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May 2018 NewsNotes

 

Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace

NewsNotes
May 2018

 

Greetings Friend!

 

Do we all now joyfully welcome the signs of spring actually arriving? Trees are budding and grass has turned green again. As I prepare to send this out, the temperatures today are expected to rise over 30 degrees. All offer signs of new life.

Fr. Greg Boyle's second book, Barking at the Choir, also offers views of new life among the many gang members he works with in central Los Angeles. He writes of how we, as church (choir) often settle for a church life that falls far short of the joyful transformations he sees among the young people he lives with. He recommends a program of radical kinship: loving each person we meet without judging them for their actions. That acceptance leads to the formation of a community where real healing can take place.

Page after page he tells the stories of those he meets and takes you from tears of compassion to side splitting laughter sometimes within the same paragraph. I find him to be a wonderful author to help me break down barriers I create between myself and others. He also fills me with hope that our church and our global community can be better places to find paradise before we pass from this life.

 

Frank

Frank McCann
Peace through Justice Facilitator

 


 

Contents:

  1. 'Caravan' of Emigrants Reaches Southern U.S. Border
  2. Jericho Walk this Thursday, May 3rd
  3. EU Immigration to the UK
  4. Updates on CSJP Hospitality
  5. 50th Anniversary of Catonsville Nine
  6. Kings Bay Plowshares is 100th Plowshares Action
  7. UK PEACE NEWS
  8. JPIC-Links Annual Conference
  9. Annual Justice and Peace Conference in London
  10. Daniel Berrigan’s Ethic of Resurrection and the Kings Bay Plowshares
  11. Catholics Are Still In
  12. Catholic Divestment for Earth Day
  13. Protect SNAP (Food Stamp Program)
  14. May Day Workers Strike in Britain
  15. Stone Soup for Hungry Children
  16. May Calendar

 


Immigrants and Refugees


abc

'Caravan' of Emigrants Reaches Southern U.S. Border

 

 

A migration of some 1,500 Central American refugees, dubbed "the Caravan" left Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, fleeing gang violence to make the 1,000 mile journey across Mexico in the hope of finding asylum in the United States. Some two hundred of them arrived Sunday at the Port of San Ysidro which is the legal crossing point from Mexico to the U.S. They rallied and some approached the border to ask asylum, but were told the facilities did not exist to handle a large crowd, and only a handful were permitted to enter to make their case for asylum. Others were told they could enter as soon as there was room.

President Trump has been scapegoating these migrants as examples of the "porous border" that has allowed illegal immigration to continue. Facts demonstrate that the number of migrants attempting to enter the U.S. has been at a low point. Trump's broadcasts have left the migrants with few illusions about how they will be welcomed into the States. That is why an original group of 1,500 has dwindled to about 200 persons, many are women and children.

International law holds that persons seeking asylum are to be allowed entrance to a nation and to be given the chance to demonstrate that "credible fear" for their lives exist if they are forced to return to their homeland. The are not supposed to be held in detention. However the U.S. passed a law in 1996, signed by President Clinton that allows the U.S. government to detain asylum seekers until they are positively identified and have a place to live once they enter the country.

May of the caravan members have been accompanied for weeks by experts in U.S. immigration policy who have warned the refugees what they face. Many will be detained for months if not years. Many refugees have turned to Mexico seeking refuge there but promised humanitarian visas have not been granted yet.

 


abc

Jericho Walk this Thursday, May 3rd

 

 

The American Friends Service Committee has announced a Jericho Walk on May 3 rd as part of the national day of action in solidarity with those facing detention and deportation. The walk starts at 2pm on Thursday May 3 rd in front of the Federal Building in Newark. Will the "wall" come tumbling down?

Further, AFSC announced that Cardinal Joseph Tobin will join and lead the march in Newark.

The organizers would like religious leaders to join the march in religious dress/symbols/robes.

Recently, Cardinal Tobin gave an interview to the Center on Migration Studies. You can listen to the podcast here.

 


abc

EU Immigration to the UK

 

 

An estimated 220,000 citizens from other EU countries immigrated to the UK in the year to September 2017, and about 130,000 emigrated abroad. So EU ‘net migration’ was around 90,000—the lowest level recorded since 2012.

