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2017 World Refugee Day: Take Action & Pray for Refugees June 15th, 2017
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 worked and actively raised awareness about the plight of refugees through advocacy, education, and services to provide increased protections for them.
These efforts take place on the international level through organizations like Catholic Relief Services and Jesuit Relief Service, and domestically, through Catholic Charities and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Visit Justice for Immigrants website to read more about the U.S. Bishops’ campaign to support immigrants and refugees.
Hospice Vegetable Garden in Tijuana, Mexico
Creating a Community of Hope
Missionary Oblates JPIC in partnership with the local catholic community in Tijuana, Mexico launched a hospice vegetable in Albergue Las Memorias A.C. Tijuana is a city of 2.2 million people and La Morita Colonia, where the project is launched, is one of the most impoverished and fastest growing neighborhoods of 300,000 people. The Albergue Las Memorias (Hostel of Memories) has been operating for the last 12 years as a residential hospice facility and the only one of its kind in Tijuana. It provides care and a safe place for approximately 130 indigent men, women and children infected with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Many of the residents have been rejected by society and abandoned by their families. Albergue Las Memorias gives patients shelter, medical attention, and if it comes to that, a place to die in dignity. It also gives them an incentive to avoid drugs and alcohol if they have an addiction.
A Shared Commitment
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate has been working in La Morita, Tijuana, Mexico since 1996. Oblate priests work at San Eugenio de Mazenod Parish, serving La Morita’s residents and managing about 14 sites or chapels, Alberque Las Memorias being one of them. The Oblates are involved in celebrating Catholic masses, confessions, visiting people at their homes, especially the sick, etc. At Albergue las Memorias they provide support by celebrating masses, confessions, funerals and help with food at least once a week. The San Eugenio Parish’s territory covers about 7.5 square miles. The parish has ministered to thousands of the more than 300,000 men, women and children who live in the Colonia La Morita and surrounding areas, on the outer edge of the city of Tijuana.
After several visits to the residents and community at Albergue Las Memorias, Missionary Oblates JPIC identified the need for a hospice vegetable garden. We believe this local supported imitative will empower vulnerable populations, helping them lead ‘dignified lives regardless of their physical, mental or psychosocial limitations.’ Young residents make up a significant number of the facility’s population. The garden will provide fresh and reliable food, greatly needed for the many patients: the shelter often struggles with having enough food for everybody. The plan for the vegetable is to start producing enough food for residents, and eventually surplus will be sold in the community. Profits from the sale of produce will fund the upkeep of the facility.
To fund the project, Missionary Oblates JPIC initially pursued foundation grants but had no success. Believing in the facility’s vision, we reached out to groups at an Oblate parish and other interested individuals. “Families for Life” and “Projection Ministry of Santa Rosa” were among the groups that provided financial support. From Santa Clarita, C.A. families forming the movement “World Marriage Encounter” also donated to the project. While some gave financially, others volunteered their time to work on the garden. Able-bodied patients at the shelter also helped. We are very grateful for all those who made this initiative a reality. We ask that you keep the Hospice Vegetable Garden Initiative in your prayers and stay tuned for future updates on progress. We are thankful to those who have taken a stand by supporting and contributing to these vulnerable people at the hospice in Tijuana.
For more information on how to get updates about the Hospice garden visit this page: www.omiusajpic.org
If you would like to support this project please visit this website.
Oblates in Jaffna and Colombo (Sri Lanka) stand in solidarity with Families of the Disappeared and on May 30th, the Oblate Fathers of both Colombo and Jaffna Provinces joined in a street protest conducted by the Families of the Disappeared people during and after the war. The public protest was launched after 100 days of Day & Night protest in Kilunochchi town. “The campaign is successful in many aspects,” said Fr. Ashok Stephen, OMI, “including participation, clear articulation of demands as well as the people’s determination to continue the struggle.”
Eleven Oblate fathers of both provinces, Jaffna and Colombo, joined in the protest and were the largest religious group present there.
2017 World Environment Day: “Connecting People to Nature” June 1st, 2017
“We are called to be instruments of God our Father, so that our planet might be what he desired when he created it and correspond with his plan for peace, beauty and fullness.”(Laudato Si, 53).
Every June 5th people around the world celebrate World Environment Day to raise awareness about environmental issues. The UN designated this day at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, with the first observance taking place in 1974 and annually since then.
We also celebrate Pentecost a day before World Environment Day, on Sunday, June 4. Given this intersection, we invite you to explore Breath of Love, a very creative and rich new prayer/reflection resource from Sr. Gen Cassani, SSND. It includes a novena of prayers leading up to Pentecost (6/4), as well as quotes and reflections from Laudato Si’ and sacred scripture, plus ideas for commemorating World Environment Day (6/5).
As Sr. Gen has written, “you are invited to add to, create, have conversations, mull over, contemplate, delight in, question, probe, . . . ” – we simply say enjoy!
Click to download Breath of Love, a Pentecost and Environment resource compiled and designed by Sr. Gen Cassani, SSND.
Fr. Seamus represents the Oblate International Pastoral Investment Trust (OIP) on the advisory board of 8 Miles Private Equity Fund 8miles.com, which met in Lagos, Nigeria for two days in May. The OIP has a small position in this fund that has a presence in six African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia. The fund has a strong commitment to development and responsible investing and aligns well with the missionary thrust of the OIP and the Oblates.
While in Lagos, Fr. Seamus visited 8 Miles’ most recent investment, a cream biscuit factory. According to an 8 Miles company profile page on the project, Nigeria’s biscuit sector has seen strong growth of 10 to 15 per cent per annum, and they are projecting this to continue, driven by population growth, rising disposable incomes and increasing urbanization coupled with the growing popularity of biscuits as a convenience snack. According to 8 Miles, the growth in this sector is also the result of a relatively young population, with 63% of the country’s 115 million people, below the age of 25 years.
Beloxxi is a market leader in Nigeria with significant market share and has one of the most popular and highest selling cream cracker brands in the market, with a reputation for high quality. It operates several production lines from its plant in Agbara, Ogun State and multiple warehouses across the country. The Company employs about 2,300 people and operates through a network of about 400 distributors. The Company has experienced growth rates in excess of 30% per annum in the last few years.
8 Miles has identified select locations and sectors where its investment approach can be best implemented, with a focus on strong macroeconomic fundamentals, good governance, a favorable regime for foreign investors, and a track record of private sector reforms which make doing business easier.
More on Beloxxi Industries:
- Beloxxi Industries Ltd. is a biscuit producer, with the largest share of the cream crackers segment in Nigeria
- The company was established over 20 years ago as a biscuit importer and, in 2006, evolved into a local producer of cream crackers after building an ultra-modern factory in Nigeria
- Beloxxi biscuits are sold via a network of >400 distributors and supermarket chains in Nigeria, with exports to Ghana. The product is also served on international flights from Nigeria
- Market Potential: Growth in the Nigerian biscuits sector driven by increasing urbanization and rising popularity of biscuits as a convenience snack, in-between meals or on-the-go
- With a well-known brand and reputation for high quality, Beloxxi is the leading product by sales volumes in Nigeria’s cream crackers market
- Beloxxi enjoys cost and quality advantages due to a fully-automated and efficient production process. Exit potential also enhanced by world-class facilities
2017 Novena of Prayer for Oblate Vocations May 17th, 2017
From May 21st to May 29th, Missionary Oblate communities and parishes around the world are encouraged to offer prayers and reflection for vocations to Oblate life and mission. May 21 is the Feast of St. Eugene and May 29 is the anniversary of Blessed Joseph Gerard, OMI, the Oblate Missionary who worked in Lesotho. These nine days bring oblates, associates, parishioners, mission partners and friends together in prayer and reflection on oblate life and mission.
The Oblate JPIC office would like to invite you to pray and take action for the poor and marginalized people in your local community and around the world.
We’ve prepared a two-page novena on justice and peace themes. Commit to one, some or all of the days of Novena for Oblate Vocations.
Please also share this resource with others and invite your community to use it to promote vocations to the Missionary Oblate family.