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February 2018 NewsNotes


Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

February 2018


Greetings Friend!


The morning here is grey and cold. It would be easy for my mood to match. For days now we have seen the news about the growing problems in Washington. We are approaching what the pundits call a "constitutional crisis" as our noted system of checks and balances are being challenged. We see the focus on money, more for the wealthy and less for those in need. There is a complete disregard for Earth, lest our care for it cut into corporate profits. The justice system which is intended to maintain balance between the legislative and executive branches, is being attacked by both. Offices are being filled by persons with absolutely no competence in the required disciplines.

Maybe it is time for the government to collapse of its own weight and arrogance. I do not wish for that, for it would be an ugly and violent time. But something has to change.

I do pray that we can embrace again the ideals of the kin-dom of God. Good news for the poor, captives set free, a year of favor (debt relief) for all. I can hope again in a culture that cares for one another. I see it is possible and it is happening in small groups that are rarely publicized.

My hope was renewed in a phone call I received yesterday as coordinator of the parish effort to resettle a refugee family. The older woman spoke with a heavy Spanish accent and said she wanted to give money to the family each month, to help with food and clothes "because food in this country is not cheap." She could have written a check to the parish and received a tax credit, but she did not care about that. She wanted the family to know that someone cared about them. She said she did not have a lot of money herself, but would like to donate $40-100 anonymously depending on her ability. each month. I told her I would be happy to help her help them.

I pray that on both sides of the Atlantic we find space in our hearts this Lent to pray for our leaders who need our prayer and for those who set an example of how leaders should act, because we need it.


Peace and all good,


Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator




  1. "The Destructive Effects of Climate Change"
  2. Tell Nestle to break ties with Guatemalan Palm Oil Producer
  3. WeatherChannel Refuses to Debate Science of Climate Change
  4. Catholic Nonviolence Initiative Launches International Women's Day Postcard Campaign
  5. NJPN Open Networking Day 10 February, 2018 in Leicester
  6. It is 2 Minutes to Midnight!
  7. CSJPs to Co-Sponsor John Dear Book Signing
  8. A Reflection from the UN "Together" Campaign
  9. Syrian Temporary Protected Status Extended until Sept. 2019
  10. DREAMERers and DACA
  11. Young Catholic Leaders Walk in Solidarity with Refugees
  12. UNHCR worries
  13. Mark Your Calendar






Tell Nestle to break ties with Guatemalan Palm Oil Producer

From Sum of Us


Agribusiness giants Cargill and Wilmar just cut ties with the Guatemalan palm oil supplier responsible for a deadly spill that contaminated La Pasión River and destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people in Guatemala’s Sayaxché region.

REPSA was found guilty of ecocide, causing massive fish and wildlife die-offs, destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands, and is suspected to have used violence and intimidation to silence its opponents.

To date, Nestle has refused to cut its ties to REPSA. Your voice can pressure them to do so, as it did with Cargill and Wilmar.

According to an Oxfam investigation, REPSA is still silencing critics and failing to compensate those most impacted by the spill.

Demand clear action now. Tell Nestlé to cut ties with palm oil offender REPSA.



WeatherChannel Refuses to Debate Science of Climate Change


The Weather Channel website took a stance on climate change Thursday, posting a banner that blared "THERE IS NO CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE," and linked to a series of stories showing its effect. The company posted a statement detailing its "United States of Climate Change" project that will focus on such stories, but will not debate the science of climate change. "We're going to see how individuals, communities and businesses are responding to the changes that are already happening in America, and how they're preparing for the changes that have yet to occur," the website wrote.

Click here to view the new WeatherChannel website on Climate Change n the U.S.




Catholic Nonviolence Initiative Launches International Women's Day Postcard Campaign


from LCWR Newsletter...

Pax Christi International and the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative are deeply grateful to Pope Francis for his consistently strong condemnation of nuclear weapons and the vicious arms trade. His clarity on, and commitment to, peace and nonviolence are a wonderful gift to our movement.

This year for International Women’s Day (8 March), we invite women to send a thank-you message to Pope Francis, in appreciation for his leadership on these issues. We want him to know that we are listening to and affirming his words.

