VeryTopShalom News North America  

An instrument of hope, formation, and action

concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue
Ferguson
Martyrs of El Salvador
Modern Slavery
Immigrants
Human Rights
Las Posadas
I Belong
Consumas
Holy Innocents
Climate Deal
Light for Lima
Green Climate Fund
Winter Solstice
Gun Violence Sabbath
World Peace Day
Looking Ahead...
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December/2014
     
 
As part of your Advent journey, we invite you to take time to reflect on the presence of God found in all people and all creation. We encourage you to take action to protect fundamental human rights and defend the dignity of all life.  
 
Thank you for your on-going commitment to make a difference in our world.  May you enjoy a most blessed Advent and Christmas time, and may we all enjoy a more peace-filled new year.           
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Shalom North America Contacts
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Human Life and Dignity             waveofprayer


Ferguson - Resources for Reflection and Action  
In light of the ongoing protests, conversations, debates, and emotional outpourings associated with Ferguson and the issues that underlie it, we wanted to share some resources that might help support teaching and learning during this time of challenge.  May we all be open to learning lessons from this tragic event that lead to personal and societal growth and a greater respect for the dignity of all.    
 

Human Life and Dignity                    


Presente! Martyrs of El Salvador: Jean Donovan, Maura Clark, Ita Ford, and Dorothy Kazel     
On December 2, 1980, four American Churchwomen were abducted, raped, and killed in El Salvador.  Their story as well as the story of cover-ups, betrayal, and the current status of those who ordered their murder can be found at  Killed in El Salvador:  An American Story.

Killed in El Salvador: An American Story | The New York Times 
Killed in El Salvador: An American Story | The New York Times
 

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Human Life and Dignity               


No More Slavery?         
December 2 is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.  But as two recently released reports indicate, there are more people enslaved today than at any other time in human history.  According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, 35.8 million people are currently trapped in modern-day slavery. That is some 20% more people enslaved across the world than previously thought. Modern slavery contributes to the production of at least 122 goods from 58 countries.

The Global Report on Trafficking reports that one in three known victims of human trafficking is a child - a 5% increase compared to the 2007-2010 period. Girls make up two out of every three child victims, and together with women, account for 70% of overall trafficking victims worldwide. Learn more/take action.    
    
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Human Life and Dignity               


Justice for Immigrants and the Sanctuary Movement           
Recently we SSND Shalom Contacts had the opportunity to join with some of our SSND colleagues in a most inspiring border immersion experience. While learning more about the realities that influence a migrant's decision to cross the border, we also gained additional perspectives on immigration from civic leaders, border patrol agents, attorneys, faith leaders, business leaders, and ranchers.

While in Tucson, we had an opportunity to meet a young immigrant mother who has been granted sanctuary from deportation by a Protestant Church community. Learn more about Rosa and how you can support justice for immigrants.

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Human Life and Dignity               


Human Rights Day         
The School Sisters of Notre Dame invite all to join us in commemorating International Human Rights Day on December 10. This year's theme, "Human Rights 365," expresses the conviction that every day is Human Rights Day and that each one of us, everywhere, at all times, is entitled to the full range of human rights. Resources for reflection and action can be found here.

The Price of Silence
The Price of Silence
                

Human Life and Dignity               


Las Posadas Advent Novena             
The Advent Novena known as Las Posadas (shelters) recalls the biblical quest to find lodging in Bethlehem. Beginning December 16, each evening features a procession carrying images of Joseph and Mary, singing and praying, calling on chosen homes, only to be denied access. On December 24, doors are opened to the guests who gather before the Nativity scene to pray and celebrate together.  This novena weaves together prayerful vigilance, the virtue of hospitality, and social justice: a reminder to us of the many homeless in Canada, the U.S., and throughout our world.  

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Human Life and Dignity               


I Belong - Help End Global Statelessness           
Did you know a baby is born stateless every 10 minutes?  The UN refugee agency recently launched the I Belong global campaign aimed at ending the devastating legal limbo of statelessness, which affects millions of people around the world. "Statelessness can mean a life without education, without medical care or legal employment . . . a life without the ability to move freely, without prospects or hope," the Open Letter said. 

#IBELONG - End Statelessness Now 
#IBELONG - End Statelessness Now

In support/ recognition of International Migrants (12/18) and Human Solidarity (12/20) days, please consider learning more/taking action on behalf of the stateless.