In the year before the referendum, net EU migration was estimated at 189,000, so there’s been a large fall following the vote. We don’t know how much of that is a direct result of the decision to leave.

Madeleine Sumption, from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, commented on previous figures for the year to June 2017, which showed the same trend:

“It is unclear whether this decline is purely due to Brexit or would have happened anyway. The data don’t tell us this for certain, but the referendum has certainly created a set of circumstances – such as a fall in the value of the pound, and increased uncertainty about future status – that could make the UK less attractive."

Estimated non-EU net migration, meanwhile, is 205,000 a year—the highest level recorded since 2011. It has been almost consistently higher than EU migration for decades.

Read more....

Also, the NY Times ran a story last week on the apology offered to the "Windrush Generation" by Prime Minister Theresa May. You can read that story here.

 

Prime Minister's Apology to the 'Windrush Generation'

 

 

The Windrush Generation refers to the Caribbean islanders who were imported to the U.K. to assist in the post World War II rebuilding. Many were citizens and that was not questioned. Changes in the citizenship rules in the 1960s did not seem to affect the descendants of these people of color. However, when Theresa May was Home Secretary she tried to strictly apply the citizenship rules, leaving many descendants of the original windrush generation at risk of deportation. Many of them had taken their citizenship for granted and never documented their status.

The NY Times ran a story last week on the apology offered to the "Windrush Generation" by Prime Minister Theresa May. You can read that story here.

 


abc

Updates on CSJP Hospitality

 

In the West, Sr. Susan Dewitt volunteered to organize a collection of items needed for the van that hosts families at the Tacoma Detention Center. Items needed were brought to the April Assembly and were delivered on April 16th. The asylum-seeking couple members of the West's Immigrant and refugee committee are accompanying are gaining more independence and preparing to make their asylum case.

In the East, the proposed house of hospitality at Grand Street is still on hold, but it is hopeful that it will be opened later in 2019, after Sr. Sheena completes her Master's degree studies.

The young Afghan family being resettled by the Church of St. Anastasia with the support of the CSJP Congregation is also adapting well to American life. There have been several medical issues and we, as well as they are learning about the U.S. Medicaid system. They hosted eight of their ESL teachers and coordinators for a three course dinner on Sunday and served a wonderful array of delicious Afghan dishes. Unfortunately, difficult economic times face them. He now makes too much money to quality for TANF or SNAP assistance, but not enough money to pay the rent and minimal other services and still have enough money for food. This occurs at a time when the House of Representatives is seeking to make further cuts to the SNAP (food stamp) program by making it harder for people to qualify for the program, as well as by reducing benefits. See the story below.

 


Nonviolence


abc

50th Anniversary of Catonsville Nine

 

 

May 19th is the 50th anniversary of the Plowshares action by the Catonsville Nine which included Dan and Phil Berrigan. The nine took their own blood to pour over records at the station and took the draft files out to the street and set them on fire with napalm. (see photo).

The rational for the action was skillfully presented in the words of the poet, Fr. Dan Berrigan. He wrote:

Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise.

For we are sick at heart, our hearts give us no rest for thinking of the Land of Burning Children. And for thinking of that other Child, of whom the poet Luke speaks. The infant was taken up in the arms of an old man, whose tongue grew resonant and vatic at the touch of that beauty.

The entire statement is available here.

50 years later we spend more on weapons and arms, fight wars in more nations. 65 million people are displaced, many of them due to war, especially citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Perhaps we would do well to think about the reasons for their plowshare actions and ask ourselves about the actions we could be taking today.

For further reflection on the anniversary of this action, read Daniel Berrigan’s Ethic of Resurrection and the Kings Bay Plowshares below.

 


abc

Kings Bay Plowshares is 100th Plowshares Action

 

 

On the night of April 4th, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., seven nonviolent peace activists entered the Kings Bay Trident Submarine base in South Carolina to oppose the existence of such a base that houses enough Trident warheads to initiate 3,600 nuclear explosions.

The seven are: Elizabeth McAlister, 78, Jonah House, Baltimore (wife of Phil Berrigan); Fr. Steve Kelly SJ, 69, Bay Area, California; Carmen Trotta, 55, New York Catholic Worker; Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca Catholic Worker; Martha Hennessy, 62; New York Catholic Worker granddaughter of Dorothy Day); Mark Colville, 55, Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, Connecticut; and Patrick O’Neill, 61, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker, Garner, North Carolina.

