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August 9 is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples August 3rd, 2018
This day is celebrated around the world and at the United Nations Headquarters in New York each year, bringing together indigenous peoples’ organizations, UN agencies, Member States, civil society, academia and the general public. This year’s theme is “Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement.” The 2018 theme will focus on the current situation of indigenous territories, the root causes of migration, trans-border movement and displacement, with a specific focus on indigenous peoples living in urban areas and across international borders.
There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.
To learn more about this international observance visit the UN’s website.
Visit the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) page to download the event program and key messages.
From July 8-10, 2018 the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (IHD) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) co-hosted the third conference on impact investing with the theme, Scaling Investment in Service of Integral Human Development. Information about the conference can be found by clicking here.
Held in Rome, the event drew experts and Catholic leaders from around the world, including Frs. Séamus Finn, OMI and Rufus Whitley, OMI. Fr. Séamus spoke on the panel Advances within the Catholic Church and Fr. Rufus participated in discussions on Deploying Capital for Impact at the Base of the Pyramid.
Other panels addressed issues like climate change, health, migrants, refugees, and youth unemployment and how impact investment can improve conditions for people affected. The conference was billed as a ‘results-oriented’ event and a long-term global commitment.
Vatican Marks the 3rd Anniversary of Laudato Si July 24th, 2018
The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development organized an International Conference on the 3rd Anniversary of the encyclical Laudato Si’: Saving our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth. The event took place from July 5-6, 2018 and drew representatives from civil society, religions, churches, scientists, politicians, economists, and grassroots groups to review past work and develop a plan of action. Speaking to attendees, Pope Francis remarked that “the “common home” of our planet also needs urgently to be repaired and secured for a sustainable future.”
Conference recordings and presentations can be found here.
25th Anniversary Dedication Celebration of the Missionary Oblates Woods Nature Preserve July 13th, 2018
Down-to-Earth Oblates Break Ground 1993
by Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND
In 1993 two local women, Margaret Morrissey and Annie Hoagland, had a special vision for the River bluff area in Alton and Godfrey. Wanting the land along the bluffs to be preserved for future generations, they tried to persuade area landowners to enter into legal agreements to preserve their land, but they were unsuccessful until the Provincial Council of the Oblates agreed. Then other landowners also signed on! Father Lou Studer was on the Council at the time, and he remembers this visit and their follow-up letter campaign. He also remembers that the Council agreeing unanimously to dedicate 16 acres as an Illinois Nature Preserve! These acres is now named the Missionary Oblates Woods Nature Preserve.
“More Important Now Than Ever” was the theme of our celebration. In the past 25 years more land has been developed and forests have continued to degrade; so, preserving high quality forested area has only increased in importance. It was truly visionary to begin preserving as much forested area as possible twenty-five years ago.
The celebration was held on Saturday, July 7th outdoors from 2:00 – 4:00 pm and was attended by over 40 people, including Mayor Mike McCormick, representatives of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and the Great Rivers Land Trust, faithful Preserve volunteers, friends and the Novitiate Community. The program included a luncheon for special guests, several presentations and a guided hike into the Preserve.
Jack Lau, OMI, served as the emcee, expertly weaving together the presentations with his passion for land and La Vista in particular. Speakers included:
- Debbie Newman, Natural Areas Preservation Specialist with the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, who shared the history of the preservation movement in Illinois, pointing out that the Oblates were the first faith-based group to preserve land in the state
- Pen Daubach, an Illinois Nature Preserves Commissioner, who highlighted the name “Oblate” as “one who offers”, saying that the Oblates have made a big commitment in offering their land to protect biodiversity and to preserve habitat.
- Father Lou Studer, OMI, pointing out that Oblates are “down-to-Earth” priests and brothers seeking practical solutions to issues. “Oblates are close to the people,” he said. “Oblates preach the message of Jesus who often used images from nature in his teaching.” Father Lou also summarized for us the work of Oblates in the
justice, peace and integrity of creation priority, sharing this aspect of the Oblate spirit.
- Maxine Pohlman, SSND, who works with the Preserve volunteers, said that it was the work of this group of highly dedicated people who healed the acres by removing trash, invasive species, and planting native wildflowers. “They work hard, meeting monthly, to tackle a job that looked impossible, but the volunteers have made a huge difference in a few years.” For several years OMI novices have taken part in Preserve work, putting up boundary markers, removing honeysuckle, and participating in controlled burns.
After the presentations, the hike into the Preserve was a real eye-opener for participants who got to experience firsthand what land can look like when it is maintained by people who have learned to do the task correctly. A clear view of the River, the presence of native wildflowers, and the absence of big honeysuckle bushes and invasive trees make the Preserve a beautiful example of what protected land can look like and how it can serve the community of life in this region.
Everyone took away with them a good share of Oblate spirit, esteem for the work of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, and the peace that comes with spending time in a beautiful place.
On the last Saturday of June, the morning began with coffee and quiche. The early sun warmed the morning promising a bright and sunny day as over 2000 demonstrators gathered along the shore of Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA for the Families Belong Together rally. Local geese, families with their children and adults, gathered with the thousands of Americans, across the country, demanding the reunification of immigrant families seeking refuge from the tyranny of physical and emotional violence. Many speakers and musicians addressed the injustice encountered by immigrant families at the southern border of the United States.
However, as I sat with my mother who gladly joined me at the rally, I felt a growing gloom as I considered the anguish of parents and children forcibly separated by the cruel and in-inhumane policies of the government that represents this country. A country once called “a city on the hill.” As I walked to the gathering site for the demonstration, I encountered another aging man who shared my gloomy feelings, asking, “how many times do we have to meet like this?” Indeed, how many times? As the families and adults gathered, I heard in the speeches and music the answer to our common question: “as many times as the vulnerable and powerless are harmed and treated unjustly.” As the crowd swelled my spirits began to rise, there was a spirit of compassion weaving its thread throughout the crowd. Many signs, in one way or another, spoke of “building bridges, not walls.”
While with this crowd, and standing in solidarity with the many children and parents being denied their intrinsic right of being family, I was reminded that my participation in this rally was my solidarity with the nameless children and parents, as well as my solidarity with my Oblate brothers and their parishioners who know the names and their humanity.
Together, compassion has taken to the streets and the national demonstrations and the presence of my Oblate brothers and the many volunteers, echoed the words of St. Augustine: “an unjust law is no law at all.”
INFORMATION SHARED by Fr. Daniel LeBlanc OMI, (Missionary Oblates’ representative at the United Nations)
“We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.” Laudato Si’ 76
The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a meeting of the Member States of the United Nations under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The 2018 forum will be held from July 9-18. The HLPF is tasked with the central role of the follow-up and review of the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. And the highlight of the forum is the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). As part of the follow-up and review mechanism of the SDGs, the VNRs facilitates the sharing of experiences and lessons learned and challenges by the Member States with a view to implementing the SDGs. Forty-seven countries will be conducting the National Voluntary Reviews during the 2018 forum. The HLPF platform provides opportunities for partnership among the Member States. Civil society organizations, UN agencies, the private sector, academia, and other stakeholders also actively participate in the forum.
The following goals, including goal 17 (Strengthen the Means of Implementation and Revitalize Global Partnership for Sustainable Development), will be reviewed during the 2018 HLPF. The central theme for the 2018 HLPF is, “Transformation Towards Sustainable and Resilient Society.”
- Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
2018 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf/2018