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Stand With Refugees on June 20 June 14th, 2019
According to the United Nations (UN), more than 68.5 MILLION people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Since 2000 the UN has recognized June 20th as World Refugee Day to honor the courage and resilience of those forced to flee threats of persecution, conflict, and violence.
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 national and international level through organizations like Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Relief Service, Catholic Charities and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Justice for Immigrants).
Visit Justice for Immigrants’ website to read more about the U.S. Bishops’ campaign to support immigrants and refugees and download their 2019 World Refugee Day toolkitto learn more about the observance and for community engagement ideas.
Dear Brother Oblates and all our Brothers and Sisters living the Oblate Charism,
The feast of St. Eugene de Mazenod always brings us the renewed desire to live more faithfully as he insisted: with charity among us and zeal for the salvation of souls. May this day be a special day of prayer, communion and joyful celebration!
Very shortly, in July, the Major Superiors of the Congregation will be meeting for the Interchapter in Obra, Poland. We will be evaluating how the decisions taken in the 2016 General Chapter have been carried out and how to further implement them; the remote preparation for the next Chapter will also begin at the Interchapter. Please pray to the Holy Spirit so that we may achieve greater effectiveness in responding to the Chapter directions.
In January of this year, the members of the Central Government spent several days in Palermo, Sicily, following the footsteps of Eugene de Mazenod. It was in Palermo that he spent the last stage of his exile, from 1799 to 1802, before finally returning to France. He would have been there from the age of 17 to 20 years. We were guided on this pilgrimage by a member of MAMI, Enzo David, and by the president of the secular Institute, Oblate Missionary Cooperators of the Immaculate ((COMI), Ileana Chinnici.
We spent hours in the streets of Palermo, seeing the places where Eugene lived, the palazzi of important families whose circles he frequented and the churches he attended. We accompanied his life as a young noble, stopping at various sites to read excerpts from his letters and memoirs. We came in touch with different aspects of Eugene’s personality and we recognized experiences from his sojourn in Palermo that surely left marks on his personality, his future and the Oblate charism.
CLICK HERE to read the full letter.
Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, Participates in Third Day of Reflection on “Mining for the Common Good” May 8th, 2019
Fr Séamus participated in a Day of Reflection on “Mining for the Common Good” in Rome, Italy where Pope Francis addressed participants at the event on Friday, May 3rd. This marks the 3rd time a day of reflection on the role of mining has been convened at the Vatican by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development. Two events on a similar theme were convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in 2014 and 2016.
All these events have wrestled with the role of mining throughout history while recognizing both its numerous contributions to human achievement and at the same time its destructive and very negative consequences for certain regions of the planet, and for the peoples and communities who have called some of these areas home for centuries.
Pope Francis highlighted a number of themes and issues that mining raises for faith traditions, governments, the planet, indigenous peoples and civil society. He also suggested some of the avenues and questions we need to consider in our search for answers. These are both on the macro scale of reforming the economic system in which extractive companies operate and curtailing the consumerist waste-generating lifestyles that too many of us follow.
In his address, Pope Francis also highlighted the need for multi-stakeholder dialogue that includes all parties, including those very critical of the industry. He encouraged all participants to enter into these engagements in a spirit of genuine dialogue that seeks to deliver solutions that demonstrate genuine care for “our common home” and ensures that those without access to basic human needs benefit from the resources that mining produces. He also sees a role for religions in fostering these types of dialogues, by articulating a vision that connects people, planet and the transcendent.
From April 28 to 29 the OMI JPIC Committee gathered in New Orleans, LA at the historic St Augustine Catholic Church for their first meeting in the new year. The group meets twice-yearly to review and share progress on JPIC’s work. Discussions centered on JPIC’s core areas of work – efforts to combat opioid crisis; socially responsible investing; integrity of creation initiatives (Oblate Ecological Learning Center; the Community Supported Garden in Godfrey, IL & Three Part Harmony Farm in Washington, DC); and human dignity initiatives like immigration and human trafficking. Discussions also centered on engagement and outreach to young adults and retired Oblates.
The group also took a break from meeting discussions to learn more about their Oblate host and St. Augustine Church, which is the oldest African-American Catholic parish in the U.S. The parish was founded in 1841 by free people of color and the grounds were once part of a slave plantation. During a tour led by Fr. Emmanuel Mulenga OMI, pastor of St Augustine, the group learned more about the history of the Church property and paid a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Slave. The JPIC Committee also enjoyed lunch with local Oblates.
The US JPIC Advisory Committee is a mix of Oblates and laypersons passionate about issues of justice, economic development and ecology. They serve as a sounding board for the JPIC Office.
Current US JPIC Advisory Committee members are:
- Dr. Victor Carmona, Chair, Assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego
- Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, is OMI JPIC Director & Chief of Faith Consistent Investing – OIP Investment Trust
- George Ngolwe, is Associate Director, OMI JPIC
- Mr. Gary Huelsmann, is Chief Executive Officer at Caritas Family Solutions, Belleville, IL
- Ms. Patti Radle, is Co-Director of Inner City Development, San Antonio, TX
- Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, is Director of the Oblate Ecology Initiative, Belleville, IL
- Fr. Ray Cook, OMI, is Oblate Council Representative & Director & Chaplain, Catholic Student Center, Rice University, Houston, TX
- Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, is International JPIC Office and Oblate UN Representative – New York
Also in attendance were Rowena Gono (Communications – OMI JPIC) and Bayor Chantal (Office Coordinator)
As a ministry for the Province, JPIC has several ongoing opportunities to support this ministry; either as a committee member or you can join a network of JPIC active supporters and sponsors.
If you are interested please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fr. Ray Cook, OMI, & Rice University Students Visit OMI JPIC Offices March 14th, 2019
OMI JPIC recently hosted Fr. Raymond Cook, OMI, & Rice University students at JPIC offices. Fr. Ray is currently the chaplain at Rice University. The students shared on their activities through the campus ministry and JPIC staff presented on how their work connects with Catholic Social Teaching.