Peace & Justice

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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Romero Remembered

Commonweal magazine has an article by Robert White, the former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador who met with Archbishop Oscar Romero just before his death:
Thirty years ago, on March 24, 1980, a marksman shot and killed Archbishop Oscar Romero as he said Mass in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd in San Salvador. As established by investigative commissions of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, the assassination of Romero had been planned and directed by ex-Major Roberto D’Aubuisson, a former chief of Salvadoran military intelligence and a talented political demagogue. He was the symbolic founder of ARENA, the right-wing party that, with the help of the United States, controlled the government of El Salvador from 1989 until 2009.

The social order of El Salvador had traditionally rested on a tripod of the rich, the military, and the church. The rich ran the country. They controlled it through the military, and the role of the church was to counsel the poor to accept their lot and to wait for their reward in the next life.

Then, in 1968, in Medellín, Colombia, the bishops of Latin America adopted a “preferential option for the poor.” Pope Paul VI summarized Medellín when he said, “The poor have the right not only to share in the fruits of the society, but in the direction of that society.”

By 1977, Archbishop Romero had become the most controversial leader in the history of El Salvador. Each Sunday from his pulpit in the cathedral he denounced examples of repression by the Salvadoran security forces and called for the rule of law and a more just society. His words were heard not only by those inside the cathedral, but throughout Central America. You could walk down any street in the poor barrios and villages and never miss a word of Romero’s sermon. Every radio in every casita would be tuned to Romero’s homily.
. . .
It was the 1979 overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua that had focused the Carter administration on El Salvador. Critics accused the president of abandoning the pro-American Somoza and of losing Nicaragua to communism. Although these charges were wildly exaggerated, the harsh anti-Washington rhetoric of the Sandinistas and the influx of Cuban advisors in Nicaragua lent a certain plausibility to the accusations.

El Salvador, virtually next door to Nicaragua, was now irrevocably part of the Cold War. Hard-liners in the Department of Defense and the CIA argued that the Carter policy of human rights had to be subordinated to a military buildup if El Salvador was not to fall under the control of Marxist revolutionaries. On the other side, State Department officials warned that there was no military solution to the Salvadoran crisis, that it had been repression by the armed forces that had helped create the insurgency, and that a political solution was still possible.

Out of this debate came proposals to combine an American-backed, large-scale counterinsurgency effort with a far-reaching program of economic and social reform. This formula proved persuasive to Carter, who wanted to save his human-rights policy but also needed to demonstrate a determination not to lose El Salvador.

Shortly before my scheduled departure for San Salvador, a National Security Council meeting on El Salvador discussed the role of Archbishop Romero. Several spoke of his alleged anti-American sermons, his politicizing of religion, and his incitement to rebellion. The chief White House official present recommended I make a brief stopover in Rome to try to persuade the Vatican to pressure Romero to stop making bad matters worse. Not for the first time, I marveled at Washington decision-makers’ lack of understanding about the new role of the church in Latin America, their ignorance of the unrelenting persecution of priests, nuns, and lay workers by the Salvadoran military and the already strained relations between the Vatican of Pope John Paul II and Romero.

I had read Romero’s sermons and, while they were certainly combative, they accurately reflected the cruel reality of a lawless country where the poor had given up hope that any moderate government would risk challenging entrenched power. All the people’s trust resided in “Monsignor Romero,” who each Sunday spoke truth to power and inspired millions to believe that change was possible.

You should read the rest of the article here.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Oscar Romero

U.S. Catholic magazine has some excellent resources about Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, who was assassinated 30 years ago while saying Mass. He was known as the "bishop of the poor" for his work defending the Salvadoran people.

The Salvadoran bishops have written to the Vatican in support of Romero’s sainthood.

Read more about Romero and his legacy both for El Salvador and the church here.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Enrichment

Spring Enrichment is designed to provide everyone with the opportunity to come together to find out more about their faith and to deepen the skills and understanding of individuals serving in a wide range of capacities in the Church. Well over a thousand attendees, paid and volunteer ministers, lay and ordained, are expected to gather for four days of inspiring keynotes and major presentations, enlightening and challenging workshops, dynamic prayer and worship, critical networking, extensive new resources and certification opportunities at this year’s conference. With over 150 different courses to choose from, whether they come for a single two hour session, or attend all sixteen of them, there is bound to be something for everyone at Spring Enrichment.

The theme of the 37th Spring Enrichment is “Catechesis and the Proclamation of the Word”, the theme of last September’s Catechetical Sunday. In his opening keynote address, Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester, NY will expand this topic to include all ministries in the Church, since catechists are not the only ones who catechize or proclaim the Word. Clark will be joined by Bishop Howard Hubbard on Monday evening for a dialogue entitled “A Vision of Ministry: Moving Forward in Hope.”

This year’s Conference, running from Monday, May 10 through Thursday, May 13 at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, includes 151 on-site two hour workshops and courses (four of which will also be simulcast over the internet). Interspersed with these workshops will be major presentations on cohabitation and marriage ministry, the future of faith formation, and technology to support ministry.

