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Catholics for Peace and Justice December 2013 Newsletter 

Catholics for Peace and Justice
 

DECEMBER 2013 Newsletter

 

"Jesus is always waiting for us in silence. In this silence he listens to us and speaks to our souls. And there, we hear his voice. Interior silence is very difficult, but we must make the effort to pray. In this silence we find a new energy and a real unity. God’s energy becomes ours, allowing us to perform things well. There is unity of our thoughts with his thoughts, or our prayers with his prayers, of our actions with his actions, of our life with his life."  Mother Teresa, The Love of Christ as printed in God with Us, an Advent Journey.
 
During your Advent journey, we pray that among the silence, the prayer, and the joyful inevitable busyness that is Christmas you will find some time to advocate for those who are poor and disenfranchised.  Turnout for the Rally for a Fair Budget on Dec 9, plan for Migration Week, join the "Write-a-thon" for human rights or write your legislators on your own.  We stand at a point in history where our moral Christian values can and must be heard. 
 
Advent blessings

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
GENERAL
 
ADVOCACY AND EDUCATION
 
EVENTS
 
PRAYER AND REFLECTION
 
 
The Joy of the Gospel – An Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father Francis
On November 26, 2013 Pope Francis published Evangelii Gaudium “The Joy of the Gospel” writing on the proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World.  Below are some excerpts from the Apostolic Exhortation which is written in a lay accessible style.  The full document can be found here.

“The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.”
 
[53]. “Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”. [54]. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”  The full document can be found here.
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Pope Francis Announces a “Global Wave of Prayer to End Hunger”
Pope Francis and Catholic organizations around the world, including Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, call on you to join a global Catholic campaign to combat hunger as “One Human Family, Food for All”.  On December 10, Pope Francis will launch the campaign and Catholics can respond by participating in a global "wave of prayer," joining our brothers and sisters in faith to pray at noon in each time zone around the world. Parishes, schools, agencies, institutions, and individuals are all invited to participate in the wave.   Click here for the announcement  and here for the prayer “One Human Family Food for All” . Ask your parish to get involved and spread the word.  Please mark your calendars for December 10 as together we join Pope Francis and our global Church to fight hunger.
Network Lobby Toolkit to Join Pope Francis’ Day of Prayer to End Hunger
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Immigration/Concrete Actions – Let’s Prove We Live in a Democracy
Yes. It’s true. Even though the vast majority of Americans believe Congress should pass comprehensive reform, in mid November House Republican Leadership announced that immigration reform will not be addressed this year. Rep. Valadao [R-CA] responded with “I am disappointed that my Republican colleagues will not address immigration reform this year. Despite many positive conversations, some still refuse to acknowledge the benefits of fixing our broken immigration system. We need Members from both Parties to set aside their differences and join together to deliver a common sense immigration solution for America,”
 
This news confirms the need for us to keep up the pressure and continue to “be the squeaky wheel” at our legislators’ door. Our legislators are hoping we will reduce our efforts and go away.  At the same time immigration reform continues to be very high on President Obama’s list and it continues to be up to us to make good comprehensive reform happen.
 
Here is the JFI plan to continue with prayer and education for immigration reform. If you and your parish have yet to be involved, now is a good time to begin.
December 12 is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  
National Migration Week – Jan 5-11 More below
-Tuesday Jan 7 Send JFI Post card through the JFI website
-Wednesday Jan 8 National call-in day to Congress using the toll free number 
Sunday Jan 19 International Day of Refugees and Migrants
-Representatives will be in their districts and prime for a visit.
 
