October Newsletter: New Passionist Project in Haiti; Oceans and Rainforests; Helpful resources
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New Passionist Project in Haiti

As part of the Passionist Solidarity Network support for projects affiliated with the two U.S. Provinces, a new pilot program in Haiti designed by Fr. Hugo Esparza CP has been funded with a $5000 grant.

The grassroots initiative called Konbit Pierre Toussaint, is a program that will enable young Haitians to serve their community and to receive human, religious and professional formation. Fr. Hugo says the project is "inspired by the Passionist Volunteer programs in the USA to create the same opportunity for young Haitians. We started our pilot program with seven young men and women. All of them are formers volunteers at our Kids-Youth Program called Little Stones. All seven of them will volunteer for 10 months part time"  

The Project is aptly named for the now Venerable Toussaint who was born in Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave. Pierre died a free man and one of New York City’s most well-known Catholics.  In New York, plantation owner Pierre Bérard made Toussaint a house slave and allowed his grandmother to teach her grandson how to read and write. It is fitting that Fr. Esparza's project in Haiti will work with young men and women as "alphabetization agents" who are aiding adults that need to learn or improve their capacity in reading and writing. Konbit is a Creole word that reflects rural life in Haiti. A Konbit is a coming together of friends and family members to work in each other’s garden or farms.

Watch this video of Fr. Hugo report on his work in Haiti during the 2019 Holy Cross Provincial Chapter.

Photo:  L to R: Fr. Hugo, Saverno Borsa, Adenald Fleury and Daniel  Cadet arriving at the airport in Mexico City as they prepare for their novitiate.
PSN Solidarity Efforts
Timed with the Catholic Church's celebration of World Migrants and Refugees Day on September 29, the PSN signed a letter from a number of civil and faith based organizations to protest pressure on Central American countries to artificially declare themselves "safe third countries" to prevent efforts to migrate to the U.S. or request asylum, creating what is basically "migrant prisons."  The letter states, "Since the month of June, the United States has pressured Mexico to be a “Safe Third Country” in order to impede citizens of Guatemala from reaching the United States, and then pressured Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama to change their migration policies. In the last decades we have not seen such a crushing intervention, not only using diplomacy but economic blackmail: threats of tariffs on our products, and taxes on remittances."  The letter was coordinated by the Office of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation of the Conference of Religious and Religious of Guatemala, Jesuit Network with Migrants and the Franciscan Family JPIC coordinator of Guatemala.  

Letter in English | Letter in Spanish

The PSN also signed a multi-organization letter to support 100% Clean Energy Economy Legislation. As part of that effort, an excellent set of set of talking points was developed by the Washington Energy and Ecology Working Group for meeting with legislators or talking to others about what a "Clean Energy Economy" would look like and why it is critical for our transition from fossil fuels.   Read them here.
Advocating for Our Oceans

Shantha Ready Alonso, Executive Director, Creation Justice Ministries compiled this amazing briefing relating to the importance of the oceans when we advocate for ecology and care of the earth.  A good reference to have at hand for conversations.

Download the resource

The Amazon Synod - Extractive Industries

We continue our focus on the effects the extraction of natural resources, such as oil, gas, and minerals.  Historically this can be a huge money maker for commercial investment.  For those who live in the areas of extraction, it can also be deadly and exploitative, often resulting in extreme poverty and human rights abuses.  Extraction provides oppressive governments a huge source of income, preserving their power, while the exploited lands Lands can become polluted and uninhabitable.

As the Amazon Synod meets to discuss a variety of ecological issues and faith connections, the Maryknoll office of Global Concern has summarized them nicely with this article.  The fires burning in the Amazon give new urgency to these conversations as so many of the issues facing the region (and the world) are related to extractive industries.

Also see this story from a Spanish language website with the perspective of people most effected by mining and fires in the rain forests.  http://iglesiasymineria.org/  (as needed, use your browser's "translate" when you open the webpage)

Image:  Gold mining in the Amazon
Focus on Palestine and Israel

Few conflicts in the world are as challenging and important to understand as that in Palestine and Israel.  The PSN recommends two reliable and faith-based resources:
Other Resources

Cited earlierCreation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program) represents the creation care and environmental justice policies of major Christian denominations throughout the United States. They work in cooperation with 38 national faith bodies.
Creation Justice Ministries provides a resource called 52 Ways to Care for Creation which are weekly suggestions to make caring for creation part our daily work, and include monthly bulletin inserts (also available in Spanish).

Creation justice means "protecting, restoring, and rightly sharing God's creation...justice for all of God's creation, including the human beings who live in it."  The concept as described here, is the same as "integral ecology," so much a part of Laudato Si'.  

From the publisher: "In a wide-ranging and comprehensive analysis, based on decades of experience as an environmental research scientist, activist and Quaker, Jennie M. Ratcliffe explores the interconnected scientific, technological, economic, religious and psychological causes of our predicament and shows how the ecological crisis is, at its heart, a spiritual and moral crisis."  More here


Why Thomas Berry Matters Today:
Mary Evelyn Tucker Reflects on Her Latest Book, Thomas Berry: A Biography

Read the article from Orion here.

Journey of the Universe Podcasts:
“Healing and Revision” and “Sustainable Energy”
This month the Journey of the Universe Project features two podcasts: “Healing and Revision” with Belvie Rooks and “Sustainable Energy” with Paula Gonzalez. These podcasts explore how we can heal our past and empower our future through a broader sense of self, place, and participation in the story of the Universe. Learn more by visiting the Journey of the Universe website. You can sign up for the Journey newsletter here

Linking Justice and Peace in the Lectionary

Justice and peace homily resources are available from the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and other religious communities. The Passionist Solidarity Network collaborates with other community justice and peace offices and we would love to see other homily resources coming from the Passionist charism. Contact the Passionist Solidarity Network office if you would like to contribute.  

Sunday Oct. 6th by Don Timmerman, Catholic Worker
Sunday Oct. 13th by Dianne Bergant, CSA

Additional homily resources from the Ignatian Solidarity Network

The Holy Cross Passionist website features wonderful daily scripture reflections from the Passionist Family.  Three regular contributors are members of the Passionist Solidarity Network Advisory Board. 

The Catholic Climate Covenant has homily helps incorporating Laudato Si’ as well as weekly tip bulletin inserts (including Spanish).  
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