Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God and World Day of Peace

When celebrating today's Feast, perhaps we would do well to read the "Mary, Mother of Evangelization" section (nn. 284-288) of Pope Francis's recent Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.  Here's how it ends:

Mary, Virgin and Mother,,
you who, moved by the Holy Spirit,
welcomed the word of life
in the depths of your humble faith:
as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One,
help us to say our own “yes”
to the urgent call, as pressing as ever,
to proclaim the good news of Jesus.

Filled with Christ’s presence,
you brought joy to John the Baptist,
making him exult in the womb of his mother.
Brimming over with joy,
you sang of the great things done by God.
Standing at the foot of the cross
with unyielding faith,
you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection,
and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit
so that the evangelizing Church might be born.

Obtain for us now a new ardour born of the resurrection,
that we may bring to all the Gospel of life
which triumphs over death.
Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,
that the gift of unfading beauty
may reach every man and woman.

Virgin of listening and contemplation,
Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast,
pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are,
that she may never be closed in on herself
or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom.

Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.

Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
pray for us.

Amen. Alleluia!

Let's also remember that it is the World Day of Peace.  As we reminded you in this blog post, Pope Francis chose "Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace" as the theme this year. 

Happy new year!  May you be blessed abundantly in 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Message for World Day of Peace

Click here to read the message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2014.  Entitled "Fraternity, The Foundation and Pathway to Peace," the message asks us to reflect on the unity and common destiny of the nations.  Using Genesis 4 and Matthew 23, Pope Francis invites us to consider these questions:   Can the men and women of this world ever fully respond to the longing for fraternity placed within them by God the Father? Will they ever manage by their power alone to overcome indifference, egoism and hatred, and to accept the legitimate differences typical of brothers and sisters? (n. 3).  In the busy-ness of this holiday season, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on this message.  Happy new year and happy world day of peace!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl: SOAP UP New Jersey

What is S.O.A.P. Super Bowl 2014?  The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking is partnering with S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) to help provide support to victims of human trafficking who may be in New Jersey during the upcoming Super Bowl.  They will work with volunteers to approach hotels before the Super Bowl to offer them free bars of soap with the National Human Trafficking Hotline phone number.  It is thought that if victims find these bars of soap in hotel rooms, that they would be able to call the number and be rescued.  Between 200 and 400 volunteers are needed for this project.  Training and distribution will occur on January 25 and January 26.  Go to this site to register.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Invitation: New Jersey's Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day Observance

Join the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking at New Jersey's Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day Observance on Wednesday, January 15 from 7 to 9 pm at Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ.  Click here to access the flyer with complete details.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013: Let There Be Peace on Earth

We continue to pray for peace within and among us this Christmas.  (Email subscribers: If you do not see a video below, please click here to view the post with the embedded video.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve: Preparing to Welcome Nonviolent Love

Click here to read the Pax Christi USA reflection for Christmas Eve, in which we are invited to reflect on the dialogue among David, Nathan and God from today's first reading  (from 2 Samuel 7) and to consider that there is no need to prove ourselves before God.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Forgiveness and Compassion: 4th Sunday of Advent

From what inexhaustible well do people draw forgiveness and compassion when the unspeakable has happened to them?  Have you ever had an "Emmanuel experience" of forgiveness? 

Click here to read the Pax Christi USA reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, in which Jim Douglass considers these questions and more.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December Issue of Stop Trafficking

The December issue of Stop Trafficking -- highlighting efforts to stem sexual exploitation in the U.S. and globally --  is available here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

USCCB's Anti-Trafficking Program on CBS News

Watch the USCCB's Anti-Trafficking Program on the Religion and Culture series of CBS News on Sunday, December 15. The show's theme is "Living in the Shadows: Religion's Response to Human Trafficking."  Click here to check the time your local station will air the show, or -- after December 15 -- watch the show on the Religion and Culture website

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Does luxury compromise Christian witness?

In a recent issue of Commonweal, David Cloutier uses the recent attention given to the words and message of Pope Francis to wonder if luxury compromises Christian witness.   Click here to read his article.  What do you think?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Person of the Year

Here is a brief video from Catholic News Service, reporting on Pope Francis upon the announcement of his being chosen as Time's "Person of the Year."  (E-mail subscribers:  Click here to view the video if you do not see it below.)

