Justice Updates – November 5, 2019

Next Tuesday, November 12th, the Supreme Court of hear oral arguments on the legality of DACA.  They agreed to tackle two questions: whether the government’s decision to end DACA is something that courts can review at all and, if so, whether the decision to end DACA is legal. Read more.

Can we eat our way to a healthier planet?  NPR explores a new analysis from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that looked at the health and environmental impacts of 15 different food groups.  To check out the study, click here.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego was one of three U.S. bishops at the synod. He believes that to save the Earth we must “forge a collation between the religious communities of the world, the young people of the world and the scientific community to really bring together a program to educate people about the realities of the destruction of the environment, and how they will come to a point of irreversibility.”  Here’s his take on what happened.

The Blessed are the Peacemakers Webinar recording is available for use by associate groups, study groups, or individuals.  The video is 2 1/3 hours. The materials include the agenda, power point, handouts, and suggested reading. You can access those resources here.

Campaign on Behalf of Immigrant Children.  Here is a report on the reports of the campaign.

Last June, members of the DC Catholic Coalition experienced a call to respond to the immediate crisis of children at the US Border separated from their families and detained in unacceptable conditions.  Representing religious congregations and Catholic justice organizations, we recognized a call to mobilize the collective power of our various constituencies for the sake of the children.

We knew from the outset that the complex issues and immense suffering would not be “solved” with our campaign to raise awareness, inspire action and encourage each one to take increasing risk to raise the consciousness of our leaders.  At the same time, we are people of hope and the response to our collective invitation to join three actions of witness surpassed our expectations. We are profoundly grateful.

The DC Catholic Coalition made a three-month commitment to participate and invite others to join three actions to educate, create a community of commitment, and to act on behalf of immigrant children and families. We thank each one of you who participated, sponsored, supported and prayed with us.  More than 1,000 individuals and groups have been part of this collective witness.  We give thanks for each one.

While the work must continue, this season of harvest and bountiful thanks give us occasion to recall what has happened in our three witnesses:

  • July 18:  Capitol Rotunda (70 arrested and/200 hundred participants):  Gathering for prayer and protest on the grounds of the capitol with a procession to the Rotunda of the Russell Senate office building for an action of non-violent civil disobedience on behalf of immigrant families, particularly the children separated and detained.
  • September  4: Newark, New Jersey: Prayer at St. Mary’s Abbey followed by a procession to ICE offices, Cardinal Tobin’s remarks and blessing, speakers from the community, witness in the street of Newark as a testimony of the power of local and national communities on behalf of those separated and detained.
  • October 12:  Hope Border Institute Teach -In. Two hundred people crossed the Paso Del Norte bridge from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez to meet with immigrant families living on the streets while they wait to be allowed to apply for asylum in the U.S. As they crossed back, each blessed the bridge and prayed for those forced to “Remain in Mexico” and they watched as three immigrant families who accompanied them were permitted to enter the U.S.

Each of these three witnesses for immigrant justice required a wide net of community organizers, volunteers, planning teams, powerful prayerful witness powerfully duplicated in local communities and the testimony of transformational experiences from participants from coast to coast.  This has been an experience of the power where “two or three are gathered in my name” and the effervescence of the Spirit.

The work must continue.  Each of us has both a responsibility and a Gospel call to determine how we will continue this great work that has begun.  As we draw the collective action of this “three-witness commitment” to a close, we invite you to join us in prayer and reflection  on November 2nd. We have attached a prayer for your use and suggested some questions to assist each of us to deepen our understanding how this experience calls us to respond in new ways:

Looking back:

  • How have we changed?
  • How have we experienced new challenge?
  • How have we grown in our commitment?

Looking forward:

  • Realizing that we cannot do this alone, how can we continue to join in solidarity locally, regionally and nationally to continue this work.
  • Consider one or more of the following questions:  What is the relationship between the police and the immigrants in your community? Is there a trust relationship or are the police a tool of ICE? Is your church willing to serve as sanctuary? Is there a local immigrant advocacy organization with which you can become involved. What positions have your elected representatives taken vis a vis immigration. Where is the Governor of your State regarding accepting refugees? Is your parish reaching out to immigrants?

We encourage you to use Bishop Mark Seitz’s pastoral letter, Night Will Be No More to enliven your reflection and deepen your commitment to action.  In addition, you will find listed below some resources for your continued action on behalf End the Inhumanity. We invite your prayers and intentions for the Border Mass that will celebrated November 2 in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.

We, the DC Catholic Coalition, know that the power of the three witnesses has been in our collective community response.  It could not have happened without each one of us, with our confidence in the faith that moves mountains and the courage to be “laborers in the field”.

We thank the sponsoring organizations, the generous contributions (human, spiritual and financial) that made the work possible, and our heartfelt gratitude for each one who “kept showing up” in this time that so many choose silence and invisibility.

Let us continue to be the visible Eucharist in the communion of commitment.

With gratitude and hope,

DC Catholic Coalition

Here is a prayer from the campaign:

Welcome! We gather here today in the presence of our loving God to reflect on the lives of our brothers and sisters who have been detained by the U.S. government in their search for a life, and especially to reflect on the children in detention, frightened, alone, hungry and cold. We come also to ask for the strength and courage of our God to act through us as we call for justice for these children and their families, for an end to child detention, and for a moral and humane response to all who come to our country seeking refuge. Finally, we come here to ask for our merciful God to bestow wisdom on our lawmakers so that they do not shy away from their moral duty and show compassion to all, especially the most vulnerable, the children, in their work to create a just, fair and humane immigration policy. Through the power of our faith and in the compassion of Jesus Christ we ask that all human life be respected and that children seeking refuge be no longer detained, left alone and afraid, but rather that they feel the love, warmth and welcome of our great nation.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

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