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Mission Sunday 2017 – Catholic Diocese of Livingstone, Zambia October 16th, 2017

Mission Sunday is October 22, 2017. Organized by Propagation of the Faith, Catholics worldwide celebrate and reflect on their baptismal call of the gift of faith and re-commit to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and generosity in support of various young mission dioceses around the world.

Bishop Valentine Kalumba, OMI, was consecrated Bishop for the Catholic Diocese of
Livingstone, Zambia in September 2016. As part of the celebration to mark Mission Sunday 2017, Bishop Valentine Kalumba, OMI, shares about challenges, growing pastoral needs  and      opportunities for mission work in the diocese.

Read the full blog post here.

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!



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.

Government  Initiatives
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.

Other Support:
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 Initiatives:
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:

Read more news reports about the conflict:

The Rohingya in Myanmar: How Years of Strife Grew Into a Crisis 

In a Rohingya Refugee Camp, Soccer Is a Joyful Escape

At Risk in Rohingya Exodus: 230,000 Children, Hundreds All Alone

Houston Oblates Cope and Minister in Hurricane Aftermath August 30th, 2017

Originally published at

By Will Shaw and Mike Viola, Compiled from reports by Oblate Fathers Sal De George and Ray Cook, Photos by Fr. Ray Cook

Fr. Sal De George, OMI,  recently named Superior for the Houston Oblate community, spoke with us by telephone on Monday, August 28th with an update on the situation facing the Oblates and their constituents in Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The oblates he says, are located southeast of downtown very near the Buffalo Bayou. Fr. De George is at Immaculate Conception Parish along with Oblate Fathers David Uribe and Henry Walker. About a mile away at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, are Fathers Ray Cook, Gene Cañas and Tim Paulson. Fr. Sal reports that both parishes, rectories, residences and the Oblate Currsillo Center are un-damaged so far, but as weather forecasters are predicting another 15-25 inches of rain by Friday, they are hardly “out of the woods” as yet.

Read the full article at

Frs. Antonio Ponce and Daniel Ziegler Support Dream Campaign Vigil at White House August 28th, 2017

Two critical programs – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protective Status (TPS) are in danger.  DACA is under imminent threat of lawsuit by TX Attorney General along with nine states and TPS is facing threat of cancellation by the Trump Administration. 

DACA provides eligible immigrant youth the chance to live, study, and work without fear of deportation for a temporary period. Nearly 800,000 young people are currently pursuing their hopes and American dreams, freed from constant fear of getting torn from their families by immigration enforcement, thanks to DACA protection. Similarly, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) has opened hundreds of thousands of opportunities to approximately 400,000 people. 

Fr. Antonio Ponce (far left) and Fr. Daniel Ziegler (back row, far right)

Beginning August 15, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN)and other groups initiated a vigil in front of the White House with supporters rotating shifts daily. The vigil is aimed at bringing together immigrants, their families and friends, and supporters to fight for youth and their futures.

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