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A Ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

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October is Respect Life Month October 17th, 2017

October is Respect Life Month and is a time for us to renew our commitment to protecting those most vulnerable in our midst. There are many ways we can get involved in our parishes, and our own prayer lives.

Education

In a recent statement, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life activities, reaffirmed the Church’s commitment to protecting human life at all stages. You can read Cardinal Dolan’s entire statement here.  

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has prepared a number of excellent resources to share with members of our parish communities. Many of these are available to print for free.

Advocacy

The Missionary Oblates JPIC continues to advocate for passage of the Conscience Protection Act of 2017. Join us in urging your representatives to pass this important piece of legislation.

Prayer

Above all, let us remember to pray for an end to abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, war, and all violations of human life.

Only with prayer – prayer that storms the heavens for justice and mercy, prayer that cleanses our hearts and souls – will the culture of death that surrounds us today be replaced with a culture of life.”

-Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Catholic Bishops

 

 


2017 Peace Day : Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All October 6th, 2017

2017 Peace Day ThemeTogether for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All

September 21 of every year was observed as the International Day of Peace.  World Peace Day which was established in 1981 by a United Nations resolution is designed to provide a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. The theme for the 2017 World Peace Day is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All. This theme reflects the spirit of the TOGETHER campaign, a global initiative launched during the  UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016 by the United Nations system in partnership with its 193 Member States and all the stakeholders ‘in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.

Below is the UN Secretary General’s message on the 2017 World Peace Day;

“On the International Day of Peace, we reflect on the cruel price of war. Ruined schools. Bombed hospitals. Broken families. Refugees searching for hope. Countries in crisis. The United Nations was born from a terrible World War. Our mission is to work for peace — every day and everywhere. No group interest, national ambition or political difference should be allowed to put peace at risk. 

On this International Day, we call for a global ceasefire. We must never — ever — stop pressing for an end to armed conflict. Peace is the right and the desire of all people.

It is the foundation for progress and well-being – happy children, thriving communities, and peaceful, prosperous countries. Let us pledge to work together – today and every day – for the peace we all yearn for and deserve.”

Watch the UNSG Message on 2017 World Peace Day: http://bit.ly/2x2eDsY

Watch the PeaceChannel:  http://bit.ly/2cRy3Zj

 

 

 

 

 


The Cry of the Earth is the Cry of the Poor October 6th, 2017

By Fr. Louis Studer, OMI  

Fr. Louis Studer, OMI, U.S.Provincial

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) offices of Lacombe Oblate Province, Canada, the JPIC Office of U.S. Province, and St. Paul’s Oblates’ University sponsored a symposium at St. Paul’s in Ottawa, Canada, on August 30th, 2017, on the theme, “the Cry of the Earth is the Cry of the Poor.”

The Symposium’s goal was to heighten awareness of the interconnectedness between care for the earth and concern for all of life, especially the poor in our midst. Chief planners for the day were Br. Len Rego, OMI, Director of JPIC – OMI Lacombe Canada and Fr. Antonio Ponce, OMI, Director of JPIC – USA. Over 50 Oblates, Oblate Associates, professors, students, interested parties from both Canada and the U.S. attended the one day event. Another 80 folks followed the proceedings on-line.

Mme. Chantal Beauvais, Rector of St. Paul’s Oblate University, welcomed everyone and her brief introduction to the day included the plea for schools, especially colleges and universities to be places where theory, speculation, analysis must happen in discovering ways to care for the earth and the poor but practical applications of these theories must follow as well. Involvement cannot be only textbook analysis but must include praxis at the university level.

Fr. Gilberto Pinon, Oblate missionary in Bolivia, joined the conference by Skype. He challenged each Oblate community of the congregation to discover who the poor are in our midst and then use some practical steps in accompanying them. Oblates must give witness to an Oblate spirituality and theology of mission. That will form the basis, be the underpinning, for our care for the earth, for one another. Watch a video of Fr. Gilberto’s presentation.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, Consultant to JPIC and Advisor for Corporate Faith Based Investing, outlined the Biblical tradition of who is identified as the poor and spoke about who are the “new poor” in our world. He reminded us of some more recent strategies and plans in helping the poor: “halving the number of those below the poverty line by 2020; the Paris ecology summit; new organizations founded for helping the poor. Watch a video of Fr. Seamus’ presentation.

Sr. Linda Gibler, O.P., Professor at Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, summarized how the papal encyclical “Laudato Si” emphasizes the unity of all of creation. “The earth is a shared inheritance, given to all of creation, by God,” she told us. Watch a video of Sr. Linda’s presentation.

Mr. Joe Gunn, Executive Director of Citizens for Public Justice, gave some practical steps for the participants to employ in caring for the earth, caring for each other. “Laudato Si,” he said, “is not so much new news as it is good news. It is a new opportunity for us to renew our care for one another, for all of creation, even for ourselves.” Watch a video of Mr. Gunn’s presentation.

