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November 2017 NewsNotes


Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

November 2017


Greetings Friend!


The news can be overwhelmingly bad some days...presidential shenanigans being uncovered, attacks in the name of ISIS, daily assaults on our planet... and I could go on. It can make us feel powerless.

I hope that this newsletter can help overcome powerlessness. Writing a letter, making a call, or just getting more informed to better direct out prayer to the needs of others are all ways to make a difference.

There are little steps we can take to make the world a better place. To seek peace, we can guard against hatred in our hearts against any person, no matter how odious their behavior. We can make an extra effort to reduce our use of fossil fuels in heating our homes or powering our cars... and perhaps letting someone else know what we are doing and why. Our parish has welcomed a refugee family from Afghanistan. Many parishioners have opportunities to assist them food shopping, teach them English, or take them to a doctor's appointment.

The scale of what we can do is not as important as putting out an effort that joins us all to God's will for peace and justice.


Peace and all good,


Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator




  1. Calais Update
  2. Thousands of Refugee Children on Europe's Doorstep
  3. Protecting Earth - Uniting for Climate Action: COP23
  4. 40 Catholic Groups Divest from Fossil Fuels
  5. Prevent Fracking in North Yorkshire
  6. Say No to Drilling in the Arctic
  7. Seeking Peace: ICAN Wins the Nobel Peace Prize
  8. Act to Prevent War with North Korea
  9. Balfour Declaration Centennial: 2 November
  10. Continue to speak out for DACA youth!
  11. Advent Reflection Books from Pax Christi USA



Philippe Huguen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Calais Update

The number of refugees now living in and around Calais has increased to over 700. This has put significant strains on charitable agencies trying to help the refugees including Maria Skobtsova House in Calais. This month, Brother Johannes sent an urgent message seeking volunteers to help run the house, enabling them to continue serving and sheltering those who are most ill or very young. He is seeking long-term volunteers.

The French government and particularly the police around Calais have been cited for their cruel treatment of refugees in their attempt to prevent another “Jungle” from forming.

On 16 October, the UN cited France for its human rights violations witnessed in Calais. “It is worrying that approximately 700 migrants in Calais and the greater area of Calais temporarily rely on only 10 portable lavatories and water from 10 taps,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation, Léo Heller, in a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The New York Times picked up the story and commented in an editorial written on 27 October. “The police were accused of spraying sleeping migrants, including children, with tear gas, using excessive force and confiscating blankets and sleeping bags from people forced to sleep in the open.”

The editorial went on to chide the U.K. for its part in the crisis. “Britain can also help. Britain has resettled less than half of the 480 unaccompanied child migrants it promised to take in from Europe under the Dubs amendment, a measure named after a peer who was himself a child refugee.


Thousands of Refugee Children on Europe's Doorstep


A National Geographic photo essay depicts the plight on a large number of mostly Afghan minor children seeking shelter in Europe.




Protecting Earth


Photo by the Guardian


Uniting for Climate Action: COP23

From the Operation NOAH website (UK)

The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) will take place in Bonn Germany from the 6 th to the 17th of November, 2017. COP23 will be the next round of multinational climate talks presided over by Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama. His vision for COP23 is for it to be transparent and inclusive of all, that it advances the Paris Agreement and that it forges a grand coalition to accelerate climate action before 2020.

This is an exciting vision. Something to hope, pray and take action for! It will not be easy – the fossil fuel industry attend these conferences in force, and are unlikely to push for policies that bring forward their demise. For example, the U.S. will be represented by Rex Tillerson, former head of Exxon-Mobil and current Secretary of State. Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and current head of the Department of Energy, and Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency who is doing all he can to dismantle the agency. They’re there to serve the interests of Big Polluters and will try to bully the world into accepting their oily agenda.

Current commitments by Paris Agreement signatories to cut carbon emissions are not yet enough to keep global warming below the safe threshold, but there is increasing pressure on governments to do more.

In the UK, our 2008 Climate Act, with its long-term goal of cutting greenhouse emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, is now too weak according to the latest science and the Paris Agreement. The government is facing a legal challenge forcing it to shrink carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

You can sign up to get updates and action suggestions from the upcoming COP23 from

To understand how critical climate change is to South Pacific Islanders , look at the Guardian’s compelling photo essay “Waiting for the tide to turn: Kiribati’s fight for survival.”


40 Catholic Groups Divest from Fossil Fuels


On the feast of St. Francis, over 40 Catholic groups announced their divestment from fossil fuels. The 40 include the Catholic archdiocese of Cape Town, Germany’s Bank fur Kirche und Caritas eG, Oikocredit Belgium, the Australian Jesuit Province, Newman University in England and the U.S. Center for Action and Contemplation.

The announcement was made in Assisi, Italy. Assisi also aligned itself with the divestment. The Global Catholic Climate Covenant hopes that this movement will grow every year in service to the planet and the hopes of Pope Francis set forth in Laudato Si.