Attending to the "way of beauty"

"Every form of catechesis would do well to attend to the “way of beauty” (via pulchritudinis). Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something
right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties.  Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus.  This has nothing to do with fostering an aesthetic relativism which would downplay the inseparable bond between truth, goodness and beauty, but rather a renewed esteem for beauty as a means of touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it.  If, as Saint Augustine says, we love only that which is beautiful, the incarnate Son, as the revelation of infinite beauty, is supremely lovable and draws us to himself with bonds of love.  So a formation in the via pulchritudinis ought to be part of our effort to pass on the faith.  Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new “language of parables." We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings, including those unconventional modes of beauty which may mean little to the evangelizers, yet prove particularly attractive for others" (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 67).

Question:  Wherever and however we minister, how are we attending to the "way of beauty" as a means of "touching the human heart and enabling the truth and goodness of the Risen Christ to radiate within it?"

Monday, December 9, 2013

One Human Family, Food for All

On Tuesday, December 10, Pope Francis will help to launch a worldwide movement, sponsored by Caritas Internationalis, to end hunger through prayer and action.  The 164 Caritas Internationalis organizations in 200 countries that provide relief to those who suffer from hunger will participate. The object is to send a wave of prayer around the world by having everyone pray at noon local time.   Click here for much more information, including a link to the prayer that Caritas is asking everyone to recite at noon.

Remember, this is only the launch of the movement.  What can you do after December 10?  See the links above for more information.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy Feast Day!

Happy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, patronal Feast Day of the United States of America and titular Feast Day of the Sisters of Christian Charity, Daughters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception.  Today, Sisters of Christian Charity around the world renew their vows.  Please pray for us and with us as -- "In response to God's call" --  we strive to seek God's Will alone and give Christ's love to everyone in cheerful, wholehearted service.

Here is a portion of a prayer of Pope John Paul II as he celebrated this Feast in 2002:

"Pray, O Mother, for all of us.
Pray for humanity who suffers poverty and injustice,
violence and hatred, terror and war.
Help us to contemplate with the rosary
the mysteries of Him who "is our peace",
so that we will all feel involved
in a persevering dedication of service to peace.
Pray for us, Mother of hope!
"Give us days of peace, watch over our way.
Let us see your Son as we rejoice in heaven". Amen!"

Saturday, December 7, 2013

"His Day is Done"

Here is Dr. Maya Angelou's tribute poem to the late Nelson Mandela on behalf of the American people.  (E-mail subscribers: Click here to go to the blog post to see the video if you do not see it below.)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Keep Awake

Pax Christi USA has provided a reflection for the first week of Advent, written by Darlene Pryds.  Click here to read the reflection, focusing on waiting and keeping awake.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Evangelii Gaudium

Have you begun to read Pope Francis's Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium?  Here is an excerpt (n. 2):
The great danger in today's world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.  Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.  God's voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.  This is a very real danger for believers, too.  Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless.  That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God's will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.

Go to the Vatican website to read the Letter in its entirety.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl

Why is there concern about human trafficking in preparation for Super Bowl XLVIII to be held at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, February 2, 2014?  Click on the link to open this document to learn more and to find out what the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking is doing about it.  The Sisters of Christian Charity are involved in this important effort and we encourage you to share this information with colleagues, friends, family, clergy and fellow parishioners. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Church and HIV/AIDS

Click here to read "A Continuing Crisis," an article by Jon Fuller from the December 2 issue of America, chronicling the church's global response the HIV/AIDS.  In the 32 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported and the 30 years since the causative agent of the epidemic has been identified, what has been the church's response?  Since World AIDS Day was yesterday, perhaps we can reflect on where we have been and plan where we might go in response to this still-present disease.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Sisters Janice, Juliana and Mary Clement were among the thousands who converged at the gates of Fort Benning, GA yesterday.  You can catch a glimpse of them in several of the official photos (available here).  Click here to read a media release from yesterday.  We remember them in prayer today as they return to the gates and we pray for an end to the U.S. taxpayer-funded training of Latin American soldiers who return to their countries as members of death squads who torture, extort and execute their people.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Closing the SOA

