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Weekly Update March 01- March 27

Sunday, March 01

World Cafe Dialogue: Unpacking Race
All Creighton students, faculty and staff are invited to engage in a campus-wide dialogue on the implications of race in the Creighton community, facilitated by the Werner Institute. Due to the February winter storm, the event was rescheduled for 3:00pm in the Skutt Student Center Ballroom on March 1st. You are an important part of this conversation and we hope to see you there! Please contact Mike Rios with any questions.

Tuesday, March 03

Prayer Service for Fr. Schlegel
Creighton’s 23rd president, Father John Schlegel, S.J., left a legacy of a beautiful campus that grew considerably during his tenure. The campus was transformed with the addition of many new buildings, the mall renovation and the gorgeous landscaping we enjoy every day. In support of Father Schlegel, the Staff Advisory Council with the support of the President’s Advisory Board invites you to join them Tuesday, March 3, at 11:45 a.m. at the fountain in front of St. John’s Church. You’ll receive a purple ribbon, in awareness of pancreatic cancer, and a group greeting will be videotaped to be shared later with Father Schlegel. Following, everyone is invited to attend the noon Mass which will be offered on his behalf. The service will include the prayer Father Schlegel has asked us to pray in support of Pedro Arrupe’s canonization. Following Mass, you will have a chance to send a smile, wave or comment on videotape to Father Schlegel. Let’s show him he is in our thoughts and prayers! Please contact Joann Crinklaw with any questions.

Wednesday, March 04

Cold Toes Warm Hearts
Cold Toes Warm Hearts is a drive to raise money for the biggest homeless shelter in Nebraska, the Siena/Francis House. Swanson Hall at Creighton University encourages you to build solidarity by giving you a perspective of our increasing homeless population. On March 4, please join us in going barefoot (or wearing sandals) throughout the day. There will be a Hospitality Room in the Swanson Lobby with food and drinks for those who have generously donated to our cause. A donation of $5 will purchase you a pin that guarantees you access to the Hospitality Room, though any donation will be graciously accepted. The event will take place throughout the day, with the hospitality room in Swanson Hall from 7:30 am – 4:30 pm Donations can be made at the Swanson front desk. If you would like to learn more about Siena/Francis House you can visit their website. Please contact Katie Breedlove with any questions.

Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty will hold a Lobby Day on March 4. Registration and Orientation is at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church across from the Capitol. Lunch will be provided in Room 1023 of the Capitol. A bill to repeal the death penalty (LB 268) will be debated before the Judiciary Committee at their 1:30 meeting. All are invited to this free event. Take action to end the death penalty in Nebraska. RSVP at www.nadp.net/lobby or 402-477-7787.

Thursday, March 05

CCSJ Spring Break 2015 Service & Justice Trips Send-Off Service
Please join us to pray with and send off the students participating in a week of service during spring break. There is a short ceremony then a short reception in Lower St John’s. Students participating in Service & Justice Trips, their friends and family, and the Creighton community are all invited! The Send-Off Service will be held in St. John’s Church from 9:00-10:00pm on Thursday, March 5. Please contact Jeff Peak with any questions.

Upcoming Events

Friday, March 20

Justice Walking Applications
Join us in Justice Walking 2015-2016! Justice Walking is a year-long commitment to weekly service, education, immersion and faith sharing. Applications are due March 20th. Click here for more information. Please contact Jen Kennedy-Croft with any questions.

Friday, March 27

Project Homeless Connect Omaha
Project Homeless Connect is a one-day event (8:30 am – 3:30 pm in the Kiewit Fitness Center) that serves as a one-stop shop, connecting homeless individuals to needed services, including: employment, housing, healthcare, legal resources, haircuts, Social Security, etc. There are many opportunities for Creighton students, staff, faculty, alumni/ae, and friends to volunteer. General volunteers are needed for set up, clean up, greeting, directing, registering, serving food, or whatever else is needed to help the day flow. Most volunteers will also serve as “navigators” by helping our guests to fill out a basic in-take form and by staying with our guests through the process of accessing professional services offered that day. You can sign up online to help in the morning, afternoon, or all day. All Volunteers will register for a one hour training session, and you are invited to join fellow volunteers for a follow-up session of reflection, social analysis, and ways to become more involved. To register to volunteer click here. For more information on Project Homeless Connect Omaha, Contact Ken Reed-Bouley at the Creighton Center for Service and Justice with questions at 280-2754 or visit the website.

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Dorothy Stang: Sustainable Justice

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CCSJ Student Coordinator Rachael Schwartz reflecting on Dorothy Stang

In honor of Dorothy Stang’s life and martyrdom (remembered on on February 12), Student Coordinator Rachael Schwartz reflects on Dorothy’s commitment to sustainable justice.

Dorothy Stang is a woman all justice workers and people should strive to be like.  She decided to devote her life to God as a sister of Notre Dame de Namur.  When I read her story, I was impressed by both her versatility, as well as her persistence.

