Peace & Justice Blog

Stay up to date on peace and justice issues, both locally and internationally, and learn how you can take action.


 

Creating a Welcoming Culture

Blog by Sr. Carol Ann Spencer, OP

For nearly 50 years, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, which is an opportunity for us to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, which includes immigrants, refugees, children, victims and also survivors of human trafficking.

This year National Migration Week takes place between September 20-26.  The primary theme for this year is “TOWARDS AN EVER WIDER ‘WE’.”  In Pope Francis’ letter announcing this year’s theme, he emphasizes that this focus calls on us to ensure that we will no longer think in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those,’ but only ‘us’.  Pope Francis invites us to be part of a culture of encounter as we welcome, protect, integrate, and promote immigrants and refugees in our midst.

Immigration is about real people who are trying to find a better life and a new beginning.  It is about more than statistics.    As Pope Francis stated, “Each migrant has a name, a face and a story.” Immigrants who come to the United States, and particularly those who are undocumented, are an especially vulnerable population who have fled violence and persecution and are often seeking safety, family reunification and economic opportunity.  Our moral tradition calls on all people of faith and goodwill to stand up in defense of life and human dignity, regardless of one’s immigration status.

Today we are faced with the fact that forced displacement of people is at the highest level since World War II, with more than 65 million people displaced around the world and over 22 million refugees.  Let each of us do something during this month to become more aware of what is going on in the area where we live and work and to try to find one action from the Toolkit that was provided in last week’s news, to make a difference in growing TOWARDS AN EVER WIDER ‘WE’.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

A Message from Pope Francis

The Immigration Reform Committee has a message for Dominican Sisters and Associates from Pope Francis entitled “Toward an Ever Wider “We.”  Please click here to read this message that he wrote to us “Dear Brothers and Sisters” for our actions “to make this an ever more inclusive world.”

With the words of the Holy Father in your mind and heart, the IRC asks Sisters and Associates to locate a possible “Community Engagement” action, prayer service, or letter to send to your local newspaper letter in the attached toolkit for National Migration Week 2021- September 20-26. You can choose to implement this action in your local parish or community or share a service or communication with others.  Click here to view the toolkit.

IRC members will offer reflections each week in September to focus our attention on immigrants, refugees, children, and victims of human trafficking.  As you create an action, forward a description to the IRC (c/o cdubick@kent.edu).  Our Dominican Sisters and Associates always choose the “ever wider we” as we declare our common journey in this world with others.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

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

Thank you to our “Essential Workers”

When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.

Romans 4:4

What lessons did you learn from the last 18 months of pandemic quarantine and caution? Personally, I learned that I miss hugs more than I ever would have thought, that there is virtually no way to avoid fogging glasses when wearing a mask, and that hand sanitizer dries my skin out!

Blog by Sr. Gemma Doll, OP

But perhaps the most important lesson learned by me, and all the other Dominican Sisters of Peace, is the true value of our Congregation’s “essential” workers – the maintenance teams that keep our motherhouses and convents clean and safe, the cooks and servers who create and offer us delicious meals, the nurses in our care centers, the IT staff that has kept us connected virtually when we could not meet in person. As many of our Sisters were in tight quarantine, our essential staff became not just friends, but family – our links to the outside world and to everything that we needed to remain healthy and as happy as possible.

At the time of the COVID outbreak, our Sisters were already discerning a new compensation structure for our essential associates. While we have always paid what we believe to be a fair wage and offered good benefits, #Fightfor15 and other social justice movements had brought the plight of the working poor into sharper focus. As we served the working poor in our ministries around the nation, we knew that we had to ensure that we were not perpetuating the problem ourselves.

Then the COVID 19 shutdowns began. Our office workers could work from home and connected virtually. But the teams that maintain our motherhouses, keep the furnaces running, care for our ill and aged sisters and prepare our food – their work was in the house, and that is where they stayed.

From day one, our essential workers made our Sisters their top priority. Masks went on immediately. Personal activities that could have brought sickness into our facilities were voluntarily curtailed. When Sisters were confined to their rooms to prevent any possible community spread, our kitchen staff, always wonderful, went above and beyond to create delicious meals to lift our spirits – and then to deliver them to our doors. Our activity directors went into overdrive, not just creating ways to keep Sisters from going stir crazy, but also running personal errands so that every Sister had what they might need, from yarn for a project to ice cream for a birthday.

We were not just cared for. We were loved.

We are honored to announce a new minimum wage for our essential workers. At a time when many non-profit workers (as well as many who work for public companies) struggle to make ends meet, we have increased our minimum wage to $15 an hour.

We also offer our sincere and heartfelt thanks to our entire staff in Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan, Louisiana, and Connecticut for their dedication to our mission of peace, and to our friends and supporters for your prayers and gifts.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

Seven Years to Sustainability

Invitations from the Eco-Justice Committee:

If you are interested in joining the Eco-Justice Committee, you are invited to contact Judy Hardy at jhardy2@insight.rr.com

Last Monday (July 26th ), some suggestions for addressing Goal 7 Emphasis on Community involvement and participatory action to care for creation at the local, regional, national and international levels (promote advocacy and people’s campaigns, encourage rootedness in local territory and neighborhood ecosystems, etc.)

You are invited to share other suggestions for addressing this goal. You can include them below or send them to Judy Hardy at jhardy2@insight.rr.com

 

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog