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July Wisconsin Province Social-International E-news


Jesuit Dispatch (Syria):
On June 16, the Provincial of the Middle-East Province reported of deteriorating conditions in Homs, where the Jesuits have a parish in one of the neighborhoods under attack. “The situation is very delicate, and each attempt to enter the old part of the city means suicide. Bombing has gone on uninterrupted since Thursday and gives no respite, and the widespread presence of numerous snipers makes entering the old part of Homs impossible…  The problem is catering for the daily needs, since we cannot send them any goods from here, as the roads are completely blocked.” Click here for full report shared via Digital News Service SJ (June 21 issue).

Creighton University is the first Catholic, Jesuit University to achieve Fair Trade status.
The designation is given by Fair Trade Colleges & Universities USA and you can click here for press release.

Shortest Summer Ever:
Michael Rossman left for Nairobi one day after province days and immediately began faculty meetings at Loyola High School in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Classes are now underway and you can follow Michael’s reflection on his blog.

CP 70 Daily News:
Daily updates from the 70th Jesuit Procurator’s Congregation (CP 70) underway in Nairobi (June 29-July 15) are available at www.easternafricajesuits.org and www.sjwebcp70.com.

JRS: New Statement on Gender Violence / Letter to G20 summit on care of refugees:
Jesuit Refugee Service officially signed on as a member in the civil society coalition of the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. In 2011, the 10 JRS regional directors selected gender-based violence as an advocacy priority  /// To mark the occasion of World Refugee Day 2012 held on June 20, JRS International issued a letter to leaders attending the G20 Summit to put hospitality at the heart of globalization and not lose sight of the needs of more than 45 million forcibly-displaced migrants worldwide. Click here for both JRS stories and other news.

Jesuits at the Rio+20 Summit:
During the week of June 18, members of the Ignatian Advocacy Network ecology workgroup met together in Rio de Janeiro to take part in two parallel conferences on sustainable economy and the climate. The official United Nations “Rio+20 Earth Summit” brought together governmental, non-governmental and business leaders and the simultaneous “Summit of the Peoples” Conference was designed for grassroots social movements and activists. Attendees write that the official Rio+20 Summit was a foretold failure.  “The final document requires no commitments on the part of governments at the international level.  Nowadays we know that the problems related to climate change and preservation of the environment can be dealt with effectively, for we possess the resources for doing so.  The solutions are expensive, but doing nothing now will involve far greater costs in the future.  Not much time is left before we exceed the thresholds which will bring about irreversible changes….More interesting than the official gathering was the parallel “Summit of the Peoples” conference.  It had more passion and less cool reserve; it had fewer technical resources, but was more lively and people-oriented; it was less artificial and cosmetic, more humble and real….The greatest hope is found in those conscious, active groups that are multiplying around the world…In the coming decades, the future of the planet and the fate of the poor, those who are most threatened, will be decided mainly by the cultural changes – changes of convictions, attitudes, commitments – brought about by global citizens who already share a common problematic and a common destiny.  This is a privileged field for the mission of the Society and the Church.” Read more at the blog Ecojesuit

Jesuits Follow in the Footsteps of Migrants
On June 14, 2012, a group of Jesuits began a five-week journey along the “migration corridor” from Central America to the United States (El Progresso, Honduras to Nogales, Arizona). Along the way, they have been visiting shelters, human rights organizations and parishes that assist migrants as they move through the migration corridor. On a blog site established to chronicle their journey, they set forth their hope to better understand the complexities and hardships faced by migrants on their journey to the U.S.  The blog is called Journey Moments: The Migrant Corridor, and it includes photos, reflections and a mapping of the journey (English and Spanish) Read more…

Other Immigration Developments:
On June 15, President Obama announced a policy change to provide administrative relief for undocumented youth and allow them to legally reside in the USA through work permits. This action would end the threat of deportation for almost 1 million undocumented immigrants below the age of 30. This is certainly an important step in the right direction toward the Church’s eventual call for comprehensive immigration reform to allow earned citizenship for many of the 12 million undocumented currently living in the United States. Click here for USCCB statement of support for the President’s move with a congressional call to action to go one step further and pass the DREAM Act. Click here for an overview by Catholic Legal Immigration Network

On June 25, the Supreme Court rejected most aspects of Arizona’s controversial and legislation known as SB 1070 which became a model for other municipalities and states. This flawed anti-immigrant legislation has been long criticized by the USCCB so the Supreme Court ruling was generally affirmed by the Bishops and immigrant rights groups. However, the Bishops caution that the ruling does not fully lift the requirement that immigrants have to show papers in some circumstances. This “show me your papers” provision may in time prove unconstitutional if it leads to racial profiling and other human rights abuses.  Click here for USCCB statement on the Court Ruling and click here for a statement by Jesuit Advocates USA (a service of the Jesuit Conference and JRS)
As always, the go-to website is Justice for Immigrants.

