Justice and Peace Updates: 12.16.2020

Take Action Today to Keep Kids Safe Online!

U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking reminds us of our duty to protect children from abuse and exploitation while online.

One way you can help protect children’s innocence and dignity this holiday season is to support the EARN IT Act, a piece of bi-partisan legislation in both the Senate (S. 3398) and the House (H.R. 8454) that will help prevent online exploitation and trafficking and hold internet service providers accountable for trafficking material shared on their platforms. You can click here to read a summary of the EARN IT Act and learn more.

U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking has created an online campaign that makes it easy to contact your Senators and Representatives with one of two messages: either a thank you for already co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation, or a request to join on as a co-sponsor. All you have to do is type in your address and you will automatically be connected with your legislators and the correct corresponding message.

You can also send your own personalized message to your legislators. Look up the contact information for your Senators and Representatives here. 

Take Action Now!

From Everytown for Gun Safety

It’s been nearly 25 years since Congress last passed a significant federal gun safety law. In 2019, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation like the bill to require background checks on all gun sales. But the NRA’s allies in the Senate refused to prioritize the safety of the American public. Now, more than 100 people are killed by guns and over 230 more are shot and wounded every single day.

In 2021, Congress must address the gun violence crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic and surging gun sales have weakened the country’s background check system, making the need for action more urgent than ever.

Read and share our new memo today to learn what the 117th Congress can and must do to prevent gun violence and fix the background check system.

Last month, we elected the strongest gun safety ticket ever to the White House. It’s never been more important to act on gun safety than it is now, and we know the Biden-Harris administration must use executive power to make that change happen.

But Congress needs to act if we’re going to fully address the gun violence crisis that has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Want to learn more about what’s at stake? Read and share this new report from Everytown Support Fund to learn how the COVID-19 pandemic and a surge in gun sales have weakened the background check system.

Stop Trafficking! Newsletter

Click here to read the December Newsletter from US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT), focusing on how we can use our buying power to help end labor trafficking.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Hope

We recognize Advent as a time of promise and hope. We visualize our Jewish ancestors awaiting the Messiah and we anticipate the fullness of the Kingdom of God. In the Advent readings from Isaiah, we envision beautiful descriptions of a recreated Earth, the healing of all people, and the end of violence and war.

Four characteristics of the Kingdom of God are that we wait in hope for a time when peace is the alternative to violence, inclusion is the alternative to elitism, the sharing of goods is the alternative to amassing of wealth, and a God of the powerless is the alternative to power and strength. Psalm 85 also speaks of a time when:

Justice and Peace Shall Kiss

 

Don’t we long for these days? During Advent, we are called to notice the glimpses of this future already present in our world and pray and wait in hope for the fullness of the Kingdom of God to be realized.

During Advent, as Sisters and Associates of Peace, we are called. Called to BE HOPE for one another. It’s just one little word but it represents everything. Hope might be one little action like saying yes to “both/and” instead of “there’s only one way”. Hope might be sharing time with one another in a new way of understanding each other without judgement.

To BE HOPE is to be a whisper of light reaching through the darkness for one another. It is being encouraging in times of uncertainty.  It is bringing comfort to the grieving in times of loss. It is giving nourishment to the poor in their time of hunger.  It is caring for the sick in their time of illness. It is teaching the marginalized in times of inequity. It is giving reassurance to the dying as the Lord calls them to his kingdom. To GIVE HOPE, we must first HAVE HOPE in our hearts so we may BE HOPE.

As Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace, we pray and wait IN HOPE together, clearing a path for the passage of our savior. Together, we are a thousand whispers of light for one another as we anticipate the fullness of the kingdom of God.

Sister Diane Kozlowski, OP              Carol Moss, OPA                  Michelle Castle, OPA

Posted in Associate Blog

Living Today as a Day of Thanks

Blog by Sr. Mai-Dung Nguyen

Everyone can agree 2020 has been a challenging year in our human history, filled with so many uncertainties and losses. We cannot predict how from day to day our life will turn out. In such a reality, how do you live each day joyfully and how do you find opportunities to lighten your day?

Although Thanksgiving has passed, I still want to share with you a wonderful turkey story that brought so much lightness to our local community.

One day, a sister and I went to buy a turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner. We brought home two turkeys because of a bargain deal, “buy one, get one free.” We froze one and thawed out the other one, and after the thawed turkey was unpacked, what we saw on this turkey was not what we had expected.

“Oh no! Where are the legs?” I shouted with a high voice, drawing the attention of three other sisters in my community who were in the kitchen.

“Oh, no wings either. Why?” my voice sounded higher.  

For those who desire dark turkey meat for their Thanksgiving dinner, you can imagine how disappointed I was at that moment. While I was still fretting over missing these delicious parts of the turkey, suddenly, after looking at the turkey, then looking at my sisters, all four of us burst out laughing at the same time.  We were laughing because the fine print on the package labeling read “Honey Turkey Breast.”  This was not a whole turkey.  We chuckled and shared humorous conversations back and forth.

“No wonder it was buy one get one free.”

But … we saved almost $40 in purchasing the turkey.”

“Think about it this way: if the turkey had legs and wings, it would fly away and would not be here for us to eat.”

Maybe the wings and the legs are somewhere helping people affected by the pandemic.”

