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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.
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
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.
Take Action & Pray with Dreamers this Week: October 29-November 4 October 31st, 2017
A Week of Prayer and Action with Dreamers – October 29 to November 4, 2017 – is underway to build support and elevate the moral voice in support of the DREAM Act of 2017 (S.1615 and H.R. 3440) in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Dreamers are recipients of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. They are young people who came to the United States before the age of 16 and are currently in school, a graduate of high school or equivalent.
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition has created a Dream Sabbath Toolkit to highlight Dreamer’s stories and resources for advocacy, worship services, educational events, and vigils.
Join faith communities to mark DREAMER’S SABBATH Week and Urge Your Member of Congress to Enact DREAM ACT 2017.
Visit links to Take Action and find more resources on how to support young migrants: