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Catholics for Peace and Justice JUNE 2015 Newsletter

Catholics for Peace and Justice
JUNE 2015 Newsletter

Greetings,

Vatican officials have announced that Pope Francis's long awaited encyclical on the environment will be released this month - June.  In the wake of this announcement the Yale Project on Climate Change reports that 61% of Wisconsinites now believe that climate change is happening. Slightly less than nationally at 63%.  Only 18% of Americans now place themselves in the "its not happening" category.   

As the discussion heats up, our intention is to serve as a catalyst so that every parish will take some "action" to promulgate the message of Pope Francis on our ecological relationship with God's creation and the dignity of all God's people. 

On June 6 at 2 pm our friend and ongoing contributor Frank Pauc will be at The Peoples Book Co-op in Riverwest for a signing of his new book A Father at War.  We encourage your attendance and support. Details below.

There are many simple actions with impact that you can do this month.  Check them out.

As Always Blessings on your ministry,


For ongoing updates and social justice resources visit our website at   

www.catholicsforpeaceandjustice.org 

and the Catholics for Peace and Justice Facebook page


TABLE OF CONTENTS

GENERAL
Coming Soon: Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Human Ecology

ACTIONS AND ISSUES
Extreme Heat, Floods, Storms, and the Warmest Jan-May Period on Record
Racism is Real 
USCCB Calls for Transformation of Immigrant Detention
11X15/Joint Finance Committee Adds $5M to Increase WI Prison Population
The ONE Campaign
    Advocating for Global Poverty Focused Development Aid
    Poverty is Sexist - Action
EPA issues new rules to protect drinking water
Common Ground Update and Next Core Team Meeting
Advocating for Fair Transportation
Wisconsin Catholic Conference Update
Share your gift of the English Language
An Announcement about The EDGE
Bipartisan effort ends death penalty in Nebraska

EVENTS AND EDUCATION
Book Signing: A Father at War by Frank Pauc – Jun 6
Alleviating Poverty Who Is Responsible? - Jun 9, 13, 25
Prayer for a Peaceful Summer – Jun 18
Free Bus to the MREA Energy Fair – Jun 20
Life, Earth and the Common Good: Social Action Summer Institute – July 19-23
The Capuchins' Run Walk for the Hungry – Jul 24
School of the America’s Vigil/Save the Date – Nov 20/21

STUDY, REFLECT, PRAY
Book: The Forgiveness Project, by Marina Cantacuzino
Reflection: Churches Aren’t M.I.A., But Haven’t Done Enough for the Poor
Prayer: Honoring God in Creation


GENERAL
Coming soon: Pope Francis’ encyclical on human ecology
Pope Francis’ encyclical on “human ecology” will likely be released during June. Many Catholics around the world have been preparing responses that will help to maximize the impact of the document. It is already reported that the Pope will reflect on the integral relationship between ecological and social justice and challenge the affluent nations of the world to make the changes to economies and lifestyles necessary to safeguard the future of life on the Earth, while also making it possible for the poor to rise out of poverty. This is the time to begin planning discussions, educational events, and activities for faith communities to engage the challenge and discern what we can do to support the Pope's call to action. The world's attention will be focused on this. It could become a watershed moment for the church.
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ACTIONS AND ISSUES
Extreme Heat, Floods, Storms, and the Warmest Jan-May Period on Record
From Margaret Swedish, Center for New Creation
The news is sobering. More than 1,800 people in India have died as the result of a withering heat wave that has melted roads, caused water shortages, and hit the most vulnerable the hardest - elderly, homeless, children. Meanwhile, the death toll from floods in Texas rose to 27, with 14 still missing as of this writing. The month of May shattered records for rainfall totals in that state. Is this climate change? Many scientists think so. Bigger storms and longer more enduring heat waves are hallmarks of a warming atmosphere. Drought conditions like those in California, Oregon, and Washington State also fit the predictions of climate models. Record-breaking temperatures in Alaska in May also bore the hallmarks of climate change. As snow, ice, and permafrost melt, the heating factor will rise because ice and snow reflect some of the sun's heat away from the planet, while land absorbs it - what is called a "positive feedback loop." It is precisely these kinds of climate signals that are creating a new sense of urgency within the Vatican on the issue of climate change. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the period Jan.- April 2015 was the warmest ever recorded globally.
 
