Latest OMI JPIC News
800,000 Young Immigrants Need Your Help. Please Act Now. October 2nd, 2017
As Provincial of the U.S. Province, I am happy to add my support to the 800,000 young immigrants living in our country, going to school, working, without fear of deportation resulting in a fearful, uncertain future.
It is shameful to me that these young people might be facing deportation because the Trump Administration has recently announced an ending to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) within the next six months.
Please join me and many other U.S. Oblates in demanding action in Congress to protect these young immigrants. Congress must pass a new law to protect these young people and not allow them to be deported. The vast majority of them have done no wrong, committed no crime.
I ask you to join our Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry in taking action, as outlined in the letter from Fr. Antonio Ponce, OMI, Director (letter below and attached as a PDF).
Thank you for your interest and concern.
In Christ and Mary Immaculate,
Fr. Louis Studer, OMI
Prompted by the recent action of President Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects almost 800,000 young immigrants from deportation who came to the U.S. as children, I write to invite you to offer solidarity to these young people. DACA allows young immigrants to work, go to school, raise a family, and live in the United States without fear of separation by deportation. I ask you to stand with these young people and their families who may include youth members of our Oblates parishes and institutions.
Missionary Oblates JPIC is deeply disappointed with this decision to end DACA, as we expressed in a statement issued immediately after the announcement to end DACA. The consequences of repealing DACA are immediate and devastating to DACA recipients, their families and communities. At the 2016 General Chapter in Rome, Oblates were invited in the Acts of the Chapter to reflect:
In these times of great global changes, we respond to the call of the Spirit, as did St. Eugene de Mazenod in his Preface to the Oblate Rule, by giving a new impetus to the mission that is our raison d’être: being close to the new faces of the poor, the most abandoned, and sharing the Good News to which we are witnesses. We recognize urgent uses which strongly speak to us such us: the situation of refugees, the homeless, and migrants who are forced to leave their countries.
A statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, along with USCCB Vice President, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman, Committee on Migration, and Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima, chairman of the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees says, the “cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible,” and goes on to say:
The Church has recognized and proclaimed the need to welcome young people: ‘Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me’ (Mark 9:37). Today, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond
We need help to urge Members of Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017 and protect these young immigrants. In collaboration with other religious communities, we invite you to take action, and recommend the following resources:
- Call your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the DREAM Act of 2017 (S. 1615 / H.R. 3440)
- Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) resources:
- Pope Francis recently launched “Share the Journey” global campaign for migrants and refugees
As a JPIC ministry for the U.S province, we will continue to pray, champion immigration reform and push against harmful enforcement practices that separate families. Our faith and charism believe in the dignity of every human being, especially that of children and youth. Compassion, family unity and opportunity for newcomers from one generation to the next are foundations of this nation.
Fr Antonio Ponce OMI
Director, U.S Missionary Oblates JPIC Ministry Office
Share the Journey Campaign: Welcome Migrants and Refugees September 25th, 2017
On September 27, 2017, His Holiness Pope Francis will launch Share the Journey, a two-year worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the plight of immigrants and refugees. The campaign highlights Catholic teachings on migration and encourages openness to experiencing a culture of encounter to strengthen the relationships between migrants, refuges and host communities.
The campaign also reaffirms a Catholic commitment to accompany and welcome migrants and refugees. During the campaign, Catholic communities and organizations are encouraged to organize events, develop action guides, advocate and pray in support of migrants and refugees.
The campaign is sponsored by Caritas International. Join us today as we aim to make a difference.
Sr. Maxine Pohlman Receives Conservation Award September 20th, 2017
On Saturday, September 16th, Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, director of La Vista Ecological Learning Center and JPIC Committee member was one of three local residents presented with the 2017 Confluence Conservation Leadership Award at the annual Mississippi Earth tones Festival in Alton, IL. The festival is held annually as part of the State of Illinois’ “It’s Our River Day” initiative to celebrate Illinois watersheds through education, recreation and conservation. The award is for Sr. Maxine’s work with La Vista Ecological Learning Center, and specifically for her conservation work in the “Missionary Oblates’ Woods Nature Preserve”.
Congratulations, Sr. Maxine!
- Read more about the festival and awards event.
- Visit La Vista Ecological Learning Center’s website and check out upcoming programs.
Interview with Very Rev. Louis Studer, OMI Part 2 September 19th, 2017
Update on Rohingya Refugee Crisis in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh September 15th, 2017
14 September: Near about 400,000 Rohingya have fled across the border into neighboring Bangladesh. Part of them have so far taken temporary shelters in different shelters in Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar and most of them have taken shelters in various villages nearby. It is observed that the Rohingya people are fully dependent on food assistance and basic items. There is scarcity of appropriate source of drinking water and also sanitation situation is in dire position. Many of them are still living under the open sky. More than 200,000 Rohingya children who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar are at incredible risk and they need urgent support. It is to be noted that sixty percent of all refugees are children, according to preliminary data. (Unicef, 12 Sept.)
The Immediate Needs
Some identified immediate needs are food, water, food, sanitation, shelter, medicines,measures for child protection.
Over the last few decades, almost half a million Rohingya Muslims have been living in two registered camps and makeshift settlements bordering Cox’s Bazar, fleeing persecution and communal violence. Government has already taken up a plan to build one new camp in Tyingkhali near the Bakukhali camp to accommodate newly arrived Rohingya refugees.
- Government and local union parishad have so far set up nine tube-wells in Gomdom Rohingya camp for providing drinking water.
- Registration of Rohingya families using biometric system has been officially started at Rohingya camp in Ukhia’s Balukhali on 11 September, Monday, 2017, noon.
- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhia upazila of Cox’s Bazar on 12 Sept. During the visit she said,‘Bangladesh would offer the refugees temporary shelter and aid, but that Myanmar should soon “take their nationals back.”
- Diplomats of 46 countries, comprising ambassadors and high commissioners, visited the Kutupalong and Balukhali Rohingya camps and interacted with Rohingya refugees on 13 September.
Some NGOs and local people are providing food, water, cash, but almost all of these initiatives are going on in a scattered way. Bangladesh Border Guards are providing some medicines. Local community people are also providing support with dry foods, bamboo for making shelter etc. They are also helping them to reach the nearby shelters.
Diplomats of 46 countries, comprising ambassadors and high commissioners, visited the Kutupalong and Balukhali Rohingya camps and interacted with Rohingya refugees on 13 September.
Caritas Bangladesh plans to distribute food and non-food items among 14,130 Rohingya people with the total budget amount of Tk. 34,457283. Each family will receive 15kg of rice, 2kg of pressed rice, 3kg of dal (pulse), 1kg of salt, 1kg of sugar and 1 litre of edible oil, as well as some home and cooking products such as rice dish, plate, spoon, glass, etc. soon after getting approval from the NGO Affairs Bureau in Bangladesh.
This update was provided by Caritas Bangladesh. Please visit their website here: www.caritasbd.org
Read more news reports about the conflict:
Biblically Responsible Investing September 11th, 2017
The inaugural Christian Investment Summit took place at the Billy Graham Training Center just outside of Ashville, NC August 16 – 18. The brochure announcing this event promised to bring “together investment and financial thought-leaders to learn more about Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI)” and to engage “with one another in an inspiring mountain retreat setting”.
The event was steeped in the evangelical tradition that drew from the Jewish and Christian scriptures, the preached word and many rich hymns and songs of praise. These morning and evening services wrestled with themes like “Faith and the Market” and the how the value system of Jesus Christ might inform the principles and the decision-making processes that guide both the advisory services and transactions that investment practitioners offer to their clients each day.