Monthly Catholics for Peace and Justice Newsletter
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As this issue of the Catholics for Peace and Justice newsletter arrives in your inbox we will be entering into the Triduum, the days of the liturgical year which celebrate the events surrounding the life, death and resurrections of Jesus.  The Irish spiritual writer Diarmuid O’Murchu places the meaning of these days squarely in the call to act for justice.  Of Good Friday, he writes, “There is a cosmic dimension to crucifixion.  It can be viewed as a Christian rendering of the great paradox of creation-and-destruction, which operates throughout the entire creation.  Jesus in his life and death, illustrates how to befriend the paradox—through empowerment and justice outreach, inviting Christians into the creative endeavor of co-creating a world devoid of meaningless pain and suffering—not merely for the entire creation.”   And of the resurrection, he says, “ Symbolically, it denotes divine vindication of a life radically lived in pursuit of transformative justice . . . “

As we enter again into these three most-holy days, may we be emboldened by their message to live lives of radically empowered commitment to life Jesus’ message of justice and peace in a divided world.

Happy Triduum to all!
Jim Gill

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Looking for more social justice resources?
Visit the Social Justice Resource Center



Pope Francis Quote

CPJ Survey on Immigration Education Program

Fratelli Tutti Study Group

New Catholic Ecology Center

Contemplative Prayer for Reconciliation and Healing of Racism




Recurring Events
Pope Francis Quote
. . . By acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity. By ourselves, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built together. Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.

Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti #8

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Survey on Immigration Educational Program
The Education Committee of CPJ plans to offer a program about immigration in the fall. We are seeking your input via a survey to better plan a program that meets your needs. Learn more and find the link to the survey here.

Thank you for taking a few moments to help CPJ with our planning.
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Fratelli Tutti Study Group
This past October, Pope Francis released his third encyclical Fratelli Tutti (On Fraternity and Social Friendship). This encyclical explores the post-pandemic world and the common good. What should our world look like? What is our role, as followers of Christ Jesus, in shaping the world in which we live? Join us this Easter season in studying Fratelli Tutti and its implications for us in working towards the Kingdom of God. Contact Steve Szymanski at or 414-545-4316 x 127 for information on this study group. This group will meet virtually. 
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Visit the new Catholic Ecology Center
The Catholic Ecology Center seeks to deepen faith and foster a stewardship ethic through hands-on encounters with the natural world.  The Catholic Ecology Center is a ministry of Laudato Si' Project. Website:
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Contemplative Prayer for Reconciliation and Healing of Racism
Sign up here - - to receive a monthly prayer guide with the intention of reconciling and healing racism in our city. Monthly gatherings have been postponed due to Covid, but may resume in the fall.  Brought to you by: Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Three Holy Women, Our Lady of Divine Providence, Old St. Mary's, Saints Peter and Paul Human Concerns/Social Justice Commissions, Franciscan Peacemakers. For more information, please contact: Shelly Roder,
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Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Wisconsinites Must Remain in the New State Budget!

The federal Real ID Act of 2005 allows individual states to create alternative driver cards for those who don’t have proper documents. A driver card would allow for the ability to drive legally. These cards cannot be used for official federal purposes such as voting, passports, etc. A driver card is not a driver license, but it would ensure that driver education and tests were successfully completed, and allow a legal way for immigrants without proper documents to drive to work, school, church and shopping. It would also allow for affordable car insurance.

YOU can help assure that Driver Cards remain in the State Budget! Learn more here.
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End Blockade of Yemen
A letter was sent by U. S. Representatives to President Biden at the end of March, asking him to end the blockade of Yemen and allow the flow of humanitarian relief into that country (link). To add your own support, contact President Biden at with your thoughts.
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CBPP: Improving Economic Equity
The recently enacted American Rescue Plan, along with relief measures enacted in 2020, will provide substantial help during this crisis to tens of millions of people struggling to make ends meet and access health care.