Read the statement from the Kings Bay Plowshares here.

If you would like to support them, you can do so in the following ways:

  1. Provide financial support for commissary, travel and legal support expenses with a donation made out to Catholic Worker, (Memo line: Kings Bay Plowshares), and mailed to Catholic Worker, PO Box 3087, Washington, DC 20010. Online donations may be made via GoFundMe.
  2. Promote the Treaty for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in your community . To learn more visit ICAN-International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
  3. Organize a vigil or other public solidarity event or have a support party. To learn more contact Jessica Stewart at jms733@cornell.edu or Beth Brockman at brockman.beth@gmail.com.

For more detail on the rational for this action, read Daniel Berrigan’s Ethic of Resurrection and the Kings Bay Plowshares below.

For more information and updates, visit www.nukeresister.org and the Kings Bay Plowshares Facebook page.

More information on the rationale for the action can be found in Daniel Berrigan’s Ethic of Resurrection and the Kings Bay Plowshares below.

 


abc

UK PEACE NEWS

 

 

by Sr. Katrina Alton, CSJP

 

Momentum from the No faith In War day continues. As well as planning for the DSEi arms fair 2019, Christian groups are doing on going action.This is a link to the "People's Weapons Inspectors" who blocked the Roxel arms factory for 5 hours. They make components for weapons used by the Saudi's to commit war crimes in the Yemen.

https://network23.org/faithandresistance/2018/04/11/christians-blockade-rocket-factory/

Sr. Katrina Alton, CSJP also started a group in Nottingham, MiChA (Midlands Christian Action), and w now hold a monthly vigil at Heckler & Koch an arms factory in Nottingham. They are a Germany company making assault rifles, sub-machine guns, and sniper rifles. They have export licences to Bahrain, and other regimes with a history of human rights violations.

Our next vigil is Wednesday 9th May 4.45-6.00pm.

We pray and hand out leaflets to passers by who have no idea they are walking by an arms manufacturer as from the photo you can see that Unit 3 where they operate from is blank. But Unit 3 is the only unit on Easter Park Industrial Estate with razor wire fences and security cameras. Response from the public has been really supportive.

 


abc

 

Submitted by Sr. Bridgetta Rooney, CSJP

 

This conference which took place 13-15 April is for representatives of congregations, both Catholic and Anglican, who are working on or interested in Justice and peace issues.

This year’s speaker, David Mc Loughlin, a lecturer at Newman University, was truly inspirational. The theme was “Renewing the Prophetic Imagination” and he began with Moses and the burning bush where God frees Moses from the fixed religion and society of Egypt which Moses was used to and leads him to an alternative vision of God and a society which is not hierarchical but free and loosely bonded. It is a vision of hope and change – a break from past practices one to which the Pope is calling the church today. The Israelites danced and sang their freedom and we, in our turn, have songs which express an new vision and break from the past – John Lennon’s “Imagine” “Song of Africa” and the European Union’s words to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” ;

When Jesus came, He was giving back to the Jews a sense of their history. He wished to break the Pharisees negativity of control by purity. He spoke of God as “Abba” an everyday name for God in an everyday world – no longer an Idolic God but an Iconic God.

For Justice and Peace Activists, the Syro-Phoenician woman is a model. She made Jesus realise his Good News was not just for the Jews but for all.

The Samaritan woman brings a new attitude to women when Jesus sits at the well talking to her and she is the bringer of Good News to the Samaritans – another lesson for Jesus’ Jewish disciples. The third woman is Mary Magdalen, Apostle of the Apostles, who brings the Good News of the Resurrection to the Apostles who in turn, take it to all corners of the known world.

Our prophetic role is to challenge the present day rituals of control both by governments and church so that everyone is made welcome and in giving asylum seekers and immigrants the space which they need for a new life, we learn a whole new attitude to the Eucharist and the freedom given to us by the Spirit will open up for us a clear view of truly new futures which are not simply derived from past practice.

