Why Did Pope Francis Make These 10 Startling Statements?

Ten Startling Statements

Pope Francis has a knack for making startling statements that catch people’s attention. And sometimes he says them in one short document that is a less than 10-minute read.

  1. “Let us begin by acknowledging that change is needed.”
  2. “So, if we do realize all this, let’s not be afraid to say it: we need change; we want change, real change, structural change. This system is by now intolerable.”
  3. “We are suffering from an excess of diagnosis.”
  4. “Each of us must be “sowers of change.”
  5. “I like the image of a ‘process,’ processes, where the drive to sow, to water seeds which others will see sprout, replaces the ambition to occupy every available position of power and to see immediate results.”
  6. “The Church cannot and must not remain aloof from this process in her proclamation of the Gospel.”
  7. “But don’t expect a recipe from this Pope. Neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social reality or the proposal of solutions to contemporary issues.”
  8. “We need to build up this culture of encounter. We do not love concepts or ideas; no one loves a concept or an idea. We love people.”
  9. “Be assured that sooner or later we will see its fruits.”
  10. “It must be acknowledged that none of the grave problems of humanity can be resolved without interaction between states and peoples at the international level.”

Why Did He Say Such Things?

In his own words…

When we look into the eyes of the suffering, when we see the faces of the endangered campesino, the poor laborer, the downtrodden native, the homeless family, the persecuted migrant, the unemployed young person, the exploited child, the mother who lost her child in a shootout because the barrio was occupied by drug dealers, the father who lost his daughter to enslavement… when we think of all those names and faces, our hearts break because of so much sorrow and pain. And we are deeply moved, all of us.

He continues…

We are moved because “we have seen and heard” not a cold statistic but the pain of a suffering humanity, our own pain, our own flesh. This is something quite different than abstract theorizing or eloquent indignation. It moves us; it makes us attentive to others in an effort to move forward together. That emotion which turns into community action is not something which can be understood by reason alone: it has a surplus of meaning which only peoples understand, and it gives a special feel to genuine popular movements.

“…Ability to See Yourselves in the Faces of Others”

He also says “Each day you are caught up in the storms of people’s lives.”

…this ability to see yourselves in the faces of others, this daily proximity to their share of troubles – because they exist and we all have them – and their little acts of heroism: this is what enables you to practice the commandment of love, not on the basis of ideas or concepts, but rather on the basis of genuine interpersonal encounter.”

Seeing ourselves and Christ in the face of others is very close to the heart of the mission of the men and women associated with the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission.

Seeing Ourselves in the Faces of Others

  • Do we see ourselves in the faces of others?
  • Can we really work for systemic change and a culture of encounter if we do not see ourselves in the faces of others?

Have you thought about contributing your time, talent, or treasure to those who associate themselves with the mission of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the MIssion?

Have You Ever Spoken With a “Trafficked Person?”

I asked myself whether I had ever spoken with one of the 21 million “trafficked” persons. Not knowingly. Yet, I believe I have spoken with many victims without knowing it. I know I certainly would not have to leave the US.

It’s a vicious cycle that law enforcement in the US sees time and time again. Women can be pulled in to commercial sex through gangs or pimps—the former function as delivery services, taking women to houses in the area they control, while the latter focus on hotels and street-level prostitution. In gang-controlled situations, it’s usually going to be that the girl is from the area. When it’s a pimp … it’ll probably be girls from all over the place. The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as a “modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain.”

Are you aware there is an international day against trafficking? The Vincentian Family representatives remind us: “It is not a celebration … it is a day to resist, to sensitize, to raise awareness, to call attention, to point out that there is an unresolved problem, an important and pending issue in societies so that, through this awareness, governments and states will act and take measures or that citizens will demand this from their representatives.” VIN-JPIC

The Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity are members of the Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) advocating against trafficking in persons. The CM representative at the UN is also part of the Central Commission of Consecrated Life against trafficking in persons in the Americas (nine regional or national commissions). For this reason, we are also associated with Talitha Kum, the international network of Consecrated Life against trafficking in persons.

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children, and men for numerous purposes including forced labor, traffic of organs, and sex. The International Labor Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labor globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking victims in the world.

The work of many social organizations, religious communities, NGOs, etc., aims to prioritize victims coming from a context of armed conflict and those identified among large refugee and migration flows. Its focus is also the work with victims trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, organ removal, forced begging, forced criminality and emerging exploitative purposes (e.g. skin removal, online pornography).

