VeryTopShalom News North America  

An instrument of hope, formation, and action

concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue
African American History Month
Human Trafficking Day of Prayer
Wealth Inequality
Out-of-School Children
Valentine's Day
Chocolate at a Price
Global Catholic Climate Movement
Ocean Life
TPP
Mining Impacts
Interfaith Harmony
February Reflections
Lenten Mindfulness
Social Justice
Looking Ahead...
Quick Links
Opportunities
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February/2015
      
 
We invite you to join SSNDs in taking time during the month of February to reflect on the idea of living simply, responsibly, and sustainably with one another and for all creation. What does this mean to you? How do you reflect this understanding in the things you do and the choices you make? 

"Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish." (Pope Francis, "Urbi et Orbi" Easter Message, March 31, 2013.)
          
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Human Life and Dignity             waveofprayer                             


February is African American History Month  
As we celebrate African American History Month, let us remember and pray for those committed to bringing a greater measure of justice to this nation. Through this litany you can recognize and give thanks for some of the lesser known women and men whose actions prepared the soil for the civil rights movement. We invite you to consider this reflection by Bishop Edward Braxton on the current racial divide in the U.S. and re-read and reflect on the U.S. Bishops' 1979 Pastoral Letter on Racism. Consider also these five obstacles facing the African-American community today. Pray, listen, learn, think, and act.   
 

Human Life and Dignity                                          


Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General has designated February 8 as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. February 8th was selected because it is the Feast Day of St. Josephine Bakhita whom many call "The Patron Saint of Human Trafficking Victims." We invite you to watch A Path Appears (discussion guide), download this prayer service, sign this pledge, and urge Congress to take action. 

           
 
 

Human Life and Dignity               


Wealth Inequality - Unparalleled 
In their latest report on the concentration of global wealth, Oxfam reports that the share of the world's wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year. By 2016, Oxfam expects the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world's wealth. Oxfam is calling on governments to adopt a seven-point plan to tackle inequality, including a clampdown on tax evasion by companies and the move towards a living wage for all workers. Learn more, take action.

Wealth Inequality
Wealth Inequality

Human Life and Dignity               


Global Report on Out-of-School Children
Adolescents are twice as likely to be out of school as primary school-age children, according to a new joint report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNICEF. The report hopes to serve as a catalyst for policies and practices that will reach the 121 million children and adolescents denied their right to education.  Use this interactive tool to explore the data including how factors such as poverty, gender, and location can affect a child's chances of going to school.

Out-of-School Children
Out-of-School Children
  

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Human Life and Dignity               


Valentine's Day
Hearts and chocolates and roses - all very commercial symbols used to celebrate one's relationships with those dear to one's own heart.  What is perhaps more important is how those relationships are nourished and celebrated before and after the big day because we know that "Love cannot wait", that it must be lived out daily when and where there are no cards or chocolates or roses given.  We must also be mindful of and responsive to the justice issues and human faces behind the products.
                

Human Life and Dignity               


Chocolate at a Price - New Report Explores Poverty in Cocoa Trade
ILRF released a new report analyzing the causes behind continuing poverty among cocoa farmers in West Africa, and how that poverty perpetuates child labor and other labor rights abuses. The Fairness Gap: Farmer Incomes and Root Cause Solutions to Child Labor in the Cocoa Industry is the product of nearly two years of research and dialogue. The hope of the report is to foster a new phase of multi-stakeholder dialogue and advocacy to get at root cause solutions.

Integrity of Creation              


Global Catholic Climate Movement is Launched
The Global Catholic Climate Movement, an international collaboration of Catholic organizations, was launched on January 14 with a statement presented to Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines. In its statement calling for prayer and action among the world's Catholic population, the GCCM says, "Our collaboration echoes the global dimensions of the Catholic Church and a shared sense of responsibility to care for God's beautiful, life-giving creation...We are certain that anthropogenic [human-made] climate change endangers God's creation and us all, particularly the poor, whose voices have already spoken of the impacts of an altered climate." Learn more/get involved.
          

Integrity of Creation              


Ocean Life Could Face Mass Extinction
A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. "We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event," said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist and an author of the new research. Yet McCauley believes there is time to avert catastrophe since the oceans are still wild enough to bounce back to ecological health. Learn more.

Integrity of Creation              


No "Fast Track" for Trans-Pacific Partnership          
Right now the largest international trade deal in history - representing 792 million people and 40 percent of the world economy - is being negotiated in secret. Congress is considering giving it "Fast Track" approval, which would prevent meaningful public debate and potential amendments.
 
 
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade deal among 12 nations, including the U.S.. Critics believe it would offshore millions of jobs and expose us to imports of unsafe food by challenging our food safety rules on pesticides, labeling, or additives as "illegal trade barriers." Perhaps the most threatening aspect is that corporations could potentially sue governments for millions or billions of dollars claiming that environmental regulations, including climate policies, interfere with profits. Learn more, take action.       
 

Integrity of Creation              


A See, Judge, Act Reflection on Mining Impacts       

The Integrity of Creation Working Group of the USG-UISG JPIC Commission in Rome, offers practical suggestions to ensure a sustainable future for the Earth Community, as well as resources, experiences, and prayers. Download resource.        
 

Peace and Non-Violence               


Interfaith Harmony - February 1-7   
World Interfaith Harmony Week is an effort to promote harmony between all peoples regardless of their faith. It is rooted in the work of The Common Word Initiative, which calls for Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialog based on two common fundamental religious commandments: love of God and love of neighbor without compromising any of their own religious tenets.  With so much negative emphasis on the brutal terrorist activities done in the name of Islam, this week calls us to focus more on putting our faith - based on love, compassion, and forgiveness - into practice.   

Peace and Non-Violence               


"Those who teach justice shall be like the stars forever." (Daniel 12:3)    
Justice and Peace calendars remind us of many historic and current events: the lives of outstanding promoters of justice; anniversaries; martyrs for their faith and the wellbeing of their sisters and brothers; along with writers, scholars, and poets who bring inspiration to our lives.  February's listing includes twelve of these women and men. You may enjoy remembering these individuals with reflections on one of their quotes.
   

Peace and Non-Violence               


Lenten Mindfulness    
In his 2015 Lenten message, Pope Francis warns us against a globalization of indifference. This Lent let us be particularly mindful of those in need throughout our global community. Consider these resources from Development and Peace and Catholic Relief Services, as well as this reflection on how fasting can be a powerful tool for justice.   

Peace and Non-Violence               


World Day of Social Justice     
Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations.  We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religions, culture or disability. The United Nations' commitment to this task is proclaimed annually on February 20 in the World Day of Social Justice. There is a wide disparity in how member states carry it out, just as there is a vast difference in how individuals perceive and demonstrate social justice.  What barriers need to be removed in our own relationships with others?  Prayer resource.    

Looking Ahead to Next Month...



 Reflecting on Status of Women and Girls  
 
Celebrate Women and Girls - Learn more/resources 
  

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.

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