Jesuit Higher Education Immersion Experience Coordinators Converge for Summit:
Twenty-five immersion experience coordinators from nineteen universities across the country converged for the Ignatian Immersion Experience Coordinator Summit sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.  The Summit was the first of its kind for the Jesuit university staff.  John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, hosted the gathering which took place from June 19-21, 2012. Click here for full story and photos

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April Wisconsin Province Social-International E-news

Jesuit Archbishop in Peru Receives Death Threats:
Jesuit Archbishop Pedro Baretto (Huancayo, Peru) has received death threats for his recent statement calling for responsible environmental regulation of a multi-metallic smelter in La Oroya. The smelter has been operated by Doe Run Peru a subsidiary of Renco Group (US privately held company) and was forced to shut down in 2009 after pressure from Church leaders. Recently there have been moves to re-open the operation without necessary environmental improvements, which prompted a letter from Archbishop Baretto and the ensuing threat.

Context: La Oroya is one of the 10 most polluted places on earth and a St. Louis University public health study found that 90% of children living there have excessive levels of lead. Abp. Baretto will be Washington, DC later this month for two World Bank meetings and a conversation with faith leaders. Jesuit Conference secretary for social and international ministry, Tom Greene, SJ, will also meet with him. Additional Resources/Links:

Environmental Education and Catholic Religious Education:
Exploring a Synthesis of Organizing Concepts, Standards and Best Practices is the title of a new special report prepared with support from the Jesuit Social and Pastoral Ministries Research Grant Program. The research report was commissioned by small grants from the Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries and The Congregation of Notre Dame and prepared by the interfaith ecology group Greenfaith. It is designed to be a practical resource for environmental education and sustainability practices with references drawing from Catholic sources and principles. Contact John Sealey for pdf of the report.

Jesuits and Religious leaders call for a Faithful Budget:
(March 22) The Jesuit Conference joined religious leaders and faith-based organizations unveiling a “Faithful Budget” proposal for congressional consideration. The Priorities for a Faithful Budget is a set of comprehensive budget principles that will protect the common good, value each individual and help lift the burden on the poor. Read The Faithful Budget in its entirety.

Eastern Africa welcomes 16 New Novices:
AOR Provincial Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, S.J., has announced the acceptance of new novices to the Gonzaga Gonza Novitiate in Arusha. Countries of origin include: 9 Kenya, 3 Uganda, 2 Tanzania, 1 Ethiopia, 1 South Sudan. (AOR News April 13, 2012)

Immigration News:
USCCB President Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Gomez, who chairs the Committee on
Migration, sent a letter dated March 22 urging House Speaker John Boehner to “build consensus” on immigration reform.
Lamar Smith, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, chaired hearings on March 28 regarding the new guidelines for immigration detention. The title of the hearing, “Holiday on ICE,” seems to moc the more humane treatment undocumented immigrants should now receive. See Detention Watch Network’s press release (DWN was created by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network in 1997).
The USCCB and several other Christian denominations filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Arizona vs. United States, supporting the principle that the federal government controls the enactment and implementation of the nation’s immigration laws.
On April 20, PBS’s “Need to Know” program will air a half hour segment on the excessive use of deadly force by Customs and Border Protection.

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March Wisconsin Province Social-International E-news


Kony 2012 Video – Considerations for Reflection:
This now-viral youtube video produced by the group Invisible Children has become the most recent cause célèbre and is most likely attracting wide attention across campuses and parishes (both Jesuit and non-Jesuit). The video launched the “Kony 2012” campaign and seems to employ a threefold strategy: information/education, fund-raising/sales and advocacy. As an informational piece, it surely helps to shine a light on the rebel leader Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army’s legacy of violence in N. Uganda and the region. However, the advocacy request promoted in the video (first applauding/cheering and then encouraging sustained U.S. military presence) diverges from the position expressed by Catholic and Jesuit leaders in the affected region. Here are some of their perspectives:

Africa My Africa: Eastern Africa Jesuit Provincial Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, S.J. expresses concern regarding U.S. troop deployment to dismantle the LRA. Rather than military aid, he suggests humanitarian assistance, “sending teachers, doctors, engineers, experts in agriculture and development — not more soldiers, guns, and ammunition.”

Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative: Statement opposing the plan to deploy U.S. military advisors co-signed by the religious leaders of Northern Uganda, including Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu.

Urging Nonviolence in dealing with the Lord’s Resistance Army: Africa Faith and Justice Network analysis (AFJN is a coalition partner with Jesuit Conference).

CRS Take on Kony 2012, part 2: suggests peaceful alternatives and support for poverty focused humanitarian development.

Regarding issues of international advocacy, our way of proceeding considers first and foremost the experience and recommendations of Jesuits and Church leaders living and working in the affecting areas. If members of your university, school or parish are trying to consider how to best interpret the Kony 2012 campaign, please share the resources mentioned above. In addition, the USA Jesuit Conference will soon post a resource page to help groups better understand the fuller context and consider alternative advocacy messages from the views expressed by Invisible Children. Contact John Sealey if you would like periodic updates on this issue or you can monitor the Jesuit Conference page.

Ignatian Solidarity Network News (Human Rights Nomination /// Webinars available)
ISN has been nominated for a people’s choice award by Global Exchange. Click here for Jesuit Conference story. In addition to hosting gatherings and leadership trainings, ISN will begin hosting webinars on topics which may be of interest to its membership. Upcoming webinars will cover: Worker Rights Consortium on March 28 and on March 29 there will be a presentation regarding the upcoming criminal case filed in Spanish Court against 21 former Salvadoran military officers for the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her daughter. Details and sign up at ISN webpage.

Korean Jesuit Arrested and Jailed for Peace Action:
The Jesuit Social Apostolate Coordinator for Asia Pacific has dispatched a report written by Fr. Francis Mun-su Park, S.J.
(Korea) who directs the Jesuit Research Center for Advocacy and Solidarity. The preface of the report reads: “Several Korean Jesuits have placed themselves in the caldron of controversy surrounding the construction of a Korean naval base on Jeju Island, a province of South Korea. The controversial issues include whether the base is necessary, whether the planned base would be harmful to Jeju Island (called ‘an island of peace’ and a tourist destination), whether the planned base will heighten military tension in N.E. Asia, whether the national government should beat down local opposition, and whether the construction will destroy irreplaceable environmental treasure. Several Jesuits have been arrested several times for bodily hindering construction work. Brother John Do-hyun Park, S.J. has lived in the village for more than 5 months accompanying the villagers in their opposition to the base.” He was arrested on March 14 and will be held for investigation and trial. Contact John Sealey for the full report with photos. [Note: Author of the report, Fr. Park is originally from the Wisconsin Province but now transcribed to Korea]

Jesuit Conference Advocacy Focus Areas: Every four years, the Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries (JCSIM) surveys the USA provinces regarding the advocacy concerns for the Assistancy. This input, taken in consideration with the apostolic frontiers identified by the Society and pending final approval by the Jesuit Conference Board, helps to shape the social and international advocacy focus for the next four years. Please contact John Sealey by March 23 if you are interested in participating in this on-line survey. We hope to get a diverse and representative group of 20 Jesuits and lay colleagues from across various zones of ministry in the province.

Faith Advocates for Jobs will host a national call in 3 p.m. CST on Thursday, March 22. Call-in number is (760) 569-0111 Access code: 1085004#. The call will feature parish congregations based in OH, WI and RI who will share their successful programs and offer suggestions to create similar initiatives. Both the USCCB and Jesuit Conference participate in the work of Faith Advocates for Jobs, an interfaith coalition seeking support for the unemployed and underemployed.

UN World Water Day (March 22): To learn more, click here. You can take a few minutes to consider your own personal water use at the One Drop site. The World Health Organization estimates 2.6 billion people lack safe, reliable and affordable water for their personal and domestic use. Pope Benedict XVI: “the right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life” (Caritas in Veritate, n. 27).

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February Social-International Ministries Newsletter

February 2012 E-news: Social-International Ministries

Drew Christiansen Reflects on What Iraq has Taught us about a Just War: America editor develops three lessons in this Washington Post opinion column: 1. Beware of politicians employing intelligence to persuade; 2. Those who employ the Just War need to have the courage of their convictions and condemn a war as unjust when this becomes evident; 3. The Iraq War has created a new category for the Just War vocabulary (post-war justice).

