Franciscan Action Network
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November 28, 2011

Righteousness Dwells 

On the Monday before Thanksgiving I was blessed with the opportunity to help my parish with their annual turkey and food collection. We set up early in the church parking lot. People drive through on their way to work and drop off a frozen turkey. Later in the morning folks in need come by to receive a turkey and a basket of food.

At one point a woman pulled up in her car. She looked fairly "normal"; her clothes were not torn and tattered, her car though not brand new was in good shape. She had an infant probably around two with her. Although I recognized her from church I did not really know her. I knew that in the past she had helped on various social justice projects. When I approached her she looked apprehensive. In a very quiet tone she asked if it was possible to get a turkey and a basket of food.

As I was loading the turkey and basket of food into her trunk she said, "You know every year my husband and I have donated a turkey and a basket of food. I never dreamed that at some point I would be receiving one back. Last year, through no fault of his own, my husband lost his job. As a result we also lost our health insurance now we are struggling to keep our home and feed our three children." She than looked at me and asked, "You work in D.C.: do you think any of our leaders, all whom claim to be people of faith, actually ever read the Gospels?"

I looked at her and asked her which leaders she was referring to. She replied: "Our members of Congress, do they realize that at some point they will have to stand in front of God and God will judge them not based on what they did for the wealthy, or for corporations or for America but what they did to the least of God's children? If Jesus were to stand in front of them today and ask 'when I was hungry, did you feed me?,' how would they respond?"

As we continue our journey through Advent and ready ourselves for the coming of the Messiah we reflect on the readings for the second Sunday of Advent. In the first reading we are told to "prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God" (Is 40:3). The second reading continues this theme. Peter tells us that we await "a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Pt 3:13). The letter continues by warning us "to be found without spot or blemish before him" (14).

During this Advent season are we preparing the way as we are told to in the Book of Tobit? "Give to the hungry some of your bread and to the naked some of your clothing. Whatever you have left over, give away as alms; and do not begrudge the alms you give" (Tob 4:16). Or in the Book of James: "What good is it if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also, faith of itself, if it does not have works, is lifeless" (Jas 2: 15-17).  

Are the laws on immigration that have been passed in places like Alabama and Arizona helping us prepare for way of the Lord? As Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile recently stated, "The law attacks our core understanding of what it means to be a church." Take a moment and reflect on the words from Psalm 85:11-12:

Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.

Patrick Carolan
FAN Executive Director

Mercury and Toxic Air Pollution Impacts Unborn Children:
A Public Health and Moral Perspective 

Smokestack image for Mercury hearingOn November 30, FAN staff and Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM will join the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals for a Senate briefing on the moral and public health impacts of mercury on unborn and young children.


Read the letter FAN submitted to the EPA on this issue.

Give Thanks to God on Your Account 

 CI Guide Cover

If you are interested in practical steps to shift your family or community finances towards banking and investments consistent with Franciscan Values, check out the following resources from Green America:


- A step-by-step Break Up with Your Mega Bank Kit   


FAN gives thanks to God for the shareholder advocacy of many Institutional Members, including the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, featured in The New York Times


Further Reflection on Food Day  


As we give thanks for many blessings in our lives, former FAN intern Ben Feuerherd (St. Francis College) reflects on his experience of a Food Day event last month which raised questions about hunger. Ben writes that "awareness about food issues needs to be spread ... more people need to recognize that blank stare on a stranger's face in the subway may be the stare of someone who does not know when his next meal will be."


Read more from Ben on the FAN blog


Time for Safe Chemicals

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee met on November 17 for a hearing on the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. Watch the webcast of the hearing online.  
There is still time to contact your Senators to encourage support of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847).
Please call the Capitol Switchboard at 1-888-784-0527 to reach your Senators. You can also send an e-mail through FAN's Capwiz action alert system.  
A Franciscan Cosmology Awaits Your Retrieval

If you missed Br. Keith Warner, OFM's webinar on "Spirituality + Science = Care for Creation, Retrieving a Franciscan Cosmology for Climate Conservation" last week or want to share it with others, you can access a recording online.


You can also access the visual component of the presentation on FAN's homepage or Br. Keith's Santa Clara University website.
Read questions from webinar participants and Br. Keith's response on FAN's blog.

Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  

(Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent)


Mission Statement

Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, and the example of saints Francis and Clare, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform U.S. public policy related to peacemaking, care for creation, poverty, and human rights.

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