Friday, January 31, 2014

NJ Coalition on News 12 New Jersey

Click here to view the News 12 New Jersey coverage of the SOAP training over the weekend.  This provides good exposure for the efforts of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking and those who have volunteered to raise awareness of human trafficking in conjunction with the Super Bowl.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Be the Hero

Volunteers are needed in New Jersey (through January 31) to help distribute 5,000 missing children booklets. Click here to access the informational flyer for the event. To volunteer, go to and click on the "Help Us Fight" tab.  This is part of the effort of the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking to heighten awareness about sex trafficking and the Super Bowl and to take whatever actions are necessary to end human trafficking. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Have you signed up for the Halftime Challenge?

From the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking:  At 8:30pm on Sunday, February 2, during the halftime show of the Super Bowl, Thunderclap will simultaneously blast a Facebook post or Tweet from every person who registers, creating a wave of attention.  We have 192 people signed up out of our goal for 250, so please register and share with your colleagues, families, and friends!  Just follow the instructions below:

How to Thunderclap:

1. Click here

2. Click the button for Twitter and/or Facebook

3. Click "add my support"

4. Insert your username and password for your Twitter and/or Facebook account

5. If you want updates from the #HTchallenge insert your email and hit "submit"

6. If you want to invite others and post on your page that you joined the challenge, click the Twitter or Facebook button and submit.

Click here for more information about the Halftime Challenge.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sex Trafficking/Super Bowl on ABC News

On Monday, ABC's World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer provided this report, highlighting efforts to curb sex trafficking during the Super Bowl.  According to the report, the number of prostitution ads in the greater New York area jumped 50% over the past weekend and is expected to triple by Super Bowl Sunday.  Congratulations and thank you to Polaris Project for its efforts to place anti-trafficking billboards in strategic places in New York and to provide training for those who may come into contact with traffickers and their victims. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated worldwide on January 27 in memory of victims of the Holocaust.  Click here for more information.

Become a Shepherd

From the USCCB:  As Catholics we are called to find ways that each of us can work with our dioceses and communities to address the evil of modern-day slavery.  One way in which you can do this is to "Become a Shepherd" -- that is, Stop Human Trafficking and Exploitation, Protect, Help, Empower and Restore Human Dignity.  Click here to access the Become a Shepherd Toolkit from the USCCB.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day of Prayer for Trafficked Persons

The USCCB Committee on Migration has designated Feburary 8 as an annual day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking.  More information and resources are available from the Bakhita Initiative (U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking), UNANIMA International and the USCCB website

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Message for World Communications Day

Although the next World Communications Day does not occur until June 1, 2014, the message of Pope Francis for this day (available here), released to coincide with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, is worthy of reflection now.  Here is an excerpt: 

"As I have frequently observed, if a choice has to be made between a bruised Church which goes out to the streets and a Church suffering from self-absorption, I certainly prefer the first.  Those “streets” are the world where people live and where they can be reached, both effectively and affectively.  The digital highway is one of them, a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope.  By means of the internet, the Christian message can reach “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  Keeping the doors of our churches open also means keeping them open in the digital environment so that people, whatever their situation in life, can enter, and so that the Gospel can go out to reach everyone.  We are called to show that the Church is the home of all.  Are we capable of communicating the image of such a Church?  Communication is a means of expressing the missionary vocation of the entire Church; today the social networks are one way to experience this call to discover the beauty of faith, the beauty of encountering Christ.  In the area of communications too, we need a Church capable of bringing warmth and of stirring hearts. 

Effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages, but about our willingness to be available to others “by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence” (BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 47th World Communications Day, 2013).  We need but recall the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus.  We have to be able to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubts and hopes, and to bring them the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death.  We are challenged to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert.  To dialogue means to believe that the “other” has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective.  Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute."

Candlelight Vigil to End Human Trafficking

On Wednesday, January 29 at 7 pm a candlelight vigil to end human trafficking will be held in the Xavier Center chapel on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ.  Click here to access the flyer and here to visit the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking website, where information about this and other pre-Super Bowl activities can be found.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

March for Life 2014

March for Life is today.  Stay safe.  Stay warm.  You are in our prayers. 

Also, from the USCCB:  In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion (GIRM, n. 373).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Students for Life 2014 Conference

Please pray for the Students for Life Conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.  Click here for more information. 

Also, let's remember the National Prayer Vigil for Life that begins Tuesday evening with a 6:30 Mass celebrated by Cardinal O'Malley and ends Wednesday morning with a 7:30 Mass celebrated by Archbishop Chaput. 

The Nine Days for Life continue and, of course, the March for Life will be held on Wednesday, January 22.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The 40 Film

Are you familiar with "The 40 Film"?  To coincide with the 40th March for Life and the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the film made its debut on December 11, 2013.  The film investigates the aftermath of legalized abortion in the United States and considers abortion to be the most important human rights issue of our time.  Click here to go to the 40 Film's site and here to view an excerpt from the film that gives a very youth-filled viewpoint.  About 2:15 into the film, you'll see a group from Queen of Peace High School (North Arlington, NJ).  At about 2:57, you'll hear something thought-provoking from Pamela Rose Suresca from Students for Life of Illinois:  "A third of my generation is missing.  People who could have been my best friend or changed the world or changed my life are no longer here.  So, it's personal and I can't ignore the fact that it's going on and it's been going on for 40 years . . ."