Jesuit College attacked in Karnataka (South-Central India):  Headlines (dispatched by Jesuit Social Justice and Ecology Secretary) and other outlets report that on January 27 an attack took place at St. Joseph College in Anekal, 40 km south of Bangalore.  The reason given for the assault was the alleged failure to display the Indian flag during the National Holiday celebrations.  Hindu fundamentalists attacked the campus in full view of the police. Jesuit Rector Melvin Medonca was taken into custody for nine hours by the police who hoped this could help disperse the mob.  Students and faculty from the school, who tried to defend the rector, were beaten.  St. Joseph has been in existence for over 40 years, and since 2010, it has been welcoming students from the poorer sections of society.  Currently, there are 378 students in the Institute and of this number 220 are Dalits (low-Caste) and 60 are from Tribal groups.  According to Melvin, Hindu extremists stormed the university not because of the flag issue (which was unfounded) but to prevent Dalits and Tribals from being educated, which seems to have precipitated eight campus attacks by the fundamentalists in the past year. In 2010, a Jesuit was stabbed while returning from a nearby village.  Many of the Kohima Jesuits (“twinned” with Wisconsin since 2002) are initially from the Karnataka province which initiated the Kohima Region in the early 1970’s. Acting Regional Superior for Kohima Gregory Coelho wrote, “I know the men at Anekal, they are good friends of ours. Anekal is a strong base of Hindu fundamentalists and they definitely would not want us to work for the Dalits and other under-privileged groups. But I am sure our men will continue their committed work despite these attacks.” Click here for additional news and the South Asia Jesuit Social apostolate site will post ongoing and related news.

Computers For Africa Prepares Last Shipment: On January 12, Ignatian Associate Ruth Leacock wrote to friends of the Omaha-based non-profit, “It is with a mixture of peace, gratitude, and sadness we connect once again, to thank you for your amazing support and to let you know 2012 will be the final year of service for Computers for Africa. In the next 12 months we will be very busy providing computer labs and crucial follow-up services for our final beneficiaries – 17 more schools (8,500 more people) in rural Kenya. Then the season for ‘planting’ the seeds of technology will come to an end. But the harvest of all that has been sown will go foward for decades.” Reasons for this decision by the CFA board include: Many non-profits today provide used computers to rural African schools while in 2002 CFA stood alone; the rapidly changing field of technology makes it difficult to predict what devices might soon replace traditional computers and monitors; the inability to replace co-founders Ruth and Tim Leacock (full-time volunteers) with a funded leadership position. To date CFA has refurbished and shipped 2,882 PCs to 170 Communities serving 88,500 students and staff.  All are invited to a final CFA event to be held on March 10, 2012. Visit website for more information. The province is grateful to all CFA stakeholders and we particularly note the early visionaries including Jim Strzok and Tim and Ruth Leacock for their creative leadership and boundless generosity to this enterprise.

Clashes in South Sudan: Click for January 18 Statement by Sudan Council of Churches (including Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro in Juba) and also BBC Analysis.

Immigration News and Opportunities: Understanding Compassion is a USCCB Webinar on Immigration to be held on February 23 at 3pmCT. The 1 hour presentation will summarize key learning from the national USCCB immigration conference held last month. Free and open to all, click here to register. Q&A with makers of an acclaimed documentary on US immigration debate by the Migration Policy Institute, a reliable non-partisan source. Click here. (Feb 15, 2012) Eleven men who claimed immigration agents violated their rights in 2007 raids on their New Haven neighborhood have won a $350,000 settlement from the U.S. government, which also agreed to halt deportation proceedings against the plaintiffs. Story here Reap What You Sow is the title of a public radio piece exposing the human costs of Alabama’s new anti-immigration law (HB 56) which attempts to enact “attrition through enforcement” otherwise known as self-deportation, a strategy to make life so difficult for immigrants they will choose to leave the country.

Sisters Shine Spotlight on Human Trafficking During Super Bowl: A group of 11 orders of Catholic women religious in Indiana and Michigan collaborated with state and local officials to curb human trafficking during Super Bowl festivities in Indianapolis. Click here for story, which may be of interest to other destination cities for sports/conventions.

“11 X 15” Campaign has been launched by WISDOM, the congregation based organizing network (Wisconsin statewide). Goal is to eliminate 11,000 prison beds (half the current number) by 2015.  The campaign challenges policy makers, professionals and leaders at every level to look at the evidence provided by current best practices and make decisions based on the health and safety of all residents.  Up to 80% of those currently incarcerated are nonviolent offenders and have mental health and addiction problems.  Proponents maintain such prisoners should receive treatment and be returned to their families, jobs, and communities, thus creating a safer, healthier and more just state which would also save billions of dollars in the Corrections budget. Gatherings of religious leaders to kick off this campaign will take place throughout the state on February 20-21. Click here to learn more.