“In our recklessness, we are traversing some of the planet’s most fundamental natural boundaries. And the lesson from the Garden of Eden still rings true today – pride, hubris, self-centeredness are always perilous, indeed destructive. The very technology that has brought great reward is now poised to bring great ruin.” ~ Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace

Do we have what it takes to create a different world? - read and share. Comments, responses welcome 

Center for New Creation at Facebook and Linkedin
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Racism is Real 
Watch the Video from Brave New Films on line. Click here  
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US Conference of Catholic Bishops Calls for Transformation of Immigrant Detention
“Of all the malfunctioning parts in the country’s broken-down immigration machinery, probably the most indefensible is the detention system. This is the vast network of jails and prisons where suspected immigration violators are held while awaiting a hearing and possible deportation. Immigrant detainees are not criminal defendants or convicts serving sentences. They are locked up merely because the government wants to make sure they show up in immigration court.

Detention is intended to help enforce the law, but, in practice, the system breeds cruelty and harm, and squanders taxpayer money. It denies its victims due process of law, punishing them far beyond the scale of any offense. It shatters families and traumatizes children. As a system of mass incarceration — particularly of women and children fleeing persecution in Central America — it is immoral.” [New York Times, End Immigration Detention]

The report, “Unlocking Human Dignity: A Plan to Transform the U.S. Immigrant Detention System,” was written and produced by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS), a Catholic-based educational institute that studies migration, and Migration and Refugee Services of USCCB. “It is time for our nation to reform this inhumane system, which unnecessarily detains persons, especially vulnerable populations, who are no threat to us and who should be afforded due process and legal protections,”  Learn more 

Send a note to President Obama telling him you oppose family detention 
Send a letter of support to a family in detention  
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Joint Finance Committee Adds $5M to Increase WI Prison Population
On Tuesday, May 19, with about 30 minutes notice and virtually no discussion, the legislative Joint Finance Committee accepted the Department of Corrections request for an additional $5 million to INCREASE THE WI PRISON POPULATION by about 500 people in the next 2 years. Definitely a step in the wrong direction.  There was no discussion about why the Department of Corrections refuses to take common sense steps that will reduce the prison population.  There was no discussion of  how unsticking the broken old law parole system could safely release hundreds of prisoners, how instituting more alternatives to revocation could stop us from sending thousands of people back to prison who have not committed a new crime.  
 
In response 100 WISDOM leaders gathered at the state capitol on Wednesday, May 20 for a rousing action!  After prayer and inspiring calls to action they delivered letters to Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall and legislative leaders Vos and Fitzgerald. 

States around the nation, some led by Republicans and some led by Democrats, are working hard to reduce their prison populations, and even to close some facilities.  They are saving millions of taxpayer dollars, and are restoring people to their families.  Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and the Joint Finance Committee seem to have a vision of our state that goes the other direction.

Please contact your state representatives http://legis.wisconsin.gov/ and tell them to take responsibility and not vote for a budget that includes prison expansion.  If they can find an extra $5M as easily as they did last week, tell them to put it towards Treatment Alternatives, or Transit, or our children’s education.  Your message doesn’t have to be long or eloquent. Please contact them!  
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The ONE Campaign – Advocating for Poverty Focused Development Aid
A fact that may be difficult to believe: less than half of US aid actually goes to the world's least developed countries.  But we've got a chance to change this right now - and it may be our only chance for a long, long time. In just a few weeks, leaders from the world's most powerful countries - including the US - are meeting in Ethiopia to talk about where aid gets delivered. And the US has a real chance to stand up and be a leader. To say that we're changing what we do and making sure that at least half of our aid goes to the people and places that need it the most.

Send a postcard to President Obama. Tell him to make sure US aid goes to those who need it the most. Pick your postcard at One.org.  

