JUNE 2014 e-news: Social-International Ministries
(NEW) Jesuit Alumni Letter in Support of Immigration Reform: Join Jesuit high school and university alumni expressing support for comprehensive immigration reform to fellow Jesuit alumni serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (currently 44 members out 435). Click here to learn more about this opportunity organized by the Ignatian Solidarity Network which seeks 1,000 signatures by mid-July.
Unfolding Humanitarian Disaster are the words used by Bishop Flores (Brownsville) to describe the current reality along the Southern border where he serves. Flores urges reconsideration of US deportation practices “so as to take into account that cartels are co-opting the very people fleeing their influence, often forcing them to cooperate with their plans, or face death for themselves or their families.” Click here for May 20 letter to Secretary of State Kerry.
(May 29) USCCB Mass for Immigration Reform: You can stream a video of the Mass on Capitol Hill (St. Peter’s Church) and the Press Conference which followed. Click for Press Release and Homily text (Archbishop Wenski). On the same day, members of the Bishops Committee on Migration also visited members of the House of Representatives, including House Speaker John Boehner, urging immigration reform as soon as possible. /// New Video on Immigration and the Catholic Church: Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor: Immigration and the Catholic Church is a new video by USCCB Migration and Refugee Services that highlights the Church’s long history of pastoral care for immigrants and advocacy on immigration issues. Watch the video now.
Jesuits Urge U.S. Senate to Support Sentencing Policy Reform:In a letter co-signed by Frs. Thomas Smolich, Gregory Boyle (Homeboy Industries) and Michael Kennedy (Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative) Jesuits call on the Senate to end “one-size-fits-all sentencing policies” that fail to address the complexity of our nation’s criminal justice system. The bi-partisan bill, known as the Smarter Sentencing Act, aims to save billions spent on non-violent drug offenders by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for some drug crimes and allow judicial discretion for non-violent drug offenses. /// There is a similar interfaith sign-on letter which pastors and presidents can sign to endorse the legislation. /// Finally, groups may contact Matt Cuff at the Jesuit Conference to be included in a letter of support for the Second Chance Act, a program which aims to reduce recidivism by providing job-training and re-entry services for formerly incarcerated individuals. Click for USCCB letter supporting Second Chance.
Jesuits initiate shareholder dialogue with Canadian mining company: Led by the provinces of Wisconsin and English Canada, the National Jesuit Committee on Investment Responsibility (NJCIR) will begin a new shareholder engagement with Canadian mid-tier mining company Aura Minerals regarding the need to develop a comprehensive, verifiable and transparent human rights policy. Click to read more.
The Death Penalty remains a deep concern or potential concern in some of our Midwest states. In the wake of the recent botched execution in Oklahoma, many ask, “How can I help end the use of the death penalty?” The Catholic Mobilizing Network has a number of helpful educational resources, timely information, and ways that parishes and individuals can get involved in this important work.
Meeting of Social Coordinators of the Conferences, and Leaders of Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks (GIAN). From May 12-16, the Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology convened a meeting of Conference Social Coordinators of Conferences and leaders of Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks (GIAN) at the General Curia in Rome. Topics included: migration, ecology, peace and human rights, the right to education, and natural/mineral resource extraction. Father General presided at the Eucharist on Thursday, 15May. Click to read more.
Minimum wage/economic justice: Thanks to all who participated in the Jesuit Conference action alert on the minimum wage which still remains open /// Check out this new website created by the anti-poverty group Half-in-Ten that is dedicated to bringing together the latest data and news on domestic poverty.
Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor: Click for New York Times story. Article maintains that everyday 5,500 detained immigrants work in immigration detention centers. Some are paid $1 per day and others earn nothing. Note:Jesuits are leading Human Rights shareholder dialogues with two major private prison companies mentioned in the story (GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America).
