September 2020

Elections 2020: 
Justice Signs of Our Time -
A Marianist Panel & Dialogue
The MSJC Adele Social Justice Project, with the Association of Marianist Universities & U. of Dayton, invite you to join this virtual dialogue on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8:00-9:30 pm (EDT). Panelists will help us reflect on questions like:
  • What might our Marianist founders say to us as we face the social justice challenges of our time?
  • How do we form our conscience and vote, considering the breadth of Catholic social teaching?
  • How can we engage in civil, respectful dialogue with friends, families, neighbors & co-workers?
  • How do we remain united in our diversity as Marianist communities and institutions in the places we live?
  • What resources are available to assist our decision-making, civil discourse, and civic engagement?
*Bro. Brandon Alana SM, St. Louis School, HI 
*Sr. Gabrielle Bibeau FMI, NACMS 
*Dr. Daniel Birdsong, U. of Dayton 
*Noelle Collis-DeVito, Cinti. Archdio. Respect Life Office 
*Dr. Sonia Garcia, St. Mary's U. 
*Fr. Jim Heft SM, U. of So. California 
*Dominic Sanfilippo, Adele Social Justice Project
For more information & to register click here. (required to receive Zoom link & arrange break-out dialogues)
For the flyer, click here and share widely.
Lauren Olson
In This Time of Peril, What's a Catholic Voter to Do?
MSJC volunteer Lauren Olson shares her reflections about the challenges she feels in responding to the current upheavals in our country and how that affects her approach to voting in November.
2020 has brought historically unprecedented challenges - a global pandemic, economic devastation, and racial upheaval. These challenges have not only affected our country as a whole but have upended our daily routines and pervaded our nightly dinner conversations. The perils of 2020 have highlighted the many social injustices that have long plagued our society - racial inequality, lack of basic health care, hunger, homelessness, and marginalization of the elderly and incarcerated. 
When feeling overwhelmed by the daily news and simultaneously grateful for my health, job, and family, I ask myself, "What can I do during this great time of need and change? And how should this affect the way I vote?" (Read more...)

Affirmation of the Women's Diaconate
There is a new, loosely organized group of Catholics who gathered via Zoom on the Feast of St. Phoebe (Sept. 3) to join in a prayer service led mostly by women who feel called to the diaconate. This group is praying for the work of the Papal Commission on Women Deacons. They are currently circulating a Statement of Affirmation of these women and collecting signatures to support their work and the establishment of the diaconate for women. 
Barb Belle
Barb Belle, a member of the MSJC Women and Justice Team who has been involved with this group for almost a year, says "We do have a serious sense that there is new life being birthed in this process. It's still early to know all the ways this might develop but there is most definitely a presence of the Holy Spirit working with this group."
The Statement of Affirmation reads:
We are Catholics who:

  -embrace the ministry of deacons,

  -witness the gifts of women for this ministry,

  -and hope that our Church receives these women.

If you are interested in supporting their efforts, go to their website (https://receiveherinthelord.org/) where you can sign the Statement of Affirmation.

Creating LGBTQ-friendly Parishes
Fr. Bryan Massingale offers some excellent suggestions for communities, especially Catholic parishes, who wish to reach out to LGBTQ persons in this U.S. Catholic articleHe suggests that they need:
  • to be assured that they are loved, 
  • that the love in LGBTQ families is respected and celebrated,
  • that parishes need to be upfront about where they stand on LGBTQ issues.