In September 2015, the world adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and embraced goals and targets on trafficking in persons. These goals call for an end to trafficking and violence against children, as well as for needed measures against human trafficking, and they aim at the elimination of all forms of violence against and exploitation of women and girls.

‘Responding to the Trafficking of Children and Young People’

This year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has chosen “responding to the trafficking of children and young people” as the focus of the World Day. This year’s campaign highlights the fact that almost a third of trafficking victims are children. The theme draws attention to the issues faced by trafficked children and to possible action initiatives linked to safeguarding and ensuring justice for child victims.

On Monday, July 30, we invite you to honor the international day against the victimization of human beings with your prayer and reflection but also getting informed and joining any local or national efforts so that this day marks another step in our commitment against trafficking in persons. We can collaborate with the efforts others have organized in the prevention, accompaniment, rescue, healing and the social and work relocation of the victims.

Why Do We Have an International Day Against Human Trafficking?

It is not a celebration … it is a day to resist, to sensitize, to raise awareness, to call attention, to point out that there is an unresolved problem, an important and pending issue in societies so that, through this awareness, governments and states will act and take measures or that citizens will demand this from their representatives.

New York July 30, 2018
Congregation of the Mission United Nations Office


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Seventeenth Sunday Readings – A Lesson During a Get-Away

A Family Get-Away to Relax –  (John 6:1-15)

It was one of those weeks – too many things going on! We need to take some time off, regroup, refocus. A get-away with just closest family and friends… But then all these people showed up. What are we going to do? Of course, we are happy they came. (Well, mostly happy..) But what are we going to do? We have just about enough food for ourselves.

I had never really paid attention to the beginning of today’s Gospel. “Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.” But as I entered the scene in my mind, the image of a quiet family get-away for a rest came to mind. I imagine their inner conflict. They really wanted the “downtime”. But they also felt the obligation to feed those who went out of their way to be with them.

Jesus’ Response

In a similar situation, it seems Jesus’ response was very practical. “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” We all know how it unfolded from there. They all got fed, and there was even food left over.

But as I walked around in this image, something else struck me. When the people saw what he had done, they wanted to make him king. Did they miss the point? What had he done? Looking more closely, he had set in motion a process more significant than pulling bread from a hat. In effect, he asked them to share their resources. He modeled that sharing. When all was said and done, they were surprised to realize that they had more than enough if they shared what they had.

What a powerful image of community and collaboration! Wasn’t this an image of the Kingdom of God He was telling them about?

But it seems they really did miss that point. A few verses later, Jesus calls them on it.

“I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”

I am not a scripture scholar but to me, this sounds similar to what he said at the Last Supper. “Do you understand what I have done when I, your Master, washed your feet?”

Our Response

They heard the question… but when they were fed, they did not think about what Jesus did and what it might really mean for them. They stopped at the surface of their experience, relieved from their hunger.

Maybe there is something more we need to think about when we remember that Jesus said: “Do this in memory of me.” Was he not saying, Just as I have offered myself to you, so you should offer yourselves to one another? Jesus speaks to each of us.

Saint John Paul II, reminded us of this in Yankee Stadium.

“The poor of the United States and of the world are your brothers and sisters in Christ. You must never be content to leave them just the crumbs from the feast. You must take of your substance, and not just of your abundance, in order to help them. And you must treat them like guests at your family table.”

When we see the needs of others, maybe we should see the opportunity to live the kingdom by collaborating and sharing.

Digging Deeper

  • How do I respond to the physical and spiritual needs of those who upset my plans?
  • Do I miss the personal challenge in Jesus’ words “Do this in memory of me”?

When You See the World as God Sees It


Fr. Tom McKenna of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission offers some shifts that occur when people begin to envision their world more as God sees it.

Sometimes we call them prophets, people who begin to speak God’s words and be lobbyists for God’s causes. Other times we call them witnesses, individuals who stand up and give testimony to the new things they’ve realized and then, prodded by The Spirit, step out to act on their changed vision. These are the people who let themselves be stretched, who reach out for that something just beyond them. These are the women and men who don’t confine reality to the box in which they hold it, who don’t cling for dear life to their old frames of reference. They let the Spirit ‘stand them up on their feet.’

In a reflection “Up on Your Feet!”  that first appeared on FamVin, he draws on the life of Ezekiel as someone who gets lifted up on his feet by the Spirit of God. He then makes a connection to today:

It’s not hard to catch crossovers to the present day. Can the newness and the unexpectedness of God’s Spirit manage to break through in 2018? Can we learn from these neighbors who refuse to look beyond their hometown certainties? Can we be supple enough to let go of the habitual and be vulnerable enough to the unfamiliar coming from The Spirit — this Holy Spirit who is with us but is also always just out beyond us, just coming around the corner.

