January Newsletter: Just Peace Vision with Iran, Praying for Australia
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Bend Toward Solidarity and Kindness
by Hugo Esparza, CP

"We commemorated the 10th Anniversary of the earthquake that killed 250,000 people and displaced from 1.5 to 3 million people on the 12th of January. We, however, still feel the aftershocks of the disaster....

Life is fragile in Haiti, no doubt. The desperation can make you bend toward ruthlessness like exploiting the weak or it can make you bend towards solidarity and kindness. I want to make sure that my heart, and I pray that yours, bends towards the side of Christ..." .

Read Fr. Hugo's reflection here

What is "Remain in Mexico?"

As you may know, the U.S. "Remain in Mexico" policy of the current administration has drastically impacted the number of people who are able to seek asylum here in the U.S.  People are being sent back to Mexico, Guatemala to wait in terrible conditions often more dangerous as those they are fleeing from. Essentially, the U.S. government has dismantled the asylum system and put vulnerable people in danger. Homeland Security has euphemistically called "Migrant Protection Protocols."  
It is one year since the first person was "returned to Mexico" and thousands of asylum seekers are languishing in primitive camps in Mexico and Guatemala.  The Passionist Solidarity Network is a cosponsor and supporter of the Faith4Asylum campaign organized by The Interfaith Immigration Coalition. The effort is planning a series of vigils and other work to focus on reversing this terrible policy.  Learn more about Faith4Asylum here.

We are pleased to report that over 300 individuals have signed the pledge to end Remain in Mexico/MPP, and nearly 100 organizations have endorsed the #Faith4Asylum campaign to work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants.  Join them as individuals and as Passionist ministry sites. 

Thanks to the Franciscan Action Network for this compilation of other resources about this very harmful policy.

  • The American Friends Service Committee’s U.S.-Mexico Border Program released Dismantling Asylum, a report analyzing the inhumane "MPP/Remain in Mexico" policy.
  • The Hope Border Institute has also published two reports detailing the effects of this policy on the borderlands community and on migrants returned to Mexico. The first is the Remain in Mexico Situation Report which provides original research accomplished by Hope Border Institute. The second prepared in collaboration with Stanford Law School Mills Legal Clinic is the Report on the Human Rights Violations of Migrants in Mexico.
Photo: Los Angeles Times
Fr. John Rausch. Presente!

"Fr. John Rausch isn’t surprised to see the Pope’s instructions on care of the Earth getting pushback from elected officials, as he’s seen it plenty over the years. But as Rausch takes us on a tour of his favorite spots in the Red River Gorge, he says he’s renewed — both by the scenes around him, as well as the belief that the Pope’s message will help Catholics and non-Catholics alike focus on the importance of protecting the environment.

The Pope won’t be visiting Eastern Kentucky, but Rausch believes Pope Francis would appreciate this place as much as we do. He’d skip rocks, too, and join us in taking in the calm of this place.

And as Rausch says, he’d send a message to the first environmentalist: “Nice going, God.”   (From an article by Aljazeera America)

Fr. John Rausch died on February 9.  He loved Kentucky's mountains and peace. He educated us all about both. We have lost an important leader in the struggle for a better world.

See this excellent compilation of items related to this amazing human from Pax Christi USA.

Reflections on the Signs of the Time 
by Scott Wright, Director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

The Journey of Hope: A Meditation on War and Peace
"...Fast forward to today, and we find the children and grandchildren of these same refugees, and others like them, literally camped out in the cold and rain under plastic tarps, at the foot of a bridge in Mexico, waiting to make their claim to asylum in the U.S. This is the reality I saw on Thanksgiving Day, 2019, as I visited the Columban Mission in Juarez and El Paso. We have forgotten Pope Francis’ invitation, when he visited this border in 2016, to “build bridges, not walls.” We have become a nation of immigrants who has forgotten the dream of our ancestors...

Pope Francis’ recent World Day of Peace message is a reminder of how “the desire for peace lies deep within the human heart.” Like the Salvadoran refugee mother and those families camped out today on our southern border, we too bear deep within us both the wounds of war and the desire for peace."

Read Scott's beautiful reflection here 

Toward a National Climate Platform

The Passionist Solidarity Network is a committed signatory to the Just National Climate Platform.  The goals of Platform are:
  • Support progress toward building trust and collaboration between environmental justice and national group leaders;
  • Develop national climate policy ideas that environmental justice and national groups can jointly support in the lead up to 2020 and beyond; and,
  • Identify pathways for more inclusive national climate policy development that will support environmental justice and national group advocates working together to advance shared policy goals and ideas.
A short video about the Just National Climate Platform
Lenten Resources
Thanks to our JPIC colleagues from other religious communities for sharing these resources.

The Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns’ 2020 Lenten Reflection Guide focuses on the topic of "ecological conversion." This guide offers a chance to reflect on your relationships with God, neighbor, and all creation. Readers will explore the interconnection of these relationships, consider how they are broken and in need of healing, and reflect on how God calls us to repentance and renewal on the journey towards the joy of Easter. 
  • The Global Catholic Climate Movement invites us to bring Laudato Si’ into the Lenten season with their Lenten Calendar for Creation. This week-by-week guide allows for reflection on our role in God’s creation. The contemplations and actions help us repent of our ecological sin, cultivate ecological virtue, and take healing actions.
  • Creation Justice Ministries' also have a Lent Calendar for 2020 This resource offers a Christ and eco-centered spiritual reflection and/or an eco-justice action for each day of the Lenten season.
  • Presbyterians for Earth Care 2020 Lent Devotional

Join National JPIC Gathering at the Border

CMSM's JPIC National Gathering

March 16-18, 2020
Las Cruces, NM

REGISTER NOW to save your spot!

The Passionist Solidarity Network is supporting and attending a Convergence on March 16-18, 2020.  Coordinated by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), it will include JPIC promoters (religious and laity who run JPIC offices, sit on JPIC committees, and are otherwise involved in this work).  We will gather for three days near the southern border, at the Holy Cross Retreat Center in Las Cruces, NM. Using the lens of immigration to Identify, Build, and Witness, we will explore what JPIC promoters are doing to create systemic change, while building our national network for strategic collaborative action. There will be opportunities to discuss and learn about other Solidarity Network issues as well.

Topics could include pastoral accompaniment and solidarity, role of religious, engagement with dioceses, spiritual vision of migration, strategic collaborative efforts, and issues that affect migration and migrants (climate change, economic justice, racism, and militarization). 

There will be an OPTIONAL encounter with migrants and service providers in Juarez, MX (across the bridge from El Paso, TX) the morning of Monday March 16th from about 8:30 am-2:30 pm. This will be an optional event with the formal gathering beginning early afternoon in Las Cruces, NM.

Registration, housing, and meals will cost $295. Discount for shared lodging option.
Recommended Podcast

Season Two of the Journey of the Universe podcast has been released. It features Brian Thomas Swimme's Powers of the Universe series. Subscribe to the  podcast to keep up to date with our monthly releases. You will be able to also access the entirety of Season One, featuring our Journey Conversations with Mary Evelyn Tucker and a diverse network of scholars, thinkers, and activist

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, Feb. 16 by Don Timmerman, Catholic Worker
Sunday, Feb. 23 by Dianne Bergant, CSA
Wed. Feb. 26th by John Donahue, SJ

Additional homily resources from the Ignatian Solidarity Network

The Franciscan Action Network weekly newsletter has homily and petition writing resoures.  Sign up here:  https://franciscanaction.org/resources/fan-weekly-newsletter-archive

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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