Newsletter - Advent: Make Room! Simple Living/Faithful Living; Actions on Immigration, Climate, Criminal Justice and more
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Make Room! 
A Reflection by Joe Grant
The work of Advent consists of this:
make room!
Attune your heart to hope, long-expected
by hungry souls and broken lives.
Clear the clutter, quiet the noise,
turn off the soundtrack,
douse the twinkling lights.
Put away your lists and listen
to cries from the earth
that break the heart of the universe.
Set aside presents to be present.
Leave behind plastic pretense
to stand beneath the sky and ponder the Maker of a trillion galaxies,
who cares yet for the smallest places,
and seeks out the dark recesses,
bearing the gift of tenuous new life.
For into each unfolding moment
with or without us, the Christ arrives,
looking only for room and readiness.
Let us not be lost
to the cancer of consumption,
or adrift in self-fulfilling dreams of doom,
or decorated by distraction,
and driven by the appetite for acquisition,
dismissing the catastrophe playing out before our misted eyes.
All we need, to embody this Christ-becoming
is space, in humble, generous hearts
and spirits ripe and willing.
A message of hope sent to enlighten distress.
A promise of peace meant for conflict-torn places.
For Christ becomes flesh in the midst of our mess.
As water sinks to the lowest point and love finds the sorest soul,
Christ seeks out the broken,
bringing to birth restoration that makes the wounded whole.
The slimmest hope is hopeful still. 
The slightest flicker glimmers for all.

Read the entire reflection on Joe's blog here

Simple Living-Faithful Living Webinar Available

A timely webinar for Advent and the Christmas season! The presenters (Kyle Kramer, Passionist Earth and Spirit Center, and Simone Blanchard, CRS Ethical Trade) explore what Pope Francis calls the "sickness of consumerism" and give practical tips on how to overcome it.
Watch webinar here.
Kyle Kramer and Simone Blanchard
Advent Prayer and Action
Please visit the Passionist Advent Calendar each day as you prepare during Advent.  The theme this year, as we contemplate the Beatitudes, will focus on our Advent journey of Faithfulness, Hope, Joy and Love. 

Each day of the calendar includes members of our Passionist Family offering their reflections on the Scripture readings.  The Passionist JPIC Office provided a brief Call to Action each day.
Taking Climate Change Seriously
Those of us who have endorsed the Catholic Climate Declaration have voiced support for climate action and the Paris Agreement from the foundation of our Catholic faith. This call emanates from the core of our faith: our love of God and our neighbors.  As the declaration states, “global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God's creation and the one human family.”  
The recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment (NCA) heighten the need for urgent action and ambition to protect vulnerable peoples and our shared future.  The Catholic Climate Change Covenant urges us to voice out support for these efforts mindful of the present administration’s intention to withdraw. 

Please consider the following actions: 
Immigration:  Can it be “fixed?”
Don’t we all hope that the heartbreak and drama at borders and boundaries would just go away?  Migration is as old as human life on the planet.  People are drawn to places that offer security and wellbeing and are pushed from places that oppress and force their poverty.  Regulating immigration is inevitable, then, but it is complicated with our biases and political borders.
Educating ourselves is a good first step. One place to do so is on the website for the Justice for Immigrants Campaign.  It helps sort out the issues from the emotions, which leads to step two:  taking action. Find a local group or organization that is already addressing the issue and find out how you can get involved.  You can write a check or provide material support, or even offer a spare room in your house or sponsor one of the people who have been approved with a preliminary status of an asylum seeker.

Step three:  advocate and work for comprehensive immigration reform.

Hope is based on our belief that things can be different than they are.
Advent: Walking Toward Hope 
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition has developed a series of eight prayers, Walking Toward Hope, which can be used throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons. Each two-page guide includes a brief reflection on the scripture of the day, the story of an immigrant or refugee, suggested actions, and a list of additional resources. 
Themes include: 
  • Week One, December 2 - Walking Away from Family Detention  
  • Week Two, December 9 - Resisting Negative Rules and Exclusions  
  • Week Three, December 16 - Welcoming Asylum Seekers  
  • Week Four, December 23 - Defending Families Facing Deportation 
  • Christmas Eve, December 24 - Celebrating Reunions   
  • Holy Innocents, December 28 - Alternatives to Detention  
  • Feast of the Holy Family, December 30 - Root Causes of Refugees  
  • Epiphany/Dia de Reyes, January 6 - Walking Together at the Border
Nationwide events are planned during December to note the 6-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy. An estimated 600,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns since 20 children and six educators lost their lives at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012. Communities around the country continue to organize to shine a light on the devastating epidemic of gun violence in this nation. Their message is simple: Congress must take meaningful action to reduce gun deaths and injuries — now. The annual national vigil service of mourning and loving remembrance for all who have fallen victim to the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in America was December 5, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Washington, DC

Download the 2018 National Vigil Toolkit and register their events here
Criminal Justice Reform Within Reach 
Our country has an opportunity to move toward a criminal justice system that is less punitive and more focused on healing, restoration, and hope for all. 

On November 14th, President Trump issued a statement calling on Congress to pass S.3649, the revised First Step Act of 2018. This legislation is an amended version of a prison reform bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May of 2018. Your call to the Senate is needed now. 

The Passionist Family and other religious communities have ample experience of serving those impacted by the criminal justice system. These experiences have taught those in this ministry that sentencing policies, prison programming, and reentry services in the United States are in desperate need of reform.  

Join this call from the Ignatian Solidarity Network and the Jesuit Conference's Office of Justice and Ecology on their statement in support of the First Step Act. While this legislation is not perfect, they were pleased to see several important policy changes added to the revised First Step Act.   

Although there is bipartisan support, including from the President, given the limited time remaining for the current Congress, we need to weigh in with the Senate now. TAKE ACTION NOW! 
Not Yet Universal: United Nations Declaration
December 10 was the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The 30 articles of the Declaration begin with Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Read the Declaration here.

Pax Christi International has issued a statement on the significance of the document and its continued importance to our world.  They stress that "the statement also enumerates the current challenges to its implementation, namely the impacts of violent conflicts, nuclear weapons, extractive industries, and direct attacks on human rights defenders." ... "But, as we outline in our statement today, there is still a great deal of work to do."

Click here to read the Pax Christi International statement.
The Anthropocene Project - The Human Altered World
Clearing forest for palm tree plantation
Photographer Edward Burtynsky and Emergence Magazine collaborated to present this gallery of powerful photographs.  The photos discuss the moments in geological history that shows the impact onto natural landscapes of human systems and technologies. 

"Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work...These images are meant as metaphors for the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear."

See the gallery at Emergence Magazine

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.

Saturday, Dec. 8th by Kevin Ahern, PhD
Sunday, Dec. 9th by Dianne Bergant CSA

Sunday, Dec. 16th by Dan Horan OFM, PhS
Sunday, Dec. 23rd by Joseph Serano O.Praem

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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