Newsletter Archive

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December 2011

Wisconsin Province E-News

The Gritty Reality was the theme of the 2011 Ignatian Family Teach-In which drew over 1100 to Georgetown University Nov 12-14. The theme is attributed from a line in Fr. Kolvenbach’s Santa Clara address which described a faith-justice pedagogy which brings students into direct contact with those who are suffering and broken. Through this education of the heart, informed by faith, they might become more committed to the long term work for social change. Teach-In attendees represented all twenty-eight Jesuit universities, over twenty-five Jesuit high schools, Jesuit parishes, Jesuit volunteer communities, and many other Catholic institutions and organizations. From WIS, 58 from Creighton and 11 from Marquette attended. WIS Jesuits and colleagues included: Tom Lawler (who addressed the Creighton/Marquette students during their advocacy training session), Gerry Stockhausen, Tom Krettek, Greg Lucey, Ed Matthie, Greg Lynch, Jeff Dorr, Michael McNulty, Nate Romano, Paul Coelho, Kelly Orbik, Molly Dellaria, Gerry Fischer and John Sealey. During the November 14 Lobby Day visit, WIS affiliated groups made 12 congressional visits, primarily regarding immigration reform, the DREAM Act, closing WHINSEC (formerly known as the School of the Americas). Some Creighton delegates also expressed environmental concerns regarding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Bon Voyage Fr. Orobator
After a successful 2-day visitation with Tom Lawler/staff and various Milwaukee Jesuit ministries and communities, Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator (Provincial of Eastern Africa) returned to Nairobi on November 23. His two-day schedule included visits to Nativity Jesuit Middle School, Gesu, as well as concelebrating the annual Marquette High World Hunger Mass and engaging Marquette University administrators/faculty for possible collaboration with a Jesuit higher education initiative in Eastern Africa. WIS and AOR look forward to renewing our twinning convenio next year with a stress on mutuality, reciprocity and a shared commitment to frontiers. Current apostolic priorities of AOR include: formation (a majority of the 200 province members have not yet taken final vows), education, faith and justice initiatives, and capacity building (such as the new AOR development office). The new AOR province website provides frequent updates and news such as the province’s current 25th Silver Jubilee underway. In addition to his provincial duties, Fr. Orobator keeps up his theological work during his evenings and long bus rides, most recently editing Reconciliation, Justice and Peace: The 2nd African Synod, which launched earlier this month (Orbis Press). During this visit he also attended a conference at Notre Dame and delivered the keynote speech Africa: My Africa at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (contact John Sealey if you would like the text). You can see a short video interview with Fr. Orobator courtesy of National Jesuit News.
Holy Father’s Visit to Africa
Here are a few links regarding Pope Benedict’s recent 3-day visit to West Africa (Nov 18-21), his second papal visit to the continent. You can read the African Synod final exhortation by the Holy Father (Nov 19, 2011) and NCR’s John Allen Jr. has posted a number of articles related to this visit on his blog.
International Human Rights Day (Dec 10)
Groups and communities might consider the resources of the National Religious Campaign to Abolish Torture (NRCAT) for prayer/action opportunities. Jesuit Conference is an endorsing member of NRCAT.
National Immigration Conference
USCCB and CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network) will host the conference in Salt Lake City Jan. 11-13, 2012. Click here for details.
USCCB opposes expansion of E-Verify in the absence of fuller immigration reform
Some in congress continue to put forth enforcement-only immigration measures, but the USCCB maintains that without comprehensive immigration reform (including a framework for earned legalization), these mandates only deepen the suffering endured by immigrants and prove to be both costly and counterproductive.  Click here to read more and to oppose e-verify. In other news, Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, known as the father of Arizona’s harsh law SB 1070 and other anti-immigrant legislation, became the very first Arizona legislator to lose a recall election. SB 1070 has been opposed by the Arizona Bishops.
Neal Wilkinson testified before the Judiciary Committee of the Nebraska Unicameral
Joining other immigrant advocates, Neal told lawmakers that implementation of the federal Secure Communities program has led to hardship and deportations of immigrants arrested for minor offenses.  Click here for the December 5 Omaha World Herald story. USCCB opposes the Secure Communities mandate without fuller comprehensive immigration reform. In a May, 2011 issue briefing,  the bishops cite these flaws: 1. management and oversight failures; 2. opportunities for civil rights and liberties abuses; 3. erosion of local law enforcement’s critical relationship with immigrant communities; 4. disproportionate deportation of non or low-level criminal offenders. Click here for USCCB briefing.
Drop the I-Word is a campaign to discontinue use of the term “illegal” when describing the status of an immigrant. During November, the campaign sought to update the new 2012 edition of the Associated Press stylebook to end usage of this term which is meant to dehumanize and confuse the immigration debate. Individuals and groups are also welcome to sign to petition to end the use of this racial and pejorative term in their own everyday speech. Thanks to Gene Merz for the link.
A Culture of Cruelty is the name of a new report compiled by the border advocacy group No More Deaths. The report details abuse of migrants apprehended on the U.S.–Mexico border. Thanks to T. Michael McNulty for the link.
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November 2011

