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Articles (262)

Saturday, 23 June 2018 17:30

ICAN Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Written by
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.

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.”

ICAN—International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons draws “attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences
of any use of nuclear weapons and [works] to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”—Nobel Prize Committee

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.

 

Saturday, 23 June 2018 17:25

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.

Saturday, 23 June 2018 17:17

Renewable Energy—A Simple 1-2-3

Written by
Air and traffic pollution have an unexpectedly large
impact on life, health, and wellbeing.

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.

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.

Like you, I am trying to make sense of Charlottesville and its aftermath. But after nearly a dozen years of stepping beyond my comfort zone to see the world from different angles, I recognize how disturbingly common it is for people to live in close proximity but very different worlds. I offer some insights that may help folks respond to this moment with greater consciousness of racial injustice.

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.

Saturday, 23 June 2018 16:16

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.

Fr. Samuel, a priest at St. Isabella’s and a son of a Rwandan refugee, was born in a Ugandan refugee camp. He inspired the audience with stories about ministering as a priest to refugees in Uganda and emphasized that the most important thing to give refugees is hope, over and above any material or financial help.

Two speakers from Catholic Charities told of the legal help they offer to immigrants and of social services for a local community of immigrant youth who need help with reading skills. They also addressed the current issue of the executive order revoking DACA. They invited the audience to visit the local community center where youth are tutored.

An immigration attorney and member of the local Organizing Committee, emphasized the need to listen to the stories of immigrants and to determine their immediate needs. She told of immigrants whose cars were impounded because they did not have driver licenses. The Committee helped them.

Affiliate Bob McFarland spoke about his and his wife Nancy’s involvement with a Rapid Response team that observes and documents raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They also support families who may be left without a breadwinner because of the raids. Bob and Nancy are willing to take such a family into their home.

Some parishioners were interested in volunteering and will be invited to our next Affiliate meeting where we can explore their interests and where to use their skills. Although the evening addressed immigrants and refugees from other countries, we were keenly and sadly aware that there were many “refugees” from nearby Napa and Sonoma because of the devastating fires. Any of us could be refugees.

Saturday, 23 June 2018 16:12

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.

But hopeful signs abound. In October, California, with over 2 million undocumented, enacted a law barring police from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities. Jail officials will only transfer inmates to federal authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes. Oregon’s law prevents using state resources to enforce federal laws.

Kathy Gribble, from Fox Cities Chapter, WI, reports that the ESTHER community visited a legislative hearing concerning pending legislation. One bill proposes that all government officials would be permitted (not mandated) to inquire on the immigration status of persons they might encounter in any dealing. This bill would allow targeting and profiling people of color, adding another level of fear as they move in the shadows of the community. The good news is that only one speaker favored the measure and about 25, including the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, eloquently spoke against it.

Nationwide, an estimated 800 churches have declared themselves Sanctuary Churches, although only few are house threatened immigrants. Some groups help Dreamers pay the $465 fee for DACA renewals. Communities have participated in Welcoming Week (welcomingamerica.org) to help newcomers of all backgrounds feel valued and fully participate in the community. Welcoming Week coincides with the Campaign Nonviolence week of actions and with International Day of Peace each September.

What is happening in your community? How are you welcoming the alien? Send your observations, actions, or ideas on welcoming the alien to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

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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