January 2024


Join the Integral Ecology Team for their Extended Meeting!

When: Saturday, January 27 during the afternoon in ET/CT and morning HT

What: All are welcome to join our learning/planning extended VIRTUAL meeting. For more info, and to receive the Zoom information, contact Sr. Leanne Jablonski, Jennifer Melke-Marks, or https://marianistsjc.net/contact

Facilitating Difficult Conversations Virtual Training with MSJC's Racial Justice Issue Team

When: Thursday, February 22 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. 

Register for the Training!

SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming Women & Justice Event

When: Thursday, March 14 at 2 PM HT | 4 PM PT | 5 PM MT | 6 PM CT | 7PM ET

What: Join our Women & Justice Team for a virtual panel discussion with the following theme: Open Wide the Unlocked Door - A Discussion on Women & the Diaconate. The discussion will focus on the ways that women are sharing their gifts and brinign the synodal message to our local ministries within the Church. See you there!



God’s Creation Needs You  - Online Videos

A new video series featuring six Catholic communities across the nation caring for our common home through climate action, advocacy, farming, community organizing, service to others, solar energy, education, prayer and a focus on environmental justice.  

Lent Resources: Catholic Climate Covenant Gathers Resources

Including 2024 - Lenten calendar, Greener Lent Campaign and No-buy Lent, as well as timeless ones (eg. Creation Care & Justice Stations of the Cross)

Upcoming Events our Integral Ecology Team Members are Involved In: 

  • LIVING WITH PLASTICS: MYTHS AND FACTS -- On January 30 at 7pm ET join this free virtual program with Susan Vogt (Visitation Marianist State Community & St. Francis de Sales Parish) and other expert panelists from greater Cincinnati on this Earthday 2024 theme - Planet vs Plastic. To register click HERE
  • LIVING PEACE: A WINTER WISDOM RETREAT - On Saturday, February 17 from 12:30 - 4:30 pm  come to the Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC) for our winter retreat. This year's program will be facilitated with Michelle Sherman, a Pax-Christi staffer, and MEEC staff at Mount St. John in Dayton. More info and register below:
Register for the Winter Retreat


In this essay by guest writer Paul Smith, he details a situation in which deep listening and openness caused his response to a challenging situation change from anger to compassion.

One Catholic’s Response to Having Their LGBTQ+ Event Cancelled by Paul Smith

We weren’t the first LGBTQ Catholic workshop to be shut-down by their diocese. But it was the first time it happened to me and it really hurt. A local blogger had rallied her followers to protest our event and the diocese ceded in response. I was angry at their cowardice. 


Upon reading the blog itself, I was surprised to discover that she had posted about our event for ten days before we were told about it. Had we known sooner, could we have kept it from being canceled? I was spinning. What could I do to fix this? How could I prevent this from happening in the future? Was an intelligence wing of our local LGBTQ ministry needed? I decided that it was and I hastily created fake Gmail and Facebook accounts. I slunk into the circle of the blogger and before I knew it, I was Facebook friends with her. Her posts were nasty and vile.  I just couldn’t get enough. I loved hating this woman... 


...My ongoing anger with our cancelation came to a head in August. I learned that a conservative motivational speaker presenting to teens at a local parish. Based on the description, I knew it would be anti-LGBTQ.  Part of me wanted to spit fire at this speaker the way others had done to us. I am confrontational by nature and maybe this was my time to give it all back. But, on the other hand, I would not have appreciated if someone had disrupted one of our presentations. Did my own righteous indignation give me the right to upset theirs?  Revenge seemed petty, but turning the other cheek seemed naïve. I wanted to lean in to my better angels. But would I have the strength of character to be respectful to the speaker even when confronting her? In my efforts to control my fears, I decided I needed to learn more. I dove into her webpage looking for insights. To determine the size of my adversary, I wanted to know how much she charged for her speaking engagements. It was not listed on her website, so I called her secretary to inquire. I made up a fake confirmation retreat at a real location and I got a quote. A few hours later, I received a voicemail message from the speaker herself.  I didn’t return that call. 


The day of the presentation, I was tormenting myself over whether I could keep my cool and be true to my seemingly-conflicted convictions of standing up to her in a respectful fashion. I prayed on the way there for the strength to be able to do this.


During the presentation, she spoke about the social contagion of transgender ideology.  During the question/answer period, my prayers were answered when I found myself able to ask respectfully challenging questions. The Holy Spirit was with me.  Neither I, nor the speaker, changed the other’s mind.  But it felt like a beginning. It felt like hope.


I woke up the next morning with a strong compulsion to call the speaker and fess-up to the web of lies I had spun two days before. This wasn’t part of my plan, but I had a sense that this had to be done. I called her later that morning and she shared with me that she had been praying about me late the night before. She prayed for our paths to cross again… a prayer that would be answered the next morning when I woke up.  We spoke for a while, had a Zoom call, and, over time, have exchanged occasional, pleasant text messages. I began to see her as a human person and not a raging, conservative Catholic parent...[Read more about how Paul found hope in this encounter, and where it is taking him, here!]


In October 2023, fifty-four Catholic women participated and voted as co-equals with bishops in a Synod. A turning point for the Catholic Church, these women brought new perspectives and gifts to a Church learning to be more welcoming, inclusive, and compassionate. We honor them for their contributions

and their pioneering efforts to bring synodality to the Catholic Church. Watch the tribute video below to learn more about these women and may their memory live on!


None this month, but please reach out to us below if you have any events or opportunities to be included in future Justice Jottings!

Questions, comments, or feedback for Justice Jottings can be sent to us at info@marianistsjc.net.