Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Join Dominican Sisters of Peace as we strive to bring PEACE and justice to our world in this post-truth era. Each week, our Justice Promoter will share important information (including action alerts, prayer opportunities and much more) that will help you to spread peace in your own local community and our world at large.


 

Dominican Month for Peace – December 3, 2019

During the Dominican Month for Peace, please pray for the Dominican Family in India and the people who they serve.  Here is a prayer written for this purpose in English and Spanish.

DOMINICAN MONTH FOR PEACE

PRAYER FOR PEACE IN INDIA

 Almighty God, in this Advent season, we yearn for your peace, especially for the people of India. Too many people of this great nation are vulnerable victims of violence, deprivation, exploitation or human trafficking: especially children, abused for sex or labour; women, oppressed and treated as lesser beings in society and even at home; and indigenous communities, marginalized and displaced.

Loving God, who created each and every one of us in your image and likeness, in this month for peace we beseech you to heal, protect and console these victims, your children, so that they may find love and hope in the midst of their suffering.

Touch our hearts and help us to understand your words, “whatever you did to one of the least of these, you did it to me” (Matt 25,40).

Merciful God, we implore you to inspire us and to bless all the people of India, especially those wielding power in families, in communities and in government, to grow in your compassion, wisdom and love which respects the richness of each citizen regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, color or creed. May joy and unity be found in rich diversity so that all may live with dignity and in peace.

Amen.

MES DOMINICANO DE LA PAZ

ORACIÓN POR LA PAZ EN LA INDIA

 Dios Todopoderoso, en este tiempo de Adviento, anhelamos tu paz, especialmente la del pueblo de la India. Demasiadas personas de esta gran nación son víctimas vulnerables de la violencia, la pobreza, la explotación o el tráfico de seres humanos: especialmente niños, víctimas de abuso sexual y laboral; mujeres, oprimidas y tratadas como seres inferiores en la sociedad e incluso en el hogar; y comunidades indígenas, marginadas y desplazadas.

Dios amoroso, que nos has creado a todos y cada uno de nosotros a tu imagen y semejanza, en este mes de paz te suplicamos que sanes, protejas y consueles a estas víctimas, a tus hijos, para que encuentren amor y esperanza en medio de su sufrimiento.

Toca nuestros corazones y ayúdanos a comprender tus palabras: “Todo cuanto hicieron a uno de estos más pequeños, a mí me lo hicieron” (Mt 25,40).

Dios misericordioso, te imploramos que nos inspires, y bendigas a todo el pueblo de la India, especialmente a aquellos que ejercen el poder en las familias, en las comunidades y en el gobierno, para que crezcan en tu compasión, sabiduría y amor para que respeten la riqueza de cada ciudadano sin importar su edad, género, etnia, color o credo. Que la alegría y la unidad se encuentren en la rica diversidad para que todos puedan vivir con dignidad y en paz. Amén.

Catholic Relief Services has produced this 3 ½ minute video on Ending Child Slavery in India.  

Millions of Indian children work as slaves in factories, brothels or as domestic workers. Out of poverty and desperation, parents sell their daughters and human traffickers wait at train stations for runaways or gather orphans in monsoon-ravaged villages.  In Children for Sale: The Fight Against Child Trafficking in India, this injustice is explored.

Decades of short-sighted government policies are leaving millions defenseless in the age of climate disasters especially India’s poor.  Read about India’s Ominous Future: Too Little Water, or Far Too Much.

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – November 26, 2019

Should we talk about politics at our Thanksgiving dinner?  Fr. Richard Rohr writes, “ Politics is one of the most difficult and complex issues on which to engage in polite conversation… But you know what? There is no such thing as being non-political. Everything we say or do either affirms or critiques the status quo. To say nothing is to say something: The status quo—even if it is massively unjust and deceitful—is apparently okay. From a contemplative stance we will know what action is ours to do, which words we are called to say, and how our spirituality must be fully embodied in our political choices.” Read more in his blog from November 17, 2019 titled Affirm or Critique.

Have you wondered what influence, if any, you can have in the church, government, or other institution? Dominican Fr. Dominic DeLay’s new short film, First Confession, is about how 7-year-old Sofia tells the bishop she needs to help him fix the church. Watch the 8-minute film here.

The U.S. has the highest child incarceration rate in the world, according to an expert who authored a new U.N. study on the treatment of children.  The expert also says the administration’s family separation policy is “absolutely prohibited” by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The author, Manfred Novak, writes “there are still quite a number of children that are separated from their parents – and neither the children know where the parents are, nor the parents know where the children are.” For more information, click here.

