The cover image is of Our Lady of Manaoag, Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in the Philippines. The basilica is under the pastoral care of the Dominican Friars. Photo: "Our Lady of Manaoag" by The Mauretania licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

May 5, 2021
Amidst urgent calls for legislative action and policy reform, it can be challenging to also hear the universal call to love. In this week’s homily reflection, Sr. Olivia Montejano, a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity, reminds us of the power it wields:

“Yes, true love can be costly, but it is only against the backdrop of the world’s indifference, suspicion and hate that the radical nature of God’s love is revealed in its fullest glory. True love imagines the future. True love knows and demands change.”
Pope urges shift of resources away from military spending

At a rosary event to mark the start of a month dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Catholic News Services reported that Pope Francis included a petition urging governments to shift resources away from military spending and toward research that could prevent another COVID-19 style global pandemic. Calls to reallocate funds normally reserved for weapons of warfare is a common refrain among advocates for peace building.
COVID-19 outbreaks at ICE detention centers
The New York Times recently released a summary of its investigation into COVID-19 outbreaks among ICE detention facilities, which are tracking at 20 times greater than the rate of infection among the general population in the United States. Reporters explained that there is little protection from the virus due to a lack of internal enforcement of basic pandemic protocols and limited testing. They also noted that inconsistent data tracking by ICE and affiliated contractors has made accountability difficult. 
Report finds wage theft and other workplace violations affecting laborers

Global Sisters Report provided a recap of the Biden Administration’s first 100 days in office, with a particular look at migration policy and practice.

This thorough accounting covers how executive orders and regulatory action have or have not improved the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, migrant laborers, families separated at the border, and more. For example, Tracey Horan, a Sister of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN, who works on the ground with the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, AZ, remarked, “There's that sense that the responses coming from the Biden administration are not matching up to the violence, the real dangers and the urgency that people here feel, which is very disappointing for us."

Advocates did see a win on Monday with the increase in the refugee cap, from 15,000—set by the previous administration—to 62,500. It is broadly acknowledged, however, that the largely dismantled resettlement system will need significant rebuilding to accommodate this figure and the 125,000 approved for next fiscal year.
Catholic Climate Covenant initiative

The Catholic Climate Covenant is exploring the possibility of collaboration with Native American tribes and communities to foster truth, trust, and healing between our Church and Native Americans.

The Covenant’s Associate Director Jose Aguto has reached out to ask our CMSM JPIC coordinators to consider ways to work with Native peoples and communities in their areas, and particularly to share land to help promote tribal "lifeways."

That term can be broadly applied to include, for example, ecological restoration of lands and waters that enable tribal foods, plants and medicines to thrive, as well as projects like the Pawnee Seed Project described here. To read the full invitation from Jose, please login to our CMSM JPIC Community here and look for the “Invitation to Collaborate” announcement.
Day of Prayer and Fasting for India

Catholic leaders across India have called for a national day of prayer and fasting on May 7 in response to the increasing devastation of the coronavirus. Vatican News Service reported in late April that the rising death toll included 14 priests, both diocesan and religious. Jesuit Missions shared a short reflection here and asked for ongoing prayer.
Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In May, the United States observes Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In this proclamation from President Biden, he affirms these communities and calls for an end to anti-Asian bias and acts of harm and hate. Dioceses across the country have convened prayer vigils to stand in solidarity with those who have experienced harassment. Resources on affirming and celebrating AAPI individuals and communities include:

Food Justice and Climate Change Webinar Series (starts May 5)

The Global Catholic Climate Movement is launching a three-part webinar series, Sustainable Food Systems, Food Justice, Climate Change and its impacts on Agriculture. Part one of the series is on Wednesday, May 5, 1 p.m. ET, and will explain how the Pawnee's Sacred Corn Seeds were on the brink of extinction and how they have arisen to meet new challenges. Future topics include Rural and City Farming, Food Justice (June 2) and then Agriculture and Climate Change (July 7). Register here
Catholic Labor Network Monthly Check-In (May 6)

The Catholic Labor Network has a monthly check-in this week on Thursday, May 6, 1:30 p.m. ET. This is a short, monthly casual conversation on all things Catholic and labor. CLN Executive Director Clayton Sinyai will brief participants on recent activities, followed by Q&A and discussion. Click here to register. 
Get Involved in Working to End the Death Penalty

Opportunities to engage with the Catholic Mobilizing Network continue as the organization zeroes in on death penalty policies state-by-state. There is a focus now on Ohio and Nevada.

CMN is a national organization that mobilizes Catholics and all people of goodwill to value life over death, to end the use of the death penalty, to transform the U.S. criminal justice system from punitive to restorative, and to build capacity in U.S. society to engage in restorative practices. If you represent a religious congregation that would like to get more involved, please reach out to Sr. Eileen Reilly, SSND using or by calling 202-541-5290.
CCHD at 50 (May 14-15)

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development celebrates 50 years of their two-fold mission to help low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, their families, and communities and to provide education and promote understanding about poverty and its root causes. This dual strategy of helping people who are experiencing poverty speak and act for themselves and education for economic justice reflects the mandate of the Scriptures and the principles of Catholic social teaching.

Celebrate this golden anniversary of faith in action with a special two-day conference event that includes a report on progress, inspirational speakers, and a look ahead. Registration details are here and the event schedule is here
Laudato Si' Week 2021 (May 16-24)

Laudato Si’ Week 2021 will be celebrated May 16-24. The theme of this year is the very positive message: “for we know that things can change” (LS 13). The Laudato Si' Week will be a core event of the Special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year, and a way to celebrate the steps that the whole Church has made on its journey to ecological conversion. It will also be a time to reflect on what the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us and how we might prepare for the future with hope.”

Click here to view all the events of the week. Inspired to take a fresh look at Laudato Si’—consider this study guide. Take some time to learn about the Laudato Si’ Action Platform initiative and Laudato Si’ Goals.
Creation Care Prayer Network

The Creation Care Prayer Network is a way to engage communities committed to the healing of our common home. The network is connected through prayer and Eucharistic adoration and is particularly suited toward CMSM member institutes whose missions are contemplative in nature.

GCCM will send a monthly email/newsletter with the month’s prayer intention, an invitation to participate in GCCM’s monthly retreat day, and an invitation to pray for key moments throughout the year. On a daily basis, communities are encouraged to participate by offering an intercession during Mass, the liturgy of the hours, or Eucharistic adoration. Resources are currently available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. 
Biodiversity program with Cardinal Turkson; Jane Goodall

In a recent program titled, “Biodiversity Webinar: On the Road to COP15”, Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, shared the importance of biodiversity for the church, the Christian tradition, and for human development by recognizing the earth as our common home.

Cardinal Turkson stressed the importance for the Vatican and the social teaching of the Church to recognize that God’s creation is a sacred gift made by Him and that every creature has an intrinsic value, being a demonstration of God’s love for us. Special guest Jane Goodall offered her perspective, informed by decades as a primatologist. This link offers both a video option for YouTube or an audio-only option.

You can access the lectionary reflections each week at These resources are posted as they are available.

Bethany Welch, Ph.D., CMSM Fellow for Justice and Peace
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