Foreign Aid Primer: What falls in the US Foreign Aid bucket [which is less than 2% of the US budget]? Department of State Diplomatic expenditures, Military and Political Aid [mainly to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt] and Poverty Focused Development Aid [what we generally perceive as foreign aid to the poor]. Poverty Focused Development Aid is less than half of all US Foreign Aid.  See Foreign Aid 101 to learn more .  
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The One Campaign - Poverty is Sexist
Post Your #Strengthie & Stand #WithStrongGirls Everywhere  
Watch the Video  
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Common Ground Update and Next Core Team Meeting
Next CPJ Common Ground Core Team Meeting: Tuesday, June 2nd at 6 pm at Panera on 15040 West Greenfield Avenue in Brookfield.  All are invited to come learn about Common Ground.  Contact Mary Kleist at maryakleist@sbcglobal.net . We will discuss Common Ground campaigns including two recent new initiatives:
Watershed Campaign
One of the new issues presented at the Delegates’ Assembly is the Watershed campaign.  And while this campaign has been in the research phase for more than a year, this is its grand rollout to the larger Common Ground community.  We are looking into issues like changing the water rate structure to encourage conservation or reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals going into Lake Michigan.  In the short term, we are planning for a door-to-door campaign on June 6 to tell people what they can do to reduce the pollution that results from large storms.  If you might want to work on these types of issues, please join us! On June 6, we’ll rollout the campaign with a door-to-door action in the East Side neighborhood north of First Unitarian Church to educate residents about steps they can take to reduce pollution flowing into Lake Michigan during large storm events. The walk will be followed with free pizza and a discussion about future projects. 
Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign
Gun violence is reaching epidemic proportions in our city and around the nation. Want to take action, change the gun industry, and save lives? Then Do Not Stand Idly By... Do Not Stand Idly By is a national campaign, which focuses on gun safety and changing the gun market.
Common Ground in the News: Nationstar CEO to visit Milwaukee  
For more information on Common Ground Campaigns go to www.commongroundwi.org and check out the new Common Ground calendar  
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Advocating for Fair Transportation
Both Common Ground and WISDOM have formed groups to advocate for changes in our transportation system. For more information and/or to learn how you might get involved contact Debra Schneider at djschneider@wi.rr.com 
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Wisconsin Catholic Conference Update
The WCC May legislative update can be found here.  
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EPA issues new rules to protect drinking water
From Margaret Swedish, Center for New Creation
The Obama administration has just released new rules to protect sources of drinking water, including tributaries, wetlands, and streams, from pollution. Republicans in Congress are pushing back to undo them. Earlier this month, the House voted to block the new rules. The Senate will take up the issue this summer. Now is the time to contact our Senators. Assuming that Sen. Tammy Baldwin will support the rules, focus should be directed toward Sen. Ron Johnson. Call, email, or write to tell him to vote against any attempt to block the new EPA rules to protect our waters. Also contact your House members to find out how they voted. For more info: EPA issues new rules to protect drinking water, streams. To contact Sen. Johnson: (202) 224-5323 (DC); (414) 276-7282 (Milw. office). Or email via his website: www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/
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Share Your Gift of the English Language
Participate in this wonderful volunteer opportunity at St. Michael’s Parish, Milwaukee, 24th Street and Cherry Street.  We are looking for tutors to help the adult refugees from Myanmar in learning English. Tutoring would be on a one-on-one basis for one hour once a week.  Currently we need a teacher for Monday mornings at 9:00 or 10:00.   Easy to follow materials are provided.    You would be able to meet with the English as a Second Language [ESL] Coordinator before starting your teaching.  If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Pat Roehrig, at 414-461-5592.              
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An Announcement about The EDGE
Because of the retirement of the present director, Suzanne Moynihan, SSND, as well as budget cuts and general revision within the Shalom/JPIC network, The EDGE will now terminate its services beginning June 30, 2015. Six programs have been assembled into packets for free dissemination. From June 1-19, contact 262-787-1011; theedge@ssndcp.org to obtain a program, free of charge. After June 19, these can be accessed at: www.ssnd.org/resources/shalom-resources . Programs include: Earth Day; World Water Day; Winter Solstice; Brown Bag Buzz; Seed Starter Project; Universe Story for Children.
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Bipartisan effort ends death penalty in Nebraska
NCR, May 28, 2015, by Elizabeth A. Elliott.   
Nebraska has become the 19th state to abolish the death penalty and the first state in two years to pass such legislation. Legislators in this conservative state, whose unicameral assembly, governor's office and congressional delegation is controlled by Republicans, found support in a coalition of conservative and progressive groups that included the state's Catholic bishops and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.   Read article here.  
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EVENTS
Book Signing: A Father at War by Frank Pauc – Jun 6