Considerations for Hondurans in the American Asylum Process: Click here for new Jesuit Conference Report regarding treatment of Honduran asylum cases within the U.S. System, complete with relevant law and information on conditions in Honduras that rise to the level of persecution for certain groups. As record numbers of Hondurans arrive in the U.S. expressing that they left their homeland because of fears and violence, the U.S. immigration authorities must begin to understand the very real threats to the lives and well-being of particular groups of Honduran nationals in their country of origin /// On May 14, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed deep concerned about the deaths of children, adolescents, and youths in Honduras which comes within the context of widespread violence and citizen insecurity. Click here for press release.
25th Anniversary of the Martyrs Commemoration: In honor of the upcoming anniversary of the Jesuit martyrs (November 16, 2014) the Ignatian Solidarity Network is seeking reflections on how the martyrs influenced U.S. Jesuit institutions. Submit reflections and visit their 25th anniversary resource site.
Educating at the Margins is the topic for the most recent Promotio Iustitae. Articles from a variety of Jesuit conferences regarding education as a human right for all.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA2013 Annual Report: Click here to download a pdf /// Creighton University students learn about life in refugee camps through the JRS Refugee Camp Simulation, an interactive experience designed to raise awareness of the realities of life for people in refugee camps. Read more about this event which was held in early May.
Analysis of Narenda Modi Election: Melville Perera, SJ (Director of Northeast Social Research Center, Kohima Region) shared this article to help understand the meaning of India’s election of the new Prime Minister and his campaign promises.
CARE FOR CREATION
(May 29) US Bishops Urge Action on Carbon Pollution to Stem Climate Change: In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski (USCCB Committee Chair for Domestic Justice and Human Development) writes on behalf of USCCB supporting carbon reduction standards to mitigate climate change. He adds that we are particularly concerned with the effects of pollution on the poor and vulnerable both nationally and globally. On this point, he cites concern for carbon emissions by power plants which are usually located near low income communities and he also references the destructive impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities around the globe. He calls for US leadership in globally negotiated climate change agreements. Click for Press Release/Letter calling for action now to protect human life and dignity in the future /// Click here for a concise and timely reflection on the Bishops Action by Jim Hug.
Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation,and Vulnerability is the title of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Clickherefor executive summary, full report and online video which presents the collaborative scientific consensus of 308 authors from 70 countries /// Climate Action vs. Climate Denial is a slideshow by the Environmental Defense Fund offers this on-line slide show in light of most recent Intergovernmental Report
Water has no enemy – water is part of the common good: Provincial of Eastern Africa, Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator delivered this lecture at the Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland. Drawing from Catholic Social Teaching, he highlighted that water needs to be understood as a common good: “The commodification of water as a privatized tradable resource, the inaccessibility of water to the most vulnerable populations and the indiscriminate pollution of water bodies all constitute a grave assault on this most vital and essential common good and the right of human and natural ecologies that depend on it for survival.” Click for video.
February E-news: Social-International Ministries
“No Worker Should Be Forced to Raise a Family in Poverty”
says a new Jesuit Conference Advocacy Alert which supports the Fair Minimum Wage Act to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25/hour to $10.10/hour over three years. Currently, a mother of two working a minimum wage job earns $15,080 annually which is $4,450 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. Click here to learn more or take action on this new Jesuit advocacy opportunity. This alert follows the lead of a recent US Catholic Bishops Minimum Wage letter to lawmakers which notes that the minimum wage, as a static number, increasingly falls short as family living costs steadily increase. A recent poll shows strong bi-partisan (80% of Americans) support raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hour with future indexing to keep pace with inflation. (Feb 13) Jesuit Fred Kammer debunks the myth that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs and shows that in fact it will raise people out of poverty.
Ignatian Family Advocacy Month
IFAM is currently underway for participating schools and ministries. IFAM is a program of the Ignatian Solidarity Network in consultation with the Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries. Click here for a packet which includes resources to Learn-Pray-Act for Jesuit Conference legislative priorities. On-line manuals (one designed for parishes and one for schools) include ready-to-use resources such as: bulletin announcements, advocacy letters and in-district legislative scheduling tips.