Originally wanting to do missionary work in China, Dorothy found herself traveling to Brazil to do charitable works there instead.  The Amazon Rainforest is the lungs for the earth and also home to some twenty million people.  Dorothy was angry to see it constantly pillaged and becoming destroyed by ranchers and other exploiters.  She took it upon herself to protect these lands.

As a result, Dorothy was put on the “kill list” for environmentalists and advocates for the forest.  Two men gunned her down as she was their prime target. Dorothy was chosen to be killed because she put together self-sustaining programs in communities committed to their own independence and the sustenance of the rainforest.

Dorothy worked for justice until she was literally taken from this earth; that is what I strive to do. To be so selfless is amazing and I cannot begin to know where to start.  However, instead of getting overwhelmed, I will start with a single act for justice every day and gradually increase it.  No person is too small to make a difference.

 

 

Rachael Schwartz
CCSJ Student Coordinator
Class of 2017

 

 

 

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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Confidence in Peace

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“December 7, 1941 – a date that will live in infamy…with confidence in our armed forces with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain inevitable triumph so help us God…a state of war has existed between the United States and Japanese Empire.” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

As an American reflecting back to this date, this quote, and this moment – in all honesty – my heart does not feel uneasy.  Perhaps the reason why this is so is because I was not alive, much less imagined, when this momentous occasion played out and the declaration of war was made.  However, reflecting on this quote, this moment, as an individual in the communion of humanity, my heart is brought to tears. Not because Americans were caught off-guard or for any unfortunate strategic loss, but because of the lives lost, the tears that were shed, and the pain that was felt. Born and raised in Hawaii, I was raised not in anger or in a feeling of malice, but was raised to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor with a feeling of solace for others and faith in my heart; to remember Pearl Harbor is to remember the pain, the tears, and the loss in a way that can motivate you to find confidence not in our armed forces but rather, in peace.

December 7, 1941: a date that shall rest in peace and allow the lives that were lost to rest in paradise…with confidence in our humanity to unite our nations into a peaceful community. We will gain solidarity through faith and pray that a state of peace forever rest between the United States and Japanese Empire.

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Warm Hearts and Hard Starts: A Reflection for World Refugee Day

world-refugee_Day_14It was a nice break from the usual slogging through ESL and cultural orientation material. Today, instead of practicing introductions, writing letters and numbers or learning about job expectations, we gathered with the students we were tutoring and worked on an art project together.

 With a few paper cut-outs, red, yellow and orange tissue paper, magnet strips, and some glue, my weekly service site group and the dozen or so students at the Southern Sudanese Community Association (SSCA) created something truly beautiful: autumn leaf magnets covered with balls of tissue paper, in various designs and patterns.

Every week my co-coordinator and I took a small group of Creighton students to the SSCA to help tutor refugees in ESL, cultural orientation and job training classes. Actually, all of these were usually combined into one class, taught by one very patient, very joyful volunteer, a recent college graduate named Ben.

Every week we practiced introducing ourselves and saying where we were from, wrote numbers and letters, learned job-necessary vocabulary and prepared for the citizenship test. Our success depended on the students’ ages, newness and levels in the class.

As someone who has never had to flee my country for safety reasons, and as someone who would probably struggle to find these students’ native countries on a map, it was uncomfortable for me, at first, to spend two hours working with people I could hardly communicate with, whose lives I barely understood.

Despite all of this, friendships were forged, not only between the students I tutored and myself, but also between themselves and one another. And the more I engaged with this community, the more I felt a part of it and felt a desire to be in solidarity with them.

It was amazing to watch the students build a community between themselves. They all came from different countries (mostly Burma and Bhutan) and were fluent in different languages, but they always found ways to help and joke with each other.

Humor, it appears, can travel across other languages. When someone mispronounced an English word, or when something that Ben was teaching sounded funny, they would all look at each other and laugh. If a fellow classmate was struggling to get something right, they would all chime in, either in imperfect English or in that student’s native language, to help explain it.

Despite the language barrier, there were always ways of connecting with the students. Laughter and joy are things we can understand no matter what language we speak. The students spoke through wide grins, bright eyes and a willingness to laugh at themselves as they stumbled over words. It was a language I could understand and return with my own laughter and smiles.  Every so often I’d ask a student to teach me a word in their native language, which made me feel the most connected to these resilient, storied people.

They always impressed me. Day in and day out the students got themselves to class, often while balancing jobs. They had this determination that could not be quenched. All of them were older, but they had the hope and humor of elementary school students.

The more I got to know the students, the more I could envision what their lives were like before immigrating to the United States. It was hard to imagine spending  almost my entire life in a country and suddenly having to flee it for another because of violence and corruption. At these students’ ages, learning a new language was hard, being forced to adapt to a new culture was scary, and not knowing anyone was terrifying.