Call your representative and urge him/her to vote for H.R. 2156, the RECLAIM Act. This act will make updates to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 and will release more than $1 billion already collected for abandoned coal mine site cleanup. The funds can be used to restore polluted streams, address hazardous erosion, land sinks, underground mine fires, and coal ash piles that are endangering residents’ health.  RECLAIM will also put people to work in some of the areas adversely affected by abandoned coal mines – Appalachia and other regions of the country dealing with the effects of this environmental injustice.

Good News! A federal judge blocked the Justice Department’s Plan to resume federal executions. Read more.

According to Human Rights Watch, the lives of children around the world have improved but there is a long way to go. Child labor rates have dropped by a third, while school enrollment has increased by more than 110 million.  Read about it here.

White supremacy hurts all white people. Read how from Greg Elliot of the American Friends Service Committee about how “our own liberation as white people, our own humanity, is inextricably linked to racial justice” in Ten Ways White Supremacy Wounds White People.

US taxpayers spent almost $1 billion incarcerating innocent black people. Couldn’t this money be used for better purposes?   Read here.

The recent meeting of the U.S.C.C.B. showed the division present in the Catholic community today about the justice issues in today’s society including abortion, immigration, and climate change. Sadly, one bishop described climate change important but not urgent.  Read more here.

 

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – November 19, 2019

A focal point of our democracy is the right of every adult to vote. Sadly, there are constant challenges and threats to this right.  The League of Women Voters is asking us to contact our representative and ask him/her to support H.R.4,the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA). According to the LWV, “More than 50 years ago, we saw the most sweeping advancement to voting rights with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which made racially discriminatory voting practices illegal.  Since the court’s decision in 2013, voters across the country have faced issues at the ballot box including unlawful purges, shortening of voting hours, and the closing of polling places in communities with large populations of voters of color…. The VRAA will strengthen our democracy by ensuring that race is not a factor in determining who has access to the ballot box.” Catholic Social Justice affirms that it is the right and responsibility of each and every person to participate in the political process. No individual or community should be disenfranchised by federal policy. Tell your Representative that you support H.R. 4 by dialing 888-496-3502.

Almost a million children could lose free lunch because of a SNAP rule change.  The change, first announced over the summer, would eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP, as the food stamps program is now known, for more than 3 million people by eliminating something called broad-based categorical eligibility, a policy that gives states the flexibility to waive some asset and income limits for households that receive both SNAP and other welfare benefits. To learn more, click here.

Human Rights Watch reports that loopholes in US labor law make it legal for children as young as 12 to work unlimited hours on farms of any size with parental permission, as long as they don’t miss school. There is no minimum age for children to work on small or family farms. New research published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine reinforces just how dangerous agricultural work is for children in the United States – and how unprepared most are for what they face in the fields. More US child workers die in agriculture than in any other industry. Every day, 33 children are injured while working on US farms. And they receive frighteningly little safety training, making their work in demanding environments even more dangerous.

Count us in. Watch this one-minute video about why the census is important. 

Fossil fuels and extraction industries have caused massive damage to our environment.  The recent Amazon Synod addressed these issues.  Here are key take-aways from the synod:

  • A concept of “ecological sin,” which is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 340-344, says that the Creator established the world as a web of dependence. When we break that web, all are harmed, and we turn from our Creator’s love.
  • We have compassion for the people who have been victimized by ecological sin, and especially for the indigenous people who suffer invaded, degraded lands and broken families.
  • Divesting from fossil fuels and reducing our overall dependence on fossil fuels, as well as living more simply and sustainably, are concrete ways to recover from this sin.
  • Our God is merciful, and we can recover. Integral ecology, which sees the deep connections between how we relate to God, each other, and our common home, is the way forward.

There hasn’t been a federal execution in 16 years but the administration has stated they will being executions again. As support for the Death Penalty is waning, this moving in the wrong direction. Please call your President Trump and Attorney General Barr that you are opposed to capital punishment.  Read how hundreds of victims’ relatives are asking the administration to stop this.

We hear with more and more frequency people killed in gun violence. More than 34,483 individuals have been killed in 2019.  We don’t often hear of those who were injured but their trauma continues long after the shooting are passed. Read about the survivors of the El Paso Walmart shooting.

