'Peace'

Ecological Examen

Posted on 20. Oct, 2017 by .

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The Ignatian Solidarity Network and the Jesuit Conference produced an Ecological Examen as a tool for prayer, reflection and action for individuals in their home, parish, school, university or community to deepen our call to care for creation and the most vulnerable. Go to link above to download or order prayer cards, and one-pager, booklet. The Ecological Examen makes a wonderful reflection piece for Creation Care Team (CCT) meetings. Below is an example of one of the Ecological Examens. (Go to website for best quality graphic)

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‘An amazing honor’ for an amazing RGV nun

Posted on 13. Oct, 2017 by .

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She has done it again.

Sister Norma Pimentel, the Rio Grande Valley’s uber-ambassador, met last week at the Vatican with Pope Francis to help kick off a new global campaign to assist immigrants and refugees.

That the world leader of the Roman Catholic Church hand picked our Sister Norma is no coincidence. She truly is blessed and she has blessed us all with her unending humanitarian spirit and her strive to show us all how we should treat one another, regardless of religion, age, color, income and government papers.

It seems as though her and Pope Francis are becoming old friends as she has now met with the pontiff in person when he visited the United States and on TV when he personally acknowledged her work via closed circuit TV.

As always, Sister Norma displayed humility and did not announce the trip until after she met with Pope Francis on Wednesday along with 20 refugees from Syria, Africa, Cuba and Ethiopia.

“They’re asking for protection and they’re asking to be safe,” Sister Norma told Monitor Reporter Naxiely Lopez-Puente via phone.

As director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, she was invited to tell about the thousands of immigrants that her organization has helped at the Humanitarian Respite Center at Sacred Heart in downtown McAllen, which she helped to open after a flood of immigrants began coming through our region in 2014 upon being released by U.S. federal immigration authorities.

Women late in their pregnancies, toting babies and without a dime to their name, have found their way to the center’s doors; eating warm chicken soup and gaining strength in the welcoming applause and smiles of the many volunteers there.

Leading them all has been Sister Norma, who insists that all refugees are greeted with the utmost respect, like visiting family. And it is that attitude that has made her a sister to us all.

We hope that her tales will help to inspire other refugees and those opening refugee centers in other countries as part of the Vatican’s new two-year campaign called “Share the Journey.” Spearheaded by the Vatican’s Caritas charity, this program aims to build bridges of understanding and hospitality toward the displaced.

“This is simply to help us understand not to be afraid of immigrants, to understand their journey and see what your role is in helping them,” Sister Norma told Lopez. “It’s definitely an amazing honor to be recognized and be picked among many people doing such wonderful work.”

We are honored to have Sister Norma living within our Valley.

At a time when our nation is so bitterly divided on the issue of immigration, this nun cuts to the chase and stays out of the political fray by addressing the very essence of who we, as humans, and why we are put on this Earth: To help one another.

We hope and we believe her work will temper this division and mellow us all to try to better understand one another.

And so on this Sunday, a day when many give thanks, we give thanks for Sister Norma for helping to put the plight of so many who have crossed through South Texas on journeys of hope and even salvation. We hope her stories will help to guide our political leaders as they search for a way to reform our nation’s policies to better accommodate and fairly recognize those who could contribute and add to our American society.

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Half Hour Videos on Drone Warfare: Free for Use in Congregational Programs

Posted on 13. Oct, 2017 by .

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From Leadership Conference of Women Religious:

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In the last decade, Drone Warfare has rapidly escalated in war zones as well as in areas where war has not been declared. Up to 80 countries, as well as non-state actors such as ISIS, now have drone warfare capability. Great moral, ethical, and theological issues are raised by this development, but to date there has been relatively little public debate about it.

A project of the Peace Action Education Fund, in cooperation with the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare, has produced five half hour videos, together with discussion guides that explore the moral, policy, and religious dimensions of this new and troubling development. Military, international law, proliferation, human rights, and policy experts are featured, along with religious leaders from a wide range of faith traditions. Titles include Moral & Safe, The Religious Community and Drone Warfare, Unmanned, National Bird, and Drone.

Each video screening can be followed by a 25-minute guided discussion, for which there are study guides.

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04 Oct Saint Francis’ fresh look on a new world | Homily of the Minister General

Posted on 13. Oct, 2017 by .

