Peace and Justice Weekly Updates 9/1/2021

Help Asylum Seekers
NETWORK needs your help to sign a letter to President Biden about ending Title 42, which was used by the Trump administration to keep asylum seekers out of the U.S. We expected that President Biden would rescind this cruel action, but , the Department of Homeland Security continues to use it to keep asylum seekers out of the U.S. So, in observance and celebration of the Vatican’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 26, we will be delivering this letter to the President and his administration.

CLINIC and NETWORK have co-authored this sign-on letter for Catholic organizations and institutions at the national, state, and local level. Please click here to sign on to the letter.

We are inviting parishes, dioceses, immigration legal clinics and outreach centers, and colleges and high schools to sign on, so please invite any of your congregation’s ministries to sign on as well. Our goal is to get 500 Catholic organizational and institutional signatures.

Signatures are due September 20. We will then deliver and lift up the letter in the media during the days leading up to September 26. Please include your social media information if you would be willing to be tagged in social media posts about this letter.

“In alignment with our Jesuit values, Loyola University Chicago condemns all acts of racism and racial injustice.  We stand in solidarity to achieve justice and commit ourselves to be actively anti-racist, meaning that we will not be silent when we recognize racism, will work to regularly reflect on the ways racism shows up in society, and identify ways we can improve based on our reflections.”

White Coats for Black Lives
White Coats for Black Lives is a nonprofit social justice student organization based in the United States that aims to dismantle racism in medicine and fight for the health of Black people and other people of color. Click here to read a statement that they have shared from Loyola’s Anti-Racism Initiative.

The call to action is broken up into several sections:

  • Personal (e.g. Acknowledge that white supremacy is real and enacts itself through institutional racism.  Notice the ways that institutional racism is present in your environment.)
  • Interpersonal (e.g. Respect that every person has their own understanding of their identity, lived experiences and preferences.)
  • Institutional (e.g. Learn more and voice your opinions publicly about race equity, especially as it pertains to Loyola.)
  • Structural (e.g. Measure the ways that you have impact on improvements in personal, interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels racial equity.)

Join people of faith around the world as we kick-off the 2021 Season of Creation
This year thousands of Christians from the six continents are invited to unite for a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, and discovered radically new ways of living with creation. More than ever we are called to make a discernment process and take actions to deal with the socio-economic, environmental and ethical crisis. We can be protagonist.

See online the starting moment of the Season of Creation

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Populism – The People

Blog by Sr. Mary Ellen Bennett, OP

We are approaching a sacred time in the history of the Dominican Sisters of Peace:  preparation for the General Assembly, and the 200th Anniversary of Dominican Sisterhood in the United States.

We praise God for the blessings of the past, the graced moments of the present, and our bright hopes for the future.

I am reading LET US DREAM by Pope Francis in conversation with Austin Ivereigh, and I want to offer you some extended quotations:  his reflections on “The People”/ “Populism.”  With our special time in mind, I substitute “Congregation” for “The People.”

“The CONGREGATION is always the fruit of a synthesis, of an encounter, of a fusion of disparate elements that generates a whole which is greater than its parts.”  p. 100

“The CONGREGATION is a living reality that is the fruit of a shared integrating principle.  It is not a logical concept.  It can be approached only through intuition, by entering into its spirit, its heart, its history and traditions.”  pp.101—102

“To speak of a CONGREGATION is to appeal to unity in diversity. . .we have become used to speaking of identity in categories of exclusion and differentiation.  I (Francis) prefer to use the archetypal  term, ‘mythical category’, for it opens up a different way of describing reality, through the synthesis of potentialities  that I  call overflow.” p. 102—103

During this graced time may we intuit the soul of our congregation as we ponder our spirit, our heart, our history and our traditions.  May our reflections bring us to a synthesis of potentialities for our future (overflow).  May it spill over and inspire the days yet to come.

Dr. Austin Ivereigh is a Fellow in Contemporary Church History at Campion Hall, University of Oxford

Posted in Just Reflecting

Season Of Creation Prayer Service: September 5, 2021

Season of Creation Prayer Services 

First Sunday – September 5, 2021


Introductory Comments

Today is the First Sunday of the 2021 Season of Creation.

This season is a time of prayer and action stretching from September 1st, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, to October 4th, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Season celebrates God as Creator of the vast cosmic universe, God’s revelation in creation, and our calling to care for creation, to protect its rich diversity and to address the urgent, destructive crises threatening its health and future – including our own.

On this 1st Sunday of the Season of Creation, the scriptures urge us not to lose hope in the face of the urgent and complex climate crisis facing us. They remind us to trust in God Who is faithful and is even now working to save us. They challenge us to confront the false values of wealth and consumption that are so common and so destructive and to pray for Christ to open our eyes, our ears, our hearts.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 35:4-7a

Do I, do we as a community share in the discouragement and paralysis? Are we able to see the needs, hear the call, and act for healing and renewal of Earth?

Responsorial Psalm  146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10

R Praise the Lord, my soul! or R Alleluia

Can we pray it with heartfelt conviction and draw strength from its vision?

A reading from the Letter of Saint James 2:1-5

How can I/we transform our lifestyles and values to embrace a more authentic and sustainable way of living on Earth in solidarity with all God’s creation?

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 7:31-37

Are we ready to pray for the healing power of Christ to be at work in us and through us so that we may hear and speak clearly the Word of God given us to share in this critical time?

