January Newsletter: Just Peace Vision with Iran, Praying for Australia
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Just Peace Vision not violence with Iran

The Passionist Solidarity Network has signed on to a strong statement organized by Sojourners.  American church leaders are saying a clear and emphatic NO to a war with Iran. Diplomacy is the effective and necessary alternative to what would be a disastrous and indefensible war.  Please sign this letter as an individual member of the Passionist Family.  

FURTHER ACTION: Urge Congress and the U.S. President to turn to a just peace vision and away from violence and war with Iran. (from CMSM)

Read the statement from Pax Christi USA here.

Iran: Break the Cycle of Violence with a Just Peace Framework

Journal of Moral Theology articles on a Just Peace Ethic: “A Manual for Escaping our Vicious Cycles” by Gerald Schlabach, “The Changing Vision of Just Peace in Catholic Social Teaching” by Lisa Cahill, and “A Virtue-Based Just Peace Ethic” by Eli McCarthy, pp. 86-108.

Pope Francis Releases World day of Peace Message
January 1 marks the 53rd World Day of Peace and this year,  in his message, “Peace as a Journey of Hope: Dialogue, Reconciliation and Ecological Conversion,” Pope Francis declares that hope puts the world on the path to peace, while “mistrust and fear weaken relationships and increase the risk of violence.” He urges all to be artisans of peace—open to dialogue in a spirit of reconciliation, on a journey of ecological conversion that leads to a “new way of looking at life.” In the document the Holy Father describes peace as a journey of hope in the face of obstacles; a journey of listening based on memory, solidarity, and fraternity. He speaks of peace as a journey of reconciliation and communion and ecological conversion. He concludes by reminding the faithful that, “Peace will not be obtained unless it is hoped for.”  The full World Day of Peace Message is on the Vatican website. 

A prayer during the Australian bushfires

"I am ashamed, O God.

Am I partly to blame for these fires? I hold tightly to my comforts and conveniences which contribute to higher carbon levels in the atmosphere. I am ashamed because I do not know how to help. Turn my shame into healing."

Read this beautiful prayer by Peter Bierer for Australians as they experience the devastating fires in their country. He weaves our alternating feelings of sadness, compassion, fear, hope, anger, resolve, shame, healing and gratitude.  Please pray for our Passionist Family in Australia and the many people they serve who are effected by these terrible fires.
Passionists Featured at Thomas Berry Conference

Several members of the PSN Advisory Committee attended the conference "Thomas Berry and 'The Great Work'" held in October at Georgetown University in D.C. It featured a series of academic papers on Berry and his work.  Passionists were well represented at the event (Jim O’Shea, Steve Dunn, Joe Mitchell and Alex Steinmiller were in attendance). Links are available for the various presentations. We want especially highlight Steve Dunn's opening presentation about Passionist Charism.  You can view Steve's presentation hereOther presentations are on the website here

Louisville Catholic Parish Declares Itself a Sanctuary Community
Louisville, Kentucky parish St. William Catholic Community has declared itself a "Sanctuary for All," the first faith community in the state to do so.  In a public statement released in October, the parish decried "the brutal and racist policies of the present administration," and pledged "a commitment to support the leadership of immigrant-led groups who work diligently to establish justice for all."

Fr. John Burke, sacramental minister of St. William, told NCR that the parish's decision to "commit our hands and voices to the work of building structures of Sanctuary for All," as the statement described it, means a commitment to what he described as "our identity as a sanctuary congregation."  St. William is part of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

Read the NCR article by Robert Alan Glover here

UN 2019 Human Development Report Tackles Inequality

The street demonstrations sweeping across the world today signal that, despite unprecedented progress against poverty, hunger, and disease, many societies are not working as they should. The connecting thread, argues a new report from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is inequality.  

“Different triggers are bringing people onto the streets -- the cost of a train ticket, the price of petrol, demands for political freedoms, the pursuit of fairness and justice. This is the new face of inequality, and as this Human Development Report sets out, inequality is not beyond solutions,” says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. 

The 2019 Human Development Report (HDR), entitled “Beyond Income, Beyond Averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st Century,” says that just as the gap in basic living standards is narrowing for millions of people, the necessities to thrive have evolved. 

A new generation of inequalities is opening up, around education, and around technology and climate change - - two seismic shifts that, unchecked, could trigger a ‘new great divergence’ in society of the kind not seen since the Industrial Revolution, according to the report. 

The report analyzes inequality in three steps: beyond income, beyond averages, and beyond today. But the problem of inequality is not beyond solutions, it says, proposing a battery of policy options to tackle it.  

“This Human Development Report sets out how systemic inequalities are deeply damaging our society and why,” said Steiner. “Recognizing the real face of inequality is a first step; what happens next is a choice that each leader must make.”

Human Development Report 2019 - Animated Explainer 2'30"

Can your community do more with solar?
Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) has completed its second survey of congregations in the United States with solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems. The number of congregations reporting has more than doubled since the last survey to 770 in 47 states plus the District of Columbia. The total PV capacity of these systems is 45 megawatts (MW), comparable to the on-site solar capacity of large multi-location commercial entities such as Costco and Kohls. This report describes how IPL conducted the survey and provides a state-by-state summary of findings.

Full report can be found here: 

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 2020 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). 

*We are looking to set up 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.
Book review

A Living Gospel: Reading God's Story in Holy Lives by Robert Ellsberg Reviewed by Colleen McGinnity, BVM

Robert Ellsberg has long been interested in saints and in ordinary people doing good things with their lives. Ellsberg says of his new book, “…my primary purpose: to reflect on the story of God that is written in holy lives. My hope is that through reflection on such witnesses, we may learn to read our own story with new eyes.” (XV) Ellsberg believes everyone who strives to grow in love and concern for others, “to increase the balance of love in the world,” (4) is writing and living the Gospel through their lives. He invites us to reflect on and discover the “patterns of grace and mystery” present in our daily, usually very ordinary, lives. Through this lens, he goes on to reflect on the lives of Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Flannery O’Connor, and others. I found the book meaningful and inviting. Where has God been in the “patterns of grace and mystery” in my own life? As a leader in my congregation and a sister to my sisters, how can I invite them to share the story of their lives and see their own patterns of grace and mystery? What have we learned from others about living and being the gospel? For all of us, our lives are a story of grace, a living Gospel, and the world is richer for our lives and our sharing.  Order from Orbis Books

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, Jan. 12th by Br. Steve Herro, O.Praem.
Sunday, Jan. 19th  by Don Timmerman, Catholic Worker

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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