Read more…



Prevent Fracking in North Yorkshire


You can help stop fracking in England in two minutes. A big energy company is planning to unleash this risky way to get energy - pumping toxic chemicals underground to crack rocks and collect gas - on a village in North Yorkshire. [1] But we can stop it. The decision rests with one man: Greg Clark, the Energy Secretary. He's still deciding whether or not to allow fracking to go ahead in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. With a stroke of his pen he can say ‘no’. Fracking lobbyists are piling the pressure on Greg Clark. Now he needs to hear from us. If thousands of us contact him, it'll show him the public want fracking stopped.

Will you take two minutes to email Greg Clark now and tell him you don't want fracking to go ahead? It's urgent: he might make his decision by the end of the week.

Email Greg Clark



Say No to Drilling in the Arctic


Our friends with the Creation Justice Ministries and Interfaith Power and Light have issued an alert concerning the Trump Administration's interest in promoting oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Such drilling could exacerbate global warming, negatively impact this great wilderness and harm the native Gwich'in People who live in the area. Learn more/take action.



Seeking Peace



ICAN Wins the Nobel Peace Prize


The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017. The chair of the Norwegian Nobel committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said the award to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) had been made in recognition of the group’s work “to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

The Award to ICAN is seen as a rebuke to world’s nine nuclear-armed powers, all of which boycotted the treaty negotiations along with most of their allies. The U.S., U.K. and Russia are not only refusing to lay down their nuclear arms, but are actually upgrading those weapons at significant expense.

The decision also underlines the mounting danger of nuclear conflict amid simmering tensions with North Korea and the increasing vulnerability of the Iran nuclear deal.



Act to Prevent War with North Korea


War with North Korea would be catastrophic. With already-high tensions and President Trump's coming trip to South Korea and the region, we must act now to reduce the risk of war.

On Thursday, Reps. John Conyers (MI) and Thomas Massie (KY) and Sen. Ed Markey (MA) were joined by more than 50 members of Congress in introducing new legislation (H.R. 4140 / S. 2016) to keep President Trump from starting a war with North Korea without congressional authorization.

According to the U.S. Constitution the authorization for war has to be made by Congress. A President cannot act on his own. The never-ending expansion of hostilities currently ordered by this and previous presidents are justified under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by congress in 2001. That resolution authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001 and any "associated forces".

The above mentioned House and Senate resolutions would explicitly deny the President power to use the military against North Korea without the authorization of congress, thus preventing a single man from beginning a nuclear war on his own. It does not terminate the AUMF from 2001. Other legislation is being proposed to do that and has gained some momentum since the congress seemed unaware that there were military working in Niger when reports came that four of them were killed.

Use this link to send an e-letter to your members of congress to prevent the President from starting war with North Korea.



Balfour Declaration Centennial: 2 November


November 2nd , marks the centennial anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that became the instrument for the dispossession of Palestinians from their land. That dispossession was greatly accelerated by the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 without regard for the futures of the Palestinians who had lived on their land for centuries. Matters continue to grow worse as Israel’s Jewish leaders continue to destroy Palestinian homes and confiscate Palestinian land to make room for unlawful Jewish settlements.

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) declared the Balfour Declaration was an act of imperialism in which Britain saw fit to disregard the rights of the Palestinian people. Meanwhile, Sajid Javed, the British Communities Secretary said “here in Britain we will not merely mark the centenary, we will celebrate it with pride.” This, despite the fact that the Declaration which held “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…”

A rally for Palestinian rights: “Justice Now: Make it right for Palestine” will take place in Grosvenor Square, London, November 4th at noon. The rally is supported by Pax Christi, and many other groups.

For those unable to attend the march you can take action by endorsing a letter to Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, and/or by writing to your MP.

In a related matter, read the Pax Christi USA Statement on Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Lands.



Continue to speak out for DACA youth!


The Dream Act of 2017 (S.1615/H.R.3440) would provide permanent protection and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age by their parents.

Passing this bipartisan legislation is more important than ever. In September, President Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As a result, hundreds of thousands of young adults, known as "Dreamers," could become eligible for deportation as early as March 2018.

Offering a pathway to citizenship for these young adults means they could continue to contribute to their communities through work, military service, and schooling.

Undocumented immigrant families are two times more likely than U.S. citizens to struggle to put food on the table. Improving access to a just and legal immigration system can reduce hunger and poverty among undocumented immigrants and their families.

Congress must take immediate action to permanently protect “Dreamers!” Call (202-224-3121) your members of Congress, and urge them to support and pass the Dream Act of 2017.

Read a story about a "Dreamer" called Daisy Nancy Sylvester



Advent Reflection Books from Pax Christi USA


Advent reflection books are available from Pax Christi, USA. These reflections are rooted in the daily scriptures and the spirituality of nonviolence. The booklets entitled: The Work of God’s Hands are in stock and available for shipment, or for immediate download. Each is priced at $3.50.

Some recent statements from Pax Christi USA:
Las Vegas Tragedy October 5
Israeli Occupation; 50 Years is Enough! September 29


"You will hope if God blesses your work to sow the seeds of peace in modern society."

Bishop Bagshawe