiver

Living and Eternal God,
You tell us in the Psalms that
you are near to the broken-hearted,
and to those crushed in spirit,
you save.

Draw near to those who minister
to your people who are suffering
in body, mind, and spirit
that they may pour out your mercy
upon those whom they serve.

Fill them with your Holy Spirit
that they may go forth
in your strength, your wisdom,
and in your goodness
to do your Holy Will
among those in need of your help.

Revive their spirits, Lord,
when they are discouraged and weary
and allow them to be mindful
of your presence and your faithfulness
in this and every situation.

You use the weak and make them strong
so that they may serve you
with humble hearts.
Allow your servants
the grace to see the face of your Son
in those to whom they minister, and
help them to be ever mindful of his promise
that whatever they do for the least
of your people, they do for him.

We ask this in the Holy Name
of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Nobel Laureate for Peace, Mohammed Yunus of Bangladesh who founded Grameen Bank now has a branch in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. They currently have about 500 borrowers with no credit history and no collateral with a 97% payback rate. Mr. Yunus suggests that new social businesses should have a separate stock market. People could design their own businesses and it could be regulated using the 501C(3) model. His new book is: Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and Future of Capitalism.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Partnership for Global Justice Annual Meeting, April 24-26, 2009

A message from Sister Lucianne Siers, OP, Director of Partnership for Global Justice:

Please consider coming to the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Partnership for Global Justice entitled, "Beyond Poverty: From Greed to Green, Creating a Sustainable Future for the Planet." This conference is an exploration of systems that will foster a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace. This conference will take place April 24-26, 2009 at River’s Edge at St. Joseph Center , Cleveland , OH.

We are excited to present an outstanding program! Dr. David Korten will be our keynote speaker and recipient of our Annual Justice Award. He is a leading critic of corporate globalization and a visionary proponent of a planetary system of local living economies. In addition, Sisters Amata Miller, IHM, Margaret Galiardi, OP and Ana Martinez de Luco, CCV will serve as panelists and responders to Dr. Korten’s message.

For more information regarding registration go to our website at or email us at

For more information about Dr. David Korten go to:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

JPIC Concerned About Pro-MGO Study Week in Rome

The Justice, Peace,and Integrity of Creation commission of USG/UISG has expressed concern about the upcoming Study Week of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences which appears to be pro-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) given the list of speakers, many of whom are from the US and support GMO production which favors large agri-business under the guise of feeding the poor, and could be detrimental to health. JPIC has forwarded two articles by Fr. SeanMcDonagh, SSC, well known speaker and writer about climate change and its impact on people who are poor. Congregations which are involved with ICCR (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility) are aware that addressing GMOs has been an issue for many years although it has gained little support from US corporations. This is an issue which may be of interest to only a few, but if anyone does wish to respond, JPIC encourages messages of concern to the Chancellor, Bishop Sanchez at academy.sciences@acdscience.VA. Click here to read one article by SeanMcDonagh.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Justice for Immigrants

The Justice for ImmigrantsCampaign of the USCCB encourages letters to the new Congress in supportof Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). See and click Take Action on right side of the page for sending letters via capwiz. President Obama stated his support for CIR during his campaign, and although the economy has to be front and center now, we need to keep the issue before our congressional representatives.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Praise the Lord and Green the Roof

On January 30, The New York Times published an article by Joseph Huff-Hannon, "Praise the Lord and Green the Roof."

An excerpt: "In setting out to construct an environmentally advanced building to replace the trio of connected brownstones that they now call home, the Episcopal sisters of the Community of the Holy Spirit were taking a giant step in their decade-long journey to weave ecological concerns into their daily ministry. While they have long tried to reduce their carbon footprint at 113th Street, the new convent, for which construction will begin in March, will help them be green from the ground up."

Click here to read the entire article.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ursuline Sister Sentened to 60 Days in Prison

Press release from the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland (dated January 26, 2009):

Ursuline Sister of Cleveland Diane Therese Pinchot was sentenced to 60 days in prison for misdemeanor trespassing onto the grounds of Fort Benning in Georgia Nov. 23, 2008. She did not receive a fine. She says she trespassed and risked arrest and a prison sentence “to raise awareness of the need to close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC),” formerly known as the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA), a military training school for Latin American security personnel located at Fort Benning.

Sister Diane Therese’s action—like her religious order’s corporate stance calling for the closure of SOA/WHINSEC—is grounded in the December 1980 rape and murder of fellow Ursuline and friend Sister Dorothy Kazel and her companions, lay missioner Jean Donovan and Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford in El Salvador. Three of the five Salvadoran National Guardsmen convicted of the crimes were trained at the SOA. The two officers who ordered the killings have yet to be charged for their involvement.

“Dorothy’s death and the thousands of other deaths and disappearances taught us nothing if today the same U.S. government is still training Latin American soldiers the skills of torture and war,” says Sister Diane Therese.

On weekend of her arrest Sister Diane Therese joined more than 20,000 people at the gates of Fort Benning to participate in an annual vigil to call for an examination of U.S. foreign policy as it relates to Latin America and closing SOA/WHINSEC. The vigil takes place each year in conjunction with the anniversary of the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and the housekeeper’s daughter at the hands of a Salvadoran Army patrol. Nineteen of the military officers cited for the murders received training at the U.S. Army School of the Americas.

Former students and graduates of SOA/WHINSEC consistently make the news for committing violent crimes against the people of their home countries, including massacres of entire villages. Recently former students and graduates have been increasingly associated with committing violent crimes on behalf of drug cartels.

Since protests against the SOA/WHINSEC began 19 years ago, more than 225 “prisoners of conscience” have served sentences of up to two years for nonviolent civil disobedience.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

TroyDavis Video

Amnesty International USA has posted this video in support of Troy Davis, who still awaits his fate in Georgia. You will recall that Troy Davis faces execution for the murder of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, despite a strong claim of innocence. 7 out of 9 witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, no murder weapon was found and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. The Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles has voted to deny clemency, yet Governor Perdue can still exercise leadership to ensure that his death sentence is commuted. Please urge him to demonstrate respect for fairness and justice by supporting clemency for Troy Davis. Click on the video below for more information. E-mail subscribers must go to the blog in order to see the post containing the video.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A message from the Partnership for Global Justice:

Commission on Social Development Begins February 4, 2009

The Commission for Social Development will be meeting at UN Headquarters in New York , February 4-13. The Commission is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, consisting of 46 members (nation-states) who are elected by ECOSOC. Each year the Commission takes up key social development themes and produces statements on what would enhance the situation of peoples throughout the world.

Social Integration is the priority theme for the 2009-2010 review and policy cycle. The discussion will take into account the interrelation of social integration with poverty eradication, full employment and decent work for all. This year’s theme, Social Integration, will also include a review of UN plans and programs of action regarding disabled persons, youth, aging and the family. The themes that have emerged for follow-up for the Commission for Social Development were the issues raised at the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995. The Commission for Social Development is in charge of the follow-up and implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.

For more information regarding this commission go For information regarding NGO statements for the Commission, go to:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Correcting misleading information on FOCA

Those of us who were encouraged to pray the FOCA novena are asked to be aware of several misleading statements contained therein. Click here to read the Catholic News Agency article detailing the efforts of the USCCB to correct misleading information contained in the novena (which, incidentally, did not originate with and had no connection to the USCCB). While it is very important that we be diligent ambassadors of pro-life issues, it's equally as important to be consistent and correct in that message.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What's on Your Heart?

From Jubilee USA:

President Obama and his new economic team, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have a huge job ahead of them. They will be facing down a growing economic crisis and recession in the United States from day one.

But while we must work for economic justice at home, we must also not forget our brothers and sisters across the globe in this time of need. That’s why Jubilee USA has launched a new campaign – the What’s On Your Heart? Campaign.

As the Gospel of Matthew tells us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…” As the Torah reminds us, "Do not close your heart or shut your hand from your poor brother".
In this new campaign we will welcome new Treasury Secretary Geithner to his position by telling him what’s on our hearts as Jubilee people in these difficult times.

From now until February 9th, we will be collecting hand-written notes on hearts, postcards, and online letters from you to Treasury Secretary Geithner telling him which Jubilee issues are on your heart in this time of crisis. We will deliver all of these messages to him when we welcome him to his new position sometime just before Valentine's Day.

Learn more about this campaign and take action with your congregation or community today!
VISIT What's on Your Heart Main Page
TAKE ACTION Order postcards to use in your communities
TAKE ACTION Sign the online postcard
DOWNLOAD What's on Your Heart Campaign One Pager (Click HERE for Jewish Version)