But its measures are temporary, so the considerable progress they will make against poverty, racial disparities, and the number of people lacking health coverage will reverse once they begin to expire unless policymakers invest in measures to create an equitable recovery that allows everyone to share in its benefits. Read the full document here.
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Costs of Incarceration
Vera Institute of Justice, an organization dedicated to racial equity and legal opposition to mass incarceration, has provided an interactive tool to assess the costs of jails. Follow the link:
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Don’t forget to Vote by Tue April 6
School Board elections and judgeships are prominent races in the April 6 election. Find your candidates and voting options at
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Madison Action Day
Madison Action Day is our opportunity to share our social justice values and priorities with our legislators as they work to finalize the 2021-23 state budget.

Register to join us on April 15

Check our issues on the website and Email us a letter to your legislator to include when we drop off their copy of our new issue book.
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What have we learned from the pandemic?
This will be one of the great questions for the rest of this year and surely the years to follow. I offer these points as a way of opening up the conversation.

If we learn nothing else, it would appear obvious that we have been experiencing a profound example of what it means to live in an interconnected, globalized world. From the moment the outbreak was fully detected and its repercussions for all of us became clear, it was also clear that there was nothing we could do to prevent its global spread. In fact, we are still in the most active stages of the contagion. Right now, vaccinations have become critical because it is one of our only tools to shut down COVID 19’s most critical vector – the human body. The virus needs the human body in order to spread and to evolve new variants. The only other way to do that is to completely isolate ourselves from one another, which is also not possible. Even in a year of masking up and social distancing (when actually practiced), we are not able to shut down all the paths of interaction among the human community.

Not mention the fact that extreme isolation has all sorts of other impacts that are very bad for our health, especially mental health. We learned this, too. Human beings need one another.
Read the rest of Margaret Swedish's article here.
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Catholic Coalition for Migrants and Refugees
CCMR has had initial meetings with Reps. Grothman, Moore and Fitzgerald, and will be meeting with Sen. Baldwin's and Johnson's offices very soon and hopefully Rep. Steil's as well. They are already planning for follow-up. We are also planning to issue another public letter and press release to try to get some publicity that is not negative for a change. If you want to help, contact CCMR via Alex Nikolai at 414-736-0969 or or Mark Peters at 414- 630-0420.

Lots of information in the CCMR Update

The Catholic Coalition for Migrants and Refugees needs members to re-register to be included in ongoing communications, in preparation for Mark Peters’ retirement, which will also retire the current membership list. The link to the new account is

Visit the CCMR facebook page here. Feel free to contact Alex at 414-736-0969  or
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Recurring Events: 
Black Lives are Sacred Public Witness Events
Public Witness Events: Each event lasts 1 hour, starting with prayer and including 8 minutes 46 seconds of kneeling in honor of George Floyd and all those affected by police violence. These events are organized by an informal group of Catholic lay people, and we warmly welcome all who want to stand up for the sacredness of Black lives.

Thursday April 1          5:30-6:30 p.m.                Humboldt and North Avenues
Follow Black Lives are Sacred on their Facebook page Black Lives are Sacred MKE 
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Interracial Dialogue
BASICS, an ecumenical Christian organization, facilitates a monthly dialogue with Black and white panelists and participants to honestly discuss issues around racial inequities. The next dialogue is April 24.  More information at their website: 
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Siena Retreat Center Events,, 5637 Erie St., Racine, WI 53402.
Learn details and prices for April Retreats and Programs which are summarized below
  • Exploring Prayer in Twelve Step Recovery Series - Wednesdays, April 7,14, and 21, 6:00 – 8:00 PM, via Zoom.
  • Women for Women – Saturday, April 10, 9:30 AM – Noon, via Zoom.
  • Self-Portrait as Mediation: A Buddhist Approach – Sunday, April 11, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, offered in person; coronavirus protocols in place, registration is limited.
  • Spring Retreat with Paula D’Arcy – Friday, April 16, 6:30 – 7:30 PM and Saturday, April 17, 9:00 AM – Noon, via Zoom.
  • “House of the Spirit” A Creative Writing Retreat – Saturday, April 24, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, offered in person; coronavirus protocols in place, registration is limited.
  • Working for Racial Justice in Solidarity with the Black Community – Day Workshop - Wednesday, April 28, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, via Zoom.
  • Working for Racial Justice in Solidarity with the Black Community – Overnight Workshop – Thursday, April 29 through Saturday, May 1st, via Zoom.
Private Retreats are available - To find a time for your private retreat email or call (262) 898-2580. Cost: $54 per overnight with the option of adding meals, $8 for breakfast, $13 for the noon meal, $10 for supper.

