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Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

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Fr. John Cox, OMI, Heads Delegation to Advocacy Day in Defense of Life March 3rd, 2017

Minnesota faces real challenges to life and human dignity. Catholics are called to respond and on March 9th Minnesota’s bishops, dynamic Church speakers, and over 1,000 Catholics from across the state will convene in St. Paul for Catholics at the Capitol, a day of inspiration and advocacy organized by the Minnesota Catholic Conference. Topics to be addressed include assisted suicide, school choice, and support for struggling families.

Attendees will be informed about the issues, inspired to bring their faith into the public square, and equipped to have meaningful conversations with their legislators.

Among the attendees and making the four-hour drive from White Earth, MN will be Oblate Fr. John Cox, OMI, of St. Ann’s parish along with others from the diocese of Crookston, Minnesota traveling by bus.

Fr. John Cox, OMI, with Fr. Joe Hitpas, OMI, and Fr. Dan Nassaney, OMI, serve the Catholic community of the White Earth Indian (Ojibwe) Reservation in Northwestern Minnesota.  Fr. John will lead the group visiting legislators representing Minnesota State District 2.


2017 Labeling For Lent Campaign February 27th, 2017

Labeling for Lent

An Effort to Prevent Human Trafficking
By the Coalition of Catholic Organizations Against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT)

Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that enslaves women, men, and children into situations of forced labor, debt bondage, and sexual servitude. Human trafficking is wide spread in many products’ supply chains, including products sold in the United States. For example, the United States imports 80-90% of its seafood, and tens of thousands of people are exploited at every link in the seafood harvesting and production chain. This exploitation occurs through abusive recruitment practices, as well as slavery at sea and in seafood processing plants.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

So what can we, as Catholics, do to prevent human trafficking and exploitation in supply chains? We can educate ourselves and use our power as ethical consumers to help stamp out trafficking.

“Together with the social responsibility of businesses, there is also the social responsibility of consumers. Every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act.”

—Pope Francis, World Day of Peace, January 1, 2015

HOW CAN WE DO THIS?

Currently, we are not always given the information we need to make moral purchasing decisions. CCOAHT wants to ask seafood companies that are engaged in cleaning up their supply chains to label their packaged products. Through labeling, we as consumers can make educated purchasing choices that help eradicate human trafficking.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

This Lent, we ask you to fill out this short, five-question survey

We encourage you to share this with your networks and ask them to fill out the survey as well!

CCOAHT will use the data from this survey when it reaches out to seafood companies to request that they include a label on their packaged products.

CCOAHT is a nationwide coalition that represents religious orders and organizations, and is a key leader in the Catholic struggle against human trafficking in the United States.

Download the PDF version of this resource here.


Responding to Signs of Our Times in the Spirit of St. Eugene De Mazenod February 27th, 2017

Prompted by recent alarming executive actions by the new administration, the U.S. Provincial Fr. Bill Antone, OMI, on February 7 penned a letter to the Province inviting Oblates and Associates to reflect on the challenges of our nation today.  The letter begins: “There are many contrasting voices in our nation these days.” It continues, “How can we be engaged?… These times call us to reflect deeply on how our Catholic faith and principles can shed light upon a myriad of questions we face concerning immigrants, ecology, economy, trade, human rights, race, patriotism, church unity, world order, checks and balances, war and peace.”

Early in his message Fr. Bill called on the JPIC office to “assist us, as appropriate, with some resources, reflections and suggestions for action.” Under our Oblate JPIC initiative of Human Dignity we work on issues that promote respect for God’s creation, recognizing that the dignity of the human person is rooted in his or her creation in the image and likeness of God. In this resource we hope to provide you with reflections and actions to encourage your solidarity with a few of these communities: migrants/refugees, trafficking victims and those whose lives are threatened.

Read Fr. Bill’s full letter here.

Solidarity with Refugees and Immigrants

Today, more refugees are fleeing wars and persecutions than ever on record. According to UN data, 2015 saw the highest levels of displaced people in history, with 51% of this number being children. Click here for reflections and suggested actions on behalf of refugees and immigrants.

Ending Human Trafficking

Modern slavery, also known as human trafficking is ‘the illegal trade in people for exploitation or commercial gain.’ It is the second largest criminal activity today, second only to the illegal drug trade, and it is growing. Human Trafficking generates more revenue than Google, Starbucks, Nike and the NFL combined (International Labor Organization (ILO).  Click here for reflections and suggested actions on behalf of human trafficking victims.

Respect Life

Inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, the Missionary Oblates JPIC Consistent Life initiative advocates for the dignity of all human life. We believe that life is sacred and should be protected in all stages. As a society, we lack a fundamental respect for human life. Click here for reflections and suggested actions on behalf of people whose lives are threatened.

