Peace & Justice

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

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Building Peace with Justice

Building Peace with Justice is a brief, weekly bulletin reflection written by members of a Public Policy sub-committee in the diocese of Rocheseter that links the Sunday readings to Catholic social teaching. Many parishes publish them as space allows.

For Sunday Bulletins on July 29
It was the custom for a Jewish rabbi or teacher to teach his followers a simple prayer they could regularly use. Jesus’ disciples, make a similar request of their rabbi. Then, Jesus does more than they ask, he teaches them what to pray for, how to pray and what results they can expect from their prayer. And unlike the man in the gospel story, God does not need to be persuaded to give us what we need. God may not always give us what we want when we pray, because our wants can be self-centered. The way we pray and what we ask for reveals our relationship with God, with God’s people, and with our world.

Reflection: Take some time to discover who is at the center of your prayer. Is it God and the needs of our world, or is it you and your wants?

For Sunday Bulletins on August 5
The brothers in today’s Gospel are fighting over their inheritance – most likely the land. This conflict prompts Jesus to point out the danger of greed and in the parable that follows, God calls the greedy landowner a fool. Jesus’ message is very blunt – greed and discipleship do not go together. In our day, greed and conflict over the land are very real issues that prevent us from living in peace.

Reflection: How does the desire to have more than we need erode our sense of community?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Meet a "Lost Boy"

Father Paul Smith, a member of the Commission on Peace and Justice, as well as a sacramental minister at Roman Catholic churches in Altamont and Berne, is one of the organizers of the screening of a film about the Lost Boys, a name that refers to the roughly 26,000 refugees who fled villages in southern Sudan during fighting in the late 1980s.

The screening will be at 7 p.m. at The College of Saint Rose's Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary, 959 Madison Ave. in Albany.

Alex Logono, one of the Lost Boys who recently graduated from the State University of New York at Albany, will be the guest of honor at the screening. In May, he traveled back to Africa to find the ailing mother he last saw nearly 19 years ago. His story was reported in Albany's Times Union newspaper.

To learn more, go here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Will the New Farm Bill Effectively Fight Global Hunger?

Catholic Relief Services sent out the following information this week:
As Congress prepares to reauthorize the U.S. Farm Bill, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have actively been monitoring hearings on the Farm Bill in Congress. Along with a number of faith-based and humanitarian groups, CRS also recently endorsed a statement calling for changes in the bill that would benefit farmers, rural communities, and meet the nutritional needs of poor people in the United States and overseas.

The Farm Bill defines international and domestic U.S. food and agricultural policy over several years. Much of the policy focuses on farming in the United States. However, important provisions in the Farm Bill address how the United States provides food to assist people in need worldwide not only during emergencies such as war and drought but also as a tool for long-term development such as using food to promote education, health or agriculture.

The current Farm Bill will be reauthorized because it expires at the end of September 2007. The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to consider the new Farm Bill shortly.

As part of the Catholic Church's overall advocacy regarding the 2007 Farm Bill, Catholic Relief Services is focusing its efforts on fighting hunger overseas. Visit our website for specific provisions CRS is advocating for, to view the full action alert, and to send members of the House Agriculture Committee a message today!

The link to the website is here.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Catholic history

Andrea Slivka of Catholic News Service has written an article that should matter to anyone interested in issues of politics, and religion, especially if they have an interest in history.
In the 1920s, Oregon voters passed a referendum backed by the Ku Klux Klan that required schoolchildren to attend only public schools, forcing Catholic schools to close.

In a letter Archbishop Alexander Christie of Oregon City stated that the local bishops agreed unanimously to appeal the law to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Surely the bishops of this country will not stand by inactive while the faith is being strangled in our innocent children," he wrote to Archbishop Edward Hanna of San Francisco, who was head of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, the forerunner to today's U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The letter is now part of the American Catholic History Classroom Web site, created to help Catholic high school and even university teachers incorporate Catholic history into a secular American history curriculum.

The link to the rest of this story is here. The link to the Catholic University website is here.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Discovering God Amidst the Rwanda Holocaust

Rev. Robert E. Lauder, writing in The Long Island Catholic, tells us of Immaculee Ilibagiza, author of “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwanda Holocaust.” Immaculee’s family — father, mother, and brother — were murdered. While the Hutus were trying to kill all the Tutsis, Immaculee, along with six other Tutsi women, hid in a bathroom that was in the house of a local pastor. Immaculee writes:
I couldn’t have made it without the rosary and knowing that the Blessed Mother was there to console me. The rosary was my food. There was a time when I felt that I couldn’t go on without doing something. And doing something was to pray. And praying with so much fear in the heart was impossible. My words at first were not words of prayer; they were more like, ‘send them to hell; do something to those animals’; but those are not prayers. And since I couldn’t say those words, I began to say the rosary. The good thing about the rosary is the words are made up already, so you say them and meditate after the words you are saying. So I said this from morning until night. I said 27 rosaries a day. I would say also 40 chaplets of Divine Mercy. So that was my food for the day, really. That’s something I did for two months and a half out of the three months I stayed in that bathroom.

You can read more here.