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2018 World Refugee Day: Take Action & Pray for Refugees June 18th, 2018
The United Nations General Assembly in 2000, designated June 20 as World Refugee Day. According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is one who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
For many years the Catholic Church, through its various agencies has actively raised awareness about the plight of refugees through education and advocacy, and directly provided services for them.
These efforts take place on the international level through organizations like Catholic Relief Servicesand Jesuit Relief Service, and domestically, through Catholic Charities and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Here are some ways to become involved:
Visit Justice for Immigrants’ website to read more about the U.S. Bishops’ campaign to support immigrants and refugees.
Sr. Ann Diehl, CSJ Named Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate June 6th, 2018
|Photos courtesy of Janice Cooke|
Congratulations to former OMI US provincial secretary and archivist Sr. Ann Diehl, CSJ, for 26 years of service to the Oblates and still counting. On June 4, Sr. Ann received the designation of Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate during a Mass and program held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. The ceremony was officiated by Oblate Superior General Fr. Louis Lougen, OMI, assisted by US Provincial Fr. Louis Studer, OMI. Following the Mass, a lunch reception was held at the Oblate residence. Sr. Ann has been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 54 years.
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate–JPIC has joined other faith-based organizations in support of the bipartisan Uniting and Securing America Act (USA) Act, H.R. 4796 (a bill similar to the Dream Act). This bill will also provide migrant Dreamers with a path to citizenship and address the push factors of migration from Central America.
The USA Act 2018 has over 48 bipartisan original cosponsors. If passed into law, it would provide Dreamers who have lived in the U.S. for at least four years, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, the opportunity to earn permanent legal status if they meet certain requirements, for e.g. if they pursue higher education, enlist in the military, are gainfully employed, and meet other additional requirements. The bill also strengthens border security through the use of technology and development of a comprehensive southern border strategy.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) supports both the Dream Act and the USA Act 2018. They strongly urge you to make your faithful voice heard.
Take Action and let your House of Representatives know of your support. Urge them to take legislative action on both the USA Act and the Dream Act.
Fr Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, Moderates NGO Side Event at the 17th UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues May 3rd, 2018
The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held it’s seventeenth session from April 16 – 27. The theme for the 2018 forum was; “Indigenous Peoples’ Collective Rights to Lands, Territories and Resources.” According to the UNPFII, indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. Indigenous Peoples have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Several indigenous communities from around the globe were represented at the UNPFII. Many of them had opportunities to present statements on issues of concern to their different communities.
The President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, in his opening remarks at the forum, painted the grim picture of the situation of the over 300 million Indigenous Peoples around the world. He noted that while Indigenous Peoples make up about 5 percent of the world’s population, they comprise 15 percent of the world’s poorest people. A situation he described as ‘shocking.’ Mr. Lajčák also highlighted some of the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples as violations of their human rights, marginalization, and violence they face for asserting their rights. Focusing on the theme of indigenous land, territories and resources, Mr. Lajčák pointed out that, “Indigenous Peoples are being dispossessed of the lands their ancestors called home,” often by big time and multi-national farmers and mining corporations.
In a recent report by Conselho Indigenista Missionaria (“Indigenous Missionary Council” – a subsidiary of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil), some of the challenges faced by a number of indigenous communities in Brazil (as well as indigenous communities around the world) include; high rate of of suicide, lack of health care, high child mortality, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of indigenous education and lack of general support from the State.
NGO Event at United Nations 17th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
As part of the Forum’s many side events, on April 18 Fr Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, moderated a session on “Spiritual Connection and Right Stewardship of Land, Territory, and Resources, including Water for Indigenous Peoples,” with panelists that included:
- Atilano Alberto Ceballos Loeza – Leader in sustainable agricultural practices and defender of land and territory in Yucatan
- Elvia de Jesús Arévalo Ordóñez – Member of the Council of Government of the Community CASCOMI (Amazon Community of Social Action Cordillera del Cóndor Mirador), integrated by native families and settlers of the parish Tundayme-Ecuador
- Augostina Mayán Apikai – Awajún indigenous woman leader born in Cordoncanqui is the president of the Development Organization of Border Communities of Cenepa – ODECOFROC. http://odecofroc-es.blogspot.com/p/nuestra-organizacion.html
- Leila Rocha – Guarani Ñandeva, member of the board of Aty Guasu Guarani and Kaiowá, Mato Grosso do Sul
- Sachem HawkStorm – Schaghticoke First Nations
The event was held at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City and organized by Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate; UN Mining Working Group; NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Congregation of the Mission; VIVAT International; Caritas International; Dominican Leadership Conference; Franciscans International; Red Eclesial Pan Amazónica (REPAM); Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI); Sunray Meditation Society
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: https://bit.ly/2pvCccv
UN News on Indigenous Peoples’ land rights: https://bit.ly/2H4EU1M
Conselho Indigenista Missionaria report on violence against indigenous peoples in brazil in English, Espanol and Portugese: https://bit.ly/2F1w133
Yale Scholar Delivers Keynote at Day of Reflection on “Laudato SI” in Belleville Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows May 2nd, 2018
(Originally published on www.omiusa.org)
Thanks to Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of the La Vista Ecological Learning Ctr.
On Saturday, April 21, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker gave the keynote address at a conference held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois entitled Our Sacred Earth, Our Common Home. Dr. Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies. This event is the second in a series devoted to the study and implementation of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’.
According to Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of the La Vista Ecological Learning Center which co-sponsored the event, “The participants were inspired by Dr. Tucker’s enthusiasm as she shared her appreciation of papal encyclical Laudato Si’. She helped us to wake up to its importance in the Catholic tradition of social encyclicals as well as its worldwide influence and impact beyond Catholicism. Being a leader in the emerging field of Religion and Ecology, she was able to unite the two as she led us through the content of the document.”
Throughout her presentation, Dr. Tucker praised Pope Francis for his leadership and call to action: “The spirituality of Francis in the encyclical is clear: It begins with Mother Earth, the Canticle to Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Bonaventure, you all know the mind’s path to God goes through the natural world…and so much of this is awe-evoking action…we’re looking for renewable energy, the renewal energy we’re looking for is the energy of the spirit. To renew the face of the earth. And that’s where religious communities, spiritual sensibilities and moral force will make a difference.”
After the keynote, the attendees split up for break out sessions, one by Sr. Cheryl Kemner, OSF and Nicole Heerlein of Franciscans for Earth: “The Challenge of Technology and Simple Lifestyle,” another featuring Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of La Vista Ecological Learning Center: “Backyard Revolution,” “Care for the Earth; Care for the Poor” by Sr. Connie Probst, OSF – Co-Director, St. Anthony’s Food Pantry, and “What Can My Parish and Family Do?” by Jamie Hasemeier of Holy Redeemer Parish. In addition, Dr. Tucker held a break out session for religious sisters.
The event, which attracted about 100 people ran from 9 AM to Noon at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The day was co-sponsored by: the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows; La Vista Ecological Learning Center; the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.