An entire generation of U.S. citizens has grown up in a country in which abortion has been legal.

Remember to pray for all those who will be marching on Wednesday.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nine Days for Life

The USCCB invites us to join with thousands of Catholics across the country coming together in prayer for a culture of life from January 18-January 26.  You will recall that January 22 marks the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the nation. Click here for more information on "Nine Days for Life" and here for more information about Wednesday's March for Life.

Praying for Christian Unity

Click here to access the General Intercessions we used during liturgy at the Motherhouse to open the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Their focus on the Millennium Development Goals invites their use as reflective prayer throughout the week.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Some thoughts from JPIC/UISG

Please click here to read Sister Joanne's blog post following her first JPIC Commission meeting of the UISG.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Human Trafficking Awareness Among Students

A message from the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment:  Students from the Academy of the Holy Angels (Demarest, NJ), attended Project Stay Gold's Student Summit this past October. The student summit, Not On Our Turf, was a student-run and student-led human trafficking awareness day for high school students.
This group from Holy Angels was so inspired and galvanized by what they learned there they created a video to raise awareness and ran a fundraiser in their community. Here is the clip:
(The School Sisters of Notre Dame, members of the Tri-State Coalition, run the Academy of the Holy Angels.)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

National Migration Week: Conclusion

From the USCCB:  It is our call as the Church to bring the light of Christ to these populations, banish the darkness, and help to bring them from the margins of society to its center. Doing so will provide vulnerable migrants with a protected space in which they can flourish as human beings. This requires prayer for those who are marginalized, alongside an active presence in the public square to demand that protections are provided to those who need them most.

(If you'd like, use the prayer we provided in our first post this week.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

National Migration Week: Human Trafficking

From the USCCB:  Enslaved and treated like objects for profit rather than as human beings, victims of human trafficking require liberation from their bondage and support to help them start anew. Those who enslaved them need to be brought to justice and punished accordingly so that they will not have the opportunity to hurt anyone else in the future. Find out more about Human Trafficking and what you can do to spread awareness during National Migration Week and beyond.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

National Migration Week: Refugees

From the USCCB:  All too many Refugees who are left mired in refugee camps around the world never have the opportunity to realize the full potential of their God-given skills and talents. Long term solutions need to be implemented so that refugees are not forced to remain in camps but can reintegrate into society and become contributing members of it. Click here to learn how you can support the refugee resettlement system in the United States.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

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

Remember that January 15 is New Jersey's Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day Observance.  Click here for more details.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

National Migration Week: Undocumented Immigrants

From the USCCBUndocumented immigrants are often referred to as "living in the shadows." Their marginal status has led advocates for reform to call for a legalization process that will bring them out of the shadows and provide them with the opportunity to contribute to society and live out their lives in dignity. To learn how you can help the bishops pass comprehensive immigration reform, please visit the Justice for Immigrants website.

National Migration Week 2014: Migrant Children

From the USCCB:  Migrant Children are one of the most vulnerable migrant populations, open as they are to exploitation and abuse. Special protections should be given to them to ensure their safety and well-being. To learn more about what the Church is doing to support child migrants, please click here.

Yesterday's post provided the prayer for National Migration Week 2014. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Out of the Darkness: National Migration Week 2014

From the USCCB:  National Migration Week 2014 will take place January 5-11 with the theme, "Out of the Darkness." Migrants and particularly the most vulnerable migrants: children, the undocumented, refugees, and victims of human trafficking, often find themselves existing in a kind of figurative darkness where their options remain limited and their ability to live out their lives in its fullness severely restricted. Often at risk of violence or exploitation these vulnerable populations need to be provided the support needed so that they can thrive.

Here is a Prayer for Migrants provided by the USCCB:
Merciful and loving Father,  you provided for your people Israel in their exodus from slavery a promised land that you established for them, and in Jesus Christ you provide welcome refuge for all in need. We ask for your divine protection for all migrants who have left their homes in search of new opportunity in another land. For refugees, who are forced from their homes due to threats of violence, we beseech you to provide them a safe haven. For migrants trafficked into slavery, grant them rescue, healing, and the strength to start again. For immigrants, who so often leave their family and friends behind, grant them a better life and greater opportunity elsewhere. We pray in particular for your protection over migrant children who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse at the hands of others. We implore you to grant all migrants your protection and lead them to a place of safety. Be with all those in need with your power to save. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Solidarity with South Sudan

Are you familiar with Solidarity with South Sudan?  It is a consortium of more than 200 religious congregations that trains teachers, nurses and pastoral personnel in several locations throughout South Sudan.  This initiative was inspired by the 2004 Rome Congress on Consecrated Life, Passion for Christ, Passion for Humanity. The website is worth exploring (click here to access the site).  For a quick overview, take the time to read the Stewardship Report located on the website.