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jp 11 2020
Anniversary of Martyrs in El Salvador

This week marks the 31st anniversary of the Jesuit martyrs and their companions in El Salvador. Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, past director of the Human Rights Institute at Central American University, where they were killed, spoke to the recent conviction of the Salvadoran colonel who planned and order the assassinations.

He also commemorated their lives with a message from Pope Francis, saying, “The Holy Father challenges us with the imperative that our martyrs also made theirs at the time and which we celebrate today…Only by identifying with the least ones will I become the brother and sister of all.” 

Maryknoll "Roses in December"

Mindful of both the impact of the recent hurricanes on the people of Central America, the people's persistent faithfulness in the face of poverty, and the years of accompaniment provided by men and women religious, we also bring forward the witness of the “Roses in December” martyrs. 

The Maryknoll communities invite everyone to join in a virtual gathering on Dec. 2, 7 p.m. EST, to mark 40 years since the murders of the four U.S. churchwomen in El Salvador – Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, American lay missioner Jean Donovan of Cleveland, and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel. The event will feature Maryknoll sisters, family members of the women, and missioners currently working in El Salvador, to reflect on the legacy of the four churchwomen. No registration required - click here on Dec. 2.
USCCB Fall Meeting: Addressing Racism and Inequality

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) held its first virtual General Assembly on Monday and Tuesday this week.

Addressing racism was a featured topic with the National Advisory Council making a number of recommendations, including the continuation of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism (ACAR). This was passed by the bishops in an overwhelming vote. The bishops also heard an update on the Committee's work by Houma-Thibodaux Bishop Shelton Fabre, and shared experiences and initiatives in their dioceses.

Finally, the Conference's new four-year strategic plan will address racial inequality, as noted here. “Work to heal the scourge of racism and religious intolerance” was added under the heading of life and dignity. The plan goes into effect in January 2021.
Watch Bishop Fabre's presentation and updates from bishops about addressing racism within their dioceses.
Win for farmworkers in Washington State

Agricultural workers are among the most exploited workers in the U.S. due to their exclusion from many federal labor laws and regulations, a feature that has continued from the early days of enslaved labor.

The Catholic Labor Network recently shared the good news that Washington state farmworkers will now join a few other locations, such as California, New Jersey, and New York, where the state has extended rights and opportunities to these workers. Washington laborers will now be entitled to time-and-a-half for overtime worked. To learn more about national advocacy and action on this topic, visit Farmworker Justice.
Recommendation for Asylum Seekers

A recent briefing by centrist think tank Migration Policy Institute asserts that the “near-total shutdown of asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border” is not a long-term strategy for responding to those who are seeking safety and freedom from persecution. Analysts outlined a series of recommendations in the brief to address mixed flows of economic and humanitarian migrants as well as provide for efficient processing of asylum cases. 

Of particular interest was the recommendation to create “multiagency reception centers near the border for one-stop screening of arrivals and speedy turnover to the relevant agencies.” This suggests a collaborative approach that could include faith-based organizations and those already serving borderland residents.

Funding to Rebuild Refugee Resettlement Network

Many organizations and advocacy groups are emphasizing that now is the time to rebuild the U.S. resettlement program and respond to refugees’ acute needs related to COVID-19. Jesuit Refugee Service notes that refugees are serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response in the U.S., including 176,000 working in health care and 175,000 in the food supply chain. At this time of national health and economic challenges, it is important that all populations are able to fully mitigate COVID-19.

Jesuit Refugee Service USA heard from President-elect Joe Biden at its 40th anniversary celebration last week. He said he supports raising the admissions goal for refugee resettlement to 125,000 refugees for 2021.

Immediate Action on Refugee Funding
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition has prepared a campaign to mobilize action on refugee admissions and funding for resettled programs before federal funding expires on Dec. 11:

COVID Resources

As coronavirus positivity rates increase rapidly and communities where you minister suffer and grieve, the Catholic Health Association has spiritual resources that may be of comfort and support. You can find prayers, reflections, and calming meditation videos here. Materials include blessings for those being released from the hospital and for essential workers accompanying the hospitalized and ailing.

The CMSM webpage also offers resources here with videos on mental health practices, suggested methods of communicating in the pandemic, and other ministry supports. The CMSM COVID prayer list is updated with names submitted of religious who are suffering.
Advent and Laudato Si’

Advent resources from the Global Catholic Climate Movement have launched! The Scripture reflections and Advent calendar invite us to be people of hope through action for each other and our planet. 

Catholic Social Ministry Gathering

Save the dates for the 2021 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering to be held virtually Saturday, Feb. 6-9, 2021. The planning committee, convened by the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, involves 10 USCCB departments and 18 national Catholic organizations, including CMSM.

A dynamic and engaging agenda includes community workshops, policy workshops, and legislative visits that speak to the most pressing social issues of our time. The theme “Make justice your aim (cf. Is. 1:17): Rebuilding Together" will be woven throughout the keynotes and the educational sessions, with special attention to the effects of racism and the impact of coronavirus on marginalized communities.

Thanks to sponsorships, the cost will be very affordable and scholarships are available. Registration should open next week. Visit the CSMG site to stay up-to-date on the program.
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We are posting homily resources as we receive them at

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