Ignatian Pro-Life Network
Ignatian Pro-Life Network coordinated another successful Ignatian Mass for Life which was held in conjunction with the annual March for Life (Wednesday, January 22). Despite harsh weather and bitter cold, more than 800 attended the Mass. Story here or visit the Facebook page to learn more about this year’s 40th anniversary events and ways to be involved.
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
Jesuit Volunteer Corps is the subject of a recent Atlantic Monthly story.
Lighting the Pathway
Student-led conference on immigration will be held at Loyola University Chicago on February 22. Conference includes students from area schools including Marquette, Loyola, Notre Dame and DePaul. Click for Facebook page.
Pope Francis’s 10 New Year Resolutions
Even though 2014 is not so new, these compiled resolutions are good through the year including practical wisdom such as: Don’t Gossip; Make Time for Others; and Choose the more humble purchase.
“Pacem in Terris at 50
Catholics and Human Rights in the 21st Century” David Hollenbach, S.J. delivered this annual Markoe-DePorres lecture at Creighton which is now available through on-line video streaming.
South Sudan update
On January 23, a cease-fire agreement was formally signed between the Government of South Sudan and the SPLM in opposition. Additional information: Pope Francis calls for an end to the atrocities and humanitarian difficulties facing the people of South Sudan (January 22); Catholic Bishops of Eastern Africa Statement on South Sudan Crisis (January 23) and JRS Feb 14 press release describing an uneasy calm in Upper Nile State. Please contact John Sealey if you would like ongoing updates.
A Nelson Mandela Tribute
Nelson Mandela Tribute has been written by Eastern Africa Provincial, Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator. Click here for “Madiba, Our Ancestor” which appeared in The Tablet (14 December 2013).
The challenge of migration
The challenge of migration status and answers is addressed in Promotio Iustitiae, v. 113, 2013/4 which looks at this global phenomenon from perspective of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America and USA.
Click here to read a JRS update from Dutch Jesuit Frans van der Lugt. Presently there are 3,000 Syrians still trapped in the old city of Homs after a two-year siege and blockade. Through an agreement last week in Geneva, some relief might now be possible through a “humanitarian pause” in Homs.
International Jesuit Ecology Project Workshop (IJEP) II
IJEP is an international working group of Jesuits and lay colleagues who are currently developing an online living text to be titled Healing Earth. The IJEP group met for a second consultation at Loyola Retreat and Ecology Campus (Woodstock, IL) during mid-February. The three year project will yield the online text examining ecological issues such as bio-diversity, resource extraction, fossil fuels, food/water, and climate change through lenses of environmental science, ethics and spirituality. Fr. Michael Garanzini (as Secretary for Higher Education) convened the group as a practical response to Fr. General’s 2011 letter On Ecology. Target audience will be late secondary school and early college. Project co-directors are Drs. Nancy Tuchman (LUC Institute of Environmental Sustainability) and Michael Schuck (LUC Theology) with contributions by over 60 scholars. The projected release date is early 2015. Click to read more.
Flights for Forests
Aviation accounts for between 4-9% of the climate change impact. Recognizing that the Jesuit mission requires many to fly frequently in order to work together for greater social justice in the world, the Asia Pacific Jesuit Conference has created its own carbon offset alternative project called Flights for Forests which benefits forest renewal activities led by youth groups in rural Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Hope for the Commons (Aug 7-9) is a conference to be hosted by Seattle University’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability. Click here for more information and please note that the proposal deadline is rapidly approaching.
A Journey through the Seasons is a new book of reflections and meditation by Al Fritsch, S.J. Click here for news and other recent publications on topics of spirituality, ecology and simple living.
World Water Day
(March 22) Supporting materials at UN official site.