Fr. Ken Forster, OMI, Provincial of OMI Lacombe Canada Province and I, gave a brief summary of the main thoughts of the day and spoke about how the suggestions offered might be more fully integrated into each of our Oblate communities in the Canada – U.S. region. Watch the closing remarks by Frs. Ken Forster and Lou Studer.

The 36th Oblate General Chapter spoke often about an “intentional interculturality, i.e., the conscious, deliberate integration of those from other cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, as fully participating members in our Oblate communities and ministries. Our mandate to Oblates and to those who share our Oblate charism, from the Chapter, is clear. Making the mandate part of our lives is the challenge now before us.

A joyful celebration of the Eucharist concluded our time together.

 

 


Fr. Seamus Finn Reports on Ethics and Sustainable Finance Event October 2nd, 2017

Originally Published on OMIUSA.ORG

By Fr. Séamus P. Finn, OMI

The private seminar convened on the edges of Lausanne in Switzerland in September hoped “to share innovative ideas and exchange concrete proposals on the topic of equitable and environmentally sustainable outcomes derived from the financial markets.”

The 25 participants came from academia, philanthropy, financial management and civil society to converse and consider how they might respectively bring their experiences and ideas on finances to bear on the numerous challenges that societies confront. The vision of a financial industry that would “embrace more ethical and sustainable practices” informed the mission of the organizers who wanted to use the seminar to “catalyze cooperation amongst large investors” and thereby “push concrete proposals in the financial sector.”

Development and climate change framed the broad array of questions and challenges that were considered. The recent hurricanes, typhoons and earthquakes that have inflicted enormous suffering and damage in different parts of the world were often the point of reference for the powerful force and unpredictable path of nature’s journey. The scientific data on the contribution of human activity to dark clouds that climate change presents and the numerous efforts that have been undertaken to respond were examined and debated. 

The development conversation has a much longer history and continues to be the subject of debate and evolve. While there may be some agreement about the guiding general principles and standards for measuring a meaningful and humane level of existence, there are multiple proposals about the most successful ways that these objectives can be achieved. Governments, multilateral institutions, religious and secular institutions and organizations have participated in this conversation and explored numerous avenues and vehicles to advance their projects for decades.

In the Catholic tradition, the encyclical by Pope Paul VI, “On the Development of Peoples” set a very high standard when it introduced the concept of “integral human development” into the conversation. This intervention was a clear marker, from the faith perspective, that insisted on an understanding of the human person that was much more than could be measured by the size of their bank account, the neighborhood in which they lived or their achievements in education or other pursuits. In the recent encyclical Laudato Sí, Pope Francis returns to this teaching and extends it when he speaks about “integral ecology”.

Across a stretch of nearly 50 years, major international institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have participated in the conversation about “development” and “progress” alongside the numerous official, private and religiously inspired development organizations. They have been informed in this effort by the experience of numerous practitioners and the data and ideas that researchers across several disciplines have contributed.

A second set of questions that the seminar explored focused directly on the kinds of financial institutions and practices that are needed to redirect “bank lending and investment capital” to build “the livable future we want.” Recognizing that the pace of change and the size of the trillions of dollars that are needed to turn away from pathways that are destructive and into sustainable solutions, participants discussed the types of interventions that can will help mainstream capital markets and repurpose our banking system and institutions for 21stcenturies challenges.

Improving the alignment of mission with asset management by foundations, investors and philanthropists was identified as a key driver for this kind of change. Instead of focusing only on avoiding the products and services and companies that investors and grant makers want to avoid the seminar described some of the many tools that are available and already in use to help those responsible to deploy their assets towards the kinds of future they want. They also discussed the innovative funds and research that is coming on line to facilitate the integration of sustainable development priorities into their financial planning.

The development conversation has a much longer history and continues to be the subject of debate and evolve. While there may be some agreement about the guiding general principles and standards for measuring a meaningful and humane level of existence, there are multiple proposals about the most successful ways that these objectives can be achieved. Governments, multilateral institutions, religious and secular institutions and organizations have participated in this conversation and explored numerous avenues and vehicles to advance their projects for decades.

In the Catholic tradition, the encyclical by Pope Paul VI, “On the Development of Peoples” set a very high standard when it introduced the concept of “integral human development” into the conversation. This intervention was a clear marker, from the faith perspective, that insisted on an understanding of the human person that was much more than could be measured by the size of their bank account, the neighborhood in which they lived or their achievements in education or other pursuits. In the recent encyclical Laudato Sí, Pope Francis returns to this teaching and extends it when he speaks about “integral ecology”.