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Human Life and Dignity               


Consumas or Christmas?              
Consumas is a term that, for some people, replaces Christmas.  It is the annual shopping/consumption frenzy beginning even before Thanksgiving when some people fall prey to the promise of saving lots of money and finding the perfect gifts and what we are told we all need to be happy and live better. To paraphrase an old Slim Whitman song, "Where is the Christ in Consumas?"  

Consider some alternatives at Buy Nothing Christmas or Feed the Children or Heifer gift catalog. Also check out an Advent Prayer on Consumerism and the Advent resource Economy of Right Relationship 

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Human Life and Dignity               


Holy Innocents - December 28               
Matthew's Gospel tells the story of Herod who in response to a report of a newborn king of the Jews, ordered "the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under."  The killing of Holy Innocents continues today through abortion, genocide, and other actions that take the lives of our most vulnerable. Let us take this day to reflect and consider ways we can help protect and support the development of our society's most vulnerable members.    
 

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Integrity of Creation              


The Big Climate Deal: What It Is and What It Isn't   
Just weeks after the largest climate mobilization ever, the world's two biggest polluters -- the United States and China -- announced their most ambitious climate action yet. Noted environmentalist Bill McKibben has a 10-point assessment of this agreement: 1) It is historic. For the first time a developing nation has agreed to eventually limit its emissions, which has become a necessity for advancing international climate negotiations. 2) It isn't binding...read more.

Integrity of Creation              


Advent Prayer: Light for Lima             

On December 7 the second Sunday of Advent, interfaith communities around the world will be holding vigils in anticipation of the forthcoming global climate talks in Lima, Peru. The Lima meeting is critically important to the sustainability of our planet.  Join in the vigil! Here is a prayer resource for your use. The Lights for Lima Campaign is also asking faith communities to consider purchasing one solar powered lamp. For every solar lamp ordered two will be sent to a rural community in Africa. Learn more.      
 

Integrity of Creation              


U.S. Contributes to Green Climate Fund      
President Obama recently announced that the U.S. would contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, an international fund created to help the world's poorest countries deal with the effects of climate change, such as droughts, floods, storms, and other extreme weather.  This was followed by 21 more countries pledging $9.3 billion.  As climate change advances, poor communities are hardest hit. That's why the Green Climate Fund is so important and why support from wealthy countries is critical. Learn more.

Integrity of Creation              


Winter Solstice               

Our celebration of the Winter Solstice on December 21 reminds us that our planet and sun are participants in a sacred cycle of light and darkness. As citizens of the living Earth, in partnership with our life-sustaining sun, we - and all inhabitants of the Earth community - are part of a great cosmic dance that is a revelation of the divine. Edward Hays invites us, as pilgrims of the cosmos, to "celebrate this change of seasons in the annual pilgrimage around our great daystar, the sun" with wonder, hope, and joy.       
 

Peace and Non-Violence               


National Gun Violence Sabbath  
December 11-14, join Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, the Newtown Foundation, and places of worship across the nation to remember those who have lost their lives to gunfire, to pray for those whose lives have been forever changed because of the loss of a loved one, and to educate one another on proven strategies to reduce gun violence. Learn more about gun violence in the U.S. and Canada.  What can you do to support this effort and help reduce gun violence?  

Peace and Non-Violence               


Pope Francis' 2015 World Peace Day Message   
For the 2015 World Day of Peace, Pope Francis challenges us to recognize every person as a brother or sister with God-given dignity. Such recognition, he says, will lead to peace. When we recognize the dignity of others, we will feel compelled to work for an end to all that exploits and enslaves them, such as human trafficking, trade in migrants and prostitutes, exploitation, slave labor, and the enslavement of women and children.  To address these assaults on the dignity of our exploited and enslaved brothers and sisters, we must assist victims and address the problems and issues that create conditions ripe for exploitation. Learn more, take action.  

Looking Ahead to Next Month...Follow This Link   



 
  

The SSND International Shalom Network witnesses to the Gospel with audacity and hope as we collaborate to build just relationships and respond to the urgent needs of our times. 

Shalom LogoShalom News North America is an e-publication of the Shalom North America Contacts (SNAC) of the School Sisters of Notre Dame - Arlene Flaherty, Ethel Howley, Jeanne Wingenter, Paulette Zimmerman, Rose Mary Sander, and Tim Dewane. Your comments, suggestions, and feedback are always welcomed. Email us at tdewane@ssndcp.org.

Please only print this e-publication if necessary.