Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Laudato Si’ Week

Hundreds of thousands of Catholics are uniting this week to mark the seventh anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the care of creation. 
In the Diocese of Albany, a planning group is being organized to prepare a Laudato Si’ Action Plan that will outline tangible actions that can be taken to meet the seven Laudato Si’ Goals in the coming years. Members of the committee are expected to be announced shortly.
The theme for the week is “Listening and Journeying Together.” The eight-day global event is guided by the following quote from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: “Bringing the human family together to protect our common home” (LS 13).
On May 27, the day celebrating ecological education, footage from "The Invitation,' a new feature-length documentary film on Laudato Si’, will be shown to the general public for the first time during a live-streaming event. "The Invitation" will have its global release later this year. Registration is required and is available here.
More information on the week’s activities and the complete schedule is here.

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Monday, May 16, 2022

Mobilizing for social justice

Noting how difficult it can be to get people of faith to join advocacy initiatives or campaigns, the St. Columban Mission for Justice, Peace and Ecology is offering a webinar on how to mobilize people for social justice.
This free event is tomorrow (Tuesday, May 17) at 4:00 p.m. It is 90 minutes long and includes time for questions and answers.
The sponsor notes how overwhelming it can be to reach out to our communities, especially when some people can be indifferent or hostile to the issue we care about (such as with immigration reform) or even deny there’s a problem (such as with climate change). The announcement states that they will share “some of the tools to have effective and transformative one-on-one conversations about social justice issues as well as how to organize your community to achieve advocacy ‘wins.’”
Here is information about the panelists:
Colin Martinez Longmore is the Outreach and Education Specialist at NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. Prior to working at NETWORK, Colin served in parish ministry for seven years in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in Southern California. He directed bilingual faith formation programs, led retreats, and spoke at Diocesan youth conferences. He also mentored teens and young adults in juvenile hall and youth vocational work programs.
Wesley Cocozello is the Communications and Outreach Manager for the St. Columban Mission for Justice, Peace and Ecology. In this role, he organizes mission exposure trips, facilitates advocacy skills trainings, and creates educational content. Before this, he worked for Catholic Climate Covenant, ending his tenure there as Director of Operations. He holds a degree in English Literature from the Catholic University of America, and has produced a number of literary and theatrical projects.
For more information or to register, click here. If you are not able to attend the webinar, you can watch a recording here.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Catholics and the Poor People’s Campaign

On Thursday, May 5, at 7 p.m., there is a webinar to educate Catholics about the upcoming Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls on June 18. This assembly is the culmination of a year-long campaign that is seeking legislation to improve the condition of poor people in America. Proposals include expanding voting rights and the Voting Rights Act; a living wage; the right of workers to form and join unions; and high-quality pre-K-12 education for all. 

This webinar is especially for Catholic groups. Among the sponsors are the Franciscan Action Network, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Pax Christi USA, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and NETWORK. Speakers include the National Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis; Bishop John Stowe, Bishop President of Pax Christi USA; and Sister Patricia McDermott, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. Locally, the activities of the Poor People’s Campaign have been organized by the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition. I am on their Board of Directors.
Click here to register. More information about the Poor People’s Campaign is here.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Annual Paulist Press Bargain Sale

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again, the annual sale from Paulist Press. With topics ranging from Faith Formation to Faith and Culture, from Sacraments to Spirituality, this sale has books you did not even know you wanted.
My best purchase was Vatican II: The Complete History. Normally $79.95, it is on sale until May 31 for just $15.99.
Other bargains include the Classics of Western Spirituality series. For example, you can buy the writings of John of Avila, normally $39.95, now just $9.78. Or the writings of John Baptist de La Salle now $6.74 instead of $26.95.
Dr. Lawrence Cunningham’s wonderful book, The Catholic Faith: An Introduction, is one that I have shared in the past so this year I bought two more copies at $5.98 each; the price of two was just a penny more than one copy at the regular price. This book is an introduction to Catholicism for college students, “painting a broad context of what a Catholic approach to the world is all about.” It is excellent for those who are considering becoming Catholic and for those who have spent their entire lives in the Church. 
But don’t wait until the last minute. Supplies are limited. The bargain sale ends May 31. Until then, there also is free shipping on all orders.
The catalog is here.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

What are the Chapters and Clubs of Catholic Relief Services?

Catholic Relief Services Chapters and Clubs are communities of people who are working to transform the world. Each year, thousands of people participate in CRS campaigns to eradicate global poverty and injustice. 

These advocates also engage their communities in advocacy and community giving to make a difference. As CRS notes, “The world’s problems are big and complex, but when we come together in faith and action our impact knows no bounds.”

Next week, CRS is offering people an opportunity to learn how they can join a CRS Chapter or Club. It is just one way to support our sisters and brothers around the world who are experiencing hunger, poverty, and other vulnerabilities. On either Tuesday, April 26, or Wednesday, April 27, you can see what CRS Chapters and Clubs are and how you can make a difference. 

Here is the link to register for either one of the two, hour-long sessions: 

  • Tuesday, April 26, at 8 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, April 27, at 4 p.m.

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Learning from Women’s Leadership

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, former President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and former dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, discusses her book, Rising: Learning from Women’s Leadership in Catholic Ministries, in this 30-minute interview with Robert Ellsberg, editor of Orbis Books

According to the promo:
Through reflection on first-person narratives of a range of women involved in leadership positions in Catholic ministries (social justice, LCWR and religious congregations, educational, media, diocesan, NGOs, etc.), Rising examines the range of leadership roles that women play in the Catholic Church, explores the particular challenge that women face, as well their distinctive styles of leadership, while also pointing toward an expanded understanding of ministry and leadership in the church. 

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Friday, March 25, 2022

Farmworker Awareness Week

Today marks the beginning of Farmworker Awareness Week, which ends on March 31, Cesar Chavez Day. This is an opportunity for supporters of farm workers across the country to honor their important contributions and to raise awareness about the issues they face. This year’s theme is Todos Unidos: Farmworker Communities & Activism Past and Present.

The Catholic Labor Network notes that “the backbreaking work of planting and harvesting our food is largely performed by immigrants from Latin America for low pay under difficult working conditions.”

The Catholic Church has a long history of supporting farmworkers. It had an important role organizing farmworkers in the 1960s and 1970s, especially in California, where Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers (UFW) organized grape harvesters. Chavez, himself deeply committed to his Catholic faith, relied on allies in the Church and the wider community to promote the boycott and secure basic rights for workers in the fields.

The Catholic Labor Network states:
Like domestic workers, during the New Deal reforms farmworkers were excluded from the protection of critical labor laws such as the National Labor Relations Act (which protects workers who want to form a union) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (which sets the federal minimum wage and dictates that other workers earn overtime when working more than 40 hours per week). This means that farmworkers have had to work state by state to secure these rights, a process that remains largely incomplete. Only a few states such as California and New York have passed laws protecting farmworkers’ right to organize and form labor unions. And this year Oregon joined a handful of states that have passed overtime pay laws covering farmworkers.
The National Farm Worker Ministry has a list of Farmer Worker Campaigns here.

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Monday, March 14, 2022

Ukrainian Prayer Service

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will host a Ukrainian Prayer Service (Moleben) asking intercession for peace in Ukraine on Saturday, March 19 at 1:30pm. The service will be conducted by members of our neighboring Eastern Churches.  Clergy, friends, and supporters are invited to attend.  Light refreshments will follow. For ways to assist the Ukrainian people, click here.