Will we have to stop eating hamburgers?  Scientists say we should shift away from carbon-intensive beef toward poultry, fish and plant-based food and toward agricultural practices and food preparation that make the meat we do eat more sustainable.  Here’s what they say.

Need a little fix of joy?  Here’s something beautiful. Bay Area youth activists are creating 15,000 butterflies to stand in solidarity with the migrant children who have been and are currently in U.S. detention centers.  You can act also.  Read about The Butterfly Effect: Migration is Beautiful.

 

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – November 12, 2019

The editors of NCR write “The church is changing. The situation in the Amazon region gathers up, as we’ve noted before, the most compelling themes facing humanity and the church today. The Earth is indisputably under assault because of the activity of humans and nowhere is it more demonstrable than in this critically important ecosystem. Can humanity come to some agreement over ways to protect it?” Read Genuine Dialogue Takes Church into Unscripted Territory.

Today, November 12th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the legality of DACA. Archbishop Charles Chaput from Philadelphia writes, “In this great country, we should not have young people living under the threat of deportation, their lives dependent on the outcome of a court case.  The issues at stake are legal, but they are also humanitarian, economic, and moral. By now, these young people are grown up and are deeply integrated into our social fabric – studying in universities and colleges, serving in the police and military, working in hi-tech fields and hospitals; some are even preparing for the priesthood and religious life…. Business leaders from every sector of the economy say these young adults are vital to our nation’s economic future; already, they are contributing billions each year in tax revenues and income. This contribution is especially important at a time when 10,000 baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964 are reaching retirement age every day.”  Read more.

The Supreme Court will not issue its decision until the Spring of 2020.  In the meantime, we must urge Congress to act to provide DACA recipients a legislative solution and a path to citizenship.  The House has already passed H.R. 6 which includes a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.  Please call your Senators and ask them to support S. 874, the Dream Act of 2019 which will support legislative protection for these young people.  Here is a suggested text:

 As a person of faith and a Catholic sister, I want express my strong support for the “Dream Act of 2019” (S. 874). The young people protected by this bill are our neighbors and friends. They are mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens. They are important members of our community and leaders in our parishes. As Catholics, we have long supported DREAMERS as we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially that of our children. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that has benefited over 800,000 young people by ensuring that recipients are able to live their lives free of the anxiety that they could be deported at any time to a country they do not know and separated from their families.I urge the Senator to:

  • Support and co-sponsor S. 874, the Dream Act of 2019; and
  • Continue to work towards larger legislative reform of our immigration laws.

Be assured of my prayers and please know that Catholics stand with you in support of the DREAM Act of 2019, S. 874.

For more information about what you can do, check out this information from the USCCB Justice for Immigrants.

Catholic Sisters Against Trafficking recently highlighted an innovative program used in Columbus, Ohio to help trafficking victims called CATCH (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court. To read more about this program, click here.

The LCWR released a statement about the recent withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. “Catholic teaching is clear – climate change is a grave moral issue that threatens our commitment to: protect human life and dignity, exercise a preferential option for the most vulnerable, promote the common good, and care for God’s creation” Read the entire statement.  Also call your members of Congress and urge them to publicly oppose the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

 

 

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – November 5, 2019

Next Tuesday, November 12th, the Supreme Court of hear oral arguments on the legality of DACA.  They agreed to tackle two questions: whether the government’s decision to end DACA is something that courts can review at all and, if so, whether the decision to end DACA is legal. Read more.

Can we eat our way to a healthier planet?  NPR explores a new analysis from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that looked at the health and environmental impacts of 15 different food groups.  To check out the study, click here.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego was one of three U.S. bishops at the synod. He believes that to save the Earth we must “forge a collation between the religious communities of the world, the young people of the world and the scientific community to really bring together a program to educate people about the realities of the destruction of the environment, and how they will come to a point of irreversibility.”  Here’s his take on what happened.

The Blessed are the Peacemakers Webinar recording is available for use by associate groups, study groups, or individuals.  The video is 2 1/3 hours. The materials include the agenda, power point, handouts, and suggested reading. You can access those resources here.

Campaign on Behalf of Immigrant Children.  Here is a report on the reports of the campaign.

Last June, members of the DC Catholic Coalition experienced a call to respond to the immediate crisis of children at the US Border separated from their families and detained in unacceptable conditions.  Representing religious congregations and Catholic justice organizations, we recognized a call to mobilize the collective power of our various constituencies for the sake of the children.