Across a stretch of nearly 50 years, major international institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have participated in the conversation about “development” and “progress” alongside the numerous official, private and religiously inspired development organizations. They have been informed in this effort by the experience of numerous practitioners and the data and ideas that researchers across several disciplines have contributed.

A second set of questions that the seminar explored focused directly on the kinds of financial institutions and practices that are needed to redirect “bank lending and investment capital” to build “the livable future we want.” Recognizing that the pace of change and the size of the trillions of dollars that are needed to turn away from pathways that are destructive and into sustainable solutions, participants discussed the types of interventions that can will help mainstream capital markets and repurpose our banking system and institutions for 21stcentury challenges.

Improving the alignment of mission with asset management by foundations, investors and philanthropists was identified as a key driver for this kind of change. Instead of focusing only on avoiding the products and services and companies that investors and grant makers want to avoid the seminar described some of the many tools that are available and already in use to help those responsible to deploy their assets towards the kinds of future they want. They also discussed the innovative funds and research that is coming on line to facilitate the integration of sustainable development priorities into their financial planning.

The Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to Transform Our World

Finally, the seminar explored the role of businesses in supporting through a collaborative multi stakeholder process the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals that were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. Examples such as “circular economy,” “social impact bonds” and local currency projects from different regions in the world were examined and the possibility of their deployment and scalability was discussed.

Conclusion

The core issues raised by this seminar, encouraging “the financial industry to embrace more ethical and sustainable practices”, must remain a top priority in protecting the planet and building a sustainable future. The centrality of a financial system that provides equitable access to capital across all sectors of the world and respects the planet in the process is critical. Many current practices and policies have failed miserably to achieve these objectives.

This priority, by no means, ignores the numerous efforts and projects to alleviate poverty, end hunger and provide access to healthcare that are being undertaken by innumerable institutions, organizations and individuals across the world. It does however point to the necessary structural and policy reforms that must be made to the financial system and the practices of the financial industry if the scale of the challenge is to be addressed and the needed changes are to introduce reliable platforms for sustainable solutions.


800,000 Young Immigrants Need Your Help. Please Act Now. October 2nd, 2017

   As Provincial of the U.S. Province, I am happy to add my support to the 800,000 young immigrants living in our country, going to school, working, without fear of deportation resulting in a fearful, uncertain future.

   It is shameful to me that these young people might be facing deportation because the Trump Administration has recently announced an ending to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) within the next six months. 

   Please join me and many other U.S. Oblates in demanding action in Congress to protect these young immigrants. Congress must pass a new law to protect these young people and not allow them to be deported. The vast majority of them have done no wrong, committed no crime. 

   I ask you to join our Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Ministry in taking action, as outlined in the letter from Fr. Antonio Ponce, OMI, Director (letter below and attached as a PDF).

   Thank you for your interest and concern.

   In Christ and Mary Immaculate,

   Fr. Louis Studer, OMI
   Provincial
_______________________________________________________

Dear Brother Oblates and Associates,

Prompted by the recent action of President Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects almost 800,000 young immigrants from deportation who came to the U.S. as children, I write to invite you to offer solidarity to these young people. DACA allows young immigrants to work, go to school, raise a family, and live in the United States without fear of separation by deportation. I ask you to stand with these young people and their families who may include youth members of our Oblates parishes and institutions.

Missionary Oblates JPIC is deeply disappointed with this decision to end DACA, as we expressed in a statement issued immediately after the announcement to end DACA.  The consequences of repealing DACA are immediate and devastating to DACA recipients, their families and communities. At the 2016 General Chapter in Rome, Oblates were invited in the Acts of the Chapter to reflect:

In these times of great global changes, we respond to the call of the Spirit, as did St. Eugene de Mazenod in his Preface to the Oblate Rule, by giving a new impetus to the mission that is our raison d’être: being close to the new faces of the poor, the most abandoned, and sharing the Good News to which we are witnesses. We recognize urgent uses which strongly speak to us such us: the situation of refugees, the homeless, and migrants who are forced to leave their countries.

A statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, along with USCCB Vice President, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman, Committee on Migration, and Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima, chairman of the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees says, the “cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible,” and goes on to say:

The Church has recognized and proclaimed the need to welcome young people: ‘Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me’ (Mark 9:37). Today, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond

We need help to urge Members of Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017 and protect these young immigrants. In collaboration with other religious communities, we invite you to take action, and recommend the following resources:

As a JPIC ministry for the U.S province, we will continue to pray, champion immigration reform and push against harmful enforcement practices that separate families. Our faith and charism believe in the dignity of every human being, especially that of children and youth. Compassion, family unity and opportunity for newcomers from one generation to the next are foundations of this nation.  

Fr Antonio Ponce OMI
Director, U.S Missionary Oblates JPIC Ministry Office

 


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.

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