News

For further information on any of the news items listed here, please contact Alice Black, PhD, OPA, Director of Communications & Mission Advancement, at 614-416-1020.


 

Justice Updates – January 21, 2020

Check out this resource from the Eco Justice Committee.  We all need a gentle reminder to GO GREEN this winter!

https://www.oppeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/going-green_winter.pdf

Do you know what cosmology is?  In this article from Global Sisters Report, Lorraine Villemaire, a Sister of St. Joseph of Springfield,  writes that in spite of the climate damage we see, “there actually is hope. Great efforts are being made today by governments and organizations to engage in system-based actions to save Earth. Technology and science are collaborating to provide facts on problems, to help play a role in transformation. However, individuals created Earth’s problems and individual conversion is needed to correct it.

Need a dose of beauty?  Listen to this 13-minute concert by amazing harpist Bridget Kibbey.

What’s happening to the working poor? Read Who Killed the Knapp Family where many working-class people are dying of despair.

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States. The good news: Each of us can help solve it. Here’s how.

What does Catholic Social Teaching teach about migrants?  Louisville Bishop Joseph Kurtz writes “We know that the Church at her best has always been a church that welcomes and accompanies others… The capacity of rich and powerful nations like the United States to welcome refugees and immigrants also is a serious responsibility. Read more from his teaching essay.

As the only major denomination with almost equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, the Catholic Church is in a unique position to respond to today’s toxic politics. Thomas Reese explains “Four Catholic Solutions to Toxic Politics.

Just Mercy” is not a film about a man. It is about a movement to heal the wounds of racism and hatred. More than knowing his name, Bryan wants people to know the names of the 4,000 African Americans lynched as victims of racial terror and too often forgotten — people like Mary Turner, who was eight months pregnant when she was hung upside down by a white mob, set on fire and even cut open so her baby could be stomped to death.

Click here to download a study guide to the movie from Catholics Mobilizing.

DACA Recipients are being deported. What will happen to the rest of them?

Douglas Cremer writes in the Church Needs to Listen to Catholic Feminists, “many think we in the church should not bother ourselves with issues of gender, race, and power, that these questions are a modern preoccupation driven by secularism, the sexual revolution and identity politics. Yet the question of who identifies with whom has always been a critical question, as have questions of race/ethnicity, class, and gender, going as far back as Paul’s famous quote in Galatians: “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The claim that these divisions are overcome in Christ Jesus signifies both that they are deeply important distinctions and that as the followers of Jesus Christ we must struggle to make the overcoming of these distinctions real.”

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Reign Storm

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

With so much wildfire destruction in Australia, it’s difficult to imagine the scope of the damage. Think about the entire East Coast of the USA in flames. We have been asked to pray for rain there. I hope you have been praying too. It feels almost primitive to me, as when the ancient Navajo chief prayed for rain on the dried up grassy plains.  So basic. So practical. So urgent.  It reminded me of a poem I wrote on retreat some years ago that still captures my spirit.  This is what I hope for in Australia:

Reign Storm

I am soaked through
Like the torrents of rain that take over the air
Making everything seem as if it was all made of water.

Drenching, generous,
swimming in mid-air
With the sound of applause from the rain.
An ovation.
An ocean in the sky.
The trees standing with heads bowed
Limbs long and still
Rain running off their fingertips
And roaring on the roof

Our God reigns.

God does indeed reign, even though, in America, we are not attracted to the reign of kings. We fought a war of independence against a king, so we certainly don’t need one now.  More to the point, God reigns as the Word which rains down on us all the time.   Consider this passage from Isaiah 55:10-11:

Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

If we truly believe this scripture, –that the Word of God is as present to us and as drenching on us as rain– then we can ask for help, indeed sometimes plead for help in any situation.  At times, if you are feeling a little desperate, it is not a bad thing. Faith is tied to our feelings, to our desires for good, to our hopes for ourselves and our hopes for the world.  The Word of God goes forth and does not return empty. Listen for it in the rain, in the wind, in the heart of another person. Look at in the puddle in the street. The Word reigns, pervades all things, sustains every creature, every living thing is held in place because the Word of God goes forth. Sometimes other storms take over our attention and we can be overwhelmed by events in our own homes, our country, our world.  God’s Word is a reign storm, it waters the earth, making it fertile, giving seed to those who sow, bread to those who eat.  We believe it, even when we cannot see it.

My prayer today is that God’s reign will be more evident, that I will see it more clearly and that my prayers for the people and country of Australia will be answered soon. May rain come, may God’s reign come.  Amen

Posted in Weekly Word

Gifts to be Explored and Embraced

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

January 15, 2000 was the day I officially moved in to live with a group of religious sisters. Twenty years of living in religious life have brought me so many memorial blessings. One of them was the question: “What are your gifts, and how do you contribute your gifts to the congregation mission?”

“Gifts? Dominican mission?” I pondered why I needed to name my gifts/talents.

