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2017 World Water Day: Why waste water? March 17th, 2017
The Call for Stewardship of Water
Responding to Signs of Our Times in the Spirit of St. Eugene De Mazenod
“Oh, come to the water, all you who are thirsty.”
March 22, 2017 is World Water Day. To mark this observance OMI JPIC has developed this second in a series of resources for Oblates. Last month, in a letter addressed to the Province, Fr. Bill Antone, OMI, invited Oblates and Associates to reflect on challenges within our nation today. He asked, “How can we be engaged? He then recommends an effective response by calling 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.” We hope this resource leads us all to thoughtful reflection and action for communities struggling to experience this basic human right, close access to clean water.
Festival of Social Doctrine: “Multi-stakeholder Collaboration” December 8th, 2016
By Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI
“In the midst of the people” was the organizing perspective used to bring together more than 500 participants at the Festival of Social Doctrine in Verona Italy last weekend. Small business leaders, church leaders and members of government were represented in the festival as were numerous representatives of church associations and civil society. They showcased some of the very successful projects that continue to evolve on cooperatives and credit unions and have been operating for years and presented some innovative ideas and approaches to the application of Catholic Social teaching to business and the not for ‘profit sector. The encyclical Laudato Sí provided the motivation for the participants and the stimulation for the talks, panels and workshops.
In his message to the festival Pope Francis returned to the theme of “encounter” when he encouraged those gathered to be open to the great diversity of peoples that comprise the fabric of humanity. “When you are with the people you see humanity: never exists only the head, always exists also the heart. There is more substance and less ideology. To solve the problems of the people you should start from the bottom, get dirty hands, have value, listen to the last”.
In the workshop that I presented with Bishop Moses Hamugonole from the diocese of Monze in Zambia, we were asked to share some thoughts in the engagement of the churches with the mining companies and specifically in Zambia. We built our input on the call for multi stakeholder dialogue that is encouraged in Laudati Sí and the decision of the Zambian Episcopal conference in April 2016 to convene a conference on how Mining and Agriculture can contribute to sustainable development.
We recalled how the extractive industry represented by the CEO’s of many major mining companies asked for a structured sustained conversation with the Vatican through the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. This conversation began by focusing on the poor reputation that mining has in many communities and regions and sought to explore how the industry could be a more constructive partner in promoting development. Thus was born in Rome in September 2013 the Days of Reflection and followed by Days of Courageous Conversation between major stakeholders that have now been convened four times during the intervening three years with other initiatives at national and regional events.
A primary question that has been reiterated in Laudato Sí asks about the appropriate mechanisms and sustainable ways of cultivating the abundance of the natural resources in our “common home” that have been entrusted into our care and promised also to sustain future generations. This includes both the resources on the surface of the earth as well as those below the surface. How do we structure the exploration and use of these basic resources in such a way that we leave behind an inhabitable planet?
Secondly we discussed the role and responsibility of each stakeholder and how they might work together to contribute to appropriate and sustainable development and be cognizant of the multiple crisis like poverty, youth unemployment, migration, destruction of the environment, deteriorating infrastructure and violence that societies face across the world? For corporations and foundations this must extend beyond philanthropy but be integrated into their very business models and operations and their investment philosophies. For governments and political leaders it requires the exercise of their authority for the promotion of the common good which includes the protection of “our common home”.
“I urgently appeal, then for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (no.14)
OMI LaCombe: Statement on Water and Treaty Rights Crafted at Fall Symposium November 4th, 2016
A collective statement about water and treaty rights — in the context of Laudato Si’s call to care for our common home and for each other — was crafted Oct. 22 during a daylong symposium at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.
Entitled “Our Common Home: as long as the rivers flow,” the symposium was presented by OMI Lacombe Canada’s Office of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, working in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, the Archdiocese of Regina, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, St. Thomas More College, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, and Queen’s House of Retreat and Renewal.
Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI Speaks on Faith & Sustainable Development at 2016 World Mining Congress October 25th, 2016
The World Mining Congress is an international event that takes place every three years. It is led by a secretariat and affiliated with the United Nations. This year’s event took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from October 18 – 21. The event aims to promote and support, both technically and scientifically, the cooperation for the national and international development of mineral areas and resources; implement a global information network concerning mineral science, technology, economy, occupational health and safety and environmental protection.
Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI, spoke on the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) panel, Why Partnering For Development is the Future of Mining.
The panel explored the social, economic and environmental dimensions that are so vital for a vibrant mining industry and a future that provides for an equitable distribution of benefits to all stakeholders.
Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI: Comments at World Mining Congress Rio, October 20th 2016
The church’s engagement with the mining sector and specifically with the Development Partner Initiative was initiated and motivated by three different factors.
