VeryTopShalom News North America  

An instrument of hope, formation, and action

concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue
Laudato Si'
Green Climate Fund
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
Global Poverty Summit
Safe Schools Declaration
Funding Education
Minimum Wage
End Detention Week
Indigenous Peoples
Responding to Violence and Hate
Tale of Two States
Whistleblowers
Mary of Magdala
Bl. Oscar Romero
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Role of Business in Peace
Happy Birthday Canada and USA!
July Solidarity Reflection - End Human Trafficking
Quick Links
Opportunities
Join Our List
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July-August/2015
         
 
It is with great joy that we embrace the beauty and warmth of Summer as well as the inspiring call and sobering challenges of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'.  We invite you to join us in taking time to read and reflect on this encyclical. May we all be open to the spirit's call for us to act - for we know that Love Cannot Wait.

We hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable summer. You can expect to receive your next edition of Shalom News North America on September 1.
          
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Shalom North America Contacts
Click here for our printer-friendly (pdf) version of the newsletter. 

 



Integrity of Creation              


Laudato Si'
Throughout Pope Francis's recently issued encyclical, Laudato Si': "Praise be to you, my Lord," Jesus' prayer, "May They Be One" resounds. Laudato Si' focuses on the many ways human beings are destroying the planet and the very living systems upon which all life depends.  Pope Francis calls us to develop awareness, lifestyle choices, policies and spirituality that will support the sustainability of all life- especially the lives of persons who are poor. Reflection resource, discussion guide, prayer pull-outs.
 

Integrity of Creation              


Green Climate Fund
Over the next few weeks, Congress is expected to take up legislation that could protect poor and vulnerable people from the devastating effects of our changing global climate. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the centerpiece of new global climate finance initiative designed to help poor and developing countries both mitigate the causes of and adapt to the reality of climate disruption. The fund includes money from both the public and private sectors. 

President Obama requested $500 million in funding for the GCF, a down payment towards a $3 billion pledge the United States made last year. Please join CRS and the USCCB in urging Congress to act on this priority concern. Learn more/take action.


 

Integrity of Creation              


St. Kateri Tekakwitha
Kateri Tekakwitha was born near the town of Auriesville, New York, in 1656, the daughter of a Mohawk chief and Algonquin Christian. At four years old she lost her parents and little brother to smallpox, which left her disfigured and half-blind. Kateri was adopted by her uncle but incurred the hostility of her tribe when she was baptized at the age of twenty. Moving to a new colony in Canada, she lived a life dedicated to prayer, penitential practices, and care for the sick and aged. She died on April 17, 1680, at the age of twenty-four and is known as the "Lily of the Mohawks."

Devotion to Kateri is responsible for establishing Native American ministries in Catholic Churches all over North America. Kateri Tekakwitha is the patron saint of ecology, environmentalists, those who have lost parents, and exiles. Her feast day is July 14 (April 17 in Canada).

Human Life and Dignity             waveofprayer                             


Global Poverty Summit  
A global summit seeking to tackle poverty is scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from July 13 to July 16. The Financing for Development Summit will be attended by IMF chief Christine Lagarde, heads of state, business leaders, and humanitarian groups. Pope Francis has committed to attend the Sustainable Development Goals Conference to follow up on the commitments from the Financing for Development process. "These negotiations are critical for billions of people living in poverty," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, which is involved in negotiating the Financing for Development outcome document. "This is a rare opportunity to create a binding global plan to drastically diminish poverty in our lifetime." Learn more.  

 

Human Life and Dignity                                          


International Safe Schools Declaration  
Recently thirty-seven countries joined an international Safe Schools Declaration that commits them to protect education from attack. "Targeted attacks on education are robbing a generation of the chance to realize their potential, with a huge long-term social cost," said Diya Nijhowne, the Coalition director.  "The countries adopting the Safe Schools Declaration are making a commitment to take concrete action to protect students and their education in times of conflict." Learn more.
  
 

Human Life and Dignity               


Funding Education in Conflict Areas
The 34 million children who are out of school in conflict-affected countries need $2.3 billion to get them all schooling, ten times the amount education currently receives in aid, the UN education agency UNESCO said on Monday. "Returning to school may be the only flicker of hope and normality for many children and youths in countries engulfed in crises," said UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova. "Education must be seen as part of the first response when crisis hits." A suggested target in place since 2011 is that four percent of humanitarian aid be directed to education, but last year education received just two percent of aid. Learn more.


Human Life and Dignity               


Raising the Minimum Wage
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) introduced the Raise the Wage Act, legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $12 by 2020. The Raise the Wage Act would also index the federal minimum wage to the median wage, and gradually eliminate the subminimum tipped wage. The legislation would raise wages for nearly 38 million American workers. Learn more, take action.
  

