Newsletter - Transforming pain and illness; Racial Justice; Peace is Politics
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He's My Brother
By Enzo Del Brocco CP
"In reality, rather than abstract and singular suffering, we encounter concrete suffering in men and women: we see sickness reflected in their faces and bodies. I can never forget the women crying for the losses of their children especially when they know that the child could have been saved were it not for the lack of roads or of means of transportation or of money that made them arrive too late to the hospital. They roll themselves on the ground in mourning, and their voices transform into a sorrowful refrain of “God: why?”

Fr. Enzo offers this reflection for us as we find ourselves confronted with and engaging another person's pain and illness.  He says, "In sickness all relationships, with oneself, with others, with things and with God, undergo a profound change."  It transforms us.  "We may not know the patient we visit but we do know that it is ultimately the Christ we are helping." 

Click here for Fr. Enzo's reflection

January: Poverty Awareness

The U.S. Bishops, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and the Catholic community in the United States is acting on Pope Francis' challenge to live in solidarity with the poor.  CCHD is providing multiple resources including: a calendar, longer daily reflections, and a liturgical aid to help parish leaders to incorporate Poverty Awareness Month into the liturgy. All of these resources are also available en Español
Image:  Matt Rota
US Bishops' Letter on Race
We have seen much deterioration in social discourse and continued incidents of racial and xenophobic violence. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a formal statement, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love. The letter affirms "that all are made in the image of God and, because we all bear that image, a deep individual conversion of heart, which then multiplies, is needed to confront racism's root causes and the injustice it produces." (LCWR)

Learn more and read the letter in English and Spanish

Critique:  Is the letter strong enough?  NCR editorial suggests it lacks sustained energy
CNS cartoon/Joe Heller

Do you know about Saint Thea?
In addition to the pastoral letter on race, the meeting of U.S. bishops in Baltimore also presented another "bright spot of hope."  It was the bishops' assent to the effort underway for the canonization of Sr. Thea Bowman, a Mississippi native and the only African-American member of the Wisconsin-based Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. 

"For those who encountered Sister Thea's preaching and evangelizing, she's already a saint. The rest is formality." (NCR)  Learn about Sister Thea fascinating life and ministry, go here.

US Passionist JPIC Office Signs Budget Statement

The JPIC Committee, Passionists of North America have signed onto the updated principles of the Coalition on Human needs, America's Value and Economy for all (SAVE) focused on federal budget decisions.  We assert that the resulting budget should reflect basic values: protect low-income and vulnerable people, build an economy that works for all, and do it responsibly, collecting fair revenues and reducing waste.

Click here to read the statement and see current list of signers.
Pope Francis: World Day of Peace

In his 52nd annual World Day of Peace Message, Pope Francis acknowledges that peace is political, but politics is at the service of peace.  Read the statement here.

Read a reflection on the message from the Ignatian Solidarity Network.
"As the saying goes, 'Politics and religion don’t mix.' Although this cliché is espoused by many, you will not hear it from Pope Francis." 
Climate Change:  But What Can We Actually Do?
Last year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sounded the alarm: The world has until 2030 to implement “rapid and far-reaching” changes to our energy, infrastructure and industrial systems to avoid 2 degrees Celsius of warming, which could be catastrophic. But the scale of the challenge can appear so overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to start. The answer is collective action.  The Washington asked activists, politicians and researchers for climate policy ideas that offer hope. Radical change from one state, or even the whole United States, won’t address climate change on its own, but taking these actions could help start the planet down a path toward a better future. (Washington Post)

The discussion surfaced 11 policy ideas to protect the planet.  Read the article here.
International Rainforest Initiative

As reported by the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative has a new website.  The organization is an "international, multi-faith alliance that works to bring moral urgency and faith-based leadership to global efforts to end tropical deforestation. They provide a platform for religious leaders to work hand-in-hand with indigenous peoples, governments, civil society organizations and businesses on actions that protect rainforests and safeguard the indigenous peoples that serve as their guardians." The Yale Center also describes an Interfaith Rainforest Initiative special panel at the Parliament of the World's Religions that featured two courageous Amazonian leaders, Benki Piyanko Ashaninka and Davi Kopenawa Yanomami. You can watch the video of their presentation here

Recommended Books
"A multicultural anthology, edited by Susan O’Connor and Annick Smith, about the enduring importance and shifting associations of the hearth in our world.

A hearth is many things: a place for solitude; a source of identity; something we make and share with others; a history of ourselves and our homes. It is the fixed center we return to. It is just as intrinsically portable. It is, in short, the perfect metaphor for what we seek in these complex and contradictory times—set in flux by climate change, mass immigration, the refugee crisis, and the dislocating effects of technology."

Featuring original contributions from some of our most cherished voices—including Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Pico Iyer, Natasha Trethewey, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Chigozie Obioma—Hearth suggests that empathy and storytelling hold the power to unite us when we have wandered alone for too long. This is an essential anthology that challenges us to redefine home and hearth: as a place to welcome strangers, to be generous, to care for the world beyond one’s own experience." from the publisher, Milkweed Press.  

"God's Good Earth offers Christians and their communities an engaging resource for prayer, reflection, and worship that reflects and nourishes their efforts to serve God and care for God's creation. Compilers Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn have prepared 52 ready-made prayer services, each around a specific theme, drawing from a rich variety of ecumenical resources: psalms and other responsive readings, Scripture, hymns, prayers, and reflections from the world's most engaging nature writers and interpreters of the social and cultural landscape. Each section can be used in full, or the user may select smaller sections; permission is granted to the purchaser to reproduce for use in public prayer." from the publisher Liturgical Press 

Linking Justice and Peace in the Lectionary

JPIC homily resources are available from the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and other religious communities. The Passionist JPIC office collaborates with other community JPIC offices and we would love to see other homily resources coming from the Passionist charism. Contact the Passionist JPIC office if you would like to contribute.  If you yourself do not give homilies please consider sharing these resources with a local homilist.

Sunday Jan. 13th by Br. Steve Herro, O.Praem.
Sunday Jan. 20th by Dianne Bergant CSA

USCCB Liturgical Aids for Poverty Awareness Month.

Additional homily resources from the Ignatian Solidarity Network

Finally, he Holy Cross Passionist website features wonderful daily scripture reflections from the Passionist Family.  Three regular contributors are members of the North American Passionists JPIC Board. 
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