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Honoring Women on International Women’s Day March 9th, 2017
International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. Different regions of the world mark the day in various ways but the general focus of celebrations is to show women respect, appreciation and love for their economic, political and social achievements.
The former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon stressed that “violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights, a public health pandemic and a major obstacle to sustainable development. It imposes exorbitant costs upon families, communities and economies. The world can’t afford to pay this price. The cost of violence would represent 5.2% of the world economy.”
Women occupy a special place in the heart of Pope Francis. In a 2016 Twitter post he noted, “So many women are overwhelmed with the burdens of life and the drama of violence! The Lord wants them to be free and their dignity respected.” The pope has also condemned “the serious practice of female genital mutilation in some cultures, but also the inequality of access to dignified workplaces and the places where decisions are made.” The Pope denounces both “abuses in the family circle” but also “the various forms of slavery, which do not constitute a demonstration of masculine force but a cowardly degradation.” On the essential role of women in society and in the church he declared: “Woman is the most beautiful thing God has created.”
Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed the “special abilities” of women and the way they look at the world. “They convey to us the ability to see beyond,” the Holy Father said, “to understand the world with different eyes, to hear, to see things with a more creative, patient, tender heart seeking to build a more humane and welcoming society.” The Pope also invites us to pray that “in all countries of the world women are honored and respected, and that their irreplaceable social contribution be valued.”
In the book of Genesis 2:18, we read, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help mate. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
God therefore created woman for man so that they may love one another, and become one flesh, and to grow, multiply and fill the land with children.
To create the first humans, He made them himself. To procreate God in his love and his sovereignty entrusted the unique role of child bearing to the woman.
In Genesis 3, we see, sin entering the heart of woman and into the heart of man. Because of this, both have fallen into sin and into death. But the Lord is powerful in his ability to restore that which has been destroyed. The plan of salvation came through the Lord Jesus Christ who was born of a woman, a virgin, and born by the power of the Holy Spirit in the body of a woman. He was formed in the body of Mary in a supernatural way by the Holy Spirit, so that the posterity of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. It was the woman Eve, who brought sin into the world, and it was through the woman, Mary, that the world received salvation through her Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bayor comes from Chad, Central Africa and is working on her Masters in social work at the Catholic University of America. She recently published a book about the practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Africa called ” L’obscurite sous le Soleil” translated as “Darkness under the sun.” The book is currently being translated into English.
Minnesota faces real challenges to life and human dignity. Catholics are called to respond and on March 9th Minnesota’s bishops, dynamic Church speakers, and over 1,000 Catholics from across the state will convene in St. Paul for Catholics at the Capitol, a day of inspiration and advocacy organized by the Minnesota Catholic Conference. Topics to be addressed include assisted suicide, school choice, and support for struggling families.
Attendees will be informed about the issues, inspired to bring their faith into the public square, and equipped to have meaningful conversations with their legislators.
Among the attendees and making the four-hour drive from White Earth, MN will be Oblate Fr. John Cox, OMI, of St. Ann’s parish along with others from the diocese of Crookston, Minnesota traveling by bus.
Fr. John Cox, OMI, with Fr. Joe Hitpas, OMI, and Fr. Dan Nassaney, OMI, serve the Catholic community of the White Earth Indian (Ojibwe) Reservation in Northwestern Minnesota. Fr. John will lead the group visiting legislators representing Minnesota State District 2.
Lenten Reflections Written by Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI March 2nd, 2017
Click on any date below to hear the reflection for that day
APRIL 16, 2017 EASTER SUNDAY
Frs. Daniel LeBlanc and Antonio Ponce Conduct Weeklong Workshop in Guatemala February 28th, 2017
2017 Labeling For Lent Campaign February 27th, 2017
Labeling for Lent
An Effort to Prevent Human Trafficking
By the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT)
Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that enslaves women, men, and children into situations of forced labor, debt bondage, and sexual servitude. Human trafficking is wide spread in many products’ supply chains, including products sold in the United States. For example, the United States imports 80-90% of its seafood, and tens of thousands of people are exploited at every link in the seafood harvesting and production chain. This exploitation occurs through abusive recruitment practices, as well as slavery at sea and in seafood processing plants.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
So what can we, as Catholics, do to prevent human trafficking and exploitation in supply chains? We can educate ourselves and use our power as ethical consumers to help stamp out trafficking.
“Together with the social responsibility of businesses, there is also the social responsibility of consumers. Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.”
HOW CAN WE DO THIS?
Currently, we are not always given the information we need to make moral purchasing decisions. CCOAHT wants to ask seafood companies that are engaged in cleaning up their supply chains to label their packaged products. Through labeling, we as consumers can make educated purchasing choices that help eradicate human trafficking.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We encourage you to share this with your networks and ask them to fill out the survey as well!
CCOAHT will use the data from this survey when it reaches out to seafood companies to request that they include a label on their packaged products.
CCOAHT is a nationwide coalition that represents religious orders and organizations, and is a key leader in the Catholic struggle against human trafficking in the United States.
Responding to Signs of Our Times in the Spirit of St. Eugene De Mazenod February 27th, 2017
Prompted by recent alarming executive actions by the new administration, the U.S. Provincial Fr. Bill Antone, OMI, on February 7 penned a letter to the Province inviting Oblates and Associates to reflect on the challenges of our nation today. The letter begins: “There are many contrasting voices in our nation these days.” It continues, “How can we be engaged?… These times call us to reflect deeply on how our Catholic faith and principles can shed light upon a myriad of questions we face concerning immigrants, ecology, economy, trade, human rights, race, patriotism, church unity, world order, checks and balances, war and peace.”
Early in his message Fr. Bill called on the JPIC office to “assist us, as appropriate, with some resources, reflections and suggestions for action.” Under our Oblate JPIC initiative of Human Dignity we work on issues that promote respect for God’s creation, recognizing that the dignity of the human person is rooted in his or her creation in the image and likeness of God. In this resource we hope to provide you with reflections and actions to encourage your solidarity with a few of these communities: migrants/refugees, trafficking victims and those whose lives are threatened.
Solidarity with Refugees and Immigrants
Today, more refugees are fleeing wars and persecutions than ever on record. According to UN data, 2015 saw the highest levels of displaced people in history, with 51% of this number being children. Click here for reflections and suggested actions on behalf of refugees and immigrants.
Ending Human Trafficking
Modern slavery, also known as human trafficking is ‘the illegal trade in people for exploitation or commercial gain.’ It is the second largest criminal activity today, second only to the illegal drug trade, and it is growing. Human Trafficking generates more revenue than Google, Starbucks, Nike and the NFL combined (International Labor Organization (ILO). Click here for reflections and suggested actions on behalf of human trafficking victims.
Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, the Missionary Oblates JPIC Consistent Life initiative advocates for the dignity of all human life. We believe that life is sacred and should be protected in all stages. As a society, we lack a fundamental respect for human life. Click here for reflections and suggested actions on behalf of people whose lives are threatened.