Wisconsin Province E-News

U.S. Military Presence in Uganda
(Oct. 14) The Obama administration announced deployment of 100 military advisers to Uganda and surrounding countries to help dismantle the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader Joseph Kony for war crimes.  A few prominent Uganda-watch groups have cautiously supported the stepped up efforts against the LRA. However, the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (which includes Gulu’s Archbishop Odama and other prominent faith leaders) released an October 24 statement expressing appreciation for the White House’s attention to the plight of suffering civilians, but also asserting their concern for this escalation and their long-held preference for “dialogue rather than force, engagement rather than confrontation” as the only bridge to a sustainable peace. Fr. Orobator, the Eastern Africa Provincial, put his support with the Acholi Religious Leaders statement. If you would like more news or updates, please contact John Sealey.
David Hollenbach discusses new responsibilities of South Sudan
Click here for this new post which appeared Nov. 7 on the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network blog.
Welcome to Eastern Africa Provincial: Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, S.J., the provincial of Eastern Africa (our twinning partner since 1987) will be visiting Milwaukee November 21-22, 2011.  He has also been to Omaha at the invitation of Creighton University’s Kripke Center academic lecture in 2010. Click here for a stream of this lecture “Religion and Conflict in Africa”
Immigration Updates:
  • USCCB-CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network) national conference on immigration in Salt Lake City on Jan. 11-13, 2011. Click here for details.
  • Parishioner mother of three facing deportation: A member of the Jesuit-run campus parish at U. of Michigan at Ann Arbor (St. Mary’s), Ms. Lourdes Salazar, is scheduled to be deported on December 27.  She has been in the U.S. for 14 years and has three children (ages 13, 9, 7) all born in the U.S. and has owned a house in Ann Arbor for over ten years. Her husband was deported last year and she has been the sole supporter of her kids. Lourdes is just one of three individuals from the parish who are in the process of deportation. The parish is planning a November 11 vigil and working with other immigrant rights groups on and off campus to block the deportation. Bishop Earl Boyea (Lansing) who also oversees Ann Arbor has written to directors of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on behalf of Ms. Salazar. Click here to take action.
Domestic Poverty Actions and Analysis
There is no shortage of policy discussion regarding the economy these days. Here are a few items of interest for this Jesuit Conference advocacy focus area.
  • NEW Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Report on Income Trends 1979-2007: This Oct report by the non-partisan CBO shows that for this 30-year time period, income grew by:
    • 275 percent for the top 1 percent of households,
    • 65 percent for the next 19 percent,
    • Just under 40 percent for the next 60 percent, and
    • 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent.
Growth in Real After-Tax Income from 1979 to 2007
  • Project Homeless Connect hosted by Marquette University: In addition to Creighton University, who has hosted an Omaha-based Project Homeless Connect for the past 4 years, Marquette University stepped up to be the Milwaukee host on Oct 20. Project Homeless Connect is a national movement aimed at ending homelessness.  The strategy is to provide a one-day, one-stop annual event where homeless people can come to access the multiple services and resources from community partners, all under one roof (in this case, the Marquette student Union and Weasler Auditorium). Thanks to MU Campus Ministry for coordination and linkage with community advocates and partners. See photos or facebook.
