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Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

A Ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

United States Province

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Happy Oblate Feast Day: February 17! February 15th, 2017

“…. Learn who you are in the eyes of God.”
St. Eugene De Mazenod, OMI

In this world that God loves, with all its richness and beauty, and looking upon it as Saint Eugene did through the eyes of Christ crucified:

  • We observe new forms of poverty, especially among young people: fundamentalism, individualism, materialism, consumerism, and addiction to the digital world… But, we also see the suffering of families, youth, the lonely, and the elderly.
  • We recognize urgent issues, which strongly speak to us such as: the situation of refugees, the homeless, and migrants who are forced to leave their countries, as well as the devastation of the environment.
  • We perceive victims of injustice and violence, especially the indigenous peoples and minorities, the victims of human trafficking, of abuse and exploitation, who cry out loudly for support and a response from us.

Faced with these situations, the Church strongly calls us out of our comfort zone to go to the “peripheries” and work for the fulfillment of the Kingdom.

We are invited to write a new page of the Gospel with Mazenodian creativity and audacity.
Message of the 36th General Chapter 2016


Read the 2017 Oblate Day Message
from U.S. Provincial, Very Rev. William Antone, OMI

Video reflection for February 17, 2017 “Oblate Day”


Hope Springs Eternal February 13th, 2017

Gail Taylor manages 3 Part Harmony Farm in Washington, DC

I spent most of the winter away from DC this year, and I’m happy to report that I returned renewed and refreshed. Almost a dozen times over the last two months, I got the flight safety spiel, you know: “put on your oxygen mask first, before assisting others in need.”

Perhaps because I spend every day of every week either at a vegetable farm or at a yoga studio, the importance of self-care is always at the front of my mind.

Whether it’s taking the time to make nutritious meals for myself, carving out time to focus on mindful breathing and meditation, putting my hands in the soil, or fiercely guarding my 30 min. morning coffee/ newspaper ritual, I want to focus this year on making sure that my tank is always full before stepping outside to face each day.

I hope you’ll do the same, and realize that it’s necessary not selfish.

Eating well and engaging with plants every day is a great way to stay on track with a self care routine. Three Part Harmony Farm offers a few ways to bring these kinds of opportunities into your life. Planting a garden is a great way! I recently was at a local female owned hardware store – Annie’s Ace Hardware in Brookland, NE Washington, DC.

I answered seed starting questions and brought all of my seed catalogues and offered everyone a chance to VOTE for the tomato varieties we’ll grow this season.

I encourage you to grow your own garden! Immense joy comes from caring for plants whether on your balcony, in your backyard, or at your community garden. Three Part Harmony Farm is proud to partner with Annie’s Ace Hardware (in Petworth and Brookland, Washington, DC) to sell healthy starts that are specifically chosen for their ability to thrive in this region. We expect to have spring seedlings available as early as mid-march: stay tuned!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy 2017,

Gail

For you local to Washington, DC, we’re taking sign ups for our 2017 CSA now, online. The full season members pay for 23 weeks during a 33-week period (that goes from April – November) so you skip any 10 weeks you like without missing out! In addition to being flexible, the share is a multi-farm offering that includes non-produce items such as seedlings, flowers, eggs, mushrooms and medicinal herbs. Sign up here.

 Gail Taylor is the owner/ operator of Three Part Harmony Farm, a vegetable operation located on the grounds of the Oblate residence, Washington, DC.  A longtime resident of the District, Taylor has worked in the Latin America Solidarity community, with affordable housing organizations, and now with the food sovereignty movement. A farmer, yogi and social justice activist, Taylor lives in an intentional community in Petworth, NE Washington, DC.


Fr. Séamus P. Finn on the Evolution of Catholic Investing February 9th, 2017

Fr. Séamus P. Finn, OMI, spoke to participants at the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, February 8,th 2017

A summary

The three core elements for Catholic Investment that were presented by the US Catholic bishops in 1986 and reinforced by the investment guidelines that were adopted for the management of the financial assets of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops were;

1) Do not invest in companies, products or services that counter to Catholic moral teaching.

2) Exercise responsible active ownership of shares that the USCCB has in the portfolio through a process of engagement with the directors and managers of these institutions.

3) Proactively investing in funds and projects that are designed to promote the common good and sustainable development that in some cases offer a lower rate of return.

Fr Séamus Finn, OMI with Mike Ricci, CCF Director of Professional Outreach & Investment

The good news is that much has been achieved in the first of these categories, also known as negative screens, when excluding investments in specific companies and or industries. Now the work of applying these same screens across all assets classes in a portfolio needs to be accelerated.

Secondly, little has been done to take up the work of active engagement and this responsibility for active advocacy and dialogue is more important now than ever given the growing influence of corporations and large investment funds on nearly every aspect of life. Some catholic religious orders and institutions have done the bulk of this work through organizations like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, www.iccr.org.


Message From U.S. Provincial, Fr. William Antone, OMI on Some Recent Executive Actions February 8th, 2017

The U.S. Provincial of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Fr. William Antone, OMI, has issued a statement in response to some recent executive actions by the new administration. You can read the full statement and download it below.