For a complete description of these and other programs and retreats, visit or call 262-898-2590.  Partial scholarships are available for all programs.
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Peace Action Wisconsin
  • Stand for Peace: Every Saturday, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Learn more here. Updates on Facebook
    Attention! Please wear masks and keep a social distance, due to concerns about the Corona Virus. If necessary, Stands may be cancelled due to the Covid numbers. Please keep checking our website for the current status.
    • April 3: King/North The 53rd anniversary of Dr. King's assassination on April 4, 2021
    • April 10: US Army Reserve Drill Center 4850 W Silver Spring Dr  Global Days of Action on Military Spending
    • April 17: Lift the Blockade! LaFayette Hill/Lincoln Memorial (focus on Cuba)
    • April 24: Capitol/Oakland
    • May 1: 6th/Mitchell
    • May 8: Howell/Layton
    • May 15: National/Greenfield
    • May 22: Sherman/North
    • May 29: Silver Spring/Port Washington
American Rescue Plan Virtual Town Hall - Mar 30 - TODAY!
Congresswoman Gwen Moore will discuss the newly passed American Rescue Plan via Zoom on Mar 30 at 5 p.m. To sign up, submit questions, and receive your webinar link, please fill out this google form. See her website including  a new webpage with information on the COVID-19 stimulus package.
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Abuses in the Wauwatosa Police Department - Apr 1
The National Lawyers Guild-Milwaukee is interested in supporting a U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation of the Wauwatosa Police Department. Presentation by Attorney Kimberley Motley. Learn more and register here.
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Black Lives are Sacred - Apr 1
Thursday, April 1, 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Humboldt and North Avenues. Black Lives are Sacred MKE Facebook Page.
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How do we Respond to Today's Challenges - Apr 10
The Pandemic has raised awareness of many issues that previously existed but were not visible or publicly discussed.  The four 2020 United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee’s Global Citizen Awardees will share insights on the issues they have been involved in for a long time:  immigration, desegregation, public education and building inclusive, compassionate, and non-violent communities. This program is "free and open to the public" and is sponsored by the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee. Advance registration is required. Learn more. Register here.
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Racism: Learning, Dialogue, and Healing in the Context of Faith - Apr 13-27
SAVE THE DATE! Good Shepherd Catholic Church will be having a five session series on Racism during the Easter season - April 13-27, Tuesday evenings, 7-8:30 PM, on zoom. More information will be provided here as it becomes available. Register here.
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Madison Action Day - Apr 15
Madison Action Day is our opportunity to share our social justice values and priorities with our legislators as they work to finalize the 2021-23 state budget. Check our issues on the website and Email us a letter to your legislator to include when we drop off their copy of our new issue book. Learn more and register here
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Interracial Dialogue - Apr 24
BASICS, an ecumenical Christian organization, facilitates a monthly dialogue with Black and white panelists and participants to honestly discuss issues around racial inequities. The next dialogue is April 24.  More information at their website: 
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Ever present God, you called us to be in relationship with one another
and promised to dwell wherever two or three are gathered.
In our community, we are many different people;
we come from many different places, have many different cultures.
Open our hearts that we may be bold in finding the riches of inclusion
and the treasures of diversity among us. We pray in faith.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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One more powerful examples of not feeding the wolf of hate comes from an article by Benedictine monk Jerome Kodell. He recalled meeting a young man in the early 1960s who helped with voter registration during the civil rights movement. Kodell asked him if he had ever been hurt, and the young man replied “I’ve been spit on, beaten with fists, with pipes, with chains and left a bloody mess.” He told Kodell that at first he fought back but then he realized he was adding to the hatred being spewed at him. He explained, “I decided I would not fight back. I would let my body absorb that hatred, so that some of it would die in my body and not bounce back into the world. I now see that my job in the midst of that evil is to make my body a grave for hate.” Kodell concludes: “What he was describing was the gospel of Jesus. We do not fight evil with evil.”

Joyce Rupp, (2018) Boundless Compassion, p.110, referencing Jerome Kodell, OSB, The Good Fight, America, Apr 25, 2011, p.15.

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