Sisters Janice, Mary Clement and Juliana will be representing the Sisters of Christian Charity at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia at this year's vigil and nonviolent protest to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC.  Please pray for all who will be in attendance from November 22-24 and for their cause, the closure of the "school" that has taught so many commandos to commit atrocities against their own people.   Click here for an Evening Prayer prepared to prayerfully accompany these protestors.  For more information about the vigil and protest, go to the SOA Watch website.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Remembering the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador

On November 16, 1989 at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador, six Jesuits and two laywomen were murdered by the Salvadoran military.  Because these Jesuits stood for a different type of society and a Church of the poor, they lost their lives.  We remember these victims prayerfully and we continue to oppose the U.S. training of commandos who continue to commit such atrocities.  That is why we support the efforts of those who want to close the School of the Americas at Fort Benning.  Click here to read a brief, informative article written in 2009 by Dean Brackley, SJ, one of the Jesuits who volunteered to minister at the UCA after the killings.

Friday, November 15, 2013

November Issue of Stop Trafficking

Click here to access the November issue of the Stop Trafficking newsletter, highlighting the November 2-3 Vatican Seminar on human trafficking. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What were they thinking?

Click here to read Nicholas Kristof's recent NY Times Op-Ed, "Slavery isn't a thing of the past,"  focusing on the approximately 60,000 human trafficking victims in the United States.  Reflecting on the popularity of the recently-released film, 12 Years a Slave, Kristof concludes, " I fear that a century from now someone may put together a film about slavery in 2013, leading our descendants to shake their heads and ask of us: What were they thinking?"

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan: How can we help?

We are aware of the incredible devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.  How can we help?  Go to the Catholic Relief Services website learn more.  Be sure to scroll down the page to learn how to donate and to be informed about the facts.

Sister Maria Dolores and Sister Theresia, the Sisters of Christian Charity in the Philippines, and the girls and staff of Margaretha Home there have sent the following message: "May we please ask you to pray for the victims of the great typhoon here in Bicol and Visaya area?  Here is Quezon City, we are experiencing heavy downpours of rain, but no flooding, thank God.  So far, we are all okay here.  There was no school today.  Let us pray together so that the people in Bohol area who just had a great earthquake will be able to cope with this strong typhoon.  Thank you."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

In the Company of the Poor

Dr. Paul Farmer and Father Gustavo Gutierrez have co-authored In the Company of the Poor, released on November 1.  Click here to preview a chapter of the book on the Partners in Health website.  This excerpt demonstrates Paul Farmer's masterful understanding of the intersection between theology and medicine, as he expands his understanding of preferential option for the poor from a hermeneutic of generosity to a hermeneutic of hope.  The title of the books plays on the "theology of accompaniment" espoused by both Farmer and Gutierrez.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

More Sisters Standing Against Human Trafficking

Here are some more photos from the Stand Against Human Trafficking event on Sunday on the Morristown Green.  Do you recognize anyone in these photos?

Photos owned by NJ.com
For more coverage, go to the NJ.com site.  Click here for more information about the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Light of Love

"Imagine Sisters" has produced Light of Love, a one-hour documentary described on its website as "60 minutes designed for viewers to quiet their surroundings and enter into convent, the food pantry, the hospital, and the chapel. With minimal music and simple visuals, Light of Love gives viewers a look into the lives, suffering, and joys of religious life captured in a way like never before.  Click here to view the film and to get more information (including study guides).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Standing Against Human Trafficking

Did you Stand Against Human Trafficking on Sunday, October 27?  If so, let us know about your experience.  In this photo, you'll see  SCC postulants and a novice standing on the Morristown Green.  About 10 Sisters from Mendham attended the event. 

Photo courtesy of New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Monday, October 28, 2013

Have you seen "Sisters"?

Gardner films has produced the one-hour documentary Sisters, which is described on the producer's website as "a film about faith and hope, love and death, seen through the eyes of five women who have committed their lives to the service of others in the deepest way. Without narration, their stories are told in the honest words and actions of the women themselves." Click here to watch the documentary in its entirety. 