This lesson certainly rings true in our social and political world where we’re challenged to be nimble before The Spirit’s prodding, forever nudging us toward the values of Jesus’ Kingdom from whatever direction they arise. Case in point: the other day I spotted a bumper sticker that proclaimed, “Don’t Fox the News!” But there’s a way in which another sticker, “Don’t CNN the News” could also fit. Both could be bearing something of God’s touch which I refuse to feel because I’m hunkered down on my present take on how the world operates.

Might that warning also apply to what we do when we come together to listen to God’s Word and when we stand around the Eucharistic table? Might the prompt to open my ears prevail as I listen to what I take year after year to be the “same-old, same-old” Bible readings? Might that prod apply just as much to the Eucharistic ritual itself, this lifting up of the bread and wine which I share in so regularly that I miss what and who is being offered – and, more importantly, the why of it, the Lord’s love pouring out for us and the whole world.

He concludes with a question…

Can we let ourselves feel the prod of that Spirit and so stand a little taller in our pursuit of Jesus’ dream — His Father’s Kingdom of Peace and Justice and Love showing up here on earth, as it is in heaven. Can we let that Spirit “stand us up on our feet?”

Read the full short reflection as it first appeared on FamVin.

Many men and women today associate themselves with the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission and its various ministries.

If you would like to learn more about the ordinary men and women influenced with the Vincentian Way of Life, visit a series of stories about awakening to the Vincentian Vision.

You Can Make a Difference

Seeing Yourself as a Difference Maker

You don’t have to have a glamorous job. Anyone can be a difference maker.

[ An earlier version of the post appeared on FamVIn]

J. Patrick Murphy writes in one of his mini-reflections on the life of Mr. Vincent…

“France was at war through all of Vincent’s life except for the last few months. Beheading for religious dissidents was common. The clergy were incompetent, corrupt, or both.

Lesson: Don’t let the environment get you down; you can make a difference anyway.

Vincent certainly made a difference! Ah, you say, that was Vincent, I mean, SAINT Vincent! I am not in that league. (And I don’t want my head chopped off!) Maybe not. But you can be a “difference maker.”

Seeing Yourself as a Difference Maker

I recently read a summary of the book Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love by David Sturt.

You don’t have to have a glamorous job. Anyone can be a difference maker.

In 2001, researchers began to study how people in unglamorous jobs were coping with what they called “devalued work.” When they tried to think of supposedly unrewarding jobs to study, they chose hospital janitors.

As Dutton and Wrzesniewski interviewed the cleaning staff of a major hospital in the Midwest, they discovered that a certain subset of housekeepers didn’t see themselves as part of the janitorial staff at all. They saw themselves as part of the professional staff, as part of the healing team—and that changed everything.

These people would get to know the patients and their families and would offer support in small but important ways: a box of Kleenex here, a glass of water there, or a word of encouragement. One housekeeper reported rearranging pictures on the walls of comatose patients, with the hope that a change of scenery might have some positive effect.

It’s All in How You Frame the Story

This reminds me of the “Star Thrower” story:

A man was walking on the beach one day and noticed a boy who was reaching down, picking up a starfish and throwing it in the ocean.  As he approached, he called out, “Hello!  What are you doing?”  The boy looked up and said, “I’m throwing starfish into the ocean.”  “Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the man.  “The tide stranded them.  If I don’t throw them in the water before the sun comes up, they’ll die” came the answer.  “Surely you realize that there are miles of beach, and thousands of starfish.  You’ll never throw them all back, there are too many.  You can’t possibly make a difference.”  The boy listened politely, then picked up another starfish.  As he threw it back into the sea, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

In the same vein…

A man came upon a construction site where three people were working.  He asked the first, “What are you doing?” and the man replied: “I am laying bricks.” He asked the second, “What are you doing?” and the man replied: “I am building a wall.” As he approached the third, he heard him humming a tune as he worked, and asked, “What are you doing?” The man stood, looked up at the sky, and smiled, “I am building a cathedral!”

If you would like to contribute your time, talent, or treasure to making a difference with the many others associated with the Eastern Province, contact us by commenting on this post.

What are you doing to make a difference?

  • Are you a “star thrower” making a difference in the life of this person?
  • Are you just laying bricks? building walls?… or building the kingdom?

