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Transitus Service October 3rd

Posted on 12. Sep, 2014 by .


FrancisTransitus is the annual celebration held every October 3rd that recalls that “passing over” of St. Francis from a human life into an eternal life. This is a special service titled, “Celebrating the Passing of Francis and His Love of Mother Earth.” Below are the leader script and the participant handout for the service:

Transitus: Leader Script 

Transitus: Participant Handout

Please let us know if this was helpful! 

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STOP the War in Iraq!

Posted on 05. Sep, 2014 by .


What do Iraq war veteran Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a retired U.S. Army general, and scores of MoveOn members have in common?

Watch this video to find out…

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How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor and Slavery

Posted on 04. Sep, 2014 by .


The following is from NPR and was written by Michaeleen Doucleff


When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.

But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley say there’s also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work, and more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.

“My students, postdocs and I spent a year stepping back and trying to connect the dots between wildlife decline and human exploitation,” says ecologist Justin Brashares, who led the study. “We found about 50 examples around the world.”

One of those examples made international headlines in June when the Guardian published a report about slavery in the Thai shrimping industry.

“Large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns,” the British newspaper reported. These shrimp are “sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco,” the report said.

The world’s food supply, both here in the U.S. and abroad, is increasingly connected to child labor and human trafficking, Brashares says. And the problems aren’t just in the fishing industry or large supply chains that stock megagrocery stores. Many of the world’s poorest people are turning to exploitative labor practices to earn a living and feed their families as traditional sources of food disappear.

Wild animals, both on land and in the sea, provide incomes for about 15 percent of the world’s population, Brashares and his team wrote. These animals are also the main source of protein for many of these people.

“We have more than 1 billion people on our planet whose livelihood and survival is tied to rapidly declining resources,” Brashares says. “They’re not going to take it lying down, nor should they.”

As the fish in the ocean decline and forests are destroyed, families have to work harder and harder to get the same nutrition or wages. For instance, many communities in West Africa have hunted animals in local forests for thousands of yearsBecause of deforestation, now many hunters there must travel for days to find prey, Brashares and his team wrote in Science.

To make up for these extra costs, hunters and fishermen around the world have increasingly turned to cheaper labor. In many cases that ends up being children or people in desperate situations.

“Child labor and slavery is exploding because the time needed to catch fish [or hunt animals] has gone up exponentially,” Brashares says.

But many policies and laws aimed at stopping these abuses focus on stopping traffickers instead of trying to fix the source of the problem, he says. “The government’s strategy of tracking down key traffickers and arresting them is missing the scale of the problem and the underlying issues driving them: the rapid destruction of wildlife.”

Brashares thinks biologists need to work together with politicians, economists and social scientists to figure out ways to slow down the destruction of the environment. At the same time, communities that depend on local wildlife for food and income should have the rights to these natural resources, he says.

“We need to target areas where we know reliance on wildlife is the largest,” Brashares says. “Then local communities need to have tenure rights to these animals. This strategy may be working against the U.S. economically in the short term, but in the long term, it’s a no-brainer for the world.”

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The Journey North

Posted on 04. Sep, 2014 by .


The following is from the LA Times and was written by Cindy Carcamo:

In Honduras, U.S. Deportees Seek to Journey North Again

By the time Isaias Sosa turned 14, he’d already seen 15 bullet-riddled bodies laid out in his neighborhood of Cabañas, one of the most violent in this tropical metropolis. He rarely ventured outside his grandmother’s home, fortified with a wrought iron gate and concertina wire.

But what pushed him to act was the death of his pregnant cousin, who was gunned down in 2012 by street gang members at the neighborhood gym. Sosa loaded a backpack, pocketed $500 from his mother’s purse, memorized his aunt’s phone number in Washington state and headed for southern Mexico, where he joined others riding north on top of one of the freight trains known as La Bestia, or the Beast.


Migrant children: In the Aug. 16 Section A, an article about what happens to children who are deported from the U.S. to Honduras quoted Hector Hernandez, who runs the morgue in the city of San Pedro Sula, as saying that five to 10 of the 42 homicide victims younger than 18 who were taken to the morgue since February had previously been deported from the U.S. Hernandez subsequently changed his numbers and said that only one of them had been deported from the U.S. 