Sisters was envisioned by Sr. Carol Rittner, RSM, distinguished professor of Holocaust Studies at Richard Stockton College. First broadcast on PBS stations earlier this year, Gardner Films and LCWR are providing the film in its entirety on the web at no cost. LCWR encourages viewers to share the link and permission is granted for any public group viewing by DVD.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Will you stand on Sunday?

This is a second reminder that this Sunday, October 27, is the mobilization on the Morristown Green to raise awareness about human trafficking.  Go to the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking website -- www.njhumantrafficking.org -- for more information and to RSVP for the event.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stand Against Human Trafficking on the Morristown Green

On Sunday, October 27 from 9:30 am until 6:30 pm, the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking is sponsoring a mobilization on the Morristown (NJ) Green to raise awareness of human trafficking.  We are invited to stand together with other community members for 30 minutes, an hour, or a day . . . whatever we can do.  Click here to access information and to RSVP.  Please share this information with your colleagues, associates and friends, especially if you live near Morristown.  Will we see you there?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Stop Trafficking Newsletter

The October issue of the Stop Trafficking newsletter -- highlighting human trafficking in the Congo and providing information on anti-trafficking educational modules for health care workers -- is available here.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

CRS Mobilizes in India

It is estimated that Cyclone Phailin has affected 8 million people and destroyed 200,000 to 350,000 homes in India.  Over 900,000 people were evacuated in anticipation of the cyclone.  Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is there and will determine the most affected communities over the next few days, determining the most urgent needs and coordinating with other agencies to deliver aid.  Click here to read more about relief efforts and to donate.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reflection for October 11

The Western Region of the Sisters of Christian Charity of North America prepared this reflection for the 11th of the month, focusing on stewardship of and reverence for our planet.  Observance of the 11th of the month as a day of prayer and fasting for peace and justice has been our practice for several years.  We invite you to join us.

What a great ad!

The December issue of US Airways Magazine will run an ad sponsored by U.S. Catholic Sisters United Against Human Trafficking.  Click here to see the ad.  The ad was created (pro bono) by Bailey-Lauerman in Omaha. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Am Malala

This week, ABC News is featuring portions of interviews with Malala Yousafzai, who -- a year ago this week --  was shot at point blank range by the Taliban in Pakistan. Her crime?  Speaking out about the right of girls to receive an education.  There are multiple videos on the ABC News site.  If you begin here, you can continue to watch this amazing young woman on the videos as your time allows. If you have more time, click here to watch the YouTube video of her July 2013 speech to the United Nations (on her 16th birthday).

Additionally, her book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, is being released on Tuesday, October 8. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 5: Prayer and Fasting for Immigration Reform

The theme for week 5 is Address the Root Causes of Migration.  Here's a prayer from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition: 

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 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.

(Jane Deren, 2007)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pope: The Church Should Follow the Example of St. Francis

Calling for a "poor church for the poor," Pope Francis has intimated that the church should "take off its clothes" in imitation of the example of St. Francis of Assisi, who famously renounced his wealth by shedding his clothes in the town square.  Click here to read more (in an article written prior to the Assisi visit).

Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Cherish Life Circle's 20th anniversary

The Cherish Life Circle, founded by the Sisters of Mercy, is a circle of friends supporting each other in their opposition to the death penalty.  Here is the group's mission statement:  "Members of the Cherish Life Circle uphold the sacredness of all life, striving especially to  eliminate the death penalty, comfort those who have suffered the loss of murdered loved ones,  and promote restorative justice for offenders." 

On Sunday, October 6 at 3 p.m., the Cherish Life Circle will mark its 20th anniversary at an event at the Convent of Mercy on Willoughby Ave. in Brooklyn.  Death penalty abolitionist and author of Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean, will be in attendance.  For more information, e-mail cherilife@aol.com or call (718) 366-0966.