40: The Series: The Chicago-Detroit province has partnered with Loyola Press and Loyola Productions to develop an on-line video series called “40” which runs through Lent (14 episodes/2per week/4-7 minutes each). This “post-apocalyptic drama” begins Ash Wednesday with seven strangers who appear to be the only survivors of a mysterious event that has left Los Angeles devoid of people. From there the story unfolds through Lent. Each episode acts as a Lenten allegory and is accompanied by reflection questions that help viewers make connections between the story line, scriptural references, and the meaning of Lent. New episodes run on Mondays and Wednesdays and past episodes can be easily found on the website and YouTube Channel. Click here to go directly to the Resources Page, where you’ll find information, instructions and links. Feel free to share this with others who might be interested.

Lenten Blessings to all,
John Sealey

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January 2012


NEW Wisconsin Bishops pastoral statement on Immigration:
The bishops’ letter titled “Traveling Together in Hope” was released on December 12 (Our Lady of Guadalupe). In the distribution letter to area parishes, Milwaukee Archdiocesan Social Action Director (and Ignatian Associate) Dr. Rob Shelledy observes the Bishops’ linkage of immigration to sanctity of human life affirming that all people have moral claims on basic goods. The letter concludes by calling all Catholics to help immigrants and advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. This letter adds to the body of Catholic pastoral letters on immigration including a statement by the Nebraska Catholic Conference (2009), the Minnesota Bishops (2010) and the Sioux Falls diocese earlier in 2011.
Immigrant victory in Ann Arbor: Congratulations to the Jesuit-run University of Michigan St. Mary’s student parish and other immigrant rights groups who learned on Dec 13 that the pending deportation of parishioner Lourdes Salazar Bautista (mother of three) has been deferred by the Department of Homeland Security. A press release states that “Lourdes would like to thank the 2,500 supporters who signed onto her petition, and the letters of support from the Ann Arbor County Commission, Senator Levin, Congressman Dingell, the Jesuit Provincial of Chicago-Detroit, and the Bishop of Lansing.” Click here for the story and thanks to all who signed support on behalf of Lourdes.

Iowa Billboards:
During the final month leading up the Iowa caucuses, ten communities of religious women issued billboards across the state with a Gospel message in addition to a statement calling on elected leaders to enact immigration reform.

 

OM Group Nears Human Rights Policy Announcement: In 2007, the Detroit Province initiated a shareholder dialogue with Cleveland based OM Group regarding the need for a comprehensive and verifiable human rights policy. Subsequently, the Chicago-Detroit province has maintained leadership for this dialogue and presented a shareholder resolution at last May’s annual meeting which delivered an impressive 43% favorable vote. On December 20, 2011 the OM Group announced the adoption of a new Human Rights policy and that same day, a Jesuit Conference press release acknowledged this encouraging outcome. OM Group is a leading supplier of specialty chemicals and of particular concern of this human rights dialogue has been company operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo where cobalt is processed. Thanks for the co-filing support by the other US and Canadian Jesuit provinces, Loyola University, Creighton Prep, Regis (New York) and other religious investors. For Jesuit Conference press release, press here.

Social-Pastoral Research Grants:
The application for the annual Jesuit Conference Social-Pastoral Research Grant (SPRG) is now available. These are small grants ($4,000-6,000) and usually quite competitive. This year’s focus areas are: Listening to the Poor and Re-Shaping Attitudes on Controversial Issues. Contact John Sealey for additional information.

Tanzania Flooding:
By most measures, Dar Es Salaam has recently experienced the worst flooding in 50 years which has displaced 50,000 and killed at least 44. In a January 6, 2012 Circular Letter, Eastern Africa Provincial Fr. Orobator wrote, “Our region is still caught in the throes of famine and draught. Such is the cruel irony of nature that after the drought comes the deluge.” The Eastern Africa province newsletter reports “Evarist Shigi, S.J. saved some Franciscan Sisters, even risking his own life. They remained in their house, which is bordering the river. The river broke the wall of their compound, and the water was rising. So Sisters called Evarist Shigi SJ to save them. He saved them with 2 workers of Loyola High School. The water was already about 160 cm high.” Contact John Sealey if you would like additional news.

Human Trafficking Awareness Day (January 11, 2012):
Click here for prayer service and you can also read a resolution passed by the US Catholic Mission Association.

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FBST 2011 Newsletter

FBST 2011 Newsletter

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