My Vietnamese culture does not encourage us to focus on gifts or talents because these can make us haughty.  Instead, my culture emphasizes self-improvement from personal weaknesses. So, I did not feel comfortable naming my gifts. Thank God though for the gift of community. Sisters have been walking with me to help me name my gifts without feeling uncomfortable. I began to explore, accept, and embrace the gifts God has given to me. I realize that acknowledging or naming personal gifts is not enough.  My gifts are intended to be used to praise God and for God’s mission, which requires time, reflection, patience, trust, faith, courage, investigation, and practice.

I’ve learned that prayer is also a gift and that there are many ways to pray.  Before I entered religious life, the praying styles I was familiar with were Mass, rosary, and adoration. I had the contemplating and reflecting gifts, but I was not aware of them. I spent an hour at church or at home praying. Yet, I did not recognize God during my day, even after I learned that God is everywhere. Later, I found out there were many ways to be with God and many ways God approaches me, including through meditation, contemplation, silence, and interaction.

The call to religious life is also a gift from God. As I keep exploring the meaning of this life, integrating and moving forward with what I learn and practicing my faith, then this life will be a transformative and embracing one filled with love, vision, compassion, and peace. Living this life is like the growth of a seed, similar to what Jesus said; “Still others are like the seeds sown on good soil. They hear the word, receive it, and produce a crop—thirtyfold, sixtyfold, or a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20)

Gifts or calls or ministry are given for us to love, embrace, integrate, practice, and share. By authentically recognizing our gifts and valuing the gifts of others, we can build a more peace-filled world.  May our gifts shine forth. For Jesus said “Does anyone bring in a lamp so he can place it under a basket or a bed? Doesn’t he set it on a lampstand? (Mark 4:21).  Let us pray that more women will recognize that their gifts can be used in service to God so that religious life flourishes.

Contact us if you want to explore what God is calling you to be. We invite you to attend our Come and See Retreat weekend (March 13-15, Columbus, Ohio) with the theme “Show Me the Way: Discerning a Call to Religious Life.” Come to explore and embrace your gifts!

 

Posted in God Calling?, News

What’s happening to America?

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

Several weeks ago, I saw a cartoon singing the praises of the current president.  The items consisted mostly of ways that the rich got richer, the climate got dirtier, and businesses got rewarded (ie more rich got richer).  There is no doubt that the economy has continued to improve under this president. But at what price?

American has the reputation for being a land of milk and honey. A place where someone who works hard can ‘pull himself/herself up by their bootstraps’ and become rich/powerful/famous.  But at what price?

The U.S. has prided itself on having a free press, freedom of speech, academic freedom. The internet and services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been invaded by hackers seeking to influence our government and our civility. We have universal, 24-hour communication. But at what price?

The country continues to be governed by rich white men who while some may be concerned about the common good, they still protect their place in society. But at what price?

Many Americans especially young people are aware of their personal and communal impact on our environment while corporations are given a pass to increase pollution. They stand to makes lots of money. But at what price?

When a society becomes a transactional one, that is, one concerned only with buying and selling – making money –  and refuses to recognize the dignity of each person, the price is a loss of our humanity and will be high. Already we see climate disasters around the country…an unraveling working class and their communities … growing homelessness, mental illness, and addiction…even shorter life expectancies. We live in a country where a child is born into poverty every 41 seconds.

The U.S. will only be great again when we become relational and consider the impact of our actions on all our brothers and sisters, especial the least among us.  This includes our Mother Earth.  Only then will we all regain our dignity, reduce our despair, and repair the divide among us.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Blog

Justice Updates – January 14, 2020

Will the killing of Soleimani have consequences for Iraq’s Christians? Kevin Clarke of American Magazine writes “Following the news reports last night that eventually confirmed that a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 2 had killed Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, and associates including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, I found myself hoping that someone in the Trump administration was remembering the perilous status of the Christian remnant in northern Iraq.” Read more.

We need a dose of good news.  Read Beyond Racial Strife, a Dose of Optimism for the New Year.

Tom Reese of religion News Service called Greta Thunberg a prophet. Here’s why.

Good news for immigrant farmworkers and their families. On December 11, 2019, the U.S. House passed HR 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill which would improve conditions for immigrant farmworkers and their families, ensure the stability of the U.S. agricultural industry, offer legalization to certain farmworkers and their families, and reform the H2A worker program. After the vote of 260-165 for passage, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, and Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued a statement in support of the legislation. After passage in the House, there is hope that this bill will be taken up in the Senate.

In one Kenyan fishing village, women have found a way to take care of their families without giving up their dignity. Find out how in No Sex for Fish.

The administration is rolling back several major environmental regulations viewing many Obama-era environmental regulations that curb carbon emissions as burdensome to businesses. Read more.

When people eat better, they enjoy better health, reducing not just suffering, but also some expenses. The NY Times explains how Cutting Food Stamps Can Add Costs Elsewhere.

The Federal Death Penalty is on hold for now but for how long?  Read more.