 

Earlier posts in this series

CLICK HERE to download J. Patrick Murphy  “Mr. Vincent”

 

The 16th Sunday – Gospel Mandate to “Rest Awhile”

Gospel Mandate to “Rest Awhile”

This is an important gospel for those of us who are doers! We see clearly how many people are in need of good news whether about their physical or spiritual needs. There is no time to catch our breath! Who are we?

Sure, some of us have literally dedicated our lives to being Good News. But we include full-time paid ministers, part-time volunteers, or parents juggling the responsibilities of providing for their children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual formation. People leading very busy and demanding lives —  the kind Jesus and his disciples lead in Mark’s gospel. If any of the above describes your life, then Mark is the gospel for you. It moves faster than any of the gospels from one event to another. It is a gospel for modern disciples who have too many pressing needs, too limited energies, too many distractions, too much confusion about what’s really important and what ’s just busy work that distracts us from our calling.

The apostle were doers of the word. Jesus reminded them they need to be hearers of the word. Jesus is the shepherd who tends to the needs of disciples and calls us, now and then, to rest.  He takes his flock to a “deserted place,” where they won’t be distracted and will be able to focus on the food he wants to give them — his presence and his word about his Father.

 

The “Activist’s Temptation”

 

Vincentians are doers and we especially need to hear this gospel. It resonates with most who walk in the Vincentian tradition. We have grown up with “Leave God for God.” We take certain pride (holy, I hope) in the practical, down-to-earth quality of our charism and tradition. We look to Vincent and Louise as our inspiration. Together they accomplished so much to transform their world.

Yet have we heard of the Vincentian temptation? Sister Gertrude Foley, SC, caught my attention with the phrase “trivialize our charism and tradition.” It has been 20 years since I heard her warn some 200 members of the Vincentian Family gathered at St. John’s University, but the words are still fresh in my mind:

I think that we trivialize our charism and tradition if we limit it to mean only works of service. Unless we are as passionate as our founders were, to grow daily into this identification with Jesus and his mission, we cannot claim the name “Vincentian.” We can exhaust our­ selves in implementing our strategies to serve the poor.

But as Vincentians we will fail if we do not contextualize all of our service in the three-way identification seen so clearly by our founders: the trinitarian relationship, if you will, among Jesus, the poor person, and the servant of the poor.

Isn’t that another way of reminding us to go to a deserted place to rest and recharge?

 

Rest, Remember, Reflect, Recharge

 

Without physical rest, we burn out or fall into unhealthy sublimations.

Remember how often Jesus withdrew to remember his relationship with his origins and reflect o his mission. This process of recharging is what gave Vincent, Louise, and those who follow them the strength to be effective servants. It was because they were hearers of the word in their hearts that they were such effective doers.

 

Former General Counsel Shaped by Serving Niagara University for 10 Years

Stephanie ‘Cole’ Adams, left, earned a $25,000 Ignite Buffalo grant to hire refugees and Buffalo residents impacted by systemic poverty. She credited the decade she spent as Niagara University’s general counsel with inspiring her to make a difference in the community.

Students are not the only ones shaped by their association with Niagara University. Former Niagara University General Counsel Stephanie “Cole” Adams speaks of the impact of serving Niagara University for 10 Years

“My time at Niagara University showed me how change is made – up close, in person and through compassion – which is a language spoken by all,” she said. “During my 10 years at NU, I saw students, faculty and staff transcend barriers to make a difference. When I started my office, I vowed to use those same tactics to support my clients.”

Now the owner of The Law Office of Stephanie Adams, PLLC, in Buffalo, she was one of the 23 recipients of a $25,000 grant from last week’s Facebook-sponsored Ignite Buffalo competition.

She will use the grant to hire multilingual people with insight into the immigrant and refugee experience, as well as people who have been directly impacted by Buffalo’s systemic poverty.

Adams credited the time she spent at Niagara University for her decision to pursue the community-building opportunity.

“I opened my law office determined to hire people who would make a difference,” Adams said. “These hires will help us reach clients and will make sure the law is accessible to a diverse array of people starting new businesses. That will make the business stronger and strengthen our community.”

Adams added that part of what made this vision a reality were the skills she observed in action at NU.

“The faculty at NU modeled how to engage learners. The administration showed me how to map out a plan of action. And the students showed me that when you teach and provide opportunities to others, you learn and get opportunities yourself.

Sources: Ignite Buffalo Grant Winner: ‘My Time at Niagara University Showed Me How Change is Made’  and FamVin

Bringing the Apparitions of St. Catherine