The New York Times recently published a short piece that covers the Cherish Life Circle, among other things.  Click here to access the article.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Super Bowl 2014 Pre-Game

The Star Ledger's Mark DiIonno has written "Super Bowl 2014 Pre-Game: Nuns take aim at pimps, prostitution surrounding big night."  Click here to access the article, focusing on the group of Sisters (including SCCs) and many others who are organizing visits to hotels to educate and advocate about human trafficking.

"A Bold Plan to Aid Sex Trafficking Victims" (NY Times article)

A new initiative in New York aims to treat those charged with prostitution as abuse victims rather than criminals.  Click here to read more about it in the New York Times.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An abundance of human trafficking resources

This page -- from the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle, Washington -- contains a comprehensive listing  of links to anti-trafficking resources.  Prayer services, educational resources, multimedia, English and Spanish, and many other resources are available.

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 http://www.ecpatusa.org/ and http://www.njhumantrafficking.org/

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: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/angelus/2013/documents/papa-francesco_angelus_20130901_en.html 

(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 www.usccb.org.)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Have you registered to join the Fast Action for Immigration Reform?

Although we've mentioned it several times previously, this is another gentle reminder to register to join with people of faith from across the country to demonstrate your solidarity with immigrant communities by fasting for 40 days from September 9 to October 18.  Click here for more information and here to register. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ask your local NBC affiliate to air "Women & Spirit"

You will recall the Women & Spirit exhibition that traveled the country from 2009-11.  To capture the essence of that exhibit, the documentary Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America was produced.  Now, the possibility exists to air the documentary on NBC's "Horizons of the Spirit" series.  Local NBC affiliates have the discretion to air the documentary between September 15, 2013 and March 15, 2014.  It is up to us to contact our local NBC affiliates to encourage them to air the documentary. Here's how to do that:

1. Find your local NBC station, using the online NBC Directory at www.nbc.com/local-stations, or your local phone directory.

2.  E-mail or phone the station with a message, such as:  "I am a local resident and viewer and I've learned that the documentary, Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America, will be available for broadcast on your station starting September 15.  I understand it's part of the NBC "Horizons of the Spirit" series and that information about the program is on the NBC Universal APT system.  Are you aware of it and do you have plans to broadcast it?  This is the virtual untold story of the nearly 300-year history of Catholic sisters in the U.S. and how they have helped shape our nation's social, cultural and spiritual landscapes.  Many people in your viewing area are becoming interested in the program.  I will help spread the word about any broadcasts.  Can we count on your station to air this program?"

 3.  Direct your sisters, associates, ministry partners and others to this sectionof the documentary website and ask them to make contact with NBC as well:  www.womenandspirit.org/media-bulletins.html.  The more contacts made to a station, the better chances that the film will be aired.

4.  Consider urging local business to offer to advertise during the program if it is aired locally.  This, too, will increase the likelihood of a local NBC station airing the program.

5.  If you learn of a broadcast, please e-mail womenandspiritfilm@verizon.net and consider spreading the word by organizing a group viewing session.
Building on the success of the Women & Spirit traveling exhibit, the documentary's availability to NBC is a great opportunity to use mass media for millions to see this incredible, 300-year-old story that includes our history and our present day ministries.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

USCCB Labor Day Statement

As we enter into Labor Day weekend, we have an opportunity to "take stock of the way workers are honored and respected. . . . Unfortunately, millions of workers today are denied honor and respect as a result of unemployment, underemployment, unjust wages, wage theft, abuse and exploitation" (Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of Stockton, CA and chair of the Committee of Domestic Justice and Human Development of the USCCB).  Click here to read Bishop Blaire's Labor Day statement in its entirety.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Human Trafficking and Super Bowl 2014

The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking has released the details for training to be a team leader or to be part of the team that reaches out to local hotels to train their staff to identify victims of human trafficking and to develop protocols for responding to victims of trafficking.  The training takes place on September 9 for leaders and on September 16 for all other volunteers.  Go to the coalition's website to learn more about the tasks involved and to register for the training.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

NJ Residents: Has Your Municipality Acted?

As we know, January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  But, did you know that Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has designated January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day in New Jersey?  Additionally, municipalities in New Jersey have begun to proclaim January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  Click here to learn if your municipality is among them and to learn what to do to make that happen if your municipality is not among them.