  • Creighton Prep’s Operation Others is well known for delivering Christmas food baskets (1,600 currently) to Omaha area families in need for over 44 years. However, director Jerry Kinney is encouraging CP student to greater reflection on underlying conditions which maintain so many families in these precarious economic times. This year O.O. students viewed the movie and experienced for one day what it is like to live on a food stamp budget (a modified version of the Food Stamp Challenge). They also served at the St. Francis meal program and sent messages to elected officials using Jesuit advocates resources.
  • Occupy Wall Street’s Most Unlikely Ally: The Pope was the title of an October 27 NPR editorial by Tom Reese, S.J. (Senior Fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center)
  • “The King Has No Clothes On”: Is class warfare OK as long as no one mentions it? Fred Kammer, S.J. offers the lead story in JustSouth October, 2011. While those who tell the truth regarding worsening income and race disparities are accused of fomenting class warfare, Fr Kammer suggests, does not mentioning it allow a form of “stealth class warfare” to continue unabated? He shows that the inequities that concerned the US Bishops in their pastoral letter on the economy more than twenty-five years ago have in fact worsened dramatically.
  • Faith Advocates for Jobs a campaign endorsed by USCCB and Jesuit Conference has announced monthly conference calls to help network member parishes, organizations and those interested in the campaign. Click here to sign up or learn more and thanks to all ministries or groups considering joining the effort.
  • Restoring Shared Prosperity: Strategies to Cut Poverty and Expand Economic Growth is a new report which shows why policies to create good jobs, strengthen families, and promote economic security is critical to cutting poverty and expanding the middle class. Data, Top 10 findings, and state-by-state poverty fact sheets are also available. The launch of this report is part of an effort called Half in Ten which has a stated goal of cutting poverty by half over the next ten years.
Mike Wilmot and Gesu Housing were featured in the Omaha Reader. Regarding his work on behalf of affordable housing he says, “In anything that any of us do we want to make the world a better place to live in by spreading the kingdom of God and bringing that to all people, and housing-shelter is one of the ways you can do that”
Climate change made accessible
In response to the confusion created by global warming deniers and repeated media mishandling of the urgency of the crisis, Creighton’s Dr. Richard Miller (Theology) has assembled a four-part video lecture series to inform the public regarding the major conclusions of the expert peer-reviewed scientific literature on climate change. The presentation uses images and graphs to make the climate change problem accessible to the general public. Click here to link to the videos and follow them in sequence.
Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice will be live streamed for the first time this year. Gathering will begin 3pm CST Saturday evening (Nov 12) through the day on Sunday with a 5:30pm CST closing liturgy.
World AIDS Day (Dec 1)
Africa Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) is a useful resource for groups who want to be in prayerful solidarity with those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
In Memorium:
“The question can no longer be whether a Catholic university should promote justice or engage in proyección social (social action), but how it should do so.” The Jesuit University in a Broken World
-Dean Brackley, S.J  (Aug 9, 1946-Oct 16, 2011)
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October 2011

