Monthly Catholics for Peace and Justice Newsletter
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As our country is reeling with the sights, sounds and turmoil related to racial justice, I found the comments of Fr. Bryan Massingale nd the editors of America Magazine to be stirring:
Dealing with the reality of racism in the United States is not easy. If it were, we would be well on our way to a more just world. But to have an honest, adult conversation about race, people might need to feel uncomfortable—embarrassed, ashamed, fearful, angry, overwhelmed, helpless and/or paralyzed—because there are few issues that grip and affect us emotionally more than the issue of race. Fr. Bryan Massingale
Catholics cannot be content to stand on the sidelines of this struggle. In the face of racism, Catholics must hunger for justice as we hunger for the Eucharist. The Gospel calls us, as we prepare for Communion, to “go first and be reconciled” (Mt 5:24) with our sisters and brothers. At this moment, when the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the depth of our need for the sacraments and for community, this national outcry should lead Catholics, white Catholics especially, to conversion, repentance and reconciliation.

America, The Jesuit Review Editors June 01, 2020

Bob Schuelke

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



Pope Francis Quote

New Catholic Ecology Center

Contemplative Prayer for Reconciliation and Healing of Racism




Recurring Events
Pope Francis Quote
“The most effective antidote to every form of violence is education about discovering and accepting difference as richness and fertileness,”

Pope Francis

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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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Who are we Now - Who are we Becoming
As we hear more and more about the “return to normal,” as we slowly move or crawl out from this pandemic, let’s first be clear: it is not over. In fact, we are still living in a deep precarity. The smallest thing could bring us back to emergency mode.

And then there is India, a pandemic hell on Earth so wretched and of such magnitude that it’s hard to take in the full tragedy of what is happening there. If you have the courage, visit this Reuters page and view some of the photos. You won’t be quite the same after – and let’s hope not.

Who are we now and who are we becoming?

Let’s start by saying that we are not who we were in December 2019. Pandemics are uniquely paradigm-shattering events, as historians have seen over millennia. In some cases, they have brought down empires, or wiped out whole populations, or destroyed the economy of a civilization leading to collapse. Think smallpox and what happened when the European conquistadors brought it with them to the Americas back in the 1600s.
Read the rest of Margaret Swedish's article here.
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                                              The White House released its plans for the Pentagon budget and it is not cutting spending — it’s increasing the Pentagon budget by 87 billion! When Trump entered office, we expected his priorities to increase the Pentagon budget. Now, President Biden has the audacity to raise it further despite the turmoil we have faced in the last year. 

We are spending a whopping three-quarters of a trillion dollars on wars, weapons, and militarism. In the last year, we have faced horrendous forest fires on our West Coast, storms that have demonstrated to us how fragile our infrastructure is in the South, millions of people across the country losing their jobs and all sense of security, and the deaths of 560,000 people due to COVID-19.

Even a fraction of three-quarters of a trillion dollars could save lives. Peace Action is recommending we use this rare window of opportunity to demand a 10% cut to the bloated Pentagon budget. All we have to do is contact our Members in the House of Representatives to be vocal NOW!
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Madison Action Day was a tremendous success for the WISDOM network! Our virtual morning plenary session was inspirational and exciting. If you missed it, or want to share with friends, you can find the event video here. It is a great way to see and hear who we are and what we value.

The activities of Madison Action Day build on the testimonies of dozens of WISDOM leaders who spoke to the legislative Joint Finance Committee at each of the Public Hearings. Every member of the legislature also received a printed copy of the WISDOM Priorities for Wisconsin booklet.

Although the Joint Finance Committee Hearings have ended, the process continues as members continue deliberations on the proposed budget. We are nearing the end of the time when regular citizens can have input into the state budget process.  Very soon, the Joint Finance Committee will start the process of making changes to the budget, which they will send to the entire legislature.  This is a very important moment in the process.  !Continue to write to Joint Finance Committee members!

Today, we are asking every one of you who has not had a chance to speak to the Joint Finance Committee to take a few minutes to write them a note.  There are two ways to do it: Make your message relatively brief and very clear: they will be getting a lot of mail. If you are looking for background for the issue you want to address, you can reference the "WISDOM Priorities" book, which you can download it here:  WISDOM Priorities for Wisconsin booklet.  You could also join the many of us who have asked for the Joint Finance Committee to schedule at least one more virtual hearing. 

If you send an email to the Joint Finance Committee, it is a good idea to copy your own State Assembly Representative and State Senator, as well.  If you need to learn who they are or how to contact them, click HERE, and go to "Who Are My Legislators?"

Many very important things will be decided in the two-year budget that is going to be passed in the near future.  It is very important that the people voting on it have heard from you!

Use WISDOM’s proposals for the 2021-23 State Budget for talking points:

Learn how the budget process works in Wisconsin

David Liners and Barbara Pfarr:
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From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
To fund the investments that would help build a more equitable recovery, President Biden is expected to ask the wealthiest households to pay a fairer amount in federal taxes.

The incomes and wealth of people at the top have risen disproportionately in recent decades, and their fortunes surged even during the pandemic. When wealthy people pay taxes, it is often at special discounted rates. And, due to tax policy changes since the late 1990s — in particular, President George W. Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and the 2017 tax law — these tax advantages for wealthy people have expanded.

Income and wealth concentration also has an important racial dimension, as historical racial barriers to economic opportunity and continuing discrimination have played a substantial role in determining today’s income and wealth distribution.

With the nation’s income and wealth more and more concentrated at the top over the last several decades — including during COVID-19 and its economic fall-out — and the nation facing significant investment needs, policymakers should reconsider how the tax code treats the most well-off.
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Catholic Coalition for Migrants and Refugees
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.
  • Next event: Saturday, May 1, 10-11AM - Black Lives Are Sacred Public Witness 40 - Silver Spring and Milwaukee River Parkway
Follow Black Lives are Sacred on their Facebook page Black Lives are Sacred MKE 
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Weekly Racial Justice Reading group - Fridays, 3 p.m.
Racial Justice Reading Group meets virtually every Friday at 3:00 p.m.: Everyone is welcome to an online reading group focused on racial justice and how our faith can inform and shape us as we work towards racial reconciliation and justice in our world. The book currently under discussion is "Minor Feelings: An Asian-American Reckoning" by Cathy Park Hong. Chapter 5 will be discussed on May 7, and ensuing chapters through the month of May. For more information, and to get the link to the Zoom meeting, email Patrick Conlin at
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Criminal Justice - 4 sessions in May
The United Methodist Women are studying the mass incarceration and criminalization of people of color. A Mission u study in May will be on Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. learn more and register here. A registration form is available at, click on Mission u.

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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 May 22.  More information at their website: 
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Siena Retreat Center Events,, 5637 Erie St., Racine, WI 53402.
Learn details and prices for May Retreats and Programs which are summarized below
  • Women for Women – Saturday, May 1, 9:30 AM – Noon, via Zoom.
  • SoulCollage® Day – Friday, May 7 OR Saturday, May 8, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, offered in person; coronavirus protocols in place, registration is limited.
  • Grieving Life as We Know It – Saturday, May 8, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, offered in person; coronavirus protocols in place, registration is limited.
  • America's Internment: Manzanar Pilgrimage – Tuesday, May 11, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, via Zoom.
  • Retirement and Purposeful Aging: What's Next in My Life? – Tuesday, May 18 6:30 PM – Thursday, May 20, Noon, offered in person; coronavirus protocols in place, registration is limited.
  • Christian Spirituality and Contemplative Yoga for Women – Saturday, May 22, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, offered in person; coronavirus protocols in place, registration is limited.
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.
    • May 1: 6th/Mitchell
    • May 8: Howell/Layton
    • May 15: National/Greenfield
    • May 22: Sherman/North
    • May 29: Silver Spring/Port Washington

