Justice Updates – December 10, 2019

Need a dose of cute? Watch Hafod Hardware’s 2019 Christmas Advertisement, Be a Kid this Christmas.

Do you knit or crochet?  You might want to make a plastic mat for a homeless person.  It’s a great project for Christmas vacation.   Check out the directions.

This December, people around the country will gather to honor and remember those who have lost their lives to gun violence. As of December 1, there have been 35,943 gun deaths including homicides, suicides, and accidents.  There have been 385 mass shootings.  Take a minute and pray for these victims and their families.  Write a note or make a call to your legislators, either state or federal, and tell them to take action to stop these shootings. If you know someone who has lost a loved one to gun violence, contact them and send them your love.

Call your representative!   The world’s annual carbon emissions need to drop by nearly half by 2030 to net zero by 2050 to keep global warming at 1/5 degrees Celsius. However, the 2018 UNIPCC report projects that annual global carbon emissions are on track to stay the same or increase, not decrease, by 2030. Call your representative today about the 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019 (R.R. 5221). This legislation sets a nationwide foal of achieving a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050, defined as net-zero pollution across all sectors of the U.S. economy. The 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019 lays out principles for federal agency action, including, but not limited to:

  • improving public health, resilience, and environmental outcomes, especially for low-income and rural communities, communities of color, Tribal and indigenous communities, deindustrialized communities, and other communities disproportionately impacted by climate change;
  • enhancing quality job creation and ensuring fairness and equity for workers and communities affected by the transition to a 100 percent clean economy;
  • providing benefits for consumers, small businesses, and rural communities; and
  • preparing communities for the impacts and risks of climate change.

The administration has proposed raising fees for those seeing asylum and naturalization.  The proposed fee structure changes would:

  • Drastically increase the cost of naturalization from $640 to $1,170 – this is a historic high and a staggering 83 percent increase.
  • Establish an unprecedented, new $50 fee for affirmative asylum. This would make the U.S. one of just four countries (Australia, Fiji and Iran being the other three) to levy such a fee.
  • Create a new fee for DACA renewals, raising the total cost from $495 to $765.
  • Effectively end a long-standing fee waiver program that has kept naturalization, green card renewals and other benefits accessible.
  • Transfer $207.6 million in funds that should be used for immigration and naturalization processing to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to use for enforcement.
  • Increase Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Residencyfrom $1,225 to $2,195 by requiring separate filing fees for work and travel authorization. The current fee includes applications for both work and travel documents.
  • Charge asylum-seekers for work permit applications. Currently, there is no charge for asylum seekers to seek work authorization for the first time.
  • Limit stakeholder participation by shortening the comment period from the standard sixty days to only thirty days.

You can make a public comment by using the Sisters of Mercy website.  Reminder:  Personalize the message of any sign-ons.  Rule of thumb – ⅓ original content (unique language) to be counted.  Consider putting in Scripture, faith-language, stories,

Archbishops Coakley and Gregory and Bishop Dewane have served in death penalty states. They believe it’s time to stop federal executions. They write “Human dignity can be difficult to understand when we are confronted with the depths of our sins. But we believe, from Scripture and tradition, that each person is created by God in his image and likeness, and the dignity that flows from God’s creative act cannot be removed by the actions of any person, no matter how bad, no matter how hurtful. We reverence God’s gift of life in those at the beginning of life and those at its end, in the weak and in the strong, in the poor and in the rich, in the happy and in the sad, in the honored and in the forgotten. And we reverence God’s gift of life in the guilty and in the innocent.” Read more here.  (Note. The Supreme Court stayed the execution of three federal prisoners who were supposed to be executed this week.)

Immigration is being used as a political weapon and is fueling division and violence in our country. Frontline from PBS  produced at 54 minute video called “Zero Tolerance” that explains how this has happened.  You can view it here.

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Dominican Month for Peace – December 10, 2019

The situation of children in India can be dire. Children under the age of 18 comprise 37% of India’s population. Many of them experience deprivation such as lack of access to basic education, nutrition or health care. In addition, many are subjected to various forms of abuse, neglect, violence, and maltreatment which dominate their childhood experience

Further violations of child rights, legitimized by cultural practices and customs deeply rooted in the male-dominant patriarchal society, involve child marriage, of which 326 incidences were reported in 2015-16, and gender discrimination, which has created significant gender disparity.

This is reflected in the preference for providing educational opportunities for the male child. The perception of girl children as a burden to the family also leads to sex selective abortion which has resulted in an unequal sex ratio in the country with 933 females per 1000 males (Census, 2011).

Indian Center for Integrated Development provides programming for the children and women in Nagpur India.  There are a number of programs working with youth. You can check them out here.

A prime example of this is an initiative, Project Bloom, of Dominican friars in collaboration with Dominican Sisters of the Presentation and Dominican Laity in the Yuvajyothi Children’s Home of the Indian Centre for Integrated Development (ICID) in Nagpur.

This project strives to rescue children and female youth from exploitative, abusive and other disadvantaged situations such as street and pavement dwelling, work places, children begging, picking waste material and neglected children, and provide a protective environment where a child finds a safe, dignified and child-friendly atmosphere including their rehabilitation with their families.

 This is done through various programs, such as street outreach, formation of children’s groups, counselling, life skill education, educational support and sponsorship, provision of safe shelter for children in need, organizing child right awareness and advocacy programs.

 The Dominican Family of Friars, Sisters and Laity also work in collaboration with a team of social workers and volunteers in Nagpur district to assist with children who are already living on the streets with adequate and necessary support:

  • Providing street-based support, protection, rescue, rehabilitation and integration (with family), maintaining street presence through volunteers, and awareness creation among children about the risks and dangers on the streets.
  • Residential care (counselling, food, accommodation, education, life skill development, livelihood training and opportunity, and preparing them for family life). Children are referred to Yuvajyothi or other homes for children.

 And to work with economically and socially disadvantaged families whose children may turn to the streets:

  • Sensitization visits to the families, life skill education to children in the families, child rights awareness in communities and schools, interventions at the school level in order to retain children in the schools, networking and advocacy.
  • Livelihood training and opportunities for women from disadvantaged families at community-based centers.

In addition, all the Dominican entities in India are developing a training project, Safe Childhood: Breaking the silence and preventing incidences of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), to equip sisters and brothers with skills in dealing with child sexual abuse through activities such as:

  • Children’s groups and training in safety lessons against CSE
  • Increasing the knowledge and life skills of children to understand CSE and appropriately report the same in time
  • Awareness and sensitization on CSE in communities
  • Strengthening families by assisting parents to understand their children’s issues and how to help them be free from sexual exploitation
  • Providing nurturing support by visiting at-risk families at home and ensure family counseling and parenting support
  • Training of teachers, counselors and others on child sexual exploitation and enhance their capacity to effectively protect children from sexual exploitation
  • Dialogue and networking with schools and Government and Civil Society Organizations

 

If you want more information in the Indian Centre for Integrated Development run by the friars in India, click here.

Indian society is tremendously diverse. According to the Asia Society, “India offers astounding variety in virtually every aspect of social life. Diversities of ethnic, linguistic, regional, economic, religious, class, and caste groups crosscut Indian society, which is also permeated with immense urban-rural differences and gender distinctions. Differences between north India and south India are particularly significant, especially in systems of kinship and marriage. Indian society is multifaceted to an extent perhaps unknown in any other of the world’s great civilizations—it is more like an area as varied as Europe than any other single nation-state. Adding further variety to contemporary Indian culture are rapidly occurring changes affecting various regions and socioeconomic groups in disparate ways. Yet, amid the complexities of Indian life, widely accepted cultural themes enhance social harmony and order.” You can learn more here.

Christians represent only 2.3% of the population of India. Over 75% are Hindu and 15% are Muslim.  Here are Five Facts about Religion in India.

 

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

We Have One Lifetime to Make a Difference

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I am always heartened when I find inspiration that motivates me to live my best life.

Thankfully, that inspiration can be found all around us – sometimes we have to look for it, sometimes it shows up unexpectedly.

The latter happened to me a few days ago, when I read a quote from the longest-living president in American history:

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”

No matter your politics, I think we can agree that former President Jimmy Carter has been an example of an honest man with integrity. During his post-presidency, he has remained active in public life and has consistently demonstrated his convictions, based on honesty and spirituality.

Even in his twilight years, the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, continues to provide lessons about peace, justice, fairness, honesty and integrity, while promoting and expanding human rights.

We can all learn something from his words of wisdom (cultivated by 95 years of living and 73 years of married life).

I, for one, will strive to make my life count for something by doing whatever I can to make a positive difference.

How about you?

Posted in Associate Blog, News

God Will Provide!

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

Advent reminds us of waiting for the upcoming celebration of Jesus’ birth. But for me, Advent also reminds me of my vocation journey when I was waiting to enter the Dominicans.

My serious discernment with the Dominicans began when I moved to Boston, Massachusetts. I stayed temporarily with the large family of my aunt-in-law’s sister. Three families lived in a three-floor house. Each floor had two or three bedrooms and was for a family of four to six members. Imagine how crowded the house was, and yet, they still welcomed me.

In my first two weeks in Boston, I stayed with the daughter’s family on the first floor. The couple let me stay in their bedroom, while they stayed in their children’s rooms. Later, I moved to the third floor and stayed there with the parents and their adult children. The son slept in a room with a couch, and the daughter gave up her sleeping space to me and slept on the floor next to her parents’ bed. Her room was a “public” room for everyone living on that floor, including the computer and their storage space. The space I had in that room was a queen-sized mattress on the floor in one corner of the room with my suitcase on it.

To entertain me, God gave me two new friends. The five-year-old granddaughter visited me most nights and sometimes did not want to leave my space. The daughter took me with her to shop or helped me with the basic needs of my job search. To comfort me, God gave me my aunt-in law’s sister. Every time I wanted to move out, she kept telling me; “Stay with me until you move to the convent. I consider you as my daughter. If my daughter lived far away from me, I would also wish that someone cared for her. I just do what the heart of a mother tells me to do….”

I stayed, ate, and shared life with that large family for three months. Day in and day out, I yearned for the approval to enter the convent. It was extremely hard to wait, but at the same time, I was grateful that I had a welcoming space to stay with those who truly cared for me. I owe that family my deep, heartfelt gratitude.

This Advent is the twenty-year anniversary of that journey. Looking back, I cannot believe how I went through that time of waiting without losing my vocation. It was a real miracle for me. The only thing I can think of is: “God will provide.” Yes, God provided for me in a way that I did not expect but enough for me to live out my call with a huge transformation within me.

How about you? What are you waiting for? Are you willing to accept what God provides even if it is not what you expect? Also, how do you create a welcoming space for others?

If you are seeking clarification about your vocational call, contact us. If you want to welcome strangers to your life and help them out, come to a Mission Immersion week with us in New Orleans (January 4-8, 2020).  Click here for more information and registration.

Posted in God Calling?, News

Dominican Sisters Open new Hospital in Rural Nigeria

The new hospital opened by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Gusau will provide much-needed healthcare in the rural village of Zuru.

We are blessed to share with you that the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Gusau, one of the major beneficiaries of the Great Bend Mission Bazaar, opened a new hospital in rural Zuru, Nigeria, on November 28, 2019. Sr. Bridget Yabo OP, a Nigerian-trained physician, will serve as Medical Director for the new Haske Dominican Hospital, which will provide much-needed medical care for the people of this remote area.

With the on-going support of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and friends like you, the Haske Dominican Hospital has been under construction for several years. Your prayers and your support for the Great Bend Mission bazaar helped make this wonderful new hospital a reality – thank you!

 

 

 

The hospital includes wards for women, men, and expectant mothers.

 

Hospital beds supplied thanks to your donations took nearly 2 years to get through customs and to the Dominican Sisters.
Posted in News