Wisconsin Province E-News

Ecology Supplements
Download the special report on ecology Healing a Broken Worldcompiled by the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat and referenced by Fr. General in his letter On Ecology (September 16, 2011). Major sections of the report include: regional assessments (by assistancy); Jesuit mission in the context of the ecological crisis; recommendations and suggestions. Please watch for additional resources from the Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries to help support and deepen “this commitment to the defense and protection of nature and the environment” (2011/16). Until then, useful resources linking faith and ecology can be found at: Catholic Coalition on Climate Change (sponsored by USCCB) and Ecology and Jesuits in Communication,initiated by the Jesuit European Office and Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific.
St. Aloysius Secondary School (Nairoibi)
was featured on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio’s Worldview on September 1. Jesuit founder Fr. Terry Charlton (CDT) is interviewed regarding the school’s mission to educate HIV/AIDS-affected youth in the Kibera squatter community in Nairobi. The population of Kibera is estimated to be 1 million including 30,000 children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS.
Circle of Protection
Very Rev. Tom Smolich, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference, is among the primary signatories to a new ecumenical and interfaith statement urging the federal government to protect programs for the poor. Click here to learn more and find out how you can participate.
Faith Advocates for Jobs
Jesuit parishes and ministries are now considering endorsement of this new initiative which grew out of Interfaith Worker Justice and is now endorsed by a number of groups including USCCB and Jesuit Conference. Visit the website to learn practical ways to support those who have felt the brunt of the prolonged economic downturn. The Assistancy goal is to have 30 Jesuit ministries or communities become members of the network during this Fall. There is no financial obligation to your group, but you will enjoy the resources and collective benefits of the network.
Sixth Colombian Priest Killed this Year
Only two years ordained, Fr. Gualberto Oviendo (34),known for his service to the poor in the Northern coastal Uraba region, was killed on September 16. Auxiliary Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba Villota, Secretary-General for the Colombian bishops’ conference, praised the “courageous commitment of our presbyters with their prophetic denunciations of injustices and with the cause of the country’s poorest.” Since 1984, two bishops, 79 priests, eight religious, and three seminarians have been killed in Colombia. Click here for story.
National Jesuit Committee on Investment Responsibility 2011 Annual Report is now available online and this year features a reflection by Provincial Fr. Jim Webb, S.J. (English Canada). Fr. Webb, a veteran of socially responsible investing, attended the annual shareholder meeting of Corn Products International to address their water sustainability practices. Report also includes a reflection by Mike Masek, VP for Finance at Creighton Prep. Visit www.njcir.org
Eastern Africa Hunger Crisis Follow up
Peter Kimeu, a technical adviser for Catholic Relief Services, wrote a piece titled Remembering a Hungry Childhood for the September 10 Sunday New York Times opinion page, reflecting on the experience of drought and food shortage told from the perspective of a child. Thanks to all communities, ministries and individuals who have prayed and/or contributed to the Jesuit Conference appeal. U.N. World Food Day will be observed October 16.
Undocumented Marquette University student Maricela Aguilar goes public and speaks out boldly in support of the DREAM Act. Milwaukee Public Television will air a two-part segment on the show called Adelante. Part 1 will be broadcast on Tuesday, October 4, 6:30 p.m and the second show is scheduled for October 11. It will also stay linked on MPTV YouTube for one year following the broadcast. Visit MPTV for schedule and information. Besides Ms. Aguilar, immigration attorney Joe Rivas and organizer Cristina Neuman-Ortiz (Voces de la Frontera) will be featured. The DREAM Act is strongly supported by the USCCB and would provide a framework for immigrant students and youth to earn citizenship.
Happy 40th Center of Concern!
On the occasion of its 40th anniversary this year, the Center of Concern has published a 10-minute video on “Justice in the World” which came out of the 1971 World Synod of Bishops and also shares a 40th birthday. Video features Fr. Jim Hug, S.J. (WIS), the Center’s president, and Dominican Sr. Maria Riley, senior adviser to the Center’s Global Women’s Project.
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September 2011

