Words of Hope
words of hope

“The brutal consumption of creation begins where God is not, where matter is henceforth only material for us, where we ourselves are the ultimate demand, where the whole is merely our property and we consume it for ourselves alone …I think, therefore, that true and effective initiatives to prevent the waste and destruction of creation can be implemented and developed, understood and lived, only where creation is considered as beginning with God.”

---Pope Benedict XVI, 2008
Take Action
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
November 5, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men and several other organizations have co-sponsored a webinar, “Faith Perspectives on Pentagon Spending".  You can access a streaming version or download the presentation at the website of Friends Committee on National Legislation, http://fcnl.org/issues/budget/webinar/ . But you may also need to download the software to run the program.

As you will see from the presentation, money spent on military concerns far outpaces that spent on people's basic needs, is a huge part of our federal budget and is much larger than needed for our nation's security. Congress has even voted to spend money on items that the Pentagon says they don't need. This presentation may be an eye-opener for many!

Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


September 5, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,

May God give you peace! There are a number of environmental efforts being taken on by religious groups and parishes. You may be interested in initiating some of these projects.

We heard from Al Hirt, OFM that his parish, St. Monica St. George here in Cincinnati, has established a St. Francis Native Plant Garden at the parish which is now certified as a Monarch Waystation. Monarch butterflies have been struggling with the disappearance of their host plants. Supporting them is as simple as planting Milkweed and stopping the use of pesticides and herbicides. Learn more at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140819-monarch-butterfly-milkweed-environment-ecology-science/ .

At their August meeting, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) passed a Renewable Energy Resolution, encouraging member congregations to transition to renewable energy sources.

The Stockton, Calif., Diocese has launched a project to spread solar energy in the community, both protecting the environment and saving money on electricity bills. Currently three parishes are involved, with others hoping to participate in the future.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has resources for congregations who wish to save energy and help the environment. You can find a summary of the resources on the Energy Star website. An entire workbook is also available on the site.

And good news! Solar energy is growing, representing 74% of all new electricity generation in the U.S. early this year.

Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


August 19, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,

May God give you peace! The Provincials of the seven OFM provinces in the U.S. have sent a letter to President Obama urging compassionate care of the unaccompanied refugee children crossing our southern border. You can find it on the website of the OFM English Speaking Conference.

The JPIC animators of these seven provinces also sent a letter to the Friars, encouraging them to respond to the needs of these children in some way and offering suggestions for response. Though the letter is specifically addressed to our Friars, all of you will find the information helpful in finding ways you can assist in the resolution of this humanitarian crisis. This letter is also on the ESC website.

Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


August 14, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,

May God give you peace! The humanitarian crisis at our southern border continues to disturb us, as we see thousands of children coming to the U.S., many traveling alone, to escape the violence in their Central American countries. People of faith are speaking out in support of them.

Holy Name Province has issued a statement which can be found on the HNP website.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has issued a statement with accompanying resources, including those from the USCCB. Thanks to Eli McCarthy of CMSM for alerting us to this.

An NCR article shows that most Americans polled believe these children should be sheltered, not immediately deported.

As school begins, President Obama is making it clear that all children in the U.S. have a right to an education, regardless of their immigration status.

Two faith leaders have sent a moving appeal to government and people of faith to adopt Mother Theresa’s compassionate response, “Give us the children,” so that they can be cared for and protected.

Let’s do all we can to address the humanitarian and legislative needs of these child refugees.

Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


July 29, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,

May God give you peace! The Senate will be voting on an aid package tomorrow to assist in the humanitarian needs of the thousands of children arriving at our southern border. The House may vote before the end of the week. You can send a letter to your Senators and Representatives encouraging passage of sufficient funds by going to the website of the Columban Fathers. Included in the letter is a quote from Pope Francis.

Our Cincinnati Archbishop has also issued a statement expressing our responsibility as a nation to provide compassionate care for these children. You can find his letter on the Archdiocese’s website.

The Bishops of U.S. and Central American conferences are also asking a compassionate resolution to the many issues involved in this humanitarian crisis. Read their statement in a Catholic News Service article.

Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


July 10, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,
May God give you peace! The flood of immigrant children pouring into the U.S. continues to be of concern. Many of them are escaping violence in their Central American country. Parents are sending them or accompanying them to the U.S. in the hope of keeping them safe. Yet their lives are endangered in the journey.

When the children and families arrive, they are usually processed and placed in Immigration Removal Proceedings, a legal process where a judge reviews their cases and determines if they can be granted asylum or some other protective immigration status. This process can take as much as a year. What can we do?

The USCCB has published a Hospitality and Accompaniment document to assist in understanding the needs of these immigrants and ways you can help.

They have also released a report recounting their findings from a visit to Central America last fall in which they learned what is driving the decision of so many families to migrate.

You will also find ways you can help in the July 8 edition of NETWORK’s Legislative Update. Something we can all do is contact our Members of Congress asking for additional funding for and compassionate care of these immigrants. Use the previous links or those in the second option on NETWORK’s Legislative Update.

And finally, CMSM tells us that The Interfaith Immigration Coalition will be holding a Webinar on Monday, July 14th at 4 pm ET, focused on unaccompanied children and how faith communities can respond. If you are interested you will need to RSVP. The call in number and code can be found on the RSVP site.
Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


May 30, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,

May God give you peace! This morning our U.S. bishops celebrated a Mass for Immigration reform at St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. They also lobbied key members of Congress. You can view the Mass at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBqV-x-TWTs . If you don’t have time to view the entire Mass, I would recommend listening to the homily. It can be found at about the 27 minute mark.