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“The whole point of (St. Francis’) point of view was that it looked out freshly upon a fresh world, that might have been made that morning. Save for the great primal things, the Creation and the Story of Eden, the first Christmas and the first Easter, the world had no history.” (G. K. Chesterton)

“A fresh look on a new world.” But how did our dear Brother Francis come to this deep awareness of the eternal and inextinguishable presence of the love and mercy of God in the world, in the hearts of each and every one of us, in his own life, and in the created universe? What was it that took place within his life that allowed him to look into the face of violence and hatred, war and destruction, the exploitative abuse of human beings and of the natural environment without giving up to hopelessness and losing all sense of the presence of goodness in all things that exist?

There are two sources behind and underneath the many different moments of personal conversion in Francis’ life. And let us not forget that Francis did not change his life once and for all when he divested himself of his father’s rich legacy and wrapped himself in the cloth of the poor. Like all human beings, Francis continually was brought to a moment of decision where he had to make a choice for the good or the bad, for God and humanity or for his own egotistical pursuits. These two sources stand side by side and cannot be de-linked one from another.

In the first instance, Francis came face to face with the presence of evil that took many forms – violence and war between competing city states in Italy; avarice and systematic exploitation of the poor and weak; the competition for God and power waged between the Church, the Potesta, the landed aristocracy, and the emerging merchant class. Francis came increasingly in contact with those who suffered most in the society of Assisi. He also witnessed firsthand the consequences of violence, the slow process of dehumanization that occurred in his own heart, and in the hearts of all involved in the prosecution of war. What we are able to reconstruct from the initial stages of Francis’ conversion brings us face to face with the image, the face of the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus hanging on the cross in the dilapidated church of San Damiano. It was the crucified Jesus who reached out from the cross and gently touched the pain and confusion within Francis’ life, not judging him, not scolding him. Francis experienced a God who is compassionate, merciful, all merciful, and who loves all without distinction. It was this experience of the compassion of Christ that opened Francis’ heart and mind to the possibility of recovering hope, peace, and joy.

The second aspect of Francis’ conversion process is linked with his direct contact with a humanity that was suffering, alienated, disfigured, and overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness. We witness everywhere in the world today these destructive forces that deepen a sense of a culture of death: the move to end life through euthanasia in different countries in northern Europe; the random and senseless shooting rampages in Paris, London, Las Vegas, and also in Somalia, Yemen, Siria, and elsewhere in the world today; the mistreatment of refugees; the end of civil discourse among politicians and the abandonment of a sense of the common good. In all of these situations we recognize the level to which human beings have lost all sense of the dignity and beauty of life and have closed themselves within a vision of life that is not open to hope, to the presence of Someone standing behind, beneath, in front of and in the heart of human history, God. Francis also stood face to face with many different threats to dignity, hope, and the future of humanity and of God’s presence in our midst. Francis did not run or hide from the disfigured face of humanity. Rather than close himself off and protect himself, Francis chose to jump into the heart of the world, embracing and accompanying humanity, offering love, mercy, compassion, hope to all he encountered, just as Jesus did in his life and mission.

Dear brothers and sisters, our faith tells us that the birth of the new creation is a gift from God transmitted in and through the incarnation, suffering and death, and through the gift of the Resurrection. Our faith also tells us that the only way for this to become a reality in our lives is for us to make the daily choice to act as messengers of love, mercy, and hope. By choosing to embrace the way of compassion and love, we become members of the Body of Christ, co-creators with God in the act of new creation that is taking place in all events of history, an unstoppable act of gratuitous love brought to fulfillment in the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. May God’s Spirit set our hearts on fire and enable us to choose each day to embrace the way of the new creation in Christ Jesus!

Happy Feast of St. Francis!!

Br. Michael Anthony Perry, OFM
Feast of St. Francis of Assisi – 4 October 2017
Basilica di S. Francesco, Assisi

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Amicus Brief Update

Posted on 01. Oct, 2017 by .

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Click here for new version of the brief

Click here to read Law 360’s coverage of the Brief

Message regarding Amicus Brief to Franciscans for Justice:

I am very happy to share with you the amicus brief we filed at the United States Supreme Court recently to express the opposition of yours and 38 other faith-based, interfaith and interreligious organizations to the Executive Order banning entrance to our country by the nationals of six predominantly Muslim nations and all refugees. As you will see by paging through the statements of interest in the opening pages of the brief, this effort brought together a broad array of voices from many religious perspectives to make a powerful and united statement of opposition to the policies implemented by the Executive Order.  I think you will enjoy reading the coverage of our brief that appeared in Law 360, an online legal publication, which is attached as well.

It has been an honor and a privilege for Morrison & Foerster to represent you in opposing this ban. We hope to be of similar service in the future.

Sincerely,

 

JENNIFER K. BROWN

Senior Pro Bono Counsel | Morrison & Foerster LLP

 

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