- We have been blessed with a charismatic and disruptive pope who is responsible for the preparation of the encyclical Laudato Sí where we are presented with an inspiring vision of the interdependence and inter-relatedness that exists between all living beings and our common home, planet earth that builds on the teaching of his predecessors and of Catholic Social Teaching (CST). We are also called to task by Pope Francis for the ways in which we have failed to care for, cultivate and appreciate the gift of the natural world and instead mistreated the planet and failed as a consequence in our inter-generational responsibility to our children’s children.
- There are chapels and churches and houses of worship scattered across the world and especially in the remote regions where many of the mines and other desirable natural resources like oil, gas and timber are located. Faith leaders at different levels have for years been hearing from many of the people that live in these regions and many of the stories that they tell about their experiences of mining are not very positive. Many of the contributions that the industry has made to progress and development have been lost.
- The churches own and manage assets to support their various initiatives and they are shareholders in many companies that are active in the mining sector. They want to make those investments in industries and companies that are responsible and make a constructive contribution to the communities and societies where they operate. They also want to avoid investing in corporations that have a poor record on protecting the environment, in respecting and promoting human rights and in fulfilling their social license to operate.
Three themes that are central to the mission of the church and of most faith traditions where the mission of the faith traditions and the mining industry intersect are promoting sustainable development, caring for our common home and protecting human rights.
- Promoting development has been on the agenda of the church for centuries and has been specifically highlighted by global institutions like the United Nations from the beginning. In recent decades the much debated adjective “sustainable” has been added to the conversation as the accomplishments and the failures of various development projects and programs have been critiqued and evaluated. A significant intervention into the development debate was made by Pope Paul VI in 1967 the encyclical Populorum Progressio when he called for the promotion of “integral human development” and sought to include much more than having more or simply measuring development in purely economic terms. The mining industry has often been a part of many development initiatives through their contributions to local communities especially in regions surrounding their operating sites and in communities that are impacted by the operations of their supply chain.
- In his encyclical Laudato Sí, Pope Francis has called all of us to care for our common home, Mother Earth that he points out has been critically damaged by much of human activity especially in the industrial age. He is quick to point out that there is no quick solution to the ecological crisis that we face but that each of us individuals and communities, institutions and organizations, the public and the private sector have a responsibility and a role to play in reversing these trends.
- The protection and promotion of human rights and human dignity are at the center of the church’s mission and enshrined in international law. They are more and more being encoded in legislation and being voluntarily embraced by different actors in the business community and particularly by stakeholders and shareholders in publicly traded corporations. Faith institutions and socially responsible institutions and individual investors that are working diligently to align the ways in which they manage these assets with their faith traditions and with their values are using this same lens to choose the companies and the industry sectors that they want to invest in.
In the Days of Reflection that were convened at the Vatican and at Lambeth palace, in the Days of Courageous conversation that were convened in Cape town and in the other convenings that have brought together faith and industry leaders, civil society and representatives of local communities, we have a model that can help to address some of the challenges that are faced by local communities, industry and those who want to support sustainable development. The commitment to care for and cultivate and protect our common home must be our number one priority. We cannot rest until we have found the avenues and the technology to do this and at the same time use the multiple and rich resources that are before us to support human habitation on the planet.
Saint Francis of Assisi: An Inspiration to Care for God’s Creation October 4th, 2016
Pope Francis’ Encyclical letter Laudato Si’ opens with this line:
“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.
Register Now for LaVista’s Fall Earth Literacy Program! September 9th, 2016
Exploring the Sacred Universe Earth Literacy Program in Godfrey, IL
Dates: Fri., Oct.19 beginning at 6:00 pm – Sun., Oct. 23, ending at 1:00 pm
Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home has brought new life to this classic program as readers look for ways to deepen their relationship with and responsibility for our common home. That is what we offer during these days of interactive community learning. For the second year we are offering a shortened version of our “Exploring the Sacred Universe” Earth Literacy Program.
Participants will be joined by Oblate Novices, young men from several countries currently studying at La Vista. Last year’s very rich experience during beautiful fall days encouraged us to make this an annual event.
Activities will include sacred rituals, journaling, a field trip, dialogue, cooking and gardening. Presenters will include:
Norman Comtois, OMI
Sharon Zayac, OP
Maxine Pohlman, SSND
And other local bioregional specialists
For a detailed description and registration information download the brochure or visit us online at www.lavistaelc.org. You can also call LaVista at: 618-466-5004.
Program cost: $350 (includes lodging and meals). A $50 nonrefundable deposit is due at registration with the balance due upon arrival.