Ten Ways to Live Restoratively
Restorative justice can work in many situations and on many levels, including in each of our own lives. Here are ten ways to live restoratively from The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr:
  1. Take relationships seriously, envisioning yourself in an interconnected web of people, institutions and the environment.
  2. Try to be aware of the impact - potential as well as actual - of your actions on others and the environment.
  3. When your actions negatively impact others, take responsibility by acknowledging and seeking to repair the harm, even when you could probably get away with avoiding or denying it.
  4. Treat everyone respectfully, even those you don't expect to encounter again, even those you feel don't deserve it, even those who have harmed or offended you or others.
  5. Involve those affected by a decision, as much as possible, in the decision-making process.
  6. View the conflicts and harms in your life as opportunities.
  7. Listen, deeply and compassionately, to others, seeking to understand even if you don't agree with them. (Think about who you want to be in the latter situation rather than just being right.)
  8. Engage in dialogue with others, even when what is being said is difficult, remaining open to learning from them and the encounter.
  9. Be cautious about imposing your "truths" and views on other people and situations.
  10. Sensitively confront everyday injustices including sexism, racism, homophobia, and classism.
Petition: Tell Attorney General Barr to "Stop the Executions"
Attorney General William Barr is set to receive an award from the "National Catholic Prayer Breakfast" (an independent entity with no official status within the U.S. Catholic Church) on Sept. 23, despite playing a lead role in the federal government's resumption of executions. Two federal executions are scheduled for the days immediately before and after the event. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has consistently voiced its clear and principled opposition to the return of federal executions. Sign the petition and tell Barr to stop the executions.

Transformation and Redemption are Possible - 
Renaldo Hudson-right
Even on Death Row
Renaldo Hudson spent 13 years on death row and 37 years in prison altogether. He went from death row convict to model inmate whose sentence was recently commuted. Read Hudson's stirring story in this article from the Chicago Tribune.
Reflections of an Immigrant 
Sherine Green, a member of the MSJC Immigrant Justice Team who immigrated from Jamaica, shares some personal recollections of a multicultural potluck dinner that MSJC co-sponsored 2 years ago.
Sherine Green
Two years ago, we hosted a potluck dinner designed to bring together immigrant & refugee families living in South Jersey with long-time US residents for a night of food, fellowship, and friendship. Over 140 people attended. This was amazing and glorious! Imagine flags, families, foods, festivities! Attending we had families from Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Philippines, Dominican Republic, and of course the United States. 
As Catholics, the hope is that we sit together and listen to people. Listen more intently to the sufferings of others. It will break us open to new levels of understanding, new vision, greater lens, a new periphery. Once our hearts are open, the Holy Spirit will do the rest. 
As human beings, we are all on journey! A journey of hope and freedom. The hope is to experience the joy of freedom each time we are renewed by grace. The community was able to listen to stories of healing, suffering and hope. Each of us had a voice at the table which was honored with kindness, compassion and care. It is this hope that embodies us in the charism of Eucharist. It is never "us" and "them" for all are journeying together!
I am honored to call America my home. I have found some of the most beautiful people to live life with and to live it well. My hope is that every person is able to live life well. This is what God has provided for us all. The gift is to share this wellness in a world marred by division and greed. Many thanks to my Marianist friends for this vision of goodness! 
Make us one Lord. Set us free from the bondages of division which trap our minds. Help us to eradicate superiority from our minds and help us to bring forth a New Kingdom of love and grace. 

Pope Francis Calls Us to New Hope & New Rhythms to Achieve Sustainability 
The ecumenical Season of Creation continues through Oct. 4. Pope Francis released a video to accompany this year's theme of "Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope" and reflects on the Biblical significance of jubilee in light of restorative justice and the current pandemic.  
"In some ways, the current pandemic has led us to rediscover simpler and sustainable lifestyles. The crisis, in a sense, has given us a chance to develop new ways of living. Already we can see how the earth can recover if we allow it to rest: the air becomes cleaner, the waters clearer, and animals have returned to many places from which they had previously disappeared. The pandemic has brought us to a crossroads. We must use this decisive moment to end our superfluous and destructive goals and activities, and to cultivate values, connections and activities that are life-giving. We must examine our habits of energy usage, consumption, transportation, and diet. We must eliminate the superfluous and destructive aspects of our economies, and nurture life-giving ways to trade, produce, and transport goods."

Two related news articles: 
Other resources for the Season:

WHAT: Catholic Nonviolence Days of Action
WHEN: - Sept. 21-Oct. 4 
WHY: 2020 is the first year for the Catholic Nonviolence Days of ActionThe theme is, Making active nonviolence our way of life in the Church and the world. Click here for more information and suggestions for observing these two weeks.

Marian Anderson

There are many people ready to do what is right because in their hearts they know it is right. But they hesitate, waiting for the other person to make the first move - and the other person, in turn, waits for you.
            Marian Anderson

Questions, comments, or feedback 
for Justice Jottings can be sent to Jim Vogt