Wisconsin Province E-News

Eastern Africa Hunger Crisis (UPDATE September 1, 2011)
As the seasonal drought was upgraded into a famine in late July, two Jesuit initiated strategies were announced in response to this crisis affecting 12 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Click here for the Jesuit Conference statement which designates ways to send both short term and long term relief. The Wisconsin Province and a number of our ministries, communities and benefactors have also committed financial support. Furthermore, the Wisconsin province, through the twinning relationship with the Eastern Africa Province, is facilitating donations from across the USA Assistancy for immediate food assistance led by Jesuits in Eastern Africa who are partnering with other religious to reach affected regions in N. Kenya.
In related news: This JRS memo details underlying causes which include: climate induced drought, instability with lack of infrastructure in Somalia, and regional food inflation which devastates already vulnerable populations. Periodic updates, interviews, photos and situation analysis are available by visiting JRS / Eastern Africa Newsroom and respective advancement offices in Wisconsin and Chicago-Detroit. Thanks for your solidarity with Jesuit efforts in Eastern Africa to respond to this catastrophe which has not yet peaked.
Finally, it is also noteworthy that the USCCB and CRS have sharply criticized a House of Representatives plan to cut foreign aid. Calling it “morally unacceptable, even deadly” the USCCB / CRS statement notes that emergency and disaster relief to the world’s poorest would be particularly hard-hit under the House plan now under consideration. While this line of foreign spending is only a pittance of the US deficit, it is life and death for the globally destitute. Click here for statement. If you would like more periodic updates regarding this drought/famine, contact John Sealey.
Jesuit Conference invites groups to join Faith Advocates for Jobs
Faith Advocates for Jobs is a new interfaith effort to create a strong national network of ministries and faith communities committed to address the severe unemployment crisis and the pain it is causing so many families. The USCCB and the Jesuit Conference are core members of the campaign and hope to encourage parishes, ministries and communities to join. The Jesuit Conference goal is to identify 30 Jesuit-affiliated faith communities or organizations to join. Groups that endorse the Faith Advocates for Jobs campaign will become part of a national network committed to serving and advocating for the unemployed. Furthermore, endorsing groups will receive advocacy action alerts to help create jobs, protect the unemployed and ensure the dignity of workers. Please contact John Sealey if your parish or group would like to participate or learn more about Faith Advocates for Jobs. Click here to read the USCCB Labor Day statement and you can find a new webpage regarding Jesuit ministries with the unemployed.
DREAM Act Sabbath Resources
The Catholic Justice for Immigrants Campaign will be participating with other faith communities promoting the DREAM Act Sabbath (September 18-October 2). Click here for more information and resources and watch for an upcoming message for all signatories to the Jesuit Conference statement on immigration. If passed, the DREAM Act would provide a framework for qualified immigrant students and youth to earn citizenship.
September 11 Resources
For USCCB Liturgical Considerations for September 11 click here. A prayer litany for use on/before September 11 by National Religious Campaign to Abolish Torture can be found here. Note: Jesuit Conference is an endorsing member of NRCAT.
Nine former Salvadoran soldiers surrender to authorities in connection with the killing of six Jesuit priests and two women in 1989. Click here for story.
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Fall Break Service & Justice Trips 2009

Fall Break Service & Justice Trips 2009

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August 2011

Wisconsin Province E-News

Republic of Southern Sudan (ROSS) Becomes the World’s Newest Country
Southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly and peacefully to become independent in January, 2011 and Independence Day finally came on Saturday, July 9. Jesuit Bernard Mallia (Eastern Africa) writes from Rumbek, “There is so much rejoicing because our country struggled and suffered too much (and) at last achieved its FREEDOM.  The Catholic Church in this country has been doing so much for the people.  We pray hard for the good governance, peace and prosperity for our beloved country.” (AOR News July 15, 2011). Yet, there remain many serious threats to stability and peace between ROSS and Sudan, not the least of which are sharing of oil and other resource revenues, heavily armed groups poised near one another, ongoing land disputes, and historical/ethnic/religious tensions after a legacy of civil war. Click here to watch a 24-minute online video regarding Jesuit work on behalf of peace, reconciliation and re-building in Southern Sudan which includes an interview with former Eastern African Provincials (and Africa-Madagascar Moderators) Frs. Valerian Shirima and Fratern Massawe on the Canadian Catholic broadcast, Salt and Light. Finally, the Jesuit Loyola Secondary School (Wau) produced the best secondary school certificate result in the entire country (AOR News July 15, 2011).

The Core of Roman Catholic Teaching on Workers’ Rights:
Is the title of a new statement by Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice issued at Georgetown University on June 1, 2011. Click here for statement and related resources.