We laughed and laughed without stopping. We could not believe that this turkey uplifted our spirit so much. If we had a whole, perfect turkey, we would not have enjoyed a memorable and funny Thanksgiving Day.

Having this joyful spirit within the community, plus the presence of the turkey without legs and wings, brought to mind the scripture quote, “We are the body of Christ.” Yes, we are the body of Christ to one another in any situation and wherever we live. Through the community of Christ, darkness can become the light of Christ, shining in various ways. We did not have the dark meat, but we had abundant laughter instead. Even now, after two weeks, we still laugh every time we talk about the turkey and recall our jokes. The breast meat was the most delicious turkey meat that I had ever eaten before, maybe because it was seasoned with our joyful spirit. And yet, the lost wings and legs of this turkey reminds us that God needs our help as God’s wings and legs to deliver love, hope, joy, peace to the world through who we are.

This turkey story speaks volumes for us as we live out this Advent season with joy, love, peace, and hope.  It is a story that calls us to give thanks for what we receive each day.

Today is a great day to give thanks to God
for my life and the lives of others.
Today is a great day to reaffirm that
with God, everything is possible.
With God, all pieces of life come together,
for God is the energy in all relationships,
pulling all things together in unity and love.
Today is a great day to start over as a brand-new day.
New possibilities are opened throughout the day,
for me to live fully under God’s grace,
to become truly who I am called to be,
to give one another legs to walk or wings to fly.
If today is not a great day, what day would be a great day for me?

If today you feel God’s voice nudging you, this is definitely a great day to discern your call. Visit our vocation website page or contact us. We don’t need a perfect day or a perfect plan to start our discernment, for today is a great day that God has given to us.

Posted in God Calling?

Advent: Attention Must be Paid

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

“Attention must be paid….attention, attention must be paid!”

These words, from Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, carry a wife’s torment over the lifetime she has spent with her ever hopeful, never successful Willy Loman, who has died. The urgent pleading of that voice is what I hear this Advent. There’s a drive, an edgy energy that makes the standard “watch and wait” seem anemic. I want to act, protest, give service, and in this time of staying in place, I feel frustration within the bubble of safety I inhabit.

I hear a litany of woes, and the response is always “attention must be paid!”

Black lives matter. Attention must be paid. Loved ones are dying of the coronavirus terrified and alone. Attention must be paid.

Six hundred children, ripped from their parents, who cannot be found. Attention must be paid.

Thousands of workers have lost their jobs, can’t pay their bills, face eviction, wait in miles-long lines of cars for enough food to make it through the week. Attention must be paid.

The discord and rancor in our political situation has been ratcheted up to new and frightening levels. Attention must be paid.

Our earth is being burned and plundered, its future a desperate matter. Attention must be paid.

I know you have more to add. This litany could be so much longer.

Attention must be paid. But how do we see clearly in the darkness and the smoke? How can we hear over the blaring and wailing? How do we bring words of clarity, comfort, hope, and peace when the weight of human tragedy overwhelms and dispirits us–even as we practice social distancing? Shall we turn off the news and expect inner calm? How can we claim to be bringers of peace when we are in flight?  How can we be lights in darkness when we walk in shrouds of sorrow and fear ourselves?

The virus keeps us housebound. But withdrawal will not do. Attention must be paid.  Our frustration builds.  We aspire to respond with the energy and engagement of Dominic, joyful friar, preacher of Grace. So we must observe him as he takes on the world at his feet, and listens to the trouble and the sorrow of Languedoc, its peasants oppressed by poverty and disease and their fields ruined by the clashes of local overlords, vulnerable to prophets of questionable Christian practice.  We must join him in his nights of tears.

His tears rose out of these encounters and his awareness of the little he could offer. He took it all in, suffered it, ached with its burden, and prostrated himself before God, allowing God the freedom to transform his pain for others into Words of Grace.

Contemplative engagement. This is Dominic’s gift to us, the watching and waiting, allowing the “muchness” of it all to enter us, then placing the agonies of our brothers and sisters, our own failings and our helpless hearts before God. And in the darkness granting God the space to transform and send us as Words of Grace and Peace. There is so much more to see and hear and grasp: God active in the past, present and future of humankind. We preach the mystery of Incarnation. Christ has come, is coming, will come–enfleshing God’s passion for entanglement with a groaning creation and a searching humankind. Whatever our limitations we cannot sidestep God’s engagement with us. Attention must be paid! Advent calls us into darkness and out of darkness to witness to the Christening of our world.

Posted in Weekly Word

Reflections on Grief in COVID Time

Reflection by Associate Mary Beth Auletto

I have lost 3 people I cared about in the last 6 weeks.

And it’s hard not to be able grieve together with family and community. Really hard.

Once again, technology has been a grace…but not a replacement.

And so, I do what I can.

Send cards to my cousins and my aunt.

Have a socially distanced visit with my sister-in-law who lost her husband.

Join in from my home with other associates and sisters praying our dear Colette’s soul to heaven.

AND…

Wait patiently and trust there will be a time to grieve and celebrate their lives in person.

Pray for their loved ones that their faith and those of us who care will comfort them.

Contemplate how I, how we can make sure they leave a legacy.  In the case of Colette, she was a leader in justice, especially of late in our community in racial justice.

Let us in Dominican spirit, contemplate…may it be one that embraces building, preaching, and being peace in our current times.

And it’s ok to cry for now I think.

Posted in Just Reflecting