Dear Brother Oblates and Friends of the Oblates:

I hope this finds each of you well.

There are many contrasting voices in our nation these days. I have spoken with Fr. Antonio Ponce, director of the province office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, and asked him and the JPIC office to assist us, as appropriate, with some resources, reflections and suggestions for action. It is important that we, as heirs to the charism of St. Eugene, continue to be engaged as missionaries and pastors in the struggle to uphold the dignity and defend the lives of our brothers and sisters who are the poor with their many faces. Among these faces, in my own heart, I often see the faces of immigrants and refugees.

How can we be engaged? I believe we can begin with personal reflection and study, and by respectfully listening to one another and to those to and with whom we minister.

Read the full letter here.


2017 Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking February 2nd, 2017

February 8th has been designated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. February 8th is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. She learned from Canossian nuns that she was created in the image of God and possessed human dignity. Once she asserted herself and refused to be enslaved, Josephine became a Canossian sister and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering.

In October 2000, Josephine Bakhita was canonized by Pope John Paul II, at which point he noted that “in St. Josephine Bakhita we find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation. The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but the firm resolve to work effectively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights.”

On February 8th, Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to create greater awareness about human trafficking. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower survivors. As Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, former Chairman of the Committee on Migration, has stated: “On that day, we will lift our voices loudly in prayer, hope, and love for trafficking victims and survivors. If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference.”

Download a prayer resource created by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Visit USCCB’s Anti-trafficking website to learn more.


Two Days in Geneva with Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI February 2nd, 2017

“Pondering the stark contrast in perspectives, messaging, ambition, dreams, reading of history and the current state of the international relations in a place that is filled with history”

My two day visit to Geneva paralleled the two first full days of the Trump administration in Washington. The experience became like a retreat that at once brought me into contact with so many of the people, institutions and ideas that have formed and sustained the international multilateral system against the background of threats to repeal and disrupt many of the agreements and practices that are the threads that have been knit together into the tapestry of international cohesion and cooperation. It is like no other city, I think, in terms of the numbers of people and governments that have gathered here to negotiate peace, to sign agreements and treaties and to repair again the ruptures and wounds that have often divided tribes and counties and regions.

I participated in a multi stakeholder session on improving access to medicines for the treatment of neglected diseases at the Institute of International Development Studies that brought together a very diverse international set of researchers, pharmaceutical companies, governments, development agencies, NGOs and investors. They came together to evaluate the progress that has been made through this collaborative process, to discuss new concepts and initiatives that were being considered and to explore avenues whereby the success of these efforts might be enhanced through this open collaborative platform.


In the evening I gathered with many others at the church of St. Nicolas de Flüe for an interfaith prayer service to mark the World Day of Peace that was sponsored by the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva. This marked the 50th anniversary of the World Day of Peace that was initiated by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and focused this year on the theme of “Non Violence: A style of politics for peace”. One by one the representatives of different faith traditions, Islam, Jewish, Buddhist, Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic, offered their reflection on this year’s message from Pope Francis and prayers were offered in six different languages. Choirs from Africa and the Philippines as well as a Vietnamese style prayer procession added to the offering.

On the second day I made my way to the UN headquarters in Geneva to participate in an event that was sponsored by religious, secular and government organizations to recognize the contributions of a 15th century Dominican friar to the foundation of International Law and to the principles and process that would eventually lead to the establishment of the League of Nations and the United Nations. On the occasion of the conclusion of the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Dominican friars, the Master general of the congregation as well as a number of UN officials and government representatives joined a large number of invitees in the Council Chamber that is now home to the conference on Disarmament and bear the name of Francisco de Vitoria, OP.

As I left the Council Chamber and headed toward the exit of the UN grounds I walked down the avenue and alongside the rows of country flags that were being occasionally disturbed by a gentle breeze on this chilly night. I found myself pondering both the discussions and yes compromises and the leaders that had contributed to the establishment of the League of Nations and then United Nations and the origins of the numerous international institutions and organizations that exist today. What was their dream, their founding vision and their guiding mission? What issues, problems and challenges were they hoping to address or solve? What inspiration, courage or dedication informed the numerous individuals from all over the world who contributed to this great work. As we surpass a world population of 7.5 billion and wrestle with the care of our fragile and beautiful common home, as Pope Francis reminded us, I wondered where and how we will find the wisdom and the architects to build the institutions and relationships that will be needed to hold our system together.

The inauguration of the Trump administration is offering in many ways a profound challenge to the vision of an international and global system that was rooted in the belief that a spirit of mutual trust and collaboration could be grounded in the principles of international law and governed by institutions that were based on those principles. Taking the country in some ways out of that web of international relationships and reducing one’s trust and commitment in the institutions that exist to promote harmony peacefully, resolve differences and provide a venue for public debate and cooperation appears reckless and lacking in foresight. At a minimum it is a significant divergence in direction and disruptive of the protocols that have been in place for decades.

At a time of significant disruption in our politics in the US and elsewhere we are left to look again to our foundations and to find direction and meaning and life in our vocation. The homilist at the local parish liturgy last Sunday carefully reminded us that in the Beatitudes we can find the Charter for living a Christian life and experience the grace filled presence of the Living God. May it be so!

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