Yet these refugees never gave up. They never gave up the love and pride they had for their home countries, nor did they give up their project of making this country their home. To get to be a part of that project did so much more for me than I probably did for them. As I taught the students, I learned from them about a world beyond my own, a world that challenged me to love and be in greater solidarity with its people.

Even with all of this, it was still nice to take a break from the hard work and just have fun by doing an art project together. I was astounded by the woman I partnered with for the project. Every time I finished one of my little leaf magnets, I’d look down at it in pride, thinking, Wow, this turned out better than I thought it would. Then I’d look at my partner’s leaves and admire her creativity. I could never have come up with the kind of designs she had on her leaves. They were beautiful.

At the end of the class, as I gathered my leaves and said goodbye to the students, my partner took one of my leaves—my favorite of the three—and then took my hand, looked in my eyes and smiled. When she let go, one of her beautiful leaves was in my hand. A way to remember each other, a symbol of solidarity, an icon of her warm heart and the hard start she was overcoming.

Anna Ferguson
Student Coordinator
Class of 2015

 

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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Mercy & Forgiveness

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When someone hurts you, most of the time our initial reaction is anger. We get upset at the fact something bad happened to us because of another person’s action(s). Usually, if it was a complete stranger that hurt us it is easy to let go and move on. We vent about it to our friends and family, sometime allow it to bring us down for the day, and then move on.

But what happens when the person that hurt you is someone you are close to? What happens when this person is someone you trusted? What happens when this person is someone you care about? Then what; then how do we react?
Often times we have the same initial response: anger. However, the anger that is attributed to this situation, unlike the first scenario, is anger that is a result from the feeling betrayed. We are no longer upset about the objective portion of the situation; we are upset at the trust that has been severed. Sometimes we allow this anger to take hold of us. If this happens, resentment and hatred for the individual who hurt us usually occurs.
Today and every day, though, we are asked to be merciful and loving like our Father in heaven. Mercy doesn’t have room for hatred or resentment, neither does love. Mercy asks us to forgive, even when we believe the person doesn’t “deserve” to be forgiven, and love asks us to love, not because someone has ‘earned’ our love, but because we are dedicated to making love apart of our character. This means to love even when someone is difficult to love. To be merciful and loving is a difficult to understand and even harder to put into action.
During this Lenten time, I challenge us to take a serious look into our lives. Are there people in our lives we have not truly forgiven? If so, let us ask God to take this period in our lives to reshape our hearts into hearts of love and mercy. I also challenge us to ask ourselves this question: have we hurt someone and have not asked for forgiveness? Although we are called to have mercy and forgive those without being asked for forgiveness, saying I am sorry never hurts. It is never too late to apologize.

Dear God,
As we continue on our Lenten journey, create in us hearts of mercy and love. Help guide us in acknowledging people in our lives who we need to forgive. Help us also recognize those whom which we hurt. Give us the courage and strength to not only give forgiveness but to also ask for forgiveness.
In your name,
Amen

Christine Prissel
Class of 2014
College of Arts and Sciences
CCSJ Student Coordinator

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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Food to End Hungers

Hannah
I have to admit, this past month of weekly fasting has been difficult for me. I’ve slipped up a couple times- forgetting what day it was, grabbing a meal with friends, or just going about my daily routine. I’ve become so used to what I have, that I don’t actually realize what I have. However, when I did stick to my fasting commitment, I was keenly aware of what I didn’t have. I recognized the deficit of food as it kept popping up in the back of my head. In short, I was hungry.

Our immigrant brothers and sisters know hunger, although it is not only a hunger for physical food. Hunger can take many forms. A hunger for safety, a secure job, and a living wage that insures one’s own family doesn’t have to suffer more hunger. Hunger can be a deep yearning for community, love, and acceptance from others. Many have a hunger for justice, or maybe simply the humble hunger for peace. The often quoted biblical passage, “For I was hungry and you gave me food,” takes on a new meaning. We can give and receive the food of justice and peace; food for the body, mind, and soul.

Through the past few weeks, I’ve begun to look at my own small hunger as a metaphor; a symbol for the broader, more critical and intense hungers that our neighbors are facing. Of course, the differences are obvious. My voluntary act of fasting is in sharp contrast to the fact that the hungers of immigrants are involuntary. Fear and hardships thrust these yearnings upon them. My brief moments of hunger don’t even scratch the surface of the immense longings others are experiencing. But I was still hungry, and even though that doesn’t make me fully understand, it makes me think. It gives me a base from which I can grow in solidarity with immigrant men and women.

We all have the ability within ourselves to help end hungers. There is more love and compassion inside each of us than we know. We can give it from one open heart to another. With it, we can feed the world. And, much like the biblical story of the multiplied loaves and fish, we will always find that at the end of the day, we are left with more than what we started with.


Hannah Mullally
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Ignatian Advocacy Team Leader

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.

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