Can we offer ourselves to join Christ in the difficult work of opening eyes and ears, freeing tongues, and supporting bold efforts to embrace the integral ecological conversion required in these times?

Music selections – optional

E – Entrance | O – Offertory | C – Communion | D – Dismissal

E- Glory and Praise to Our God – ©1972, 1974, 2008 Daniel L. Schutte, pub. OCP

O – Open My Eyes ©1988, 1998, 1999 -Jesse Manibusen, published by Spirit and Song (OCP)

C- Now In This Banquet – Marty Haugen, ©1986 GIA Publications, Inc.

D- Touch the Earth Lightly – Shirley Erena Murray, ©1992 Hope Publishing Company.


Click here to download a PDF copy of this service.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Making a U-Turn

Sr. Mai-dung Nguyen, OP

When was the last time you made a U-turn? Where and in what situation? Can you recall this situation and what prompted you to make this U-turn?

No matter how, when, and where you made a U-turn, you were probably aware at that moment why you made that decision. It might be that you missed an exit on the highway and needed to take the next exit to return to your route. It might be that you passed the road where you were to turn and so you made a U-turn to get back on track. Or, it could be that you wanted to get to the parking lot or a building on the left, but there was a middle lane, and you had to go a little farther before you could make a U-turn.

Last month, I went to a Walmart to buy gift cards for the sisters who were making their temporary and perpetual vows. As you know, giving a gift card on an occasion is a common way of celebrating an event. It might be a Visa gift card, a BestBuy’s gift card, etc. The moment I drove into the parking lot, I decided to make a U-turn and headed home without buying any gift cards.

Why did I make this U-turn? I made this U-turn because another thought came to me about buying gift cards when I entered the Walmart parking lot. I realized that while a gift card is a friendly and convenient gift, the recipients may toss these cards away after using them, thus contributing to pollution, and causing harm to our environment indirectly. This may sound extreme but protecting the earth needs a little help from individuals. I found myself asking, “Is there a practical way to give a gift or make it more personal?” This kind of U-turn requires rethinking the decisions we make, seeking what’s important, switching gears, and committing to another direction.

We used to think that making a U-turn in our lives meant coming back to the same road or going back to the same bad behavior. However, making a U-turn may mean coming back with a new awareness of what God is calling us to be and how to live with this call.

We find in Scripture many examples of U-turns happening. Throughout Scripture, God called people to turn around in their ordinary world. God invited Moses to come back to Egypt to rescue his people. At Jesus’ tomb, he asked Mary Magdalene not to cling to him but to come back to his disciples and deliver the message of the Risen Christ to them. On the road to Emmaus, two disciples returned to their friends to tell them of their encounter with Jesus. In each story, we see people making U-turns in their life for God’s mission.

At the end of the Mass, the priest usually says, “the Mass is ended, go in peace.” or “the Mass is ended, go and announce the Good News of the Lord.” We then respond, “Thanks be to God.” By saying this, we give thanks to our God and are happy to return to where we are with an energized presence. This U-turn brings us back with a new attitude and new commitment.

God may invite you to make a U-turn today too. I invite you to reflect on what God is calling you to at this moment, then decide how to respond to the call.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost

If you hear a voice whisper inside you, inviting you to consider religious life, don’t ignore this call. Rather, turn and respond to this call with an open mind, heart, and body. Trust this call with your new insight and faith in God.

We invite you to contact us about your call from God and to visit our vocation website to learn more about us. If you are a single, Catholic woman, age 18-45, we would also like to invite you to our Come and See Discernment Retreat, Sept 10-12, 2021. For more information or to register, click here.

Finally, to all of our readers, we need your help to spread the word about this retreat and our other vocational discernment opportunities.  Please consider posting this event and others on your FB page, Instagram or Twitter feed, parish bulletin, or share it with others who may be discerning a call to religious life.

Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

Peace and Justice Updates 8.25.2021

Voters’ Rights are Human Rights
Congress is currently considering two important voting rights bills: The For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. There are several in-person events planning to support these bills, but for Sisters who cannot attend, the School Sisters of Notre Dame have created a Virtual March to Promote Racial Justice and Voting Rights on Aug. 28th. A 4-minute video explains the importance of protecting voting rights and invites participants to join the sisters in several at-home actions, including spending 10 minutes in their prayer room.

Speak Out for Gun Safety
In June, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) proposed a new rule that would specify the definition of “rifle” to include certain pistols equipped with arm braces that can be fired from a shoulder.  Much like with bump stocks, the gun industry has exploited a loophole to intentionally evade the law in order to make and market particularly dangerous short-barreled rifles. Some arm braces allow a user to turn a pistol into a short-barreled rifle — one of the most highly regulated weapons in the country due to its combination of lethality and concealability.

You can comment on a proposed rule that will help close this dangerous loophole. Click here to read more from Everytown for Gun Safety.

Save the Bees!
Threats to pollinators come from every corner. Pesticides infect bees and their hives, weakening the entire ecosystem. The extreme weather of climate change disrupts timing of plant flowering and the pollinator migration patterns. Agribusiness is destroying vital pollinator habitats.

On Sunday, the U.S. recognized National Honey Bee Day, but we need to take urgent action and fight for pollinators every day. Our apian friends are in danger and their possible extinction threatens our way of life.

Click here to tell Congress to Support the Saving America’s Pollinators Act.

Posted in Peace & Justice Weekly Updates