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April 2018 NewsNotes

 

Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

NewsNotes
April 2018

 

Greetings Friend!

 

As I finish entering this NewsNotes onto the web, there is news of yet another shooting at a U.S. business, the YouTube headquarters near San Francisco. This night is also the fiftieth anniversary of the speech the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous speech the night before his assassination in which he spoke of perhaps not reaching the promised land with his people, but stating his faith that they would get there.

It was also that night that he said the choice was not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence.

The threat of violence looms before all in our world. Erratic leaders with nuclear capabilities, increasing nationalism, fresh assaults on the planet (at least from the U.S.) and continued wars particularly in the Middle East could cause us all to give up hope. But He is Risen! Life is guaranteed to triumph over death.

We have been prepared as a Congregation for this time. with our re-commitment to active nonviolence in the Chapter Acts of 2008 as well as our more recent Chapter call to radical hospitality, we are given direction and training to move us away from the paths of violence to paths of love and inclusion. We also have the marvelous example of the work of so many young people organizing the Marches for Life that took place around the globe-we are not alone.

This issue of NewsNotes will focus simply on stories about nonviolence as part of Leadership's "season of Nonviolence" and because it is a gift we can offer to our friends, communities and nations, because it is a gift we need to offer to our friends, communities and nations.

 

Happy Easter to all,

Frank

Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator

 


 

Contents:

  1. CSJPs Join March for our Lives
  2. Guns Violence and an Effective Nonviolent Response
  3. Annual Justice and Peace Conference in London
  4. A Pastoral Reflection on Dr. King's Principles of Nonviolence
  5. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: His Wisdom is Still Calling Us Higher
  6. CSJPs Attend John Dear Book Signing
  7. To learn more about nonviolence consider the following websites...

 


Nonviolence


abc

CSJPs Join March for our Lives

 

Sisters and associates from the West joined in the exciting March for our Lives in Seattle. Sister Susan Dewitt, CSJP reported that they marched for a while, then stepped to the side to take in the rest of the demonstration. Sr. Susan said, “ It was astonishing: we were there for an hour as an endless stream of people - students, teachers, families, seniors, organizations - walked toward the rally at Seattle Center. The march was over a mile in length according to the Seattle Times. We haven't heard an estimate of numbers, but clearly there were many thousands of Seattleites making their voices heard.” Officials reported the group to be over 5,000 in number.

The march began at 11am at the Cal Anderson Park and ended at the Seattle Center with young public high school students and adults alike showcasing signs criticizing Republicans and the National Rifle Association’s lobbying efforts, and urging elected officials to act. Speakers and performers included Gov. Jay Inslee, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and singer-songwriters Brandi Carlile and Dave Matthews.

At the state level, Washington this year didn’t pass legislation that would’ve banned assault weapons and provided stricter background checks. Lawmakers did ban bump stocks and banned those who were convicted of domestic violence harassment from having guns.

Locally, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last week that she’s introducing new law to require gun owners to safely store and lock up their firearms.

In the East, Sisters and Associates attended the Spring Assembly and were not able to attend any of the local marches. However, the Congregation made a financial contribution to March for our Lives in Newark where 5,000 plus gathered along with Governor Murphy.

“We’re here today because we’re done asking for change,” said Layeska Prado, a 13-year-old student attending the Newark protest. "We already asked when Sandy Hook happened, when other school shootings happened. We’re fed up with it because young lives are being taken and claimed unfairly.”

Marlboro High senior Sarah Baum, one of the organizers of the Newark rally, implored legislators to take action, calling for the minimum age to be raised for gun purchases, for universal background checks and for "military-grade weapons" to be kept out of the hands of civilians.

“Today we march for the Parkland 17 and for the 13,000 children lost to gun violence every year,” Baum said. “We march because our broken government enabled this entirely preventable massacre.”


abc

Guns Violence and an Effective Nonviolent Response

 

On March 26 th , an Associated Press (AP) story appeared entitled: Nuns, Funds and Guns: The Firearms debate on Wall Street which detailed the work Sr. Judy Byron of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment (NWCRI) in seeking new directions from gun manufacturers. The CSJP Congregation is an investor with the NWCRI.

The Coalition’s possible collaboration with Blackrock, a huge fund also asking gun makers about their responsibilities vis-à-vis school shootings gun laws would appear to be an unlikely partnership but both have an interest in seeing a reduction in gun violence and are pushing, with some success to make the gun manufacturers more responsive. The Coalition invested in firearms makers a decade ago and has been working on gun safety issues for years. In the light of the February 12 th shooting in Parkland High School, the decade long efforts have picked up momentum. In the last few months the coalition introduced resolutions pushing American Outdoor Brands, Sturm Ruger and retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods to give reports to investors about the steps they are taking to reduce gun violence. Resolutions for Dick’s sporting Goods have been withdrawn as they company has ended the sale of assault weapons.

ICCR Statement on Gun Violence

In light of continuing gun violence and mass shootings in the U.S. involving semi-automatic assault weapons, the undersigned [142] investors representing $634 billion in assets are calling on gun manufacturers, retailers and distributors, as well as companies with financial ties to these industries, to review their operations, supply chains and policies and take meaningful action on this public safety concern. Read more…

Support from investment firms was crucial to the Coalition’s big success last year when, after decades of work, it backed a successful resolution that required oil giant Exxon Mobil to disclose the effects climate change is having on its business.

 


abc

Annual Justice and Peace Conference in London

 

The U.K. National Justice & Peace Network will hold it annual conference in London 20-22 July, 2018. The theme is "In the Shelter of Each Other the People Live". Confirmed speakers and booking forms can be found here.

The National Justice and Peace Network is working in partnership with Housing Justice, Church Action on Poverty, Prison Advice and Care Trust. ‘It is in the shelter of each other that the people live’: A conference to explore the meaning of ‘home’ in the context of being a church of the poor.

The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire is the site for the conference. Confirmed speakers include the keynote, Rev. Al Barrett who will speak on ‘nurturing a church community that is committed to “growing loving community with all our neighbours.”

Other speakers will include David McLoughlin, Senior lecturer in Theology, Newman University; Sarah Teather, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service UK, and John Rogan MP.

CONF 2018 Booking Form
Conference 2018 A4 Poster
Conference 2018 A5 flier

 


abc

A Pastoral Reflection on Dr. King's Principles of Nonviolence

 

As mentioned last month, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore issued a pastoral reflection entitled: The Enduring Power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Principles of Nonviolence. “Now is the time for all of us to reconnect with Dr. King and his teaching”, writes Archbishop Lori. He goes on to say:

The wisdom of Dr. King’s teaching is both timely and important for our family of faith, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and indeed for our whole society…We need to retrieve, understand, embrace and put into practice his teaching and legacy. For, if in God’s grace we are to create the just, peaceful and compassionate society that Dr. King envisioned, we must undergo a lasting conversion of heart and mind and make a firm commitment to teach, learn and practice nonviolent direct action for social change.

The letter enumerates six steps we ought to embrace and practice in order to live a life of nonviolence:

  1. Information gathering
  2. Education
  3. Personal commitment
  4. Negotiations
  5. Direct Action
  6. Reconciliation

The Archdiocese will gather on April 12 th to honor and remember Dr. King.

 


abc

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: His Wisdom is Still Calling Us Higher

 

by Tony Magliano · March 23, 2018

 

When a disciple of Jesus takes his or her baptismal call seriously, that person’s words and actions live on long after he or she leaves this world. An outstanding example of this truth is found in the prophetic discipleship of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr King, with selfless courage, faithfully lived out his God-given mission 50 years ago – albeit ending tragically too short.

For on the evening of April 4, 1968, after preaching and being present in solidarity with poorly paid African-American sanitation workers, King, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., suffered a fatal bullet wound – leaving this world at the young age of 39.

On that sad day America, and indeed the whole world, lost a powerfully prophetic voice and courageous witness to the social justice and nonviolent peace teachings of Jesus Christ.

But a fatal bullet coming from one assassin or from a conspiracy of Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies could not silence the truthful words that continue to challenge a nation and world to completely abandon its deep-seated acceptance and addiction to racism, inequality, injustice, militarism and violence.

The messenger was killed. But his message lives on!

King said, “God intends for all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe enough and to spare for that purpose.”

For example, there is indeed enough food in the world to adequately feed every single child, woman and man. And yet, over 40 million people in the United States struggle with hunger. And according to Catholic Relief Services over 800 million fellow human beings throughout the world are hungry.

Why are we allowing this to happen?

In large part this hunger suffered by so many is due to an increasing disparity between the haves and the have-nots. And President Trump’s and Congress’ new tax law widens this disparity.

And while most Americans think the U.S. gives at least 25 percent of its national budget to help the poorest hungriest people in the world, the truth is that the U.S. government allocates less than 1 percent towards poverty-focused international aid. That is downright stingy.

King said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” This is a hard fact. And it applies not only in the U.S. but around the world.

I recently heard Rev. Mae Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace, say in reference to the injustices and poverty suffered by Gazans at the hands of the Israeli government that “desperate situations leave people feeling desperate. And desperate people lead to war”.

This is why Blessed Pope Paul VI famously said, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

Spiritual death draws ever closer as the U.S. and many other nations continue to spend $1.7 trillion annually on war and war preparation while allowing countless people to suffer and die in poverty and hunger.

King warned, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”

And that is where the U.S. and many other nations are at: the cliff of spiritual doom. America has “In God we trust” on its money, but in many ways not in its heart.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. King encouragingly said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

 


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CSJPs Attend John Dear Book Signing

 

 

On March 26th, Fr. John Dear came to St. Anastasia Parish in Teaneck to speak about his new book, They Will Inherit the Earth: Peace and Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change . He spoke to a group of about 50 who came to attend, a group that included a dozen CSJP sisters and associates.

Fr. John began by sharing how the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was so much on his mind. He reminded us of King’s prediction on the eve of his assassination that our choice was not ‘violence or nonviolence’, but ‘nonviolence or nonexistence.’ In evidence he spoke of the mounting threats of nuclear war with Korea and Iran.

He also spoke of the connections between nonviolence and care for Earth. Of particular concern to him is the amount of carbon and methane gas produced by raising cattle for the meats we eat. “It is no longer enough just to change our light bulbs. It is too late for that.” John recommended becoming vegetarians or at least cutting way back on our consumption of meat and poultry. He cited UN studies as evidence of how much grain is being channeled into feeding cattle and how much methane is released and water consumed in the process.

John is working for Pace e Bene and plugged their Campaign Nonviolence week. They invite people and organizations in the U.S. and worldwide to take action during CNV Action Week around the International Day of Peace, September 21. The fifth year of organizing actions hopes to mobilize over 2000 actions, marches and events across the U.S. covering all fifty states and beyond to take a strong stand for justice, disarmament and peace. The goal is to unite people concerned with many different causes to march and publicly demonstrate for change in complete nonviolence.

 

 


abc

To learn more about nonviolence consider the following websites...

"The important thing is that we remain open to God as he reveals himself to us in the circumstances of life and do everything possible to bring the body of his Son to completion."

Catherine O'Connor, CSJP