Wisconsin Common Ground Wins Major Victory: Members of Gesu Parish and the Marquette University community have been integrally involved in the establishment of Wisconsin Common Ground, an interfaith community organizing network in Southeast Wisconsin. In June, Common Ground announced that Wells Fargo will commit $ 2.4 million to help remedy some of the hardships felt by lower income communities adversely affected by housing foreclosure crisis. Funding will go toward rehabilitation of foreclosed properties and new mortgages for owner occupied homes. Common Ground is also pursuing U.S. Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank.

Ignatian Solidarity Network Announces New Director and Location:
On July 22, Mr. Chris Kerr succeeded Ann Magovern as the Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN). In addition the ISN national office moved this summer from USF to John Carroll University. ISN programing and the well-attended annual Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice will remain constant. For more information, visit the ISN website.

New Wisconsin-Ecuador Norms of Sharing have been signed and will be in effect for the next three years. While we are no longer describing the relationship with Ecuador as a formal “twinning” the Norms describe some specific areas of cooperation, particularly for English-Spanish language learning opportunities for members of both provinces. Ecuador (and other Latin American provinces) are also beginning a process of internal and external reconfigurations, similar to our own Assistancy Strategic Discernment, which may one day unite Ecuador with another Latin American province/s. We are grateful for the Spring 2011 visit of the Ecuador Provincial, Fr. Gilberto Freire, which helped to solidify this agreement. We also look forward to greater participation in the CDT twinning agreement with Peru as our upper Midwest provinces grow closer.

In the steps of St Ignatius the Advocate is one posting from the recently completed Global Ignatian Advocacy Network international meeting in Loyola (June 18-23). Click here for more news and reflections on the gathering and these approved worldwide advocacy areas: Ecology, Education, Governance of Natural Resources, Migration, Peace and Human Rights.

Immigration Updates (Summer Developments):

National: In June, an update letter with resources was sent to all Jesuit sign-on groups who have endorsed support of USCCB’s principles of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Senator Durbin (IL) held the first ever public hearings on the DREAM Act on June 28. The DREAM Act (strongly supported by the USCCB) would provide a framework for immigrant students in good standing to earn citizenship. The NY Immigration Coalition is organizing a national campaign to encourage President Obama to sign executive orders that would mitigate some of the harm being done to immigrants suffering under our failed immigration policy. Click here for testimony by Fr. Ted Arroyo (Spring Hill College) before the Alabama state house opposing enactment of an anti-immigrant law. Unfortunately the law did eventually pass and is deemed by some even worse than last year’s Arizona 1070 law.

Local: Wisconsin Assemblyman Daniel Pridemore’s Arizona copycat bill seems to be inching its way toward fuller consideration by the Wisconsin legislature. The bill now has a number (AB 173) and a committee assigned to it (Homeland Security). The Wisconsin Catholic Bishops have stated their opposition to this anti-immigrant bill from the start. AB 173 would force local law enforcement to ask those stopped for violations to prove their citizenship. While there are no scheduled plans for a hearing, it is an issue to watch when lawmakers return to Madison in September. Contact John Sealey for Assembly contacts to express your opposition to AB 173 or for other immigration resources mentioned above.  Creighton Center for Service Justice offers an in-depth spotlight featuring immigration and refugees.

First Vows for Kohima and Eastern Africa:
Eleven men professed First Vows at the Arrupe Jesuit Novitiate in Shillong, Meghalaya on June 23 and on that same day nine new men entered the novitiate.

On July 2, nine men in the Eastern African Jesuit Province pronounced their first vows at the Gonzaga Jesuit Novitiate in Arusha, Tanzania. In addition, four additional AOR men are scheduled for their first vows in late July in India. Fr. John, A Priest who Makes Roads Where he Walks is the title of a tribute article in El Tribuno (Salta, Argentina) on John Schak’s 50th anniversary of priesthood. John reflects that being a parish priest in Salta is not easy but is less difficult than in the United States where the priest is burdened with too many extra responsibilities. Of his fondest memories in Salta, he reflects, “The sick ­ It’s amazing when you see that there are people who suffer horrors but at the same time are very noble, do not complain and love Jesus. This really struck me.”

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