Voces de la Frontera May Day Event - May 1
Please consider joining or supporting our friends at Voces de la Frontera for their May Day event, Saturday, May 1.  There will be demonstrations all across the country that day to demand Congress and the Biden administration to stop deportations, COVID recovery for all and citizenship for all. For the schedule check
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To End All Wars - May 2
Webinar: Campaign to Ban Killer Drones Is Launched as Biden Appears Ready to Expand Drone War. Sunday, May 2,9-10:30 a.m. Learn more and register here.    
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Mopping Up Wisconsin’s Maps Mess - May 2 
Co-sponsored by the Wisconsin League of Women Voters and the Fair Maps Coalition. Sunday, May 2, on Zoom 7-8:15 p.m. Learn more and register here.
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Communicating to Bridge Differences - May 4
Learn the methods for Communicating to Bridge Differences in our fractured society, presented by Philip Chard. This event is sponsored by Plowshare Fair Trade Marketplace and Education for Peace. Free Online Event Tuesday, May 4, 7-8:30 p.m. Learn more and register here.
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Frank Talks: The Two Americas - May 4
Join us for our monthly real conversations following Frank Zeidler's legacy of civil discourse. The Zeidler Group is happy to welcome The Brothers In Laws featuring Rocket and Pitch of the BILs Podcast which features unapologetic black talk about today's topics. Tuesday, May 4th at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Learn more and register for this free offering here.

A Balm in Gilead: Deepening Our Understanding and Conversation About Race Through the Eyes of Faith - May 5, 12, 19
This interactive three-part virtual session will be an opportunity to deep dive into the topic of Race, Racism, and Faith through the lens of Ignatian spirituality. Learn more and register hereShare the Flyer.
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John Lewis National Day of Action - May 8
It’s not too late to volunteer for the John Lewis National Day of Action to celebrate and promote voting rights!  Milwaukee is one out of 100 cities nationwide participating in this event. Learn about the Saturday, May 8 event here. See volunteer opportunities and register to help here.
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SOPHIA Transit Task Force Meeting - May 13
May 13, 2021, 11:00 a.m. If you have questions or are interested in joining this task force, please email Barbara Pfarr at
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Environmental Justice Seminar - May 13
As a follow up to the Racism in America series, the United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay, Church & Society Committee will be hosting a Zoom panel discussion on environmental justice in the City of Milwaukee. Thursday, May 13, 7:00 PM Learn more and access Zoom link here. Share the Share the flyer.
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Theatre for Justice and Social Change - June 16
Theatre can be used as a tool to reflect the current state of the world, promoting social discourse, dialogue and potential social change. UWM Peck School of Arts Assistant Professor Sheri Williams Pannell will lead a discussion of Milwaukee's theatre community and its response to the issues of justice and social change during the COVID pandemic. Wednesday, June 16, 10-11 a.m. Learn more and register here.
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Prayer to Overcome Racism

Mary, friend and mother to all, through your Son, God has found a way to unite himself to every human being, called to be one people, sisters and brothers to each other.

We ask for your help in calling on your Son, seeking forgiveness for the times when we have failed to love and respect one another.

We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son the grace we need to overcome the evil of racism and to build a just society.

We ask for your help in following your Son, so that prejudice and animosity will no longer infect our minds or hearts but will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity of each person.

Mother of the Church, the Spirit of your Son Jesus warms our hearts: pray for us. Amen.

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Come, Holy Spirit of Truth.
    Give us the courage to speak uncomfortable truths,
        to face painful truths,
        to accomplish difficult truths,
        to dare powerful truths,
        to seek healing truths.

Come, Spirit of Truth.
    Breathe within us and inspire us to speak
        words of wisdom and challenge,
        words of lament and sorrow,
        words of resolve and renewal,
        words of justice and accountability,
        words of welcome and inclusion,
        words of healing and peace.

Come, Spirit of Truth, and set us free.
    Come, Holy Spirit.
    Fill the hearts of your faithful.
    Enkindle within us the fire of your love.
    Send forth your Spirit,                                                                                   
    And we shall be re-created.
    And you will renew the face of the earth.

Let the Church say, “Amen.”
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