Ask your pastor to sponsor a parish letter to your legislator – Here is a good sample letter written by the LCWR [Leadership Conference of Women Religious]. Write your Legislators
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National Migration Week – January 5-11
Last month we announced that the Milwaukee Archdiocese Priest Council with the leadership of Archbishop LIstecki passed a resolution in October that all parishes of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee 1) promote greater education of the faithful with regards to the need for immigration reform; 2) solicit the support of the faithful for federal legislation that ensures it; and 3) use time [e.g. Epiphany, Lent ] to further knowledge of issues related to immigration and migration.  Now it is up to us to make this resolution happen: Epiphany is quickly approaching. Ask your pastor, parish staff, human concerns/social justice group [or yourself!] how this resolution will be carried out in your parish. Volunteer to assist and support the effort.  Migration Week January 5-11, 2014 begins with Epiphany.  Check out the ideas listed above and on our website
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Turnout for the Rally for a Fair Budget for Kids, Seniors and Families – Dec 9 at 10 am
The bipartisan Conference Committee of senators and representatives has a deadline to negotiate the budget by Dec 13. Congressman Ryan with his budget ideals is at the helm. At stake are Cuts to Social Security, Raising Medicare beneficiary costs, Reducing Medicaid funding, Cuts to Head Start, Reducing nutrition assistance programs [SNAP] and other human needs. Here is what you can do. First: On Monday, December 9 at 10 am attend the Rally for a Fair Budget for Kids, Seniors and Families. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, State Senator Lena Taylor, Bishop Hying and others will participate in this Rally and Public Forum against harmful cuts to the budget. Location: The Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters, 7717 W Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee.  Please attend and bring a friend. FLYER Second: Email or call your legislators. Good background information can be found at the CCHD Poverty USA website and at Sojourners
 
"Even before the recession, Americans were having a difficult time making ends meet. Struggling to get back on their feet, more and more families have to choose between necessities shelter, child care, and food. Working to address poverty in America demands confronting the root causes of economic injustice — and promoting social policies that help.  The nation needs to substantially reduce future deficits, but not at the expense of hungry and poor people. Programs meant to support people living in poverty can be made more effective, but not by cutting benefits that harm struggling families. The federal budget is a moral document that reflects our priorities as a society." From Poverty USA website
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“Welcoming the Stranger” Book Review 
by Joyce Radtke
“Welcoming the Stranger” Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate” by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang. Historically, people have always moved from place to place for many reasons.  Our own ancestors came to this country for various reasons, chiefly, to seek a better life. Many of them were driven out of their birth countries by war, famine, poverty, persecution or adventure.  For the most part, they were legal immigrants, but in the past, immigration poicies were definitely more inclusive. Now immigration is more tightly controlled and penalties for transgressions are severe. Immigration has become a sticky issue and a perceived security threat to our country. 
 
This book manages to address many sides of the issue in a simple and understandable way. From the myriad perspectives of the undocumented, to the government’s system of security, to the biblical attitude toward the stranger, this book tackles the issue head on.  Ultimately, the book addresses how immigrants have impacted churches and the Christian response to the immigration dilemma.  The church is a good place to interact with our immigrant communities and understand their issues. The church must ultimately be the place of reconciliation for them and for us. Full review and some interesting facts from the book...   
Common Ground Update 
Catholics for Peace and Justice is a member of Common Ground.  Looking for a way to be a part of Common Ground?  Join us- Catholics for Peace and Justice Common Ground Core Team.  We meet quarterly. Our next meeting is January 14th at 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at Panera 15040 W Greenfield Ave, just east of Moorland Rd.  Contact Mary Kleist at maryakleist@sbcglobal.net  for more information.
Suburban Rural Caucus Announcement - We are excited to announce an important victory for Common's Ground's Suburban/Rural Caucus. Seniors, people with disabilities and workers without access to cars will now be able to use the Ozaukee County Shared-Ride Taxi on Sunday afternoons. Read the full article about Common Ground's successful effort HERE.  Contact Rusty Borkin Rusty.Borkin@commongroundwi.org if you'd like additional information.  Next Suburban/Rural Caucus Meeting will take place in January.  
On the Record with Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative CEO Robert DeVita
We're ready and open for business! If you'd like more information about the health care options for your small business and/or family OR to get a quote, go to the website at: www.commongroundhealthcare.org 
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Beyond the Band Aid – Yet Another Poverty Discussion?
By Debra Schneider
In a community with high unemployment, segregation, poverty, and incarceration, I have to admit that at times I grow impatient with more discussions about the problems of our sisters and brothers [who are not often at the table of discussion] as opposed to participating in a plan of action that seeks to alter the situation. At the same time it is important for all who care about people who are poor and disenfranchised to step back and listen to each other and in particular the people they are trying to serve. “Beyond the Band Aid” sponsored by The Ziedler Center and MU Midnight Run offered that opportunity.  Here are some thoughts from the experiences of the participants in my small group discussion.  
 
