Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Bread is Life" Campaign

Pax Christi International has launched a "Bread is Life" campaign to focus on the suffering of civilian communities in Syria and to express solidarity with those who are trying to survive in Syria and as refugees in surrounding countries.  Click here to learn more.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fasting from Violence

Pax Christi of Metro New York invites us to fast from violence this Lent.  Click here for more information.  One of the items it suggests is to read Pacem in Terris.  As you'll recall, one of our previous blog posts offered a link to information to assist in this endeavor. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pax Christi USA Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent

Maryknoll priest, Rev. Joseph Healey, has written this week's reflection, focusing on the numerous refugees scattered across the globe.  The story of Thomas, a Sudanese refugee Father Healey met in Kenya, helps to convey the heart-wrenching story of so many of these refugees.

Friday, February 22, 2013

R.i.p. Father Evaristus Mushi

Father Evaristus Mushi, a Tanzanian priest of the Diocese of Zanzibar, was shot dead when he arrived at church to say Mass on Sunday morning in Zanzibar.  Father Mushi had been stationed in several dioceses in the U.S., most recently the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida.  Here's a story from the Christian Post.  Pray for the repose of his soul and for those who perpetrated this act.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Papal Transition Resources

The USCCB has published prayers and resources (in English and Spanish) for the papal transition.  Click here to access the resources to use individually or in your communities. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Praying Pacem in Terris

Recognizing its own 40th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris, Pax Christi USA has provided a "Prayer-Study-Action" process celebrating and remembering the encyclical while interweaving the four initiatives of Pax Christi USA.  Click here to access the information.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Romero Center Ministries' Lenten Dimensions

Are you familiar with Romero Center Ministries, an urban retreat and Catholic social justice education center in East Camden, NJ?  The ministry's website is worth exploring  any time.  However, this Lent the site is even more interesting, as it includes "Lenten Dimensions," a series of daily blog reflections by over 40 different young adults in the greater Philadelphia area.  Each blog post engages the word in a different way, such as through Scripture Sunday, Music Monday, Tuesday Television, Wednesday Word, Thursday Thanks, Friday Facts and Saturday Sketch.  Click here to locate "Lenten Dimensions" or simply find today's reflection by clicking on the link for the homepage above (probably easier because there's no cutting and pasting of URL's).   

Sunday, February 17, 2013

First Sunday of Lent

For the first Sunday of Lent, Pax Christi USA provides this reflection by Rev. Carroll Stuhlmueller.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lenten Companions

In this Lenten reflection from Pax Christi USA, Megan McKenna asks, "Who will be your companions this Lent?"

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What will be your Lenten legacy?

Father Larry Snyder, of Catholic Charities USA, asks an important question, "What will be your Lenten legacy?" and suggests an answer.  Click here to read his suggestion.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For Lent: Be Kind

From James Martin, SJ (e-mail subscribers, click here to watch the video):

40 Days of Prayer: Day 40

"'Even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.' Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity" (Joel 2:12-13).

Today is Ash Wednesday -- the first day of Lent -- traditionally a day of fasting and repentance.  After 40 days of crying out to God about human trafficking, our hearts are breaking and our spirits are somber.  Today, let's come to God with mourning and weeping.  Consider fasting as you ask God to show you what he would have you do next to address the travesty of human trafficking.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 39

Today is Mardi Gras.  Thousands of hands are grasping for bits of worthless plastic.  "Throw me something, Mister!" is the plea that is heard on the streets while cries of desperation go unheard by human ears.  Our Father hears and is looking for his children to respond.  Jesus said, "Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherity the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in; naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me" (Matthew 25:34).

Pray that on this day of fleeting pleasure and the transient favor of beads, cups and other Mardi Gras throws, God's children would see the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked and the prisoner and would meet the need, giving a blessing that is of eternal worth and value.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.

Monday, February 11, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 38

Pray for continued collaboration and development of strong relationships in Louisiana and with global and national anti-trafficking organizations.  Ask ". . . that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:2).

Ask that those who the Father brought together would continue according to his plan.  Let them be encouraged by each other, let understanding grow, let treasures of wisdom and knowledge be mined as God reveals himself through the unity of his heart.  Ask that we would continue to see the fruit of our labor -- and that God would raise an army of the delivered.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 37

"Or do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4) "If my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Surveys show that 65% of men in the organized church and 35% of pastors admit to a struggle with pornography.  Beyond those who actually take part, the church as a whole is guilty of apathy and tolerance of sin.  We cannot deny our contribution.  Pray that the church would be a place of repentance, restoration and prayer.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 36

Before his conversion, the apostle Paul was so zealous against the cause of Jesus that he hunted down and murdered Christians.  When God saved him, he became just as zealous for Jesus as he had been against him.  What Christian has not been moved, convicted and changed by the words of Paul in Scripture?

Pray that God would save a trafficker, a pimp, and other zealous evildoers in the sex industry and that the Holy Spirit would empower this person's testimony.  Pray that a transformed life would proclaim the power of our God to work miracles.  Pray that the voice of the former oppressor would move, convict and transform lives.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.

Friday, February 8, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 35

"Learn to do right!  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the cause of the widow" (Isaiah 1:17).

Pray that Christians would become aware of the need to fight for justice -- to be willing to get the necessary training to seek justice and encourage those who suffer from injustice.  British preacher, John Stott, once said, "It is exceedingly strange that any follower of Jesus Christ should ever have needed to ask whether social involvement was their concern."  Pray that justice seekers in the church would become the norm and that the bride of Christ would become known for her concern for the fatherless and oppressed.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Take Action: Reduce Gun Violence

The USCCB urges us to take action today to reduce gun violence.  Click here for more information.

40 Days of Prayer: Day 34

"For you formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them" (Psalm 139:13-16).

Traffickers capitalize on a woman's low sense of self-worth.  Pray for girls in the first stages of being groomed by traffickers, that they would not believe the lie.  Pray for girls and women who are broken by the threats and lies, that their soul would know their value to their Creator. Pray for One Ministry's outreach in New Orleans East.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 33

Pray for Law Enforcement to be discerning and to accurately identify trafficking victims as they make arrests.  Many trafficked girls and women suffer from Stockholm Syndrome or Battered Woman Syndrome and are too ashamed to tell anyone about their situation.  They will even return to their captors after being released from jail.  This story is repeated over and over again.

Pray that these women and girls would have the courage to cry out against their oppressors, that their voices would be heard, and that they would receive compassion and justice.  Pray that they would know that there is a freedom available for them, and that they would bravely seek release from their captor.  Pray for Inward Ministry's outreach on Bourbon Street.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 32

"O Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble; you will strengthen their hearts, you will incline your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that those who are of the earth will no longer cause terror" (Psalm 10:17-18).

Fear is a favorite weapon of pimps and traffickers.  The buying and selling of another human being is much more about violence and greed than about sex and labor.  Pray for God's vindication of trafficked women and children.  Pray that they would no longer be afraid of the retaliation of their traffickers against themselves or their families.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information about the 40 Days of Prayer.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pax Christi International Newsletter

Click here to read the February 2013 issue of the Pax Christi International newsletter. 

40 Days of Prayer: Day 31

No one would deny that New Orleans is trashed the morning after a big party.  Pray that those who wake up today with the stench and filth in their skin, hair and hearts would be like the prodigal son described in Luke 15 who "came to himself" and decided, "I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.'"

Pray that this new day would be a time of celebration as men and women return to God, who rejoices saying, "For this son of mine was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:24).

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Update: New Orleans Human Trafficking Efforts

We have received a preliminary report about the efforts of volunteers in New Orleans to raise awareness of human trafficking in the hotel industry.  Of the 223 hotels notified, 97 agreed to receive informational and resource materials.  Some even agreed to distribute the information at staff meetings.  All 97 packets of information were delivered by Monday, January 28.   When the list of the 97 hotels is made available, it will be posted here.  Congratulations to all who were involved in these efforts.

40 Days of Prayer: Super Bowl Sunday (Day 30)

Today, let's rejoice in the house of the Lord, and then enjoy the game.  Our God is a good God, and we can praise his name together.

"Praise the Lord!  Sing to the Lord a new song.  Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.  O Israel, rejoice in your maker.  O people of Jerusalem, exult in your king.  Praise God's name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp.  For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.  Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them.  Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds.  Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands. . ." (Psalm 149:1-6).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Call-In Day to Prevent Gun Violence

There will be an inter-faith call-in day to prevent gun violence on Monday, February 4.  Click here to visit the "Faiths Calling" website to learn more and to participate.

So often after tragedies, such as in Newtown, CT, we wonder what we can do.  This is one potential action.

40 Days of Prayer: Day 29

"The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.  He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.  He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away" (Job 5:11-13).

Pray that God destroy the schemes of the wicked by intervening in scheduled parties which plan to utilize these captives for pleasures of the wicked.  Pray that many captives would be lifted to safety, and that traffickers would be caught in their craftiness.  Pray that entire infrastructures of the big business of trafficking would be swept away by the hand of God.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.

Friday, February 1, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 28

The Messiah came to earth at the perfect time.  A study of history shows us that everything was in place for the rapid spread of the good news.  The Roman road system and huge army protecting those roads, as well as the language of Greek spoken almost throughout the world helped facilitate the gospel's transport. 

Sadly, in the same way, the ease of travel and communication in our generation facilitates the rapid transport of human beings and the trafficking of children from one place to another.  Pray that the I-10 corridor of trafficking would be shut down as would websites that sell human beings.  Pray that traffickers would not get their "merchandise" to NOLA.

Go to www.free-nola.org for more information.