There is an update from the Casa Alita Welcome Center.

Dear friends,

In my last update for the Casa Alita Welcome Center, I wrote about the implementation of the so-called Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), which had begun to bus asylum seekers to El Paso to return them to Ciudad Juarez to await their court proceedings in the US. We were told that we would only be receiving women who were more than six months pregnant, and families with children under one year of age. The Good News is that we are receiving more families and pregnant women traveling alone than usual! Every night, our shelter is full to capacity with guests from Ecuador, Cuba, Southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as we juggle rooms for new incoming families. MPP is in place and people are being returned to Mexico, but apparently there isn’t the infrastructure or will to carry out this policy as publicized.

Families come to us throughout the day, arriving exhausted and greatly distressed by their journeys. In the past three days alone we have welcomed a hundred and seventy guests. Since I returned from my trip to visit seven shelters from central Mexico down to the southern border, I know better what they go through to get here. While we are told stories, to see the realities that our guests live through stays with me, as does their tenacity and courage under the most pressing and dangerous circumstances.

As the families leave their ICE vans, they pass the clothing room where they can get two changes of clothes. They enter the reception area and sit in church pews, where we share a breath prayer before orientation. I tell them that Paul says that sighs are prayer too deep for words. I invite them to take a deep breath in through their noses, and sigh out loud through their mouths as they exhale. Breathe in the peace of God. Breathe out the stress, fear, bad treatment, inadequate food from Ice detention. We repeat this several times and I invite them to close their eyes, and that is when the tears start to slow. In the privacy behind their eyes, the suffering they have endured touches them and then recedes and the sense of safety and gratitude for making it sink in. We can see them visibly relax as they hear that they are in their home, that we are all Americans, and that they are very welcome  at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center.

Children are quickest to leap to life in these new surroundings, attacking coloring books and toys with vigor. By their second day, after choosing two sets of clothing, bathing, and resting, they are almost unrecognizable. Imagine working your way on a six month journey through central America and Mexico. One dad asks me when is the soonest he can shower. “It’s been weeks,” he tells me, as I assure him that within the hour he will have his wish.

During this holy-day season, the song “Shout for Joy” sung by Odetta comes to mind, which is one of my favorite songs for this season, but most recently, here at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center for families seeking asylum every day has been Christmas. People are getting through to us when both we and our guests had imagined the worst. There is room at the inn! And for the several pregnant women, Christ is born, even into the most difficult circumstances.

These are some of the lyrics. Imagine Odetta singing them!

“Mary had a baby. (Shout for Joy!) Born in a stable. (Shout for Joy!) They laid him in a manger. (Shout for Joy!)  They named him Jesus. (Shout for Joy!) He was the Prince of peace. Mighty counselor. (Shout for Joy!) King Herod tried to find him. (Shout for Joy!) They went away to Egypt. (Shout for Joy!) Mary rode a donkey.(Shout for Joy!)Joseph walked beside her. (Shout for Joy!) Angels watchin” over. (Shout for Joy!) Angels watchin” over. (Shout for Joy!)

This brief respite that volunteers at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center provide is one small step along our journey to be the church/synagogue/mosque with all of God’s people. Grief and anger must be punctuated by joy or we run out of steam, fall into despair, and lose faith in ourselves and others. Our guests, who arrive wearing such trauma, years of trauma, teach us the simple joy of sitting outside, eating a good meal, reencountering a friend lost along the way, speaking to a family member by phone after months or years of separation, listening to music. Joy incarnate is surely what Jesus was all about – Good News here on earth.

Sometimes I see our guests and volunteers with such a look of contentment, I wonder at how that is possible in these difficult times. I don’t believe that we are doing together “saves” anyone in the traditional Christian doctrinal way. But I know for certain that we are saving lives and souls, both our guests and our own. For this little window in time we can be the person of faith that our faith practices call us to be. We are family that stretches far beyond our walls and wildest imagination.

Please feel free to share this letter with others who might be interested in learning more about our important work, and/or who might also like to offer financial support. Your support makes our work possible. Together, we provide help, create hope, and serve all. Your gift strengthens children, families, adults, and communities. Donations can be made directly to CCS at  Support Migrant Aid – Tucson and through our GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/casa-alitas-for-migrant-families. For more information about Casa Alitas shelter programs, please see ccs-soaz.org.

Thank you for reading this and for your support to continue this important ministry.

“Mary had a baby. Shout for joy! Herod tried to find him. Shout for joy! They went away to Egypt. Shout for joy! Mary rode a donkey. Shout for joy! Joseph walked beside her. Shout for joy! Angels watchin’ over. Shout for joy! Angels watchin’ over. Shout for joy!”

In joy and gratitude for the birthing of Christ in each new day and dark night.   Rev. Dr. Delle McCormick

At the recent Lunch & Learn: Examining the Refugee Crisis with Art at the Martin de Porres Center, I read the following poem by Warsen Shire.  It is a powerful explanation of why refugees flee their homes. The author recites her poem here.

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates