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.


 

The Season of Creation

Blog by Sr. Terry Wasinger, OP

In a few days, we will be celebrating the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, and the end of the 2019 Season of Creation.   The Season of Creation is a new Liturgical Season for the global Catholic Community under the leadership of Pope Francis.  It extends annually from September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to the Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Dimitri declared September 1 as the World Day of Creation in 1989.  In 2007, the Third European Ecumenical Assembly adopted this day to celebrate creation. The following year the world Council of Churches called for the observation for the Season of Creation.  This was embraced by Pope Frances in 2015.   It is now celebrated by a number of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches as an addition to the ordinary time of the lectionary schedule which begins after Pentecost and ends with Advent.    During this 30-year ecumenical/orthodox history, the idea of extending the liturgical season to October 4 gradually emerged.

The Season focuses on God as Creator of the vast cosmic universe, God’s revelation in Creation and our response to our responsibility to care for God’s creation. It addresses the urgent need to protect creation’s rich diversity.  The liturgical theme for 2019 has been The Web of Life: Biodiversity as God’s Blessing.  Pope Francis has frequently warned against the technocratic mentality that approaches creation as simply resources to be used to meet human needs and desires.  Without humility before nature, people have too often been inadequately aware of or sensitive to the complex interconnections that make up the Web of Life.  We, on the Eco-Justice Committee, became aware of this new liturgical season just recently and will be looking forward to participating more fully in the Season of Creation in 2020.

As we enter the autumn season, take a look around and appreciate the spiritual blessings that come from God’s generous creation.

 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Justice Updates – October 1, 2019

The recent Climate Strike demonstrated that young people are serious about making change in our climate crisis.  The earlier March for our Lives showed their desire to build a safer world by changing gun violence legislation.  Young people are our hope for the future. Read why David Gergen and James Piltch believe that we need them to take charge in Young People Offer Urgent Moral Clarity to Do-nothing Adults.

You can make a difference.

  • 1 reusable water bottle = 167 plastic water bottles
  • 1 reusable bag = 170 plastic bags
  • 1 reusable cup = 500 coffee cups
  • 1 metal straw = 540 plastic straws
  • 1 cloth towel = 7,300 paper towels  (Unwaste the Planet)

Some sobering facts about pollution:

  • Americans produce more trash than any other country on earth — 6pounds per person, per day, which amounts to 251 million tons a year. 50% of this trash is sent to landfills, where is slowly decomposes and produces greenhouse gases. Plastic that is not recycled often ends up in the ocean and is especially harmful to wildlife. (Discovery)
  • 85% of registered voters support requiring electric utilities to use 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050. (Yale Program on Climate Change Communication)

Want to know why it’s so important to implement gun safety legislation?  Each day 8 children die from gun violence in America and another 32 are shot and injured.  Check out this Public Service Announcement  and this fact sheet from Sandy Hook Promise.

The good news is that the poverty rate in 2018 dropped since 2017 by .5% from 12.3% to 11.8%.  The bad news is that this still represents 38.1 million people. Poverty rates for children under age 18 decreased 1.2% from 2017 to 16.2%.  Programs that could help this trend continue are being cut. For more information about the 2018 census, click here.

Curious about what it means and takes to impeach a president? This four-minute video from NPR gives you an overview.

According to the New York Times asylum seekers are growing desperate at the border in this article :Desperate Migrants on the Border: ‘I Should Just Swim Across.

The Criminal Justice System has been called the new Jim Crow in an excellent book by Michelle Alexander. Here are some statistics about the system.

  • 50% of all adults in America has had a family member in jail or prison. (Fwd.us)
  • 66% of prisoners at the federal level and about 50% at the state level are in for drug related offenses. (Calvin College Prison Initiative)
  • 27 states allow for people to be charged with “felony murder” even when the defendants did not set out to kill anyone or even play a direct role in the death itself. (American Civil Liberties Union)
  • In a given year, over 160,000 people are incarcerated for a “technical violation” of probation or parole, such as a failed drug test. (The Prison Policy Initiative)
  • In 2018, the US incarcerated 655 out of every 100,000 its citizens. For comparison, Russia imprisoned 415, England & Wales 142, France 102 and Germany 77. (Calvin College Initiative)
  • Most American states spend more on their prisons than they do on education. 15 states spend at least $27,000 more per prisoner than they do per student. The leader is California which invests $64,642 per prisoner compared to $11,495 per student – a $53,146 difference in spending priorities. New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island round out the top states spending more on prisons. (The Daily Mail)
  • 76% of people in local jails are not convicted of a crime, and many are there simply because they can’t afford money bail. (The Prison Policy Initiative)
  • On average, a phone call from a local jail costs over 3 times more than a phone call from a state prison. Nationally, the average cost of a 15-minute call from jail is $5.61. The states with the highest rates are: Arkansas $14.49, Michigan $12.03, Montana $9.24, Kansas $8.49 & North Dakota $8.20. (Prison Policy Initiative)
  • The Rand Corp. recently completed a study of the effects of education in prison and found the following:
    • Education in prison lowers recidivism rate by at least 43%
    • Increases chances of employment by 28%
    • For every $1 spent on education, reduces incarceration rate by $4-5
Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Do Everything in Love

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

Did you know that today is National Love People Day?
If you didn’t, now you do.
So what, exactly, does it mean?
It means that this is the day that has been set aside to show love to everyone – no exceptions!
This is the day when we are encouraged to share love with everyone we come into contact with by performing random acts of kindness.
This day should help us to see that it is important to truly invest in people, especially in a world where selfishness seems to reign.
It should also help us to remember that love is primarily an action word and that by sharing love (unconditionally) with others, we make the world a better place.
Mother Teresa put it this way: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
What do you think would happen if we showed love to each person we come into contact with every day?

Posted in News

My Discernment Journey

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

The discernment process about a vocation call is unique for every individual because each person is called differently. Individual preferences influence how a person hears this call. Discerners often evaluate a religious community by their prayer life, mission, wearing a habit or ordinary contemporary clothes, vowed living, community living, and more. I know this was the case for me.

I grew up in a traditional Catholic environment that included personal or communal adoration, Mass, rosary, Gospel reading, and rituals. When I was first discerning God’s call, I was only interested in the beautiful habit, growing a deeper relationship with God, and helping the poor. I visited some traditional religious communities where the members wore the habit–and I liked all these visits. I listened to them and followed what they suggested to do when I was there. However, I was not asked to do any personal reflection on what I liked or did not like about this visit, what inspired me (their community life, prayer style, for instance) or what I might be resisting about a call to religious life, etc. They did not ask me whether I had had any spiritual director. One community, after I visited, gave me the application file to apply.

Later, I encountered the Dominican Sisters of Peace. When I first met these sisters, I was shocked by their contemporary clothes because I had never thought a Sister would wear such clothes. However, having a conversation with them at their vocation booth and reading their materials inspired me. The way they addressed my current situation and my questions was so open, making me feel they were listening to me. I came to realize that the habit was not the main factor for deciding whether to join or not join a community. I contacted them to explore their community. Two months later, I decided to move to Boston to be closer to these Sisters for my discernment.

The first weekend in Boston, I was invited to attend a reflection day at one of their ecological centers. The sisters showed me how to connect with God and God’s creation through the process of making, baking, and breaking bread. I have never thought of finding God deeply in these simple daily experiences, I was so inspired with this finding.  Then, the confusion came to me when I listened to the Sister’s presentation about the universe. Even though science and engineering are part of my background, I had considered science and engineering as worldly things, not as “God’s thing.” I thought I would have had to give up science and engineering when I joined religious life.  Thus, listening to this talk, many questions showed up in me: “Are they really Sisters? Why do they talk about such earthly things? How do they get such ideas? Are they not spending time helping the poor or working in the church, instead of learning such “non” Godly things?  Are they following or opposing the Gospel teachings?” It reminded me of the Pharisees and the people around ASKING Jesus when he was showing them something different from what they had been practicing their faith daily.

I felt torn between embracing what I just heard and this new way of practicing our Catholic faith that I was not familiar with at that time.

Instead of making a hasty conclusion that this kind of religious life did not fit me, I reflected and prayed. I appreciated God for “God knows who I am more than I know myself.” I gradually felt a sense of the affirmation between me and what the Sisters said. Then, I wanted to explore more. Whenever I had a chance to be with a sister, I asked her about her stories and how she lived. I took it to heart, reflected and prayed with the insights. I started to recognize God in a deeper sense as I looked around: in the mission and in daily life with a wider view. I decided to join; and my life has flourished since then.  I love every moment of living out my call with the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

We just had a “Come and See” weekend retreat in Kentucky. Looking at the discerners, I can see in the discerners the images of myself in the past and in the present. Believe me, discernment to seek God and to respond to the needs is never ended.  No matter how you practice your faith, I encourage you to keep your mind and heart open, to be reflective and courageous, and to trust that God is working within you and through those who are journeying with you. Contact us if you have any questions.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Are There Better Ways?

Sr. Pat Thomas, OP
Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

A week ago at Mass in the Cathedral, Archbishop Hughes began his homily with “The world is a mess”. As he proceeded, he brought it into the historical context of that day’s Gospel passage, but I had drifted off with this opening statement. Why is the world a mess, I reflected. I know you all just laughed and answered that question a thousand different ways. But, here’s where I went.

There was once a comic strip called POGO, and one of the most well remembered lines from it is “We have met the enemy, and they is us”. And that just may be why the world is a mess. We may scoff and call it our human condition or human nature at its worst, but we just can’t stop getting in our own way. The world is a mess, and so it goes; it is what it is.

An awful lot of us just complain, but to those who act with a peaceful response, in a just manner, in a way that shouts the Gospel, I salute you and ask that we all try harder to learn the better ways to handle our messy world.

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word