Why is this important when we already have a national day?  One word -- awareness!  The more people who can be made aware of the existence of human trafficking, the better we become as individuals, neighborhoods, towns, states and nations.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"I Have a Dream"

Wednesday, August 28 is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the Emancipation March on Washington.DC.  This site provides information about commemorations of this event throughout the country.

Many materials are available to mark this event.  Smithsonian magazine has published this Oral History of the March on Washington, which is worth reviewing.  (Go to http://www.smithsonianmag.com for much more information.)

On Sunday, August 25, Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sister Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN will participate in a panel discussion on "A Catholic Conversation on Race, Religion and the March on Washington" at Holy Redeemer Church in Washington, DC.  Go to the Pax Christi USA website for more information.

The USCCB's Committee on Cultural Diversity issued a statement, "March on Washington Anniversary: Time to Face Unmet Goals."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Catholic Leaders and Changes in Immigration Policy

On September 8, a coordinated message about immigration reform will be delivered in  many Catholic parishes across the nation.  Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy at the USCCB, is quoted in this article from the New York Times, indicating that the Catholic bishops will push for passage of a legislative overhaul that includes a path to citizenship.

Additionally, Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton, PA recently issued this letter on immigration reform.  Readers in the Scranton Diocese will be able to link from Bishop Bambera's letter to their elected officials in Washington to send a message about immigration reform. 

Remember, too, that the Interfaith Immigration Coalition urges us to participate in 40 days of "Fast Action" for immigration reform.  Click here for more information.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chemical Attacks in Syria?

Although these are not 100% confirmed stories, it appears likely that chemical weapons have been launched at the rebels in Syria, killing about 700 people.  More information is available through most news outlets today, including this one from the BBC.  Let's continue to pray for Syria and for Egypt and continue our efforts to become "channels of peace" in our corners of the world.  Here's a video reminder, "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace," also known as the "Prayer of St. Francis."
(E-mail subscribers click here if you do not see a video embedded in your e-mail.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Interfaith Worker Justice

Are you familiar with the work of Interfaith Worker Justice?  Click here to learn more.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Christians and Christian Churches in Egypt

According to the Associated Press, nearly 40 Christian churches were looted and torched and 23 others have been heavily damaged in less than a week in Egypt.  Additionally, AP reports, three (presumably Franciscan) Sisters have been paraded through the streets like prisoners of war before a Muslim woman offered them refuge.  Click on this story for more information and continue to pray for peace in Egypt.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Feast Day of Padre Alberto Hurtado

August 18 is the feast day of Padre Alberto Hurtado, SJ, a Chilean saint and founder of Hogar de Cristo, who was canonized in 2005.  Click here to learn more about him at IgnatianSpirituality.com (don't miss the video clip at the bottom of the page) and here to read Padre Hurtado's reflection, "Christ Stumbles through our Streets."

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pray for Egypt

We continue to pray for Egypt.  This link will take you to a CNN story about Christian churches that were torched in Egypt.  This one links to a brief NPR interview with a woman religious in Cairo regarding a convent and school that were set on fire; and this one links to an NBC report, including an interview with NBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin answering questions about Egypt.

At this point, it is estimated that 525 people have died in the clash between security forces and protesters. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Liturgical Considerations for September 11

As we mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, the USCCB offers liturgical considerations -- ranging from using Masses for Various Needs to adding intercessions appropriate to the day.  The specific considerations are available here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Status of Jesuit Priest in Syria Still Unknown

At this moment, there are unconfirmed reports that Rev. Paolo Dall'Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest, has been killed in Syria by jihadist rebels.  However, that report has not been confirmed by the Vatican or by the Italian government.  Things are changing moment by moment, so pray for everyone in Syria, especially Father Dall'Oglio.  Click here to read the NCR blog post.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Catholic Relief Services and Population Research Institute

Recent accusations by Population Research Institute (PRI) against Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have caused many folks to scratch their heads, wondering where the truth might be found.  These attacks provide a good reminder that we should always research both sides of a story before believing and/or spreading it.  So, click here to begin to explore the PRI side of the story and here to begin to explore the CRS side of the story.  Perhaps it is a good time to remember that very little -- especially global relief efforts -- can be explained in "black and white" terms.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another NYT Maryknoll Article: Sisters for Life

In anticipation of the induction of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, MM -- founder of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic -- into the National Women's Hall of Fame (NWHF) in October, the New York Times published this article, "Sisters for Life."  Frankly, the article is not so much about Mother Mary Joseph, but about the order she founded -- and that is, most likely, the way she would have wanted it.

Click here to read the Maryknoll Sisters' press release about this honor for their founder.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Called to Serve

Have you read Called to Serve: A History of Nuns in America by Margaret McGuinness?  What did you think?  Click here to access a review of the book in America by Sister Camille D'Arienzo, RSM.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Maryknoll Sisters At Work in the World

Click here to view the multi-media presentation on the Maryknoll Sisters by The New York Times.  Be sure to click "play" to hear the audio and be sure to view all 16 slides.  In the audio portion, Sister Janice McLaughlin, currently the president of the Maryknoll Sisters, quotes Mother Mary Joseph Rogers's admonition as she sent sisters to the missions:  "If anyone is going to change, it is going to be us."  Good advice for all:  If we are going to "change the world," it begins with our own transformation.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Making water out of "thin air"?

UTEC engineers have constructed a method of extracting drinking water from the humidity in the air.  Watch this brief video from Lima, Peru to see how this happens.  This is incredibly significant for places like Lima, where there is less than one inch of rainfall per year.  (E-mail subscribers:  Click here to view the video if you do not see it embedded in your e-mail.)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chaput: Security, Immigration reform and human dignity

Philadelphia's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, writes in CatholicPhilly.com:  "Most undocumented immigrants in the United States -- the vast majority -- never commit a violent act, have no desire to undermine the common good and contribute productively to American prosperity. . . . [Blocking] any serious new reform legislation . . . would be more than a political error.  It would be a bitter human tragedy."  Click here to read the entire article.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer 2013 Resources from JFI

Click here to access Summer 2013 resources -- including Parish Kits, videos and other advocacy materials -- from Justice for Immigrants.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fast Action for Immigration Reform

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition has planned 40 days of "Fast Action for Immigration Reform" from September 9 to October 18, during which we are asked to fast, pray and advocate for immigration reform in the United States.
  • Why September 9?  That is the day Congress returns from its August recess.
  • Why prayer and fasting?  Because prayer and fasting are common to many faith traditions; because faith leaders have often fasted in the face of suffering, violence or injustice; because prayer and fasting can be acts of solidarity; because prayer and fasting have the power to transform our hearts, the hearts of our community and the hearts of our elected officials.
  • Why prayer and fasting about immigration reform?  Because of the importance of hospitality and solidarity to our faith traditions; because immigrants are human beings made in the image and likeness of God; because immigration reform is in the hands of our elected officials right now.
During the next few weeks, this blog will post information about immigration reform and the fast action.  Please prayerfully consider your own action -- and, perhaps, the action of your congregation, community, family or other group -- toward praying, fasting and advocating for humane, just and fair immigration reform in the United States.

In the meantime, go to www.interfaithimmigration.org to be better educated about immigration reform and to  www.fastaction.us to learn about what others are doing and, perhaps, to commit to your own action. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Graduation Advice: Try to Be Kinder

The author George Saunders recently delivered the Commencement address at Syracuse University.  The beginning of the speech chronicles several regrets in his life, including a seven month illness brought on by swimming in a river in Sumatra that was laden with monkey feces.  (The point:  He's had some "major league" regrets.)  What makes this speech so remarkable, however, is what Saunders regrets most in his life:  failures of kindness.  The speech has been reproduced in the New York Times Magazine (click here for access) and is well worth the short amount of time it takes to read.  Still need convincing?  Here's an excerpt of the conclusion of the speech: 

"... To the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.  Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.  That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been.  Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Theresa’s.  Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place.  Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been.  I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful."

Hopefully, this wisdom will spread far beyond Syracuse University's class of 2013!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sister Simone Campbell to Testify Before House Budget Committee

Today at 12:30 EDT, NETWORK executive director Sister Simone Campbell will be one of four witnesses to testify before the House Budget Committee, chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).  The hearing is entitled "The War on Poverty: A Progress Report."  Sister Simone will talk about the vital role government-funded programs play in church/private initiatives.  You can follow the hearing on Twitter at #FaithfulBudget and join a conversation about the hearing on the NETWORK Lobby Facebook page, where a link will be posted to the live stream.  Go to the NETWORK web site for more information.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 29 Immigration Reform Webinar

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition asks for your participation on July 29th for a webinar in which a 40 day action of fasting and prayer in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers will be discussed.  Their message: "We will discuss the spirituality of fasting, orienting our fasting to accompany immigrants, suggestions for sharing your prayer and fasting with Congress and the media, and we'll also include a legislative update and experiences from the field. Please join us in this transformative endeavor and on the webinar!"
When: Monday, July 29th Webinar/ Conference Call at 4 PM EDT
Where: Online. Sign up by RSVP'ing  HERE for the webinar. A link to the visual portion of the call will be sent to you on the day of the webinar.
How:  Call In Number:  805-399-1000  Passcode: 104402

Monday, July 22, 2013

Papal Profile in Time Magazine

As the Pope participates in World Youth Day, Time Magazine presents a lengthy profile, which is available here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Two American Families

For a greater understanding of poverty among American families, try to find some time to watch Frontline's "Two American Families."  Bill Moyers reports on the very real economic struggles of two Milwaukee families he has been following since 1991.  This is, by no means, a "feel good" story, but it is one that will touch your heart.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July Stop Trafficking Newsletter

Click here to read the July 2013 issue of Stop Trafficking, focusing on the 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Have You Tried "Free Rice" Lately?

Perhaps you remember freerice.com from the many times it has been suggested on this blog.  Have you visited this site lately?  In addition to English vocabulary, you can strengthen your German, Spanish, French, Italian and Latin vocabulary.  Additionally, you can use the Humanities, Chemistry, Geography, Math and English Grammar sections.  What's so great about freerice.com?  Every correct answer donates 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Programme!  Go to http://freerice.com to begin.  The home screen uses English vocabulary. Simply click on "change subjects" to visit the other subjects.  It really is that simple to help feed the hungry.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

LCWR Resolutions to Action

Click here to read the Summer 2013 edition of LCWR's Resolutions to Action, focusing on immigration reform.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pope Francis with Seminarians/Young Religious and at Lampedusa

Yesterday, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with seminarians, novices and those discerning a religious vocation.  Click here to read his homily, which focused on the joy of consolation, the cross of Christ and prayer.

This morning, Pope Francis visited and celebrated Mass at Lampedusa, Europe's so-called "Island of Tears," where thousands of refugees have died attempting to migrate to Europe.  In fact, portions of the Pope's crozier and chalice for the Mass were made from the wood of boats that capsized on the way to Lampedusa.   Click here to read the homily from today's Mass, focusing on "the other" and "the globalization of indifference."

Both homilies are worthy of much further reflection.

As always, we recommend Whispers in the Loggia to keep up with the comings and goings of not only the Holy Father, but of the Catholic Church on many shores.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Little Princes

While it is not necessarily light summer reading, Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, is worth reading this summer.  Here's a description from amazon.com: 

In search of adventure, 29-year-old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children’s Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.  Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war. But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined. When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned: The children were not orphans at all. Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war—for a huge fee—by taking them to safety. They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.  For Conor, what began as a footloose adventure becomes a commitment to reunite the children he had grown to love with their families, but this would be no small task. He would risk his life on a journey through the legendary mountains of Nepal, facing the dangers of a bloody civil war and a debilitating injury. Waiting for Conor back in Kathmandu, and hopeful he would make it out before being trapped in by snow, was the woman who would eventually become his wife and share his life’s work.  Little Princes is a true story of families and children, and what one person is capable of when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. At turns tragic, joyful, and hilarious, Little Princes is a testament to the power of faith and the ability of love to carry us beyond our wildest expectations.

Click here to learn more about Conor Grennan and Next Generation Nepal, the organization he founded to help reconnect trafficked children with their families.