 


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

Daniel Berrigan’s Ethic of Resurrection and the Kings Bay Plowshares

 

 

This Reflection was written by Art Laffer (Washington DC Catholic Worker) and posted by Pax Christi USA

 

“The No to state uttered by the unarmed Christ is vindicated in His resurrection. Of this, the world can never be a witness…This is our glory. From Peter and Paul to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Romero. Christians have known something which the “nations” as such can never know or teach—how to live and how to die. We are witnesses to the resurrection. We practice resurrection. We risk resurrection.” Daniel Berrigan (Testimony: The Word Made Fresh, p. 222-223)

April 30th marks the second anniversary of the death of Daniel Berrigan, SJ, the renowned prophetic priest, peacemaker, writer and poet. Dan was an important friend and mentor to me and countless others. His spirit lives on in the hearts of all he touched throughout his 94 years. And his writings and poems continue to instruct and challenge.

During this Holy Season of Easter, I have been pondering Dan’s words in his profound and deeply challenging essay, “An Ethic of Resurrection,” from Testimony. How do we understand resurrection in a time of pervasive systemic racism, violence, oppression, inequality, perpetual war, rampant political instability and corporate domination, and the ever present threats of nuclear extinction and climate chaos?

When I read Dan’s words, this is how I interpret them and apply it to our present context: To be witnesses to the resurrection we must utter our ‘No’ to State-sanctioned violence, racism, oppression, injustice and all that endangers life and creation. We must utter an unequivocal ‘No’ to ALL that divides, demeans and destroys! We must act in the hope of the resurrection—a hope that is rooted in the conviction that Jesus has forever overcome the forces of sin and death! Thus, our ‘Yes’ to this belief compels us to resist the forces of death and evil in our world, to risk the cross and practice resurrection!

Dan Berrigan showed us how to be a witness to the resurrection. Clearly, his “No” and “Yes” were rooted in his faith in the crucified and risen Jesus. Dan’s exemplary life witness is a powerful testimony to resurrection hope!

It is this hope that compelled him to risk traveling to a war zone in North Vietnam in 1968, and to be involved in two prophetic watershed peace actions: the Catonsville Nine Action (May 17 will mark the 50th anniversary of this action) and the Plowshares Eight witness.

Dan, along with his brother Phil and six other peacemakers, carried out the first of what have come to be known as “plowshares” actions. The Plowshares Eight action took place on September 9, 1980 at the General Electric Nuclear Re-entry Division in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The eight hammered on two nose cone of the Mark 12 A nuclear warhead, poured blood on documents and offered prayers for peace. They were arrested and initially charged with over ten felony and misdemeanor counts.

In their action statement the Plowshares Eight declared: “In confronting GE we choose to obey God’s law of life, rather than a corporate summons to death. Our beating of swords into plowshares is a way to enflesh this biblical call. In our action, we draw on a deep-rooted faith in Christ, who changed the course of human history through his willingness to suffer rather than to kill. We are filled with hope for our world and for our children as we join this act of resistance.”

They were convicted by a jury of burglary, conspiracy and criminal mischief and sentenced to prison terms of five to ten years. This sentence was appealed and in litigation until 1990. They were resentenced and paroled for up to 23 1/2 months in consideration of time already served in prison.

The Plowshares Eight action has inspired over 100 similar actions to date, two of which, in 1982 and 1989, both directed at the Trident ballistic missile submarine, I was honored to be a part of.

The most recent of these occurred on April 4, 2018, when seven Catholic peacemakers entered the King’s Bay Naval Base in St. Mary, Georgia. The base opened in 1979 as the Navy’s Atlantic Ocean port for six Trident submarines which have the capacity to cause the devastation of 3,600 Hiroshima-scale attacks. Elizabeth McAlister, 78, Jonah House, Baltimore; Fr. Steve Kelly SJ, 69, Bay Area, California; Carmen Trotta, 55, New York Catholic Worker; Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca Catholic Worker; Martha Hennessy, 62; New York Catholic Worker; Mark Colville, 55, Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, Connecticut; and Patrick O’Neill, 61, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker, Garner, North Carolina; chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., who devoted his life to addressing the giant triplets of militarism, racism and materialism. Carrying hammers and small baby bottles containing their own blood, they sought to disarm weapons of mass destruction.