A question we were asked to ponder: What key factors do you believe are maintaining or accelerating poverty in Milwaukee? Our response: A lack of understanding by the greater community [which denotes a need for education or a desire not to know] of what it is like to be poor and the vast number of factors that contribute to remaining in poverty or falling into poverty; individualism that causes us not to see others or a desire not to want to see others; segregation which keeps us from developing larger community relationships; quality education for children; job training; knowing what services are available and closing the gap between those who can use the service with the service; a lack of collaboration among service agencies along with competition for limited funding; access to family supporting jobs including transportation to those jobs; youth access to a first job experience, incarceration; affordable healthcare; parenting skills; and loss of hope by those who are engaged in the struggle.  And this list came from just our small group of 5 people. 
 
Conclusion - Poverty is a lot of gray. It is not something that one person or one small group can change; however, individually and as groups and churches we can pick something we can do and we can work together. It will take community willpower with all of us working together to make an impact. What can you and your church do to make a more lasting impact? It’s worth a discussion. 
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Alberta’s Oil Sands, a Startling Presentation...
On November 16, ecologist Margaret Swedish shared in story, video and image her journey from Jasper National Park to Fr. McMurray Alberta. Unfolding her experience she seared into our minds a keen understanding of the environmental impacts of our love for and dependence on fossil fuels and its by-product – the fatal health issues of the First Nation communities living in the area. An elucidating part of the presentation was the little known impact this oil has on the state of Wisconsin as it is and will be transported via rail and aging pipeline through our state, Lake Michigan and beyond. View stunning images, video and Margaret’s story on her Spirituality and Ecological Hope website.  
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Shop Four Corners Fair Trade for Christmas
Don’t forget to check out Four Corners of the World for your Christmas giving. The store will be open 7 days a week in December. Mon-Fri 12-7, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-4; and to shop from the comfort of your own home, check out our new online store: www.fairtrademilwaukee.org   Please feel free to post our flyer.
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Groups urge US Bishops to build a “church for the poor”
“Two Catholic nonprofit groups urged Monday that the U.S bishops, meeting here for their annual assembly, follow the lead of Pope Francis in building a "church for the poor" in the United States. Specifically, the groups said, the American prelates could make their national office a "bishops' conference for the poor" by drafting a new statement on the continuing economic crisis and by launching a nationwide poverty awareness campaign.”  Read the Article  
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What is CCHD - The Catholic Campaign for Human Development?
Some say Catholic social teaching is the best kept secret. We should say the good work of Catholic peace and justice organizations is the best kept secret. An excellent article explaining the work of CCHD appeared in America Magazine this past week. Catholics need to be aware of the good work “we” are doing [with our funding] through CCHD, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services.  The CCHD website has excellent resources on the issue of poverty that can be used to increase educational awareness for members of your church and as backdrop for your letters to legislators. 
 
From the article -  “At a time when 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty and extreme income inequality is growing, a contribution to C.C.H.D. is a powerful way to affirm Catholic identity and empower those struggling to lift themselves out of difficult situations. Over the past year alone, C.C.H.D. provided more than 214 grants worth more than $9 million to community and economic development organizations dedicated to equipping low-income citizens with tools to knock down walls that confine 47 million Americans in poverty. This bottom-up, grassroots advocacy “brings the Gospel message to issues of social justice...” Read this excellent and informative article here.  
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Pax Christi Advent Resource
Each year Pax Christi offers Advent Reflections on the daily Bible readings.  This year’s version “Unshakeable Belief” Advent 2013 is available here.  
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Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars – Film Available from Robert Greenwald
In Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars, a full-length feature documentary from Brave New Foundation, director Robert Greenwald investigates the impact of U.S. drone strikes at home and abroad through more than 70 separate interviews, including a former American drone operator who shares what he has witnessed in his own words, Pakistani families mourning loved ones and seeking legal redress, investigative journalists pursuing the truth, and top military officials warning against blowback from the loss of innocent life. Throughout Unmanned, Greenwald intersperses in-depth interviews with never-before-seen footage from the tribal regions in Pakistan to humanize those who have been impacted by our drone policy.  Learn more about the film and consider hosting a screening.  
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Pax Christi Report Back from the Annual Vigil and Action at the SOA
On Friday November 22, 200 Pax Christi USA members and friends gathered at the Columbus Convention Center for Pax Christi USA’s annual gathering at the SOA. This year’s presentation was entitled, “Gun Violence Has No Room in the Spirituality of Peacemaking,”  Review and Pictures  
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2013-2014 Food Pantry Publication
From the Archdiocese of Milwaukee website: Parishes within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee provided details about their food pantry and pantries which they support through food donations, financial support, or with volunteers. The list also includes outreach centers and meal sites. The list was updated in November 2013, with the final update made November 26, 2013.  
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St. Francis de Sales Seminary Library Open to the Public
From Mike Howden
You may or may not know that St. Francis Seminary Salzmann Library is open to all who have a need for its special collections. Obtaining a card at the library also allows access to books in eight local college level libraries. Salzmann Library is located at 3257 South Lake Drive | St. Francis, WI 53235 | 414 747 6400. Hours are Tuesday and Thursday – Noon to 8pm, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – 10am to 4pm. 
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Immigration Vigil – Dec 3
Tuesday Dec. 3: Interfaith bilingual vigil: 6:30pm Hosted by the folks at Holy Angels at Ascension Lutheran Church 1236 S. 27th St. Milwaukee, WI 
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Immigration ICE Vigil – Dec 5
Thursday Dec. 5:  ICE vigil: 12pm across the street from Immigration and Customs Enforcement at 310 E. Knapp St. Milwaukee, WI
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42nd Annual International Gift Shop – Dec 6&7
Hand-crafted gifts from Wisconsin and around the world! Friday, Dec. 6 @ 4pm to 9pm and Saturday, Dec. 7 @ 9am to 4pm at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 3224 N. Gordon Place. Come find that unique gift for the holidays!  Enjoy lunch in the Friends café. Proceeds support American Friends Service Committee and Friends Committeee on National Legislation.  More Information.  
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This I Believe: A Zeidler Center Dialogue Series – Dec 10
This I Believe: A Zeidler Center Dialogue Series on Personal Values and Civic Ideals is holding a discussion on “Human Suffering.”  It will be on Tuesday, December 10, 5:30-8:30 pm, at Bucketworks, currently located at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave in the Grand Avenue Mall (2nd floor, above TJ Maxx).  A light meal will be provided.  For more information and to register, go to www.zeidlercenter.org  
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Human Rights Day “Write-a-thon” and Reflection – Dec 10
Notre Dame of Elm Grove – All Purpose Rome, 13105 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove Tuesday, December 10 from Noon – 5 pm in the APR (Reflection 4 pm – 4:30 pm) In commemoration of International Human Rights Day,  the School Sisters of Notre Dame are sponsoring a human rights day “write-a-thon” at Notre Dame of Elm Grove.  Between noon and 5 pm, all are welcome to stop by to enjoy some Fair Trade coffee and cookies and sign/write letters on behalf of individuals and groups imprisoned or at-risk of human rights abuses.  From 4 – 4:30 pm, we will take a break from the write-a-thon for a quiet, inspiring, Advent-themed reflection featuring prayer and poetry, symbols and song.  See flyer for details.  For more information, contact Tim Dewane, 262-787-1023 or tdewane@ssndcp.org .  Human Rights Day Flyer 
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STOP the TPP! – Dec 11
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secret trade agreement, is threatening: Workers’ Rights-Environment-Public Health-Internet Freedom-Financial Regulations-Food Safety-Public Services and OUR DEMOCRACY!  Find out more on Wednesday, December 11, 7:00 pm, Peace Action Center 1001 E Keefe Ave.  For more information, go to Peace Action.org .   Presented by George Martin and Julie Enslow.  Sponsored by Peace Action and Citizen’s Trade Campaign
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Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Lacrosse – Dec 12
On December 12th the New Sanctuary Movement will have its first annual pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Lacrosse, WI.  Learn more about the shrine  If you are interested in attending please see this SIGN UP SHEET with details for the day, fill out and mail with payment to reserve your spot! Where to mail: NSM at Voces, Attn: Nancy Flores, 1027 S. 5th St. Milwaukee, WI 53204. 
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“Incarceration, Poverty, and the Family” Webinar – Dec 17
Sponsored by Institute for Research on Poverty. Live online Tuesday, December 17, 2013, 1:00–2:00 pm (Central Time) Michael Massoglia, Associate Professor of Sociology, UW–Madison and Julie Poehlmann, Professor, Human Development and Family, UW–Madison. Hosted by Steven Cook, Researcher, Institute for Research on Poverty. The number of Americans in state and federal prisons has quintupled since 1980—largely because of longer prison sentences. This dramatic shift has many implications in the way that we think about poverty and family dynamics for incarcerated Americans and their children. In this webinar Massoglia and Poehlmann will examine research on incarceration, poverty, and the family. More Information and Registration  
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Winter Solstice 2013: The Return of the Light – Dec 21
December 21, 2013; 7:00-8:30 PM; Notre Dame of Elm Grove; 13105 Watertown Plank Road; All Purpose Room.  Because of limited seating, please pre-register at 262-787-1011 or email theedge@ssndcp.org . The event is free and open to the public.  You are welcome to share a prayer, poem or symbol related to hope during our ritual. Come, celebrate hope!
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Catholics for Peace and Justice Common Ground Core Team Meeting – Jan 14
Catholics for Peace and Justice is a member of Common Ground.  Looking for a way to be a part of Common Ground?  Join us- Catholics for Peace and Justice Common Ground Core Team.  We meet quarterly. Our next meeting is January 14th at 4:30 until 6:00 p.m. at Panera 15040 W Greenfield Ave, just east of Moorland Rd. Contact Mary Kleist at maryakleist@sbcglobal.net  for more information. 
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Winter Farmers Markets  
 
Reflection
Reflecting Back on Some Consistent Life Issues in 2013
♥   The number of abortion clinics permanently closed so far this year in the United States was over double the number from all last year – 47. The trend toward concentrating in clinics and not doctor’s offices or hospitals has been ongoing for several years. At its height in 1991 there were 2,176 clinics; now there remain 616.  
 
♥   The U.S. state of Maryland abolished the death penalty and abolition efforts are showing promise in some other states. Since 1990, an average of three countries each year have abolished the death penalty, and today over two-thirds of the world's nations have ended capital punishment in law or practice.
 
♥   The arguments about Embryonic Stem Cells are basically over; no single human has been helped by them in over 30 years of research. The entirely ethical alternatives of Adult Stem Cells (from bone marrow, blood, fat, etc.) are already helping around 60,000 people each year around the world. Progress has been made in fine-tuning Pluripotent Stem Cells developed explicitly as an alternative to taking stem cells by killing embryonic humans.
 
♥   A U.S. strike against Syria appeared imminent and unstoppable, but the U.S. population opposed it vociferously and it was stopped. The presidents of Iran and the United States spoke by telephone for the first time in over 30 years, and diplomacy seems to be working well in that case. U.S. President Obama announced in June cutting 1/3 of the current U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. Kenyan elections, a cause for riots several years ago, went relatively peacefully this year, a testament to the hard work of peacemakers there.
Prayer
Prayers for People Caught in the Path of Typhoon Haiyan
From GreenFaith www.greenfaith.org 
The crisis is still very real weeks after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, with thousands dead, and hundreds of thousands displaced, without basic services including adequate food and shelter.  We offer these prayers.
 
A Jewish Prayer in the Aftermath of a Storm – Rabbi Menachem
Elohei haRuchot, God of the Winds, Fixated as we are by incalculable losses in our families, our neighbors, human beings spanning national borders, we are pummeled into shock, barely even able to call out to You. We are, as ever, called to share bread with the hungry, to take those who suffer into our homes, to clothe the naked, to not ignore our sisters and brothers.  Many more of our brothers and sisters are hungry, homeless, cold, and vulnerable today than were just a few days ago, and we need Your Help.
 
…  God, be with us as we utilize every network at our disposal to support each other. Be with First Responders engaged in the work of rescue as they cradle lives new and old, sheltering our souls and bodies from the storm.  Be with us and be with them, God.
Be with those awaiting news from loved ones, reeling from fire, water and wind that have crippled cities, decimated villages, and taken lives. Be with all of us, God. Be with us God, comfort us, and support us as we rebuild that which has been lost. May all this be Your will. Amen.
 
A Prayer for Healing and Strength in the Wake of a Storm 
Gracious God, you are our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.  In the wake of this storm, reveal your presence and make known your power so that all may know your healing, hope, and love.  As one Body on earth, bound together by your grace, inspire us to pray faithfully, work courageously, and give sacrificially for the relief of all those who suffer. All which we pray in Jesus' name,  Amen.
 
A Hindu Prayer for Peace and a Quiet Mind from the Atharva Veda
Supreme Lord - let there be peace in the sky and in the atmosphere.  Let there be peace in the plant world and in the forests.  Let the cosmic powers be peaceful.  Let the Brahman, the true essence and source of life, be peaceful.  Let there be undiluted and fulfilling peace everywhere.
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