“When our oldest son, Hans, joined the Army and went to Iraq, my life, and that of our family, became a whirlwind of conflicting emotions and thoughts. We were swept up in world events in a way that was intensely personal and often overwhelming. I dealt with the madness by writing almost continually. “A Father at War” is a compendium of Frank’s writings through these years.  If you have valued Frank’s reflections in the CPJ newsletter you will appreciate “A Father at War”. Book signing on Saturday, June 6th, 2:00 PM at The Peoples Book Co-op, 804 E. Center Street in Riverwest. Website www.afatheratwar.com 
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Alleviating Poverty Who Is Responsible? - Jun 9, 13, 25
Last year over 700 local faith leaders throughout our state met in five regional forums (Madison, Milwaukee, Appleton, Stevens Point and Eau Claire) to discuss the scope and shape of poverty in Wisconsin and the role of the religious community in alleviating poverty long term. In follow up to last year's forum, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, WISDOM, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and the Citizen Action Education Fund of Wisconsin are hosting a second round of forums for local faith and community leaders seeking to engage a broader spectrum of faith community voices, 
June 9: 9:30 am-11:30 am. Brew City Church, 1036 N Van Buren St, Milwaukee
June 13: 9 am-11 am. All Saints Catholic Church, 4051 N 25th St, Milwaukee
June 25: 7 pm - 9 pm. Lake Park Synagogue, 3207 North Hackett Ave, Milwaukee
Click here to See information, dates, locations and registration Info. 
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Prayer for a Peaceful Summer – Jun 18
Thursday, June 18, 2015. 7:00 p.m. at Church of the Gesu, 1145 W. Wisconsin Avenue.
The harvest of justice is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. [James 3:18]. We are a voice crying out in the wilderness during these times of violence and unrest in our communities. All are invited to join in prayer and song to reach out to our Lord with pleas for peace. Come together to remember those who are affected by violence, and to ask for the courage to commit to the work of building a peaceful community. Join us for this special evening as we begin together our “Prayer for a Peaceful Summer.” Hosted by Gesu Parish, in collaboration with Central City Churches, Inc. FLYER
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Free Bus to the MREA Energy Fair – Jun 20
Each year the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) hosts The Energy Fair, transforming rural Central Wisconsin into the hot spot for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living education. The Energy Fair brings over 15,000 attendees together to learn the latest and greatest in clean energy and sustainability, connect with others, and take action towards a more sustainable future. The Energy Fair is the nation's longest running energy education event of its kind. It boasts over 200 workshops, 200 exhibitors, demonstrations, keynotes and more.  AND NOW a FREE BUS will be sponsored by Milwaukee Shines, Outpost Natural Foods, and 350 Milwaukee. Go here for info on the MREA Energy Fair  and Here for info on the free bus.  
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Life, Earth and the Common Good: Social Action Summer Institute – July 19-23
The Catholic Church: Caring For Creation Before It Was Cool. Catholic social teaching is the church's best-kept secret.  Before Pope Francis, there was Pope Benedict XVI (the "Green Pope") and Saint John Paul II, each who wrote on Care for God's Creation. Catholic social teaching: Life and Human Dignity, Priority for the Poor and Vulnerable, and Care for God's Creation.  Learn more about the Social Action Summer Institute here  
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The Capuchins' Run Walk for the Hungry – July 24
Save the date of Friday, July 24, 2015 for this year's Capuchins' Run Walk for the Hungry to Germanfest. Held at the Summerfest grounds. Online registration is now open.  
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School of the America’s Vigil/Save the Date – Nov 20/21
"Save the Date" for the School of the America's Vigil.  The Vigil will be held the 3rd weekend in November (20th - 21st) in Columbus, Ga.
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STUDY, REFLECT, PRAY
Book: The Forgiveness Project, by Marina Cantacuzino
Examining themes of forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict transformation, this book brings together the personal testimonies of both survivors and perpetrators of crime and violence and asks the question whether forgiveness may have more currency than revenge in an age which seems locked into the cycle of conflict.
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Reflection: Churches Aren’t M.I.A., But Haven’t Done Enough for the Poor
[Robert Christian, Millennial–a project of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, May 19, 2015] 
“The preferential option for the poor and vulnerable should animate the Church at every level. But if we follow Francis’ lead, it will become a greater political priority. And it will not just challenge those who have embraced economic libertarianism, but progressives as well. We are living in the Second Gilded Age. Our political system is broken, our economy serves the rich, and we lack the political will to fix this. More spending on existing government programs will not spark real social and economic mobility and offer genuine opportunity for all. Neither party has an adequate commitment to the poor and Christians should be the ones that change that.”
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Prayer: Honoring God in Creation
Lord, transform me to be like St. Francis 
who by honoring his own dignity as a child of God
honored all of creation with personhood and dignity.
Like Francis help me to see all of your creation as individual, precious and sacred. 
Help me to see all creation as gift of you. 
Lord I take this moment in prayer to honor myself as your child.
Lord I take this moment in prayer to honor all of creation as being all in you.
What I am, you also are, and so is your creation.
One giant symphony of mutual sympathy and interconnection.
A sacramental universe.
Transform my heart to this realization of oneness.
As only love in here can see and embrace love out there
Lord I embrace your love and send it forth.
Amen. 

Adapted from the writings of St. Francis and John Duns Scotus
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