We knew from the outset that the complex issues and immense suffering would not be “solved” with our campaign to raise awareness, inspire action and encourage each one to take increasing risk to raise the consciousness of our leaders.  At the same time, we are people of hope and the response to our collective invitation to join three actions of witness surpassed our expectations. We are profoundly grateful.

The DC Catholic Coalition made a three-month commitment to participate and invite others to join three actions to educate, create a community of commitment, and to act on behalf of immigrant children and families. We thank each one of you who participated, sponsored, supported and prayed with us.  More than 1,000 individuals and groups have been part of this collective witness.  We give thanks for each one.

While the work must continue, this season of harvest and bountiful thanks give us occasion to recall what has happened in our three witnesses:

  • July 18:  Capitol Rotunda (70 arrested and/200 hundred participants):  Gathering for prayer and protest on the grounds of the capitol with a procession to the Rotunda of the Russell Senate office building for an action of non-violent civil disobedience on behalf of immigrant families, particularly the children separated and detained.
  • September  4: Newark, New Jersey: Prayer at St. Mary’s Abbey followed by a procession to ICE offices, Cardinal Tobin’s remarks and blessing, speakers from the community, witness in the street of Newark as a testimony of the power of local and national communities on behalf of those separated and detained.
  • October 12:  Hope Border Institute Teach -In. Two hundred people crossed the Paso Del Norte bridge from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez to meet with immigrant families living on the streets while they wait to be allowed to apply for asylum in the U.S. As they crossed back, each blessed the bridge and prayed for those forced to “Remain in Mexico” and they watched as three immigrant families who accompanied them were permitted to enter the U.S.

Each of these three witnesses for immigrant justice required a wide net of community organizers, volunteers, planning teams, powerful prayerful witness powerfully duplicated in local communities and the testimony of transformational experiences from participants from coast to coast.  This has been an experience of the power where “two or three are gathered in my name” and the effervescence of the Spirit.

The work must continue.  Each of us has both a responsibility and a Gospel call to determine how we will continue this great work that has begun.  As we draw the collective action of this “three-witness commitment” to a close, we invite you to join us in prayer and reflection  on November 2nd. We have attached a prayer for your use and suggested some questions to assist each of us to deepen our understanding how this experience calls us to respond in new ways:

Looking back:

  • How have we changed?
  • How have we experienced new challenge?
  • How have we grown in our commitment?

Looking forward:

  • Realizing that we cannot do this alone, how can we continue to join in solidarity locally, regionally and nationally to continue this work.
  • Consider one or more of the following questions:  What is the relationship between the police and the immigrants in your community? Is there a trust relationship or are the police a tool of ICE? Is your church willing to serve as sanctuary? Is there a local immigrant advocacy organization with which you can become involved. What positions have your elected representatives taken vis a vis immigration. Where is the Governor of your State regarding accepting refugees? Is your parish reaching out to immigrants?

We encourage you to use Bishop Mark Seitz’s pastoral letter, Night Will Be No More to enliven your reflection and deepen your commitment to action.  In addition, you will find listed below some resources for your continued action on behalf End the Inhumanity. We invite your prayers and intentions for the Border Mass that will celebrated November 2 in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.

We, the DC Catholic Coalition, know that the power of the three witnesses has been in our collective community response.  It could not have happened without each one of us, with our confidence in the faith that moves mountains and the courage to be “laborers in the field”.

We thank the sponsoring organizations, the generous contributions (human, spiritual and financial) that made the work possible, and our heartfelt gratitude for each one who “kept showing up” in this time that so many choose silence and invisibility.

Let us continue to be the visible Eucharist in the communion of commitment.

With gratitude and hope,

DC Catholic Coalition

Here is a prayer from the campaign:

Welcome! We gather here today in the presence of our loving God to reflect on the lives of our brothers and sisters who have been detained by the U.S. government in their search for a life, and especially to reflect on the children in detention, frightened, alone, hungry and cold. We come also to ask for the strength and courage of our God to act through us as we call for justice for these children and their families, for an end to child detention, and for a moral and humane response to all who come to our country seeking refuge. Finally, we come here to ask for our merciful God to bestow wisdom on our lawmakers so that they do not shy away from their moral duty and show compassion to all, especially the most vulnerable, the children, in their work to create a just, fair and humane immigration policy. Through the power of our faith and in the compassion of Jesus Christ we ask that all human life be respected and that children seeking refuge be no longer detained, left alone and afraid, but rather that they feel the love, warmth and welcome of our great nation.

 

Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates