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Catholics for Peace and Justice Monthly Newsletter
Catholics for Peace and Justice

JANUARY 2015 Newsletter

Greetings,

We invite you to join us for Open to the Word: Empowering People through Faith and Action” on Saturday morning, February 21. The forum features Bishop Richard Sklba as our keynote speaker along with 7 options for breakout sessions. Please come, invite your friends and help us spread the word.  Learn more here. 

As we enter the New Year, it is in our tradition of Church and culture to remind ourselves of the common bond of love that unites us in every aspect of life. To be instruments of peace in the world and for the world [Jan 1]; to rescue the refugee, the migrant, and the trafficked [Jan 4-11] to continue to carry The Dream of true justice against racism and segregation [Jan 19]; and to seek to alleviate the causes of abortion [Jan 22].  The New Year also presents us with an opportunity to step back in thoughtful prayer to clarify what God is calling us to do during this time in our life. 

May God’s Word bring you wisdom and God's Spirit bring you enduring peace and joy


"I want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is." President Barack Obama


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
Open to the Word: Empowering People through Faith and Action – Feb 21
Pope Francis and the 15 Diseases

ACTIONS AND ISSUES
Pope Francis, World Day of Peace Message – No Longer Slaves
Migration Week – An Economy Built on Fraud
11X15 Blueprint for Prison Reform
Catholic Bishops Call for an End to Fossil Fuel Use
Pope Francis's Message to UN Convention on Climate Change
Common Ground Update – Note Date change for Core Team Meeting
Kathy Kelly Sentenced to Prison – An Indictment of Drone Warfare 
The Commons Project Bringing Food and Jobs to a MKE Urban Environment
Vision 2050 Regional Land Use and Transportation Update

EVENTS AND EDUCATION 
I-YOU Interfaith Youth Program
National Migration Week Events at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Jan 8 & 11
Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi Earth Echoes Education Series – Jan 15 +
24th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Prayer Service – Jan 17
Interfaith Earth Network Water, Faith and Ecology Conversations – Jan 20
Archdiocesan Respect Life Mass – Jan 22

STUDY, REFLECT, PRAY
Book: Healing the Racial Divide: by local author Lincoln Rice 
Reflection: Why Believe? By Frank Pauc
Prayer: For Migrants, Refugees, Trafficked

GENERAL
Open to the Word: Empowering People through Faith and Action - Feb 21
CPJ Winter Forum – Feb 21 – Details and Registration Now Available. 
Bishop SklbaKeynote speaker: Bishop Richard Sklba. Open to the Word: Empowering People through Faith and Action; is a participatory forum on justice, justice education, advocacy and the building of a spiritual faith foundation that supports you and your community’s ministry. Seven Breakout Sessions will be offered: Living the Joy of the Gospel; Creating Transformative Experiences for Adults; Justice and Spirituality: Partners in Transformation; Poverty in Wisconsin; The Archdiocesan Synod Priorities for Catholic Social Teaching and Diversity; Faith encounters the Ecological Crises; Initiating Advocacy in Our Parishes. DATE: Saturday, February 21, Registration and tables open at 7:30 am, Program 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. LOCATION: St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 6060 W. Loomis Road, Greendale.  DETAILS AND REGISTRATION HERE or click here for Brochure or  Flyer.  Please help spread the word.
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Pope Francis and the 15 Diseases
Many of you already know that Pope Francis delivered what the media called a “scathing critique” of the Roman Curia in his annual Christmas address. With a list of “15 separate diseases” he requested that all members of the Curia including himself make an examination of conscience prior to reconciliation before Christmas. "The Curia is called to improve, to always improve and grow in communion, holiness and wisdom to fully realize its mission," When I read this critique, I started to wiggle my way onto the judgment seat with a “you go Francis” rally cry, but then I see that Francis said “WE” are called to always improve and grow in communion to fully realize our mission and that includes ME.  Read the NCR article  
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ACTIONS AND ISSUES 
Pope Francis, World Day of Peace Message – No Longer Slaves
In his January 1 World Day of Peace message, Pope Francis address the bane of human trafficking. “Tragically, the growing scourge of man’s exploitation by man gravely damages the life of communion and our calling to forge interpersonal relations marked by respect, justice and love.”  Read Pope Francis’s World Day of Peace Message 
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Migration Week – An Economy Built on Fraud
By Dan Morris-Young, NCR, 
"Much of the economic underpinnings for Washington state's economy is built on fraud" fostered "by the very structure of our immigration laws," said Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima, Wash., in a homily,… during a vigil Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.” “"This comes from the fact -- and I will not mince words -- that we have become a nation built on half-truths. We fail to tell truth that without undocumented immigrant labor we would have very little food on our nation's table. We fail to tell the truth about the human cost this takes on our nation's agricultural workers: the fear of deportation and the constant threat of family separation." Read the article 
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11X15 Blueprint for Prison Reform
On December 10 over a hundred people from Wisdom affiliates, including MICAH, SOPHIA, RIC, and CUSH, from across the state gathered in a Senate Hearing Room of the state capitol.  There was standing room only as leadership outlined the Blueprint for Prison Reform for legislators, their staff members and members of the press. Following delivery of the Blueprint to legislators' offices, the group moved over to the United Methodist building where ten new issue workgroups were formed to refine strategy for the various sections of the Blueprint and firm up next steps.
 Click to get the Blueprint and the educational PowerPoint.

Press coverage: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that includes many great photosWisconsin State Journal about Solitary Confinement Capitol Times article about the event Wisconsin Public Radio story ;
As we were reminded last Wednesday, these reforms are very doable. We have to decide and have the will to do it!  For information on this campaign contact David Liners at WISDOM david.liners1@gmail.com 
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Catholic Bishops Call for an End to Fossil Fuel Use
Catholic Bishops from around the world have called for end to fossil fuels in an urgent plea to address the crisis of climate change. They place “responsibility for this situation … with the dominant global economic system…” and call for “a fair and legally binding global agreement based on the universal human rights applicable to all in Paris in 2015.” ““We Bishops call on all Catholics and people of good will to engage on the road to Paris as a starting point for a new life in harmony with Creation respecting planetary boundaries.” Read the Statement Here  
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Pope Francis's Message to UN Convention on Climate Change
“What you are going to debate affects the whole of humanity, in particular the poorest and future generations….” “More than that, it is a grave ethical and moral responsibility. The effective struggle against global warming will only be possible with a responsible collective answer, that goes beyond particular interests and behavior and is developed free of political and economic pressures. It is only possible with a collective answer that is able to overcome attitudes of mistrust and to promote a culture of solidarity, of encounter and of dialogue able to show the responsibility to protect the planet and the human family.” Read article in The Guardian
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Common Ground Update
NOTE DATE CHANGE: Our next Catholics for Peace and Justice-Common Ground core team meeting time has been changed.  We will meet at 6 PM on 2/10/15, not 1/13/15.  The meeting's purpose is an update on Common Grounds ongoing work.  We will also have an update on Fr. Jean d'Amour of Rwanda.  I hope to see you then. Location: Panera 15040 W Greenfield Ave, Brookfield, just east of Moorland Rd.   Please RSVP to me at Mary Kleist maryakleist@sbcglobal.net so I know how many chairs and tables to save. 
Op-ed article on proposed “Jock Tax” to finance a new Bucks Arena.  Written by Jennifer O'Hear and Lloyd Johnson ““Jock Tax” Will Actually Increase Your Taxes”  This article appeared in Urban Milwaukee and the Journal Sentinel.  In the op-ed they contend that the proposal to fund a new NBA arena is really a Republican Tax Increase to help billionaire owners pay for the facility.
Latest Common Ground Newsletter 
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Kathy Kelly Sentenced to Prison – An Indictment of Drone Warfare 
On December 10, a federal magistrate found Georgia Walker, of Kansas City, MO and Chicagoan Kathy Kelly – Voices for Creative Nonviolence – guilty of criminal trespass to a military installation as a result of their June 1 effort to deliver a loaf of bread and a citizens’ indictment of drone warfare to authorities at Whiteman AFB. In testimony, Kelly, who recently returned from Afghanistan, recounted her conversation with an Afghan mother whose son, a recent police academy graduate, was killed by a drone as he sat with colleagues in a garden. “I’m educated and humbled by experiences talking with people who’ve been trapped and impoverished by U.S. warfare,” said Kelly. “The U.S. prison system also traps and impoverishes people. In coming months, I’ll surely learn more about who goes to prison and why.” Read the Press Release  
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The Commons Project Bringing Food and Jobs to a MKE Urban Environment
Walnut Way and the Commons Project on 16th and North Avenue plans to bring jobs and real food to 16th/17th and North Avenue.  View the video. 
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Vision 2050 Regional Land Use and Transportation 
Nearly 450 residents from across the Region attended one of the workshops held in the fall of 2014. At these workshops, participants were asked to explore and provide feedback on a series of "sketch-level year 2050 for land use and transportation" scenarios. They were also asked what they considered were the most important factors to consider when comparing scenarios. Common Ground also sponsored a feedback event. Review results here. 
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EVENTS AND EDUCATION 
I-YOU Interfaith Youth Program
The Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition and the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee are putting together, for the second time, an interfaith youth group. In this program, students commit to a series of sessions where they meet and discuss various topics from an interfaith perspective. I-YOU, or Interfaith Youth, is open to all high school youth and will kick off in January. This is a great opportunity for students to break down stereotypes and make connections with people regardless of their faith tradition. Please share this opportunity with your organization, family, and friends to join!  Flyer  Also See I-YOU Amazing Faiths Dinner 
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National Migration Week Events at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Jan 8 & 11
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has designated the week starting on Sunday, January 4, (the Feast of the Holy Family) as National Migration Week.  You are invited to join us at St Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish (12700 W. Howard Avenue, New Berlin, 262-782-6760) in observing this week with events built around the theme “We are One Family Under God.”
On Thursday, January 8, our “Day of Prayer and Reflection” begins at 8 am with Mass.  After Mass, our indoor labyrinth will be open until 8 pm to allow for private prayer and reflection.  You are welcome to join us at any time throughout the day.  Resources for taking action on Immigration will be available.
On the following Sunday, January 11, Rob Shelledy, Coordinator of Social Justice Ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, will explore the broader subject of Catholic Social Teaching in “Love Our Neighbor Through Charity and Justice” from 9:30 – 10:30 am.  The presentation will take place in between the 8:30 am and 10:45 am Masses.  Please join us!  
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Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi Earth Echoes Education Series – Jan 15
The Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi will be offering a series of educational topics on ecology and sustainability on the 3rd Thursday of each month through springtime.   The first one will be on Thursday, January 15, 9:30-11:30 at Clare Hall, 3470 S. Illinois Ave., St. Francis, WI.  The topic is "The Greening of Religion" with presenter Sr. Mary Lea Schneider, OSF.  There will be light refreshments and no fee is charged.  The series will continue on February 19, March 19, April 16 and May 21 --- Topics and speakers for upcoming Thursdays are yet to be announced.
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24th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Prayer Service – Jan 17
The 24th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Prayer Service will be held Saturday, January 17, 1:30 PM, St. Michael Catholic Congregation, 1445 N. 24th Street, Milwaukee. Father Thomas Jackson, OP, of Chicago is the guest speaker and he will be examining the sacredness of all life. Learn More 
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Interfaith Earth Network Water, Faith and Ecology Conversations – Jan 20
3rd Tuesdays, Jan–Jun, 2015, 7:00-8:30pm. Urban Ecology Center, Riverside, 1500 East Park Place,. We invite persons of all faiths, spiritualties and philosophies to “reclaim our greater connection to the sacredness of water and to become inspired, to appreciate, honor and protect the waters of the world.” (Altman, Sacred Waters). Topics will respond to seasonal or calendar events to draw us into reflection and conversation on how faith and spirituality intersect with our lives and the natural world.  Details here. 
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Archdiocesan Respect Life Mass – Jan 22
The Archdiocesan Respect Life Mass will be on January 22, 2015 at St Leonard Parish, W173 S7743 Westwood Dr, Muskego Wisconsin 53150.  Bishop Sklba will celebrate the Mass, which will begin at 7:00 p.m., with a Rosary beforehand at 6:30 p.m., led by St. Leonard’s Christian Women group.  For more information, please contact Rob Shelledy at  shelledyr@archmil.org .
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STUDY, REFLECT, PRAY
Book: Healing the Racial Divide: A Catholic Racial Justice Framework Inspired by Dr. Arthur Falls by Lincoln Rice
Healing the Racial Divide retrieves the insights of Dr. Arthur Falls (1901-2000) for composing a renewed theology of Catholic racial justice. Falls was a black Catholic medical doctor who dedicated his life to healing rifts created by white supremacy and racism. He integrated theology, the social sciences, and personal experience to compose a salve that was capable of not only integrating neighborhoods but also eradicating the segregation that existed in Chicago hospitals. Falls was able to reframe the basic truths of the Christian faith in a way that unleashed their prophetic power. He referred to those Catholics who promoted segregation in Chicago as believers in the "mythical body of Christ," as opposed to the mystical body of Christ. The "mythical body of Christ" is a heretical doctrine that excludes African Americans and promotes the delusion that white people are the normative measure of the Catholic faith. Review from Wipf & Stock  
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Reflection: Why Believe? By Frank Pauc
One of the most frustrating parts of the Christmas season for me has been when I read articles by various atheists and agnostics deriding the religious foundation of the holiday. Actually, many of the essays have not been terribly offensive, but they get posted because the media love a good argument, and these sort of articles tend to inflame the passions of some Christians. The articles serve to feed the narrative that there is a war on Christmas, and by extension, a war on Christianity overall. The fact is that, once a person can get past the over-the-top rhetoric, some of these letters contain valid points. The people writing these articles certainly aren't stupid, although they have difficulty understanding the opposing viewpoint. 
 
Most of the articles that I have read push the argument that Christian beliefs are not scientific or rational. There is some truth in that. It is very hard to defend the idea of the virgin birth or of the Resurrection. People like Lee Strobel have written books such as "Case for Christ", that try to prove that Christian beliefs are scientifically true. Maybe so. There is a value in showing that Christianity is reasonable. Thomas Aquinas and C.S. Lewis did us all a great service by pointing out how logical Christianity can be. The problem is that nobody, no matter how learned, can "prove" that our faith is true.
 
The arguments of the atheists are unbeatable if a person accepts their underlying premises. One of these premises is that there is only a material world with its physical laws. Another premise is that there are no overriding moral standards. Another premise is that there is no ultimate meaning to life. Anybody who uses that kind of secular playing field cannot come up with any conclusions different from those of an atheist or an agnostic. 
 
This is not to say that atheists or agnostics are immoral. Far from it. Some of the most compassionate people I have ever met have been atheists. In my life, I have seen no evidence that religious belief makes anybody more ethical. Perhaps I just haven't looked hard enough, but I don't see that to be the case. Christ works through atheists as well as through believers. The atheists just don't know it.   
 
It has been said: "For the believer, no proof is necessary. For the skeptic, no proof is sufficient.". Reason and evidence can bring a person to the brink of faith, but only that far. A person still has to make that leap. A person still has to believe in things that are perhaps unbelievable. As Catholics, we believe that bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. We believe in life after death. We believe the Communion of Saints.
 
Mostly, we believe in love. As Catholics, we believe that love wins in the end. We believe that there is nothing in the universe more powerful than love. That is not a rational belief. There is little evidence in our messy, violent world to indicate that love conquers all. We believe it anyway. We believe it, not because of logic and reason, but because our hearts shout out that it's true.
 
That's why I believe.
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Prayer for Migrants, Refugees, Trafficked
Loving Father,
in your infinite compassion,
we seek your divine protection for migrants, refugees,
and trafficked individuals who are often alone and afraid.
Bring safety to those who have been witnesses to
personal violence and destruction,
Comfort to those who have lost parents, family, friends, home, 
and all they cherish due to war, persecution, and trafficking.
Reunite families and loved ones.
Show us how we might reach out to your precious and
vulnerable children.
Open our hearts so that we might see in them your own migrant Son.
Give us courage to stand up in their defense against those
who would do them harm.
For this we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
Amen.

Adapted from the USCCB prayer for migrant children  
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