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Articles (220)

Monday, 30 October 2017 04:47

ICAN Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Written by

Beth Begley – New Jersey Chapter

The Nobel committee awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN—International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

Our Maryknoll/Pax Christi International delegation in June when the treaty was passed at the UN. L-R Judy Coode,
Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, Beth Begley (NJ Chapter Affiliate), PCI UN rep;  Jonathan Frerichs, PCI Disarmament
Coordinator; Alice Kooij, PCI Policy Director; Jasmine Nazario Galace, PC Philippines, ICAN, Miriam College Manila;
Gerry Lee, Director MOGC; Marie Dennis, Co-President of PCI; and Mary Yelenick, PCI UN rep.

Maryknoll and Pax Christi International were integral members of the ICAN campaign to achieve the Nuclear Ban Treaty, and their efforts continue toward ratification in each signing nation and entry into force.

It had been very discouraging that our efforts brought so little awareness, especially here in the US.  Then we awoke on October 7th to the Nobel Peace Prize. As part of the campaign, my email has been happily flooded with congratulations and encouragement from our campaigners all over the world.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was opened for signatures on September 20th. There need to be 50 ratifications for it to enter into force. Three states have ratified to date—the Vatican was first. In spite of pressure from the US, we expect the treaty to be in effect within two years and to serve as a moral benchmark. (Editor: The US has not signed or ratified.)

Although the nuclear states try to discount this accomplishment, I see it as a part of a new expression of empowerment by the nonnuclear and less powerful states and by a new generation of activists working from the ground up and giving priority to reducing the humanitarian effects of war and violence. The Land Mine Treaty and the Treaty on Cluster Munitions were the first steps in this movement.

Note: To learn more about the negotiations at the United Nations to adopt a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons leading toward their total elimination, read Sister Elizabeth Zwareva, MM’s report in the July-August 2017 issue of NewsNotes at http://maryknollogc.org/article/un-nuclear-ban-treaty-negotiations.

 

Monday, 30 October 2017 04:30

Our Cup Is Full

Written by

In early November, around 100 Affiliates and friends will be attending MAC 2017, our international Maryknoll Affiliate Conference, in Guatemala. The MAC Coordinating Committee tells us,

The assembly cup is full. We welcome Maryknoll Affiliates who will live the harmony
between people and Mother Earth inspired by the theme of Buen Vivir.

The Coordinating Committee asked for responses to these questions:

  • What valuable learnings do I hope to leave with? 
  • In what ways would I like to see the theme “Buen Vivir” (Living in Harmony with All) become part of the commitment of the Affiliate Movement?
  • What will be my own special contribution in this MAC 2017 assembly to strengthen the four Pillars (Community, Spirituality, Global Vision, Action) to the Maryknoll Affiliate Movement?

One person shared the thought, “Living in harmony with all challenges us to remember that the Blessing that awaits us is often outside our comfort zone!”

Read more of the thoughtful and inspiring responses they received (in English and Spanish), in the No Tan Lejos del Horizon Special MAC Edition and plan to hear a full report on our first truly international MAC in the next issue of NSFA.

Monday, 30 October 2017 04:18

Renewable Energy—A Simple 1-2-3

Written by

Marie Venner – Denver Chapter

Are you concerned about climate change but don’t know where to start?  Here’s a path forward.  For cleaner air, more jobs, and involvement for all, think 1-2-3 and prioritize!

  1. Shift control of our electricity to the community level.
  2. Electrify everything—no more investments
    or taxes supporting fossil fuel.
  3. Efficiency improvements can provide the quickest and best return. 

By taking even some of the steps below, we can make progress toward our top priorities!

Kevin Foy – Maryknoll National Director for Teacher and Catechist Outreach

Kevin collaborated regularly with the Seattle Affiliates from 2011-2015 and currently with the Affiliates in Chicago, where he now works. This a reprint of Kevin Foy’s blog:,  5 Things Christian Mission Teaches Me About Confronting Racism,“ posted on August 18, 2017.

Reflecting on testimony from residents of Charlottesville following the recent racist demonstrations, I am struck by a major disconnect. While many white residents are quick to say, “This is not us,” their black neighbors point out that racism is indeed very much a part of Charlottesville: African-Americans are the targets of 80 percent of traffic stops, despite making up only 20 percent of the local population. The same white residents who showed up to protest racism also regularly reject their appeals for reforms in education, employment, and housing policies that disproportionately harm people of color.

Monday, 30 October 2017 03:26

The Catholic Church Moves Towards Nonviolence?

Written by

Just Peace Just War in Dialogue

Charlie Reilly – San Diego Chapter

A cluster of San Diego Affiliates joined several hundred people at the USD Peace and Justice Auditorium October 6 & 7 to reflect on this topic.

Maria Stephan of the Institute for Peace gave a splendid opening talk on “The Nonviolent Option: The Power of Active Nonviolence.” She reminded us of the many under-reported examples of effective social change through nonviolent movements around the world in recent years. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana gave the closing talk, “Christian Nonviolence and Just Peace.” He heads the Vatican’s Human Development office, which includes the Justice and Peace outreach initiative encouraged by Pope Francis. This event follows up on a Vatican session held a year ago, also organized by Maryknoll and Pax Christi co-president Marie Dennis. Sandwiched between the two public talks was an all-day seminar for some 15 Catholic theologians and peace activists with an equal number of military officers, most of them faculty members (or retired from) teaching ethics at Army, Navy, and Air Force academies. Fr. Bill Headley and I participated in the whole event.

Monday, 30 October 2017 03:21

Caring for Refugees and Immigrants

Written by

Marie Wren – North Bay Chapter

Members of the North Bay Affiliate Chapter, Nancy and Bob McFarland, Leslee Coady, Rich Younkin, and Marie Wren planned this event at St. Isabella’s parish in San Rafael, CA, to impart information and to inspire involvement and action. Presenters included a Rwandan refugee priest, Carolyn Trumble—a Maryknoll mission promoter, staff members of Catholic Charities, an immigration lawyer, and Maryknoll Affiliates.

Monday, 30 October 2017 03:14

I Was An Alien and You Welcomed Me

Written by

Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss – Portland Chapter

The Maryknoll Affiliate Book Group has been discussing the experiences of immigrants in the US, guided by Miguel De La Torre’s Trails of Hope and Terror. That book emphasizes that Jesus was an undocumented refugee in Egypt and offers Christian responses to the alien.

Now we see people of color detained and arrested as they leave the county court house or go to work. Citizen protesters have been arrested as they block the path of Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) vans. Immigrant attendance at church services and classes is down, perhaps due to fear of being in public. Executive orders have rescinded the DACA program that helps young immigrants, Dreamers, legally remain in the US to study or work.

Pat Bader – Seattle Chapter

Ken Butigan, connected with Pace e Bene (http://www.paceebene.org/), gave a lively and inspiring talk on Campaign Nonviolence. He said violence causes racism, poverty and war.  We need to say no to violence and respect our adversary as a loving person in God’s eyes.  He uses the acronym CLARA when dealing with conflict:

  • Center yourself
  • Learn your feelings about the situation
  • Articulate your truth
  • Receive the truth of the other person, and
  • Accomplish some dialog by acknowledging both parts of the truth.

We then watched a TED talk on nonviolence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJSehRlU34w), by Erica Cenoweth, in which she said nonviolence has been shown to be more effective in campaigns for change in governments than violence. Civil resistance works.

Ken advocated the following key practices: training in nonviolence, working with a community of likeminded people for mutual support, and action (keeping nonviolence in mind during any interactions).

We concluded the morning with one-on-one role-play taking pro and con positions on controversial issues—gun control, environmental issues, etc.  Each person had the opportunity to try both sides. A common feedback was that the confrontations were stressful but the CLARA method of conflict resolution was helpful. Denny Duffel of the Seattle Chapter of Pax Christi USA (and organizer of this Workshop) encouraged us to prayerfully consider signing the Vow of Nonviolence, part of our packet of handouts. (https://paxchristiusa.org/resources/vow-of-nonviolence/)

After lunch, as part of Campaign Nonviolence, many participants marched from the St. Joseph Parish social hall to St. James Cathedral (about 2 miles,) advocating for nonviolence and a ban on nuclear weapons. 

I didn’t march, but I did sign the Vow of Nonviolence and am sending it to:

Pax Christi, Seattle Chapter 
958 16th Ave. East
Seattle, WA 98112

 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017 00:15

Buen Vivir Inspires Heartfelt Strategies

Written by

Rosa Beatriz, the lead person on the Guatemalan Conference Committee planning for MAC 2017, asked a few registrants to respond to two of three questions. Some respondents shared their answers with Executive Coordinator Bob Short. Below are parts of three Affiliates’ responses to one of her questions:

In what ways would I like to see the theme “Buen Vivir” (Living in Harmony with All) become part of the commitment of the Affiliate Movement?

Monday, 28 August 2017 23:03

Nuclear Option Action Alert

Written by

The Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns urges us to pray and contact our government representatives asking for diplomacy with North Korea (http://maryknollogc.org/alerts/us-and-north-korea-call-prayer-and-action).

An additional approach was introduced by Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) “Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017.” H.R.669 would prohibit the first-use of nuclear strike by the United States unless Congress first declares war and expressly authorizes such a strike (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/669). The bill has 47 co-sponsors but has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

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