VeryTopShalom News North America  

An instrument of hope, formation, and action

concerning priority matters of social justice.

In This Issue
Laudato Si' Reflection
Paris COP 21
Action on Climate Change
Soil and Climate Change
World Soil Day
Syrian Refugees
Human Rights Day
Migrants Day
Human Trafficking
South Sudan Advent Prayer
Gun Violence Prevention
Year of Mercy
World Day of Peace
Looking Ahead to January
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During 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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Integrity of Creation              

Laudato Si' Quote/Reflection Materials    
"Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God's love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God." (84)  Reflection resources - Advent reflection guide, a free on-line video course with each chapter narrated by the likes of Cardinal Turkson, Professor Jeffery Sachs, and Bishop Marcelo Sachez Sorondo.

Integrity of Creation              

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change  
The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is currently taking place in Paris.  There are 196 states in attendance.  At the conclusion of the Convention on Climate Change, the COP21 will create a universal agreement that must be voted upon. Learn more. A new World Bank study estimates that climate change will put another 100 million people into extreme poverty in the next 15 years if developed countries don't reduce their carbon emissions. The Pope says the failure of the climate summit would be catastrophic. Please keep all involved in your prayers. Check here for updates on COP21.

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Integrity of Creation              

Take Action on Climate Change  
For those in the U.S., one of the best ways to support the Paris climate negotiations is to ensure we make good on our promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions and aid other countries in doing so. Please take action on the Clean Power Plan, our nation's best chance to dramatically cut our carbon emissions state by state, and the Green Climate Fund, a UN fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change and mitigate their climate impacts. Take action.

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Integrity of Creation              

Healthy Soil Dramatically Impacts Climate Change    
The potential for soil to help combat climate change is substantial and underappreciated.  The new Climate-Ready Soil report finds that using cover crops to build soil health on just half of the corn and soybean acres planted in the top 10 agriculture states would capture more than 19 million metric tons of carbon each year - that's the same as removing 4 million cars off the road! In addition, using cover crops and other soil stewardship practices to improve organic matter in soil could help capture an additional trillion gallons of water - that's enough water to meet the needs of nearly 33 million people every year. Learn more.

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Integrity of Creation              

World Soil Day 2015   
The World Soil Day (WSD) campaign aims to connect people with soils and raise awareness on their critical importance. This year's celebration is particularly important because WSD will also formally mark the closure of the International Year of Soils. Throughout 2015, a wealth of information material has been produced in the six FAO official languages and many others. This includes factsheets, infographics, posters, videos, and educational booklets built around the six key messages of the year. 2015 may soon be over, but saving our soils should be a priority for everyone for years to come.

Human Life and Dignity               

Syrian Refugees in Wake of Paris Attacks   
In the aftermath of the violent attacks on Paris, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 4038, The American Security against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which would effectively halt all resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States for a protracted time. As soon as this week, the same bill or similar legislation will likely be introduced and voted on in the U.S. Senate.  Refugees undergo a more rigorous screening than anyone else allowed into the U.S. Contact your U.S. Senators to let them know you oppose H.R. 4038 and other bills that would stop or halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Check out the USCCB refugee response toolkit. Learn about Canada's approach to welcoming Syrian refugees.

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Human Life and Dignity               

Human Rights Day - December 10   
Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, the day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two international covenants on human rights: the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 16, 1966. The International Shalom Network encourages all SSNDs to commemorate this important day through prayer, education, reflection, and action. Resources.  
Human Life and Dignity               

International Migrants Day - December 18   
This International Migrant's Day, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the UN adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. This Convention "acknowledged the important role that migrants play as partners in the development of origin, transit and destination countries and recognized the need to improve public perceptions of migrants." It has become common to interchange the terms migrant and refugee. The UN definition of a migrant is someone who chooses to move in order to improve their life.   Refugees are migrants who flee armed conflict or persecution.  On December 18, consider adding the story of a migrant to your prayers for all migrants in the world. Also join with people across the globe and light a candle to remember those who have been lost or have disappeared while trying to reach safety.   
Human Life and Dignity               

Addressing Human Trafficking   
A national report card that grades states on their anti-trafficking laws shows dramatic progress in the last few years. Shared Hope International's 5th annual Protected Innocence Challenge report card reveals that half the states are earning an A or B on their report card, and none are failing. When the anti-trafficking non-profit organization began grading the states in 2011, it failed 26 states.  How is your state doing? December 2 is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labor, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict. Resources for reflection and action. U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking bulletin inserts.   

Human Life and Dignity               

Help End Statelessness    
The #IBelong campaign is one year old! To mark the anniversary, the campaign has released a report that shows the debilitating impact of statelessness on children and youth. Stateless children are born into a world in which they will face a lifetime of discrimination; their status profoundly affects their ability to learn and grow, and to fulfill their ambitions and dreams for the future. While we have made important progress over the past year, there is still much to be done. If you haven't already, please ask your friends to sign the Open Letter to End Statelessness today
Peace and Non-Violence              

Join South Sudan in an Advent Prayer for Peace    
We invite you to join with the people of South Sudan during this Advent season in praying for peace and reconciliation. The Solidarity with South Sudan pastoral team, with their South Sudanese colleagues, has prepared this reflection booklet for Advent. May the God of all peace be the gift of this season for all peoples in our world.
Peace and Non-Violence              

National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath    
In the U.S. there are 30,000 victims of gun violence annually. The weekend of December 10-14, you are invited to join other people of faith across the nation in remembering those who have lost their lives to gunfire, in praying for those whose lives have been forever changed because of the loss of a loved one, and in educating one another on proven strategies to reduce gun violence.  Resources for reflection and action can be found here. Consider also contacting Congress and urging them to lift the gun research ban.

Peace and Non-Violence              

Year of Mercy Not Sidetracked by Violence   
The Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, has confirmed that the Jubilee (from December 8 to November 20) is on schedule. "In a world torn by violence, it is the right time to launch the campaign of mercy" said the Cardinal in an interview with the Catholic newspaper La Croix. "It is understandable that there are sentiments of revenge after the attacks, but we really need to resist them. The Pope wants the Jubilee to be used for people to meet each other, understand each other, and rise above hate." Read more.
Peace and Non-Violence               

World Day of Peace Message - January 1   
Pope Francis' theme for his 2016 World Day of Peace message is "Overcome Indifference and Win Peace."  The Pope urges us to replace isolation with community, and indifference with solidarity. He challenges families, schools, and other institutions to foster awareness and avenues for response to problems such as intolerance, religious persecution, slavery, war, and the plight of refugees.  The USCCB has prepared this two-page resource (also en Espaņol) to help us commemorate the day.

Looking Ahead to Next Month...             

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, Allyn Horton, Ethel Howley, Jeanne Wingenter, Rose Mary Sander, and Tim Dewane. Your comments, suggestions, and feedback are always welcomed. Email us at

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