Crossing the Rio Grande into Texas, Sosa was apprehended almost immediately by Border Patrol agents as he desperately searched for water.

After a second unsuccessful attempt to enter the U.S. last fall, he now spends most of his days cooped up at home, dreaming of returning yet again.

“Everywhere here is dangerous,” he said. “There is no security. They kill people all the time.”

“It’s a sin to be young in Honduras.”

Like thousands of other undocumented Honduran children deported after having journeyed unaccompanied to the U.S., Sosa faces perilous conditions in the violent neighborhood from which he sought to escape.

“There are many youngsters who only three days after they’ve been deported are killed, shot by a firearm,” said Hector Hernandez, who runs the morgue in San Pedro Sula. “They return just to die.”

At least five, perhaps as many as 10, of the 42 children slain here since February had been recently deported from the U.S., Hernandez said.

Immigrant aid groups and human rights organizers say the Honduran government is ill-equipped to assist children at high risk after they have been returned.

San Pedro Sula had 187 killings per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Honduras’ overall homicide rate was 90 per 100,000 in 2012, the highest in the world, much of it fueled by gang and drug-trafficking violence.

Unaccompanied children from Honduras “come from extremely violent regions where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to staying at home,” the report said.

In one case, a teenage boy was shot to death hours after arriving in San Pedro Sula on a deportation flight, according to the boy’s cousin, who refused to identify himself or the boy to The Times for fear of reprisal from neighborhood gangs.

To do so, he said, “I would be killing my entire family.” 

He said his cousin had left for Los Angeles after his family received several threats from the Barrio 18 gang. His mother and sister moved to a different neighborhood while the boy headed for the U.S. They simply abandoned their house in Chamelecon, one of the city’s roughest areas.

Some neighborhoods feel like tropical ghost towns because scores of residents have fled the violence fomented by two of the country’s most notorious gangs, Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18.

A faded Polaroid sent from the U.S. and a torn-out page from a coloring book are the only indications of life in one abandoned home in the Palmira neighborhood.

The San Pedro Sula morgue reports 594 homicides in the surrounding northwestern region as of mid-July. A total of 778 people were slain last year.

Valdete Wileman, a nun who runs the Center for Returned Migrants in San Pedro Sula, said about 80% of the children who had been returned from the U.S. had been seeking to escape the gang violence.

Wileman said she was particularly concerned about children who once served as gang lookouts.

“Some of these children are threatened with their lives,” she said. “And now they are being forced to return to the same place.”

Other children head for the U.S. after the rest of their families have been killed. Although some of these deportees move to other neighborhoods here, many don’t have the money to relocate. And the gangs, with ties throughout the country, could track them down anyway.

Wileman said she has neither the resources nor the means to help, because the government barely funds the center.

“This is the responsibility of the government. This is the responsibility of the entrepreneurs who run this country … those who are in power,” she said. “All I can do is pray.”

Just a few days after Sosa, now 19, was deported from the U.S., he was shot at by gang members while walking to the corner store for a soda. He said he didn’t have allegiances with any gang and didn’t know why he was targeted.

His second unsuccessful emigration attempt came after a friend was fatally shot and left to die in a neighborhood alley.

While saving money for a third attempt, he rarely steps outside the front door, declining birthday party invitations and shunning soccer games in the neighborhood.

“If you leave your home, you don’t know if you’ll return.”

He knows the trip north will be perilous but says he doesn’t see any choice.

“What am I going to do?” he said. “It’s more dangerous to stay here.”

So when it’s time to again depart, he’ll do what he did before: He’ll get out his backpack, but he won’t tell a soul, fearing word may get out to gang members who’ll prevent him from leaving.

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Posted on 04. Sep, 2014 by .


“A diverse group of celebrities, artists, and activists that includes American Jews and Palestinians are speaking out for Palestinian human rights in a video released in July. The video is a first of its kind expression of support for Palestinian freedom, equality and justice and features celebrities such as Chuck DJonathan DemmeGloria SteinemWallace ShawnTony KushnerMira NairRoger WatersBrian Eno, and others holding signs with the names and ages of Palestinian civilians recently killed by the Israeli military in Gaza.” This video was produced by Jewish Voice for Peace.

For more information, visit this link:


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