 


Happy Oblate Feast Day: February 17! February 15th, 2017

“…. Learn who you are in the eyes of God.”
St. Eugene De Mazenod, OMI

In this world that God loves, with all its richness and beauty, and looking upon it as Saint Eugene did through the eyes of Christ crucified:

  • We observe new forms of poverty, especially among young people: fundamentalism, individualism, materialism, consumerism, and addiction to the digital world… But, we also see the suffering of families, youth, the lonely, and the elderly.
  • We recognize urgent issues, which strongly speak to us such as: the situation of refugees, the homeless, and migrants who are forced to leave their countries, as well as the devastation of the environment.
  • We perceive victims of injustice and violence, especially the indigenous peoples and minorities, the victims of human trafficking, of abuse and exploitation, who cry out loudly for support and a response from us.

Faced with these situations, the Church strongly calls us out of our comfort zone to go to the “peripheries” and work for the fulfillment of the Kingdom.

We are invited to write a new page of the Gospel with Mazenodian creativity and audacity.
Message of the 36th General Chapter 2016


Read the 2017 Oblate Day Message
from U.S. Provincial, Very Rev. William Antone, OMI

Video reflection for February 17, 2017 “Oblate Day”


Hope Springs Eternal February 13th, 2017

Gail Taylor manages 3 Part Harmony Farm in Washington, DC

I spent most of the winter away from DC this year, and I’m happy to report that I returned renewed and refreshed. Almost a dozen times over the last two months, I got the flight safety spiel, you know: “put on your oxygen mask first, before assisting others in need.”

Perhaps because I spend every day of every week either at a vegetable farm or at a yoga studio, the importance of self-care is always at the front of my mind.

Whether it’s taking the time to make nutritious meals for myself, carving out time to focus on mindful breathing and meditation, putting my hands in the soil, or fiercely guarding my 30 min. morning coffee/ newspaper ritual, I want to focus this year on making sure that my tank is always full before stepping outside to face each day.

I hope you’ll do the same, and realize that it’s necessary not selfish.

Eating well and engaging with plants every day is a great way to stay on track with a self care routine. Three Part Harmony Farm offers a few ways to bring these kinds of opportunities into your life. Planting a garden is a great way! I recently was at a local female owned hardware store – Annie’s Ace Hardware in Brookland, NE Washington, DC.

I answered seed starting questions and brought all of my seed catalogues and offered everyone a chance to VOTE for the tomato varieties we’ll grow this season.

I encourage you to grow your own garden! Immense joy comes from caring for plants whether on your balcony, in your backyard, or at your community garden. Three Part Harmony Farm is proud to partner with Annie’s Ace Hardware (in Petworth and Brookland, Washington, DC) to sell healthy starts that are specifically chosen for their ability to thrive in this region. We expect to have spring seedlings available as early as mid-march: stay tuned!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy 2017,

Gail

For you local to Washington, DC, we’re taking sign ups for our 2017 CSA now, online. The full season members pay for 23 weeks during a 33-week period (that goes from April – November) so you skip any 10 weeks you like without missing out! In addition to being flexible, the share is a multi-farm offering that includes non-produce items such as seedlings, flowers, eggs, mushrooms and medicinal herbs. Sign up here.

 Gail Taylor is the owner/ operator of Three Part Harmony Farm, a vegetable operation located on the grounds of the Oblate residence, Washington, DC.  A longtime resident of the District, Taylor has worked in the Latin America Solidarity community, with affordable housing organizations, and now with the food sovereignty movement. A farmer, yogi and social justice activist, Taylor lives in an intentional community in Petworth, NE Washington, DC.


Fr. Séamus P. Finn on the Evolution of Catholic Investing February 9th, 2017

Fr. Séamus P. Finn, OMI, spoke to participants at the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, February 8,th 2017

A summary

The three core elements for Catholic Investment that were presented by the US Catholic bishops in 1986 and reinforced by the investment guidelines that were adopted for the management of the financial assets of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops were;

1) Do not invest in companies, products or services that counter to Catholic moral teaching.

2) Exercise responsible active ownership of shares that the USCCB has in the portfolio through a process of engagement with the directors and managers of these institutions.

3) Proactively investing in funds and projects that are designed to promote the common good and sustainable development that in some cases offer a lower rate of return.

Fr Séamus Finn, OMI with Mike Ricci, CCF Director of Professional Outreach & Investment

The good news is that much has been achieved in the first of these categories, also known as negative screens, when excluding investments in specific companies and or industries. Now the work of applying these same screens across all assets classes in a portfolio needs to be accelerated.

Secondly, little has been done to take up the work of active engagement and this responsibility for active advocacy and dialogue is more important now than ever given the growing influence of corporations and large investment funds on nearly every aspect of life. Some catholic religious orders and institutions have done the bulk of this work through organizations like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, www.iccr.org.

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