Please share this online “postcard” with women in your communities and networks and ask them to sign this thank-you message. We will collect the responses over the next month, and will deliver the names and personal notes to the Vatican on 8 March. The postcard is available in English, Français, Español, and Italiano.



NJPN Open Networking Day 10 February, 2018 in Leicester

We believe no good food should go to waste -Saving food and changing lives


Holy Cross Priory
45 Wellington Street,Leicester LE1 6HW
10.30 am – 4.00pm



It is 2 Minutes to Midnight!


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to nuclear midnight during their January meeting.

Although the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists focuses on nuclear risk, climate change, and emerging technologies, the nuclear landscape takes center stage in this year’s Clock statement. Major nuclear actors are on the cusp of a new arms race, one that will be very expensive and will increase the likelihood of accidents and misperceptions. Across the globe, nuclear weapons are poised to become more rather than less usable because of nations’ investments in their nuclear arsenals. This is a concern that the Bulletin has been highlighting for some time, but momentum toward this new reality is increasing.

The failure to secure a temporary freeze in 2017 was unsurprising to observers of the downward spiral of nuclear rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The failure to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program will reverberate not just in the Asia-Pacific, as neighboring countries review their security options, but more widely, as all countries consider the costs and benefits of the international framework of nonproliferation treaties and agreements.

Leaders react when citizens insist they do so, and citizens around the world can use the power of the internet to improve the long-term prospects of their children and grandchildren. They can insist on facts, and discount nonsense. They can demand action to reduce the existential threat of nuclear war and unchecked climate change. They can seize the opportunity to make a safer and saner world.

They can #rewindtheDoomsdayClock.



CSJPs to Co-Sponsor John Dear Book Signing


Rev. John Dear has written a new book entitled And they Shall Inherit the Earth which will explore the interconnections between peacemaking and care for Earth. The CSJP Leadership Team and the Church of St. Anastasia in Teaneck will co-sponsor the event on Monday evening, March 26 at 7 PM at the Teaneck church. The event will include remarks by Fr. John, questions and answers followed by a chance to purchase the book and have it signed.





Migrants and Refugees


A Reflection from the UN "Together" Campaign



Syrian Temporary Protected Status Extended until Sept. 2019


Believe it or not, the Trump administration was considering revoking the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian refugees in the United States, That would mean sending those refugees back to the still war-torn nation to futures that would be at best uncertain. According to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the defeat of ISIS in its Syrian capital, will bring about a new phase of disruption on Syria.

Just last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, warned that there was no safe place in Syria. The Syrian government is still attacking its own citizens. The U.S. Assessment of the situation is that any returned Syrian would be under immediate threat. Tillerson also fears that if the U.S. denies protections to Syrians, other nations may follow suit.

This sets up a conflict within the U.S. administration. The Trump White House and the Department of Homeland Security are against welcoming any refugees from predominantly Muslim nations.

The decision to extend the Syrian protection was made the last day of January. There are about 6,000 Syrians who arrived in the U.S. before August 1, 2016. No applications will be accepted for TPS for anyone who arrived after that date. the U.S. admitted 12,587 Syrian refugees in FY 2016.

Trump's administration has already cancelled TPS for the Nicaraguan (5,300 persons affected), Haitian (50,000), Sudanese (1,088) and Salvadoran (200,000) refugees.

The U.S. has been a nation of immigrants and a place of welcome for the persecuted of the world. Mr. Trump's recent changes in U.S. policy makes the wealthiest nation on earth "off limits" now to those from African Nations, Muslim majority nations and from most of our neighbors to the south. This is a dramatic chance that will change the perception of America around the world, an dnot for the better.

If you want to express your concern over TPS, calls to the White House (202) 456-1111), Senators (202) 224-5754) and Representatives (202- 224-3121) would help.