In their action statement they the Kings Bay Plowshares declared:

“We come to Kings Bay to answer the call of the prophet Isaiah (2:4) to “beat swords into plowshares” by disarming the world’s deadliest nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine… Nuclear weapons eviscerate the rule of law, enforce white supremacy, perpetuate endless war and environmental destruction and ensure impunity for all manner of crimes against humanity… A just and peaceful world is possible when we join prayers with action. Swords into Plowshares!”

The peacemakers went to three sites on the base: the administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers. They used crime scene tape, hammers and hung banners reading: “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide” and Nuclear weapons: illegal and immoral.” They also brought an indictment charging the U.S. Government for crimes against peace.

All of the participants knew Dan. One is his sister-in-law, Liz McAlister. And the other, a brother Jesuit, Steve Kelly. During his homily at Dan’s funeral, Kelly recommended that Dan, and his brother Phil, be granted the title “Doctors of the Church!”

The seven are currently being charged with two felony counts and a misdemeanor and are being held without bond at the Camden County jail.

From jail, Elizabeth McAlister, explained the action in this way:

“Modest hopes is the title of one of the more than fifty books by my late brother-in-law Daniel Berrigan (RIP and Presente!) It might be fair to say that we came to Kings Bay Submarine base animated by the absurd conviction that we could make some impact on slowing, if not ending, the mad rush to the devastation of our magnificent planet. And this is no extreme overstatement. The six Trident submarines that consider Kings Bay their homeport carry enough destructive power to destroy all life on Earth. What difference can seven aging activists make?

We come with hammers to imprint the pristine coat of the weapon…We come with blood (our own) to mark the weapons’ purpose as the spilling of blood and yes, We come with bolt cutters to violate the fences that protect the weapons that spell death to all life. But above all, we come with our voices and our lives. We raise our voices in a cry to dismantle the weapons—all of them as we risk life and limb and our future hope to make this plea: dismantle the weapons.”

Martha Hennessy, the granddaughter of Dorothy Day who is part of the Catholic Worker in New York City, offered this reflection about the Kings Bay Plowshares action from jail: “We walked in the dark, stars overhead, with Orion at our shoulder and the waning moon rising late. Praise to you Dear God, for this gift of Eden. There were fire flies and croaking frogs to keep us company. And to think the logic of Trident is the obliteration of Creation. What did God whisper to my ancestors and then to me? Swords into Plowshares! We don’t mean to make everyone furious, but why turn our blood and hammers into spray paint and bolt cutters? (In charging documents the Magistrate referred to their possession of bolt cutters and spray paint, but willfully ignored mention of the symbols of blood and hammers that were used in the action)

Why continue to set the desecrated altar to the false idols of war? We walked onto a military base that harbors the ultimate destruction, and we prayed for the power of a message, of a witness that could reach many ears; conversion of free will towards life- giving work and away from death dealing false constructs.

We strung up crime scene tape over the model missiles and over the door to the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic (SWFLANT), a place where war plans promise to take all we love. We wish to indict this war machine for what it is: immoral, illegal, and monstrous. Our foolish plans desire to see a world in which the suffering is lessened, our leaders begin to know what it means if they pull the nuclear trigger. Our action is an invitation to all for a change of heart that will bring us to true revolution.” I have no doubt how Dan would view the Kings Bay Plowshares witness.

He writes:

“We have yet to experience resurrection, which I translate: the hope that hopes on…A blasphemy against this hope is named deterrence, or Trident submarines, or star wars, or preemptive strike, or simply, any nuclear weapon…

That is why we speak again and again of 1980 and all the plowshares actions since, how some continue to labor to break the demonic clutch on our souls of the ethic of Mars, of wars and rumors of wars, inevitable wars, just wars, necessary wars, victorious wars, and say our no in acts of hope. For us, all of these repeated arrests, the interminable jailings, the life of our small communities, the discipline of nonviolence, these have embodied an ethic of resurrection.”

I am deeply moved by the courageous action of the Kings Bay Plowshares, who are friends to me and to many others who will celebrate their action. Their prophetic witness is a clear testament to the truth of the Gospel and the hope of Easter. Let us do all we can to support the Kings Bay Plowshares, and their families and communities, as they continue their hope-filled witness in jail and as they face the courts.

Like Dan, they believe that the powers and principalities and the forces of death will never have the last word.

