November 2023


An Evening with Retreat to Broadway and the LGBTQ+ Initiative

When: Monday, Nov. 27 at 2 PM HT |4 PM PT |5 PM MT |6 PM CT |7 PM ET

What: A virtual retreat for all members of the Marianist Family focusing on the positive impact of faith, justice, sexuality, and the performing arts. There will be time for reflection, education, prayer, small group sharing, and a panel discussion. This event is co-sponsored by Retreat to Broadway and MSJC's LGBTQ+ Initiative. Thanks to the generosity of a seed grant from the Marianist Visitation State Community, this event is free. Read more about the amazing panelists and register below!


COP28 & Laudate Deum: Embracing Hope in a Time of Climate Crisis

When: Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 3 PM HT |5 PM PT |6 PM MT |7 PM CT |8 PM ET

What: Pope Francis is calling all people to transformative actions that address climate change. On the eve of Pope Francis’ attending the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28: Nov 30 - Dec 12), you’re invited to a virtual time of prayer and dialogue. We’ll explore Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum, the work of the UN and COP28 meeting’s goal to lower fossil fuel emissions and how we can embody Mary’s hope-filled spirit. Members of Marianist networks will share insights, how they’re involved and actions each of us can take. All are welcome. Read more about the event, the featured speakers, and registration details at the link below!


Facilitating Difficult Conversations Virtual Training

When: Thursday, December 7 at 2:30 PM HT |4:30 PM PT |5:30 PM MT |6:30 PM CT |7:30 PM ET

What: Are you interested in becoming a better facilitator to people of all backgrounds? Do you want to learn how to navigate and lead discussions around difficult topics? Are you ready to practice skills in some simulation conversations with support?

Join MSJC's Racial Justice Team at our Facilitating Difficult Conversations Virtual Training! The team has put together a guide for anyone who will be leading a discussion about the topic of racism, or any other group dialogue about sensitive topics. The resource is meant to accompany training which we are offering here. This training is open to all MSJC volunteers, or folks in the Marianist Family, who want to become better facilitators and take anti-racist practices into their programmatic work. 


Let's Talk About the T in LGBTQ+ Virtual Workshop

When: Wednesday, Dec 13 at 3 PM HT | 5 PM PT |6 PM MT |7 PM CT | 8 PM ET

What: The Trans Advocacy Committee of the LGBTQ+ Initiative team is hosting a virtual, interactive workshop. The presentation includes a panel discussion and Q&A to enable participants to better understand and accompany transgender/non-binary persons and their loved ones as they embrace their lived reality in the context of their Christian faith. Through the presentation of basic terminology, discussion of current issues, and personal testimonies, this workshop explores ways in which all members of the Church can create spaces in which we can authentically encounter, engage, and ultimately fully embrace – with no conditions – members of the transgender/non-binary community and recognize the gifts they bring to the Church and greater society. (This is an adapted version, for a virtual experience, of our presentation at the 2023 Lay Marianist Assembly which we know many people wanted to attend. Now's your chance!)

Read more about the event, the experienced panelists, and register below :)




A Brief History of Thanksgiving - Reflection by Team Member Rachel Osterday

Thanksgiving. The word conjures up images of heaping plates of steaming food, memories of a giant roasted bird, and visions of sugary pies dancing around one’s head. While Thanksgiving has been an official US holiday since 1863, it could also be considered one of the most controversial holidays in the American calendar, and one which shouldn’t pass without mention of its cloudy origins.

It is important to note that besides encompassing the Thanksgiving holiday, November is more importantly Native American Heritage Month. One Native American many are familiar with is Tisquantum, also known as Squanto. Squanto was an English-speaking member of the Wampanoag tribe in what is now Massachusetts. In the early 17th century, he was captured and taken prisoner by European slavers, but escaped, possibly due to the help of a Catholic monk, and ended up in London. He learned English and returned to his now-decimated homeland in 1619. In the time he was abroad, nearly 75% of his tribe had died due to diseases brought ashore by the European settlers. Because of his English-speaking abilities, he began to serve as translator and ambassador between the pilgrims that had settled in the area and the native tribes already living there. True to the popularized myths of Thanksgiving, the settlers in his area were grateful for his help; William Bradford, the second governor of the Plymouth settlement, wrote that he was a “special instrument sent of God” and someone “whose help could never be fully thanked or repaid.” Some of the Wampanoag did celebrate a successful harvest and the end of a drought in a three-day festival with the Plymouth colonists in November 1621, and this celebration is the basis of many of the myths and ingrained images we associate with Thanksgiving. BUT... [Read more about the history and find resources here]

...Perhaps it is not too late to reframe this holiday. Since 1970, on every Thanksgiving, Indigenous folks on the east coast gather in Plymouth to remember all those lives lost in the settlement of this country, and to protest against the continued racism many still experience today. This Thanksgiving, join them in spirit.


Encourage the Church to Tell the Whole Story on Easter Sunday - Reflection by Team Member Barb Belle

Easter is the most sacred and important of all Sundays in the Church year. Yet, when Catholics gather for Mass on Easter Sunday, they do not hear the full story of the Resurrection. The full story includes John 20: 1- 18; On Easter Sunday only John 20: 1 – 9 is proclaimed.