The deadline for solving the problem of DREAMers, youth who were brought to the U.S. without papers by their parents, is just about a month away. President Trump has set a date of March 5th after which those protected by DACA can begin to be deported. Democrats and Republicans, the House and Senate all have different priorities for legislation legalizing (or not) these young people. After that the ever-changing moods and legislative demands of the President and his administration have to be satisfied as well. There are plans negotiatied that can be tweeked to pass except for the House of Representatives where the "Hastert Rule" a custom that the majority requires a bill to pass with votes by the majority alone, becomes a roadblock. In combination, the Dems and Republicans in the House have enough votes to pass two different plans, but the Speaker, Paul Ryan, has refused to date to bring either bill to the floor for a vote. These young people are being used as pawns in a struggle over what the future of U.S. immigration law will become.

NETWORK, the Catholic Social Justice Lobby asks that we send messages to our representatives to support the DREAMers. NETWORK's message follows:

In the wake of President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA, we must urge our members of Congress to pass legislation that will best keep Dreamers safe. While many bills are currently circulating through Congress, we at NETWORK are clear on our support for the Dream Act. There is no time to waste while Congress navigates multiple bills concerning the fate of DACA recipients -- The Dream Act ensures complete and permanent protections for Dreamers. You can read more about the different proposals here on NETWORK's Legislative Updates. Send your elected official a targeted message to ensure they support the bill that ensures the most efficient and long-term safety for undocumented youth-- the Dream Act.

You can use the NETWORK website to send your message.



Young Catholic Leaders Walk in Solidarity with Refugees




It was a cold January morning as young leaders from Catholic youth centres across England and Wales met at Hayes Conference centre for a training event. During that day, they walked 71 miles to show their solidarity with refugees and migrants. These are the first miles of a 29,400 mile journey – the distance around the world – we aim to walk with all the CAFOD supporters to bear witness to the global refugee crisis.

Susan Kambalu, who works in the education team at CAFOD, organised the first of our Share the Journey walks to show solidarity with refugees and migrants. She says: “Each one of us has made a small journey, but together we are making greater strides”.

71 people each walked one mile. They walked to stand up for refugees. Every step they took sent a message to world leaders that they must also step up and act with courage and compassion when they sign new international agreements on refugees and migrants next September.

Before they left for their walk, each group was given a campaign card to help them reflect, listen and discuss as they walked. They were encouraged to share their own life journeys and reflect on the journeys made by refugees and migrants.

Susan added “at the end we invited the participants to sign a card to the Prime Minister to ensure September's UN global agreements have the dignity of refugees and migrants at their heart. We finished with the closing prayer on our cards. It was simple but powerful.”

Groups are encouraged to add to the total miles walked in solidarity with refugees. See the CAFOD webpage for details:



UNHCR Worries

Photograph from the Associated Press



from the EU Observer


As UNHCR we are concerned by a number of the proposals in the ongoing negotiations on the reform of the Common European Asylum System.

These include proposals that would oblige asylum authorities in all EU member states to reject as inadmissible all applications from asylum applicants who, along their often perilous journey to Europe, have already passed through a so-called safe third country or a so-called 'first country of asylum' where they have already enjoyed protection.

In the run-up to the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees and at a time when the world faces unprecedented levels of forced displacement, this approach which shifts responsibility outside the EU sends a negative signal to developing countries, now hosting more than four-fifths of the world's refugees.

Situations where a small number of EU member states bear a disproportionate responsibility for the majority of the continent's asylum claims are unsustainable.

Those that fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, and we hope this year European leaders will seize the opportunity to come to their own historic agreement on the inclusion of a permanent relocation mechanism with the full participation of all EU member states.

This would not only be a breakthrough for the European Union, but would set an example for others to follow in what promises to be a crucial year for refugees.

Volker Turk is assistant high commissioner for protection at the UNHCR

Read the entire article here.



Mark Your Calendar



4 - Birthday of Rosa Parks
8 - International Day of Prayer and Awareness of Human Trafficking
9 - Hudson Villa Presentation on Human Trafficking 10:30 AM
10 - Open Networking Day NJPN in Leicester 10:30 AM
14 - Ash Wednesday
20 - World Day of Social Justice
23 - Hudson Villa Presentation DACA Update and the UN Global Compact for Migration 10:30 AM

"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