 


Our Common Home


abc

Last week, Catholic Climate Covenant launched a new nationwide campaign (Catholics Are Still In) to garner the U.S. Catholic community’s support for climate action. With our partners, we developed the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration to express the Catholic imperative to protect and promote human life and human dignity, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable peoples, by protecting our common home and acting on climate change.

This is a unique opportunity to let the world know that the U.S. Catholic community is saying “We Are Still In the Paris Agreement"! To be successful and reach as many Catholic institutions as possible, we need YOUR help between now and June 11th (deadline for institutional sign-ons to Catholic Climate Declaration);

  • If you lead a Catholic organization (e.g., parish, school, college/university/institute/center, health care facility, etc.), you can sign your organization on to the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration here.
  • If you are a member of a Catholic organization/institution/community, you can urge your leader (priest, bishop, president, CEO, etc.) to sign the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration. For more information on how to do this, we have prepared several documents:

 


abc

Catholic Divestment for Earth Day

 

by Marisa Vertrees for the Global Catholic Climate Covenant

 

Happy Earth Day!

Globally, last weekend, we celebrated 660 events in 50 different countries, an amazing display of solidarity around the world. Today, we are also celebrating a new divestment announcement.

35 Catholic Institutions--including Caritas Internationalis--announced their fossil fuel divestment this Earth Day. The list of institutions divesting this Earth Day also includes several Dioceses, the Caritas agencies in France and Scotland, and Catholic banks with balance sheets of €7.5 billion.

We have partnered with Years of Living Dangerously to produce a video sharing this information and telling people more about divestment. Can you help us share this video?

Thank you for spreading the word about Catholics taking action for our common home.

Your copy should address 3 key questions: Who am I writing for? (Audience) Why should they care? (Benefit) What do I want them to do here? (Call-to-Action)

Create a great offer by adding words like "free" "personalized" "complimentary" or "customized." A sense of urgency often helps readers take an action, so think about inserting phrases like "for a limited time only" or "only 7 remaining!"

 


Economic Justice


abc

Protect SNAP (Food Stamp Program)

 

The following is provided by NETWORK, the Catholic Social Justice Lobby.

The Farm Bill (H.R. 2) has reached the House, and it is just as bad as we expected. Republican leadership, including bill author Rep. Mike Conaway, has pushed a purely partisan Farm Bill crafted around Speaker Ryan’s welfare fantasy, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is first on the chopping block. Despite Republicans’ claims of “no cuts to SNAP,” the bill recklessly restructures the program and restricts eligibility in a way that puts food security at risk for millions of low-income households. Email your Representative now to protect SNAP.

Proposed eligibility restrictions, benefit cuts, and strict work requirements would deepen poverty and food insecurity for millions of Americans. Specifically, the Farm Bill undermines SNAP by threatening:

  • Changes to eligibility, which could cut off about 2 million people from some or all of their nutrition assistance benefits. Nearly 90% of those benefits go to households with members who work for low-wages while receiving SNAP.
  • Punitive work requirements, which could affect an additional 6 to 8 million unemployed, underemployed, and working SNAP recipients who would have an additional burden to document their hours to keep food on the table.
    • Under its “one strike and you’re out” provision, failure to meet new requirements within a month of receiving SNAP would mean losing food assistance for a year. The second infraction would cause loss of benefits for three years.
    • Strict requirements would also be expanded to apply to older people living in poverty -- raised from 49 up to 59 years old -- and to parents raising children as young as 6 years old.

Let’s be clear: Republicans are using language about “opportunity” and “self-sufficiency,” but their policies are wrong. The Farm Bill removes $23 billion from direct nutrition assistance benefits, and instead chooses to divert money to half-baked skills and job training programs. In order to receive nutrition benefits, people experiencing food insecurity would have to navigate a new, massive bureaucracy that tracks monthly paychecks for millions of SNAP recipients, and states would be left to sort through the red tape.

The current SNAP proposal connects to a larger GOP strategy of imposing work requirements on various anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid. We all have a stake in protecting SNAP by pushing back against this attack on people experiencing poverty and the programs that help them get by. On the heels of a tax policy that rewards corporations and the wealthiest Americans, it is unacceptable that the House could now vote to take food away from the most vulnerable.