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Human Life and Dignity               


End Detention Week
The #Not1More campaign is teaming up with Detention Watch Network and others to plan a national week of action (July 7-11) to end immigrant detention. Family detention is not only a violation of international standards, it is a violation of our own commitment as a country to offer protection and refuge to women, men, and children. Instead of locking up children in unlicensed, for-profit facilities, ICE can and should use alternative community support and case management programs that help families receive the legal support they require as they await the resolution of their asylum cases. Learn more/take action.
                

Human Life and Dignity               


Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day
August 9 is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "Together let us recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world.  Let us work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations."  This day calls us to recognize the unique cultures and challenges of indigenous peoples, including human rights, developmental, educational, environmental and medical/health issues faced by members of native cultures.  It is also a day to contemplate the injustices often done to them in the name of colonization or expansion of territory, such as removal of native peoples from their land, forced religious conversions, physical enslavement, or even near-genocide. A reflective prayer service.

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Peace and Non-Violence               


Responding to Violence and Hate
Sharing in the grief and sorrow of so many, the School Sisters of Notre Dame offer our prayers for comfort, healing and reconciliation for the victims, their families, and the Emanuel AME faith community. In their statement Prayers for Emanuel AME Church and the World, the SSND Central Pacific Province leadership team joins their "voices and prayers with religious leaders around the country to denounce racism and gun violence" and commits to "tirelessly work to address the evil of racism, to work together to initiate decisive actions to eliminate the root causes of injustice and racism, and to act for justice and reconciliation wherever we are." Reflection/action ideas.

Peace and Non-Violence               


Tale of Two States 
Faiths United to End Gun Violence recently launched a campaign called "Tale of Two States: Handgun Purchaser Licensing Saves Lives." The initiative educates faith leaders and the general public about the effectiveness of handgun purchaser licensing to save lives from gun violence. Faith and community groups across the county are asked to endorse a new resolution calling for handgun purchaser licensing across the country. Learn more, take action.



Peace and Non-Violence              


Whistleblowers
July 30 is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.  This day has nothing to do with creating music, unless you consider trying to make people in power "face the music" for their unjust actions.  Although the government, the corporate world, and the media often treat them as troublemakers or even traitors, whistleblowers are people brave enough to speak up when they see corruption, injustice, or other immoral or unethical behavior.  It is important to remember the whistleblower of more than 2000 years ago who fearlessly spoke truth to power, challenging the laws of the Pharisees and spending his life with the outcasts of this world.  How and when can we dare to be whistleblowers, to speak truth to power?
 

Peace and Non-Violence              


Feast of Mary of Magdala - July 22 
Mary of Magdala is perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood figure in early Christianity. In Christian art and hagiography, Mary has been romanticized, allegorized, and mythologized beyond recognition. Although she was the first woman to preach the Gospel, since the fourth century she has often been portrayed as a prostitute and public sinner who, after encountering Jesus, repented and spent the rest of her life in private prayer and penitence. Celebrate the Feast of Mary Magdala, click here for resources.

Peace and Non-Violence              


Blessed Oscar Romero 
Born on August 15, 1917, Archbishop Oscar Romero has been proclaimed unofficial patron saint of the Americas and was beatified by Pope Francis on May 23, 2015.   Well known for his ministry to the poor and marginalized, he spoke out against poverty and social injustice and denounced violations of human rights, especially to the most vulnerable populations.  May we be inspired and challenged by his words: "Each one of you has to be God's microphone.  Each one of you has to be a messenger, a prophet."

Peace and Non-Violence              


Hiroshima and Nagasaki 
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima by U.S. air forces killing some 140,000 people and destroying 13 square kilometres of the city. Three days later, an atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, killing between 50,000 and 100,000 people. Around half of the fatalities died on the day of the bombing; the remainder were killed in the following months from radiation, burns, and other injuries and illness. Remembrances, resources for prayer/reflection/action.


Peace and Non-Violence              


The Role of Business in Peace 
Number 16 of the Proposed UN Sustainability Goals calls for efforts to "promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels."  In a series of meetings at the UN headquarters this week, discussions unfolded about the goal - in particular, the private sector's role in creating peace and supporting strong governance. The discussion comes at an interesting moment: the occasion of the UN Global Compact's 15th anniversary. Learn more.



Peace and Non-Violence              


Happy Birthday, Canada and the USA! 
Canada Day, July 1, celebrates the anniversary of the 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act which united the three colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada into a single country called Canada. Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. As you find ways to celebrate these historic anniversaries this week, take time to reflect on what it means to be a loyal and responsible citizen of your country and what that demands of you.

July Solidarity Reflection               


End Human Trafficking 
Human trafficking exists in all parts of the world, operating in an environment of exploitation of persons for profit. As Christians and consecrated women, we are challenged to be committed to the process of eradicating human trafficking in its various expressions...because it cries out to us as a gross violation of human rights, because of the conviction of our faith, and because of our option for life in the light of the Gospel.  

Throughout the month of July we invite you to join SSNDs around the world in taking special time to reflect on human trafficking, in all its various forms.  How are you called to respond?

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, 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.