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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! 

World Bank Group President and the Pope Discuss Ending Poverty October 28th, 2013

feature-img-brazil-fighting-povertyWorld Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and His Holiness Pope Francis met on October 28th at the Vatican to discuss their mutual efforts to end extreme poverty and provide greater opportunities for the poor and vulnerable.

“I was so grateful to meet with the Holy Father and was inspired by his passion and commitment to help the poor, the sick, and the hungry,” Kim said. “We talked about ways we could work together with faith leaders to make a preferential option for the poor, so they can have greater opportunity and justice in their lives.”

Kim thanked Pope Francis for his strong statements encouraging humble service to the less fortunate, as well as his support for better education, health care, environmental protection, and jobs with fair wages to help the poor lift themselves out of poverty.

Following the 20-minute meeting, Pope Francis and Kim agreed to explore ways to work together to end extreme poverty.

“At the World Bank Group, we have set a goal to end extreme poverty in less than a generation, and to boost shared prosperity for the bottom 40 percent of people in developing countries,” Kim said. “Pope Francis and I agree on the urgent moral imperative to lessen the suffering of over 1 billion people and to end the scandal of poverty. We share a vision of a world with greater compassion for all people in need.”

Vatican Hosts Mining CEO’s in a “Day of Reflection” September 11th, 2013

vatican mining meeting 2013

Participants of the “Vatican Day of Reflection on Mining” in front of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Rome                                                                 



The CEOs of some of the world’s top mining companies went to the Vatican for a day-long meeting last Saturday to discuss better ways to operate in communities that are increasingly protesting the destructive impacts of mining. Communities are fearful – with good reason – of the impacts of mining on their water, land and air.

Saturday’s “day of reflection with the mining industry,” was organized, at the request of leaders in the mining sector, by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. It included the CEOs of Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Newmont Mining, who alone represented companies with well more than $100-billion (U.S.) in market value. The chairmen, presidents or senior executives of dozens of other companies, ranging from AngloGold Ashanti to African Rainbow Minerals, were also present. Fr. Seamus Finn OMI, from the USP JPIC team in Washington DC, was invited to be a part of the team that prepared the day of reflection and offered input during the day. Pope Francis offered a message of greeting and challenge to the group and offered his prayers and blessings on the event.

The companies were interested “to open a dialogue where mining interfaces with the community … to hear other views with the promise of all of us making a difference.”

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Oblates Participate in a Vatican Meeting on Mining June 12th, 2013

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Camille Piche OMI and Séamus Finn OMI participate in a meeting on Mining hosted by Cardinal Turkson at The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Rome on June 7th.


Representatives of the mining sector were joined by members of religious communities and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in developing a collaborative and inclusive reflection process on mining, taking into account the challenges and opportunities that it presents to all stakeholders.


The Pope launches “Missio”, an “App” created by an Oblate June 6th, 2013

Father_Andrew_Small_OMI_explains_how_Pope_Francis_launched_the_MISSIO_app_during_a_May_17_2013_interview_Credit_Giuseppe_di_Molfetta_CNAA new smartphone application, called “Missio”, is expanding the Church’s footprint in a digital world. The App can be downloaded for free, and is available in eight languages. The service was inaugurated by Pope Francis during the Audience with the National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies and with the staff of Fides Agency, on May 17, at the Vatican. Pope Francis clicked on an iPad, launching the application, which was created by Fr. Andrew Small, OMI National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States.

The app “Missio” contains news posted on the site “”, photos, videos and the Pope’s homilies, the news of the Church in the world. “Holy Father, we want to put the Gospel in the pocket of every young person in the world,” said Fr. Small to the Pope, who touched a button on which “Evangelizantur,” was written, which in Latin means “May they be evangelized.” On the very first day, the App was downloaded by 1,140 people in 27 different countries. “Our goal is to help people see the world through the eyes of faith,” said Fr. Small. The application can be downloaded for free on iTunes App Store and Google Play. The Apps’ eight languages are: English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic. The App was developed by the company Little iApps.

World Day of Peace Message 2013: Blessed Are the Peacemakers December 18th, 2012

“Blessed are the peacemakers” is Pope Benedict’s theme for the 46th World Day of Peace, 1 January 2013, according to a Vatican announcement.

The Vatican said in a statement that the message will embrace “the fullness and diversity of the concept of peace” including religious freedom and an ethical reflection on how the world is to handle crises affecting the economy, education, and democracy. The aim of the message, it said, is to “encourage everyone to take responsibility with regard to peacebuilding.”

“The Message will offer, as well, an ethical reflection on some measures the world is going to take to contain the financial and economic crisis, the educational crisis, the crisis of the institutions and politics, which is also – in many cases – a worrying crisis of democracy.”

“The Message will also look at the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and of the encyclical letter by Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, according to which the primacy is always for the human dignity and its freedom, for the building of an earthly city to the service of every person, without any discrimination, and directed to the common good which is based on justice and true peace.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers” will be the eighth Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace. Following are the titles of the previous ones: “In Truth, Peace” (2006), “The Human Person, Heart of Peace” (2007), “The Human Family, a Community of Peace” (2008), “Fighting Poverty to Build peace” (2009), “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation” (2010), “Religious Freedom, the path to peace” (2011), “Educating young people in justice and peace” (2012).”


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