To check out this year’s Spring Enrichment schedule, the full descriptions of all our course offerings and to view and print a registration form, select “Brochures & Registration Form” on the menu on the left.

Some sample offerings follow:
B05 - Charity in Truth
(Advanced Certification – Theology/Scripture: Peace & Justice) Less than a year ago, Pope Benedict XVI issued Caritas in Veritate, an encyclical on the meaning of human development in a globalized economy. Striking a balance between the idolatry of obscene profits and pristine nature undisturbed by human activity for human needs, he puts each person’s transcendent destiny and the common good of all in society at the center of globalization - a new situation in human history. With Barbara DiTommaso & members of the Diocesan Peace & Justice Commission.

C03 - Introduction to the Creed
(Intermediate Certification: Creed) When we pray the Creed, what are we saying are the fundamentals of our Catholic Christian faith? This course is designed to give catechists and youth ministers an overview of our basic Catholic beliefs and introduces topics that will be more fully developed in other Intermediate and Advanced level courses. With Father Arthur J. Becker.

C07 - Transforming Grace: Unfailing Justice & Enduring Peace
(Advanced Certification – Theology/Scripture: Peace & Justice; or Methodology Elective (Adult Formation)) This course explores strategies for catechizing adults and catechumens on Catholic Social Teaching so as to act publicly and strategically in promoting a Culture of Life on multiple levels. With Father Neil Draves-Arpaia.

A Vision of Ministry – Moving Forward in Hope: a Dialogue with Bishop Matthew H. Clark and Bishop Howard J. Hubbard

(Parish Leadership; Catechetical/YM Leaders; Enrichment
Elective) Every moment and every activity is an opportunity to put parishioners into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. In the evening keynote Bishop Matthew Clark, author of the recently published Forward in Hope: Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry, will be joined by Bishop Howard Hubbard in a reflection on their vision and the experience of the growth in lay ministry in our Church. Exploring Church ministry and how the Holy Spirit is working through lay ministry they will invite us to consider how all ministries contribute to the Church’s commitment to catechize and proclaim God’s Word, not only through the use of words, but by our actions as well.With Bishops Matthew H. Clark & Howard J. Hubbard.

D04 - Justice & Service
(Intermediate Certification: Social Justice (Cat) or Justice & Service (YM)) Finding ways for faith to become “real” is one goal of the justice and service component of youth ministry. We will look at ways to engage young people and also to reflect on experiences of service that lead to deeper faith, a thirst for justice and a lifelong commitment to justice and service. With Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CSJ.

Monday, March 22, 2010


We all suffer for each other, and gain by each other’s suffering; for man never stands alone here, though he will stand alone hereafter; but here he is a social being, and goes forward to his long home as one of a large company.

— Cardinal Newman

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Father Peter G. Young Telethon

The first Father Peter G. Young Telethon will be held on Sunday, March 21, 2010 on WYPX ION Cable Channel and DTV Channel 50 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This Telethon will feature the many statewide programs that Father Young has been running over the last 50 years.

T.H.E. Life Changer Telethon is the final fund raiser in a year-long celebration commemorating Father Young’s fifty years as a priest. All year there have been several events to honor him for all the fine work he has done in our community and throughout the state of New York. His programs serve over 3,000 clients a day.

His three pronged program of treatment, housing and employment is crucial in helping a person overcome addiction, take back his life and becoming a productive member of society and a valuable taxpayer. Father feels that like a three-legged stool without all three supports it cannot stand. Just as a stool cannot stand with a missing leg, recovery cannot happen without all three elements of this program.

The Telethon will highlight his services and it is designed for you, the viewer to understand many of the problems of addiction. Addiction targets all social and economic areas of society.

You can learn more here.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Holy Father’s General Intention for March

That the world economy may be managed according to the principles of justice and equity, taking account of the real needs of peoples, especially the poorest.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Climate Change

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops updated their public policy "backgrounder" on Climate Change this month. You can read and/or print it by going to:


Monday, March 08, 2010


The Lunch and Learn Series of the Restorative Justice Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany continues this Thursday:

Re-entry – Social Integration After Incarceration

Date: 3/11/10

Time: Noon to 1:30 pm

Place: 40 N. Main Ave., Albany, NY 12203

Presenters: Charles LeCourt, Albany Roots Program, Albany County District Attorney’s Office

The event is free and open to the public. Bring your own lunch. Beverages are provided.

For further information, call 518-453-6797.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Have fun helping refugees

Join adults and youth from throughout the diocese as they raise funds for the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program.

Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program and St. Pius X are sponsoring Hubbard’s Hoopla on Saturday, March 20th at 6:30 p.m. at Catholic Central High School in Troy.

Adults coached by Bishop Howard Hubbard will take on youth from throughout the diocese. There also will be games and activities for all during breaks in the action and halftime. Concessions will be available.

$5 per person

$20 per family (4 or more)

To sign players up contact Brian Evers

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