Voice your opposition as a person of faith! Tell your Representative to oppose the Farm Bill. We say no to changes in SNAP which would 1) take away states’ flexibility in getting food to tables, 2) restrict access or lessen benefits for working families, and 3) require people to work in order to receive food assistance. Tell your Representative that you oppose H.R. 2.

Email your member of Congress and remind them that our duty as a nation includes feeding the hungry. As NETWORK tracks the bill, we will alert you about future actions you can take to ensure the Farm Bill protects and strengthens SNAP, rather than weakens it.

To find your representative visit: https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/

 


abc

May Day Workers Strike in Britain

 

 

McDonald's is the second largest private employer in the world. In countries like New Zealand, Sweden, and Finland workers have won unions, are paid fairly, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. In countries like the United States and the U.K., workers are underpaid and overworked. Today, workers in the U.K are leading the way to remind us what #MayDay is really about. Organizing works, strikes work.

Solidarity is an action not just an idea.

 


abc

Stone Soup for Hungry Children

 

by Tony Magliano

Photo by Jen Lemon, Creative Commons

 

Do you remember the childhood story Stone Soup?

It’s an old folk tale about a couple of hungry travelers who creatively entice hesitant villagers to fill their large cooking pot with delicious soup ingredients. After the initial refusal of the villagers to feed the hungry travelers, the two men fill their pot with stream water, light a fire under it, and then add a large stone to the water.

A curious villager asks what the men are doing. The travelers tell her they are cooking delicious stone soup, and that they would be happy to share it, except that it has not reached its full potential yet. They explain to each inquiring villager that with just a few spices and some vegetables the soup will be ready.

So, desiring to enjoy the delicious stone soup, one by one each villager is happy to give up a vegetable and a smidgen of spice.

After cooking is complete, the stone is removed, and all of the gathered villagers, along with the travelers, enjoy together a wonderful helping of stone soup.

This delightful moral tale teaches that when we share what we have with those who have little or nothing, there is indeed enough good food, and other basic necessities, to go around for everyone. And that the act of sharing has the potential to bring us together as a village and even as a global community.

But in the village of Riimenze, in South Sudan, stone soup is not a charming moral tale, it is a tragic reality!

In a very sad and compelling video posted at Sudan Relief Fund’s website, Catholic Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio in South Sudan, explains that with civil war violence showing no end in sight, his greatest challenge is to somehow supply food and clean water to several thousand internally displaced persons who have very little, and in many cases, absolutely nothing.

He says, “Many children are sick, and barely have anything, sometimes nothing to eat. In an attempt to appease their children, some mothers will collect stones and put them into a pot of boiling water, in hopes that their children will be convinced that it is food that is being cooked.”

Please watch Bishop Kussala’s video message, and then kindly consider making a donation (see: https://bit.ly/2GTkJzX).

Recently I interviewed Father Daniele Moschetti, who for six years was provincial superior of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus in South Sudan. He said the civil war there is especially bloody in regions where oil wells are exploited by corporations from nations including the U.S., Canada, China and Malaysia.

And he lamented that in just 2014 alone the South Sudanese army spent $1 billion on weapons from the U.S. and other weapon exporting countries, while millions starve (see: https://bit.ly/2HfTS1c).

Fr. Moschetti also explained that large amounts of money from the U.S. and other donor nations, has been stolen by numerous government and rebel leaders. Therefore, he asked that we contact our national representatives (U.S. Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) and urge them to insure that all funds appropriated for emergency and development aid to South Sudan be more closely monitored to guarantee their intended use to improve the lives of desperately poor and war-torn South Sudanese.

South Sudan is an all too familiar example of the horror unleashed when humans worship the gods of money and power instead of the God of peace, social justice and love.

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.

 


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May Calendar

 

1 - International Worker’s Day, Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
9 - Birthdays: Dan Berrigan (1921), Sophie Scholl (1921), Peter Maurin (1877)
10 - Ascension Thursday
13 - Mother’s Day, U.S
15 - Ramadan begins at sunset
19 - 50th Anniversary of the Catonsville Nine Plowshares Action
20 - Pentecost
21 - Feast of Franz Jagerstatter
22 - International Day for Biological Diversity
24 - Laudato Si, third anniversary

"It is most important to inspire the young with a great love of peace."

Mother Francis Clare (Margaret Anna Cusack)