Most Catholics do not hear the inspiring story of Mary Magdalene’s witness of the Risen Christ or Christ’s commission to Mary Magdalene to proclaim the Resurrection to the other disciples. The rest of the story, John 20: 11 - 18 is proclaimed on the Tuesday after Easter when very few Catholics will hear it. And, John 20:10, which is omitted on both Easter Sunday and Easter Tuesday, makes it clear that Mary Magdalene alone remained at the empty tomb while the others returned to their homes. Please consider supporting the Future Church Initiative to tell the true story of Mary Magdalene by signing the petition below that will be delivered to the Dicastery for Divine Worship the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Divine Worship.

Sign the Future Church Petition!

To find many other presentations and discussions (by leading Scripture Scholars and Church historians) about the many ways women’s leadership, and ministries have been erased from our Church’s scriptures/lectionary visit this web link.

The Synod on Synodality in October 2023 and October 2024 offer important opportunities to raise awareness about the “woman gaps” in our Lectionary, and to advocate for a supplemental Lectionary that is more inclusive of women’s faith-filled witness. The Women and Justice Issues team encourage you to continue to retrieve the truth about Mary Magdalene and to reclaim the role of women in the Church.


Giving Thanks and an Invitation to Join our Team - Reflection by Team Member Sr. Grace Walle, FMI

As I began reflecting about my contribution to Justice Jottings for the November issue, I was prompted by the theme of the season to express my sense of gratitude for the work of all who advocate against the death penalty and promote restorative justice. Indeed, gratitude fosters a sense of community, as we as Marianist work together to act for justice. As Joe Kay writes, giving thanks “opens our hearts and our clasped hands to receive and to give more freely. It erases all those lines we draw between ourselves and others.”...

This leads me to also give thanks for the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative (MSJC) for our twenty-five-year history. Especially, I’d like to give thanks for the work of MSJC towards the abolition of the death penalty, which was one of the first issue teams and continues to this day. Brian Halderman (who is still an MSJC volunteer) and Bro. Frank O’Donnel, SM (God rest his soul) were the inspiration for the earliest work of the issue team. Bob Stoughton and I were among the first volunteers and continue to be active team members. Lauren Olson received her J.D. degree joining the team shortly after completing her Marianist volunteer year. Mary Beaudoin has served as chair of the Death Penalty Abolition and Restorative Justice (DP-RJ) Issue Team within MSJC now for many years. Her and her husband John Holden have also both attended and supported the Starving for Justice vigil held each year in Washington D.C. We appreciate all who have joined the DP-RJ Issue Team to learn and educate others about the issue. We have witnessed first-hand testimonies from the exonerated, from the family members whose loved ones are on death row, from those who are victims of a crime, and from the lawyers working in advocacy... [Read more here...]


UN Climate Meetings & Pope Francis

Pope Francis is the first Pope to attend UN climate meetings. COP28 Meetings are being held in Dubai (Nov 30 - December 12th) which will be the first to address fossil fuel reductions. He is calling us all to prayer and action to address the climate crisis. Learn about COP28  here, pray daily with  Catholic Climate Covenant resources on UN-COP28 compiled here and take action. Explore the excellent short videos and other resources on Laudate Deum compiled here and share Care for Creation homily tips & intercession suggestions with your communities and local church. 

Marianist Environmental Education Center Christmas Cards

Features Marianist Artists, Mount St. John Scenes and other nature-inspired nativity images along with inspirational quotes from Laudato si and other ecological spirituality sources. Visit https://meec.center

Advent Season Resources are linked below to support our prayer and actions in living in soldarity with the earth and our global family.

Catholic Climate Covenant Advent Resources


Fr. James Martin, SJ, attended the recent Synod of Bishops in Rome. In this article he shares eight words that summarize for him the experience he had.

'I experienced the Synod as a spiritual journey' Article


Catholic Prison Ministries Virtual Conference

When: Friday, December 1st

What: Join the Catholic Prison Ministries Coalition for Restored by Compassion: Given & Received, an impactful day of formation, reflection, and sharing highlighted by Helen Prejean, CSJ, Greg Boyle, SJ, Bishop Bill Wack, CSC and other ministry leaders. Attendees will have a chance to learn about training opportunities, to share experiences of ministry, to be inspired, and to network with ministers and supporters from across the country.

Cost: $30 per person (financial assistance is available)

Read More and Register Here

Spirituality and Recovery Virtual Conference

When: Thursday, December 7th

What: The epidemic of overdose deaths in our country today is overwhelming. For 25 years, the Ignatian Spirituality Project has seen the powerful way spirituality impacts recovery from homelessness and addiction. In honor of ISP's 25th anniversary, ISP introduces our inaugural Spirituality and Recovery Conference to invite the public into conversation with national experts and generate a deeper, collective understanding of how a spiritual life can be the key to unlocking long-term recovery. Join us!

Cost: Free to attend!

Read More and Register Here
Questions, comments, or feedback for Justice Jottings can be sent to us at info@marianistsjc.net.