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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Denis Hurley, OMI December 12th, 2013

This story is written by Father Harry Winter, OMI and comes to us courtesy of the OMI US Province website.


The passing of Nelson Mandela on Dec. 5 reminds Oblates that it took three great leaders to accomplish the abolition of apartheid in South Africa: Mandela, Hurley, and the Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Now is a good time to recall what Paddy Kearney wrote in 2009 in his well received biography of Hurley: Guardian of the Light, about Hurley and Mandela working together.

When Hurley was hauled before a court in February, 1985 and threatened with jail for publishing “untrue facts” in relation to action by police (p. 211), Mandela wrote from his prison: “Archbishop Hurley is often in my thoughts, especially now. I would like him to know that” (p. 223).

In 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. Hurley was a special guest. Kearney writes “He regarded it as the second great highlight of his life, after Vatican II. In a letter to his friend Petal O’Hara, he described the occasion:

The function of the Inauguration was magnificently performed, every person doing his or her part perfectly . . . The mood of the crowd rose to a joyous fever pitch. The final act was the firing of a twenty-one-gun salute and a flyover in tight formation of several SAAF squadrons, the last one consisting of six planes that left trails in the many colours of the South African flag. The crowd was ecstatic. ‘Our air force’, shouted the African citizens . . . Lunch followed, very well organized—plenty of food and drink, easy access to supplies and to tables. And by 3:00 p.m. we were climbing onto buses and heading for the airport full of the joy of having participated in perhaps the greatest day in the history of South Africa.

When Brother Jude Pieterse saw Hurley after the inauguration, he noticed ‘an excitement I had never really associated with him before . . . He was almost . . .bubbling over, you know. Normally he kept his emotions pretty well under control, but [that day] there was a real joy in his whole approach’. “(p. 306).

In 1999, President Mandela conferred on Hurley the Order of Meritorious Service (Class 1) (p. 309). When Hurley died on Feb. 13, 2005, Dominican Sister Marie-Henry Keane, who as a young nun had benefited from his special attention in explaining Vatican II to women religious, called him “the Nelson Mandela of the Church” (p. 325).

Now they are together, rejoicing at the continued growth of justice, truth and opportunity in South Africa.


Remembering Nelson Mandela December 6th, 2013

We would like to share this tribute to Nelson Mandela from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Nelson MandelaFriends,

Today the ICCR community mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela, champion for
 equality and human rights, peacemaker and icon of hope for reconciliation and 
justice. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and countrymen.

Forty-three years ago, witnessing the selfless struggle of Mandela and others
 who rejected the inequality and racism symbolized by the apartheid system,
 faith-based investors continents away were inspired to partner with the
 freedom movement by using their collective voice as shareholders to help 
bring economic pressure to bear against the South African government. It was 
in seeking the end of apartheid that ICCR first forged its beginning, and
 helped give birth to the shareholder advocacy movement as recalled in this 
podcast by one of ICCR’s founders, Paul Neuhauser.

Mandela’s quiet tenacity continues to give promise to the oppressed,
 enslaved, and exploited the world over and his legendary humility and
 commitment to genuine reconciliation are at the core of ICCR’s mission and 
always will be. With an estimated 21 million men, women and children 
worldwide still enslaved, we are united in our shared responsibility to
 continue to fight against injustice wherever and whenever we encounter it. This was Mandela’s lifelong message and his passing will not diminish its 
relevance in our world.

As Mandela said, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds many more to 
climb.” With his spirit to guide us, we will continue to bear witness,
to testify, to advocate and raise our voices for justice…we will continue 
the climb in his name.


Laura Berry

Executive Director

On behalf of the grateful members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate

Pope Francis to launch “Food for All” campaign November 20th, 2013

On December 10, Pope Francis will launch a worldwide movement to respond to the needs of the poor and vulnerable by acting to end hunger. Access to adequate and nutritious food is a global problem of immense proportions, even for families in the U.S.

At noon local time, a global wave of prayer will begin in Tonga and will progress around the world until it reaches American Samoa some 24 hours and more than 164 countries later.

Please join Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and the network of Caritas Internationalis agencies providing relief to people suffering from hunger around the globe in participating in the wave of prayer. This is the beginning of a much larger campaign to combat hunger.

In addition, please check out the faith-based resource on poverty and hunger available from Catholic Rural Life, called Food Security and Economic Justice.



Philippine Plea for Action on Climate November 19th, 2013

In the wake of Supertyphoon Haiyan, Yeb Sano, Philippine delegate to the international climate negotiations in Warsaw, made an impassioned plea to take action and “stop the madness” that is climate change. Below is an edited video of his address, with scenes of the devastation in the Philippines alongside. It is a powerful video in this second week of the climate negotiations, a major focus of which is financing for climate friendly investments for developing nations.


Vatican Seminar on Human Trafficking November 15th, 2013

The following is taken, with our thanks, from the Stop Trafficking!, the newsletter opposed to human slavery supported by a broad coalition of organizations of Catholic Sisters. 


Following a wish expressed by Pope Francis, the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and of Social Sciences (PASS) and the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC), organized a seminar entitled, “Trafficking in Human Beings: Modern Slavery. Destitute Peoples and the Message of Jesus Christ”.

The November 2-3, 2013 seminar, held in Vatican City, brought together some seventy delegates from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Guatemala, Ireland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA. The UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo from Nigeria, was among the twenty-two speakers.

The sixty observers in attendance were asked to contribute concrete proposals through which the global Church could better respond to the plight of millions of enslaved peoples.

Pope Francis was directly involved in combating modern day slavery in Buenos Aires, where he actively supported the work of the Fundacion Alameda, an Argentinian organization headed by Gustavo Vera, another of the speakers. The Pope’s first trip after his election was to Lampedusa to pay tribute to the hundreds who had recently died at sea, trying to reach this island half-way between Sicily and Tunisia where many victims of human trafficking end up.

Read more about this conference and efforts to stop human trafficking in the November issue of Stop Trafficking! 

US Judge Acquits Catholic Anti-drone Activists November 1st, 2013


Acquitted Catholic Worker anti-drone activists; Image courtesy of The Nuclear Register

In an historic decision, five Catholic Worker activists were acquitted of disorderly conduct charges for blocking the main entrance to Hancock Air Base outside of Syracuse NY, in a protest against drone strikes that have killed hundreds of civilians. Hancock Air base, home to the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard, is a Reaper drone hub whose technicians pilot weaponized drones over Afghanistan.

As reported in The Nuclear Resister, “After the verdict was announced, the D.A. objected, and the judge said to him that he hadn’t found ‘mens rea,’ Latin for ‘guilty mind.’ The five defendants, with powerful eloquence, convinced the judge that their intent was to uphold, not break, the law. This acquittal marks a major breakthrough by those who have sought to strengthen international law, and stop U.S. war crimes, including extra-judicial murder by the illegal drones.”

The drone strikes, responsible for killing hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, have increasingly been condemned by human rights advocates, as well as by Jesuit Superior General Fr. Adolfo Nicolás and Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism. Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban and survived, and who now speaks out globally for peace, urged President Obama in a meeting to stop the deadly U.S. drone attacks on Pakistan. She said they are killing innocent civilians and turning many ordinary people against the U.S. and onto the side of Taliban.

Recent Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reportshave detailed how U.S. drone strikes kill innocent civilians in Pakistan and Yemen, contrary to President Obama’s assertions. According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as many as 1,000 innocent civilians, including as many as 200 children, have been killed in as many as 376 U.S. drone strikes since 2004 in Pakistan alone, a nation with which the United States is not technically at war.

Learn more. Read the National Catholic Reporter article…

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