You can find resources for addressing immigration reform this coming week and on Pentecost itself at the USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants website at http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/PENTECOST-AND-IMMIGRATION-TOOL-KIT-Final.pdf . It includes resources for liturgy, personal prayer, discussion and action.

If you can’t follow all of the action steps recommended, you can still make a difference by sending a letter to your Senators and Representative at http://www.capwiz.com/justiceforimmigrants/issues/alert/?alertid=62312721&type=CO

Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


April 9, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,

The OFM JPIC Office in Rome has announced a new website, Franciscans for Ecology, http://francis35.org .  It includes resources for celebrating the 35th anniversary of St. Francis being named the Patron Saint of Ecology by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 29, 1979.

Franciscans worldwide are being asked to celebrate this anniversary in some way, to help promote among all people a spirit of care for creation in the spirit of St. Francis.  The celebration could also be linked with that of the Spirit of Assisi, which occurs every year on the 28th of October, to commemorate the meeting of Pope John Paul II in 1986 with leaders of world religions to pray for peace.

Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


April 2, 2014
Greetings friars and friends,

May God give you peace!  Yesterday a number of bishops, led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, celebrated Mass at the border in Nogales, Arizona, to point out the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The day before the bishops had celebrated Mass at San Xavier del Bac Mission outside Tucson, walked along desert paths used by migrants, met with the Border Patrol, and served dinner at a soup kitchen in Mexico, which serves people who have been deported or are deciding if they want to migrate to the U.S.  The bishops were following the lead of Pope Francis, who last summer visited the Italian island of Lampedusa, where Middle Eastern and African migrants try to enter Europe. Cardinal O’Malley quoted Pope Francis saying, “We have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters. We have fallen into the hypocrisy of the priest and the Levite whom Jesus described in the parable of the good Samaritan.”

The bishops have been encouraging us to contact our congresspersons urging them to pass compassionate, just, comprehensive immigration reform. You can send a letter at the bishops’ Justice for Immigrants website or at NETWORK’s website

Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


June 11, 2013
Greetings friars and friends,
May God give you peace!  Last week, on Tuesday, June 4, the seven provincials of the U.S. provinces sent a letter to President Obama and all Senators and Representatives encouraging them to support comprehensive immigration reform. You can find the letter on the new web page of the English Speaking Conference, http://www.escofm.org/1/post/2013/06/provincials-speak-out-on-immigration-reform.html.

 On May 30, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) issued a statement expressing their concern about the use and proliferation of armed drones. The statement can be found at http://www.cmsm.org/documents/05-30-13_CMSM_Statement_Armed_Drones.pdf.

 The Senate is currently considering S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. You can send a letter to your senators at the Justice for Immigrants website.

Our US Bishops support comprehensive immigration reform.  You'll find a recent statement by Cardinal Timothy Dolan in USA Today.  Further information on the USCCB position can be found in an NCR article. 

A new Vatican document calls Catholics to recognize refugees as brothers and sisters.



Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org


January 17, 2013
Greetings friars and friends,
May God give you peace! The JPIC Animators of the U.S. provinces sent a letter to President Obama encouraging him to advance comprehensive immigration reform in his second term. This was done with the support and encouragement of the ESC provincials. You can read the letter at http://www.franciscansforjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Immigration-letter-President2.pdf .
 
The epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. has finally led to action as President Obama is now proposing stricter gun control measures, background checks, mental health resources, etc.  Our U.S. bishops called for a strengthening of firearms regulations and improved mental health treatment following the Newtown tragedy.  CMSM, LCWR, and other Catholic groups have signed an interfaith letter to Congress calling for more stringent gun control laws. In an editorial the National Catholic Reporter says gun control is a pro-life issue and calls for an assault weapons ban. 
 
NETWORK is also calling for action on gun violence prevention. Read more and send a letter to your congresspersons on NETWORK's website.
 
You may also be interested in the following articles:
 
US preoccupation with guns is the enemy within by Joan Chittister
 
Boston researcher: Public health strategies could help reduce gun violence
Peace and all good,
Sr. Donna Graham, OSF
Franciscan Justice and Peace Office
OFM Province of St. John the Baptist
Cincinnati, OH, USA
513-721-4700 ext. 3229
sjbjpic@franciscan.org
www.franciscan.org



Help Congress Support the Environment
 
There are several environmental organizations that make it easy to write to Congress in support of legislation that protects the environment. Some recommended ones are:
Union of Concerned Scientists, www.ucsaction.org;
Natural Resources Defense Council, www.nrdc.org/action/default.asp;
Write Congress
 
NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, has an easy way to stay updated on the issues in Congress and let your Congresspersons know how you want them to vote.You can go to the NETWORK web site, www.networklobby.org, click on Legislative Action Center and get information about bills and issues and also NETWORK’s position on each.You can then directly write your senator or representative, even if you’re not sure who they are. All you need is your zip code. You can go directly to the letter-writing site at capwiz.com/networklobby.
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has a similar site at capwiz.com/fconl/home/.
Government Contacts
 
White House Comment Office: 202-456-1111
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

White House Comment Office: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
Send E-mail at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Capital Switchboard number for all Members of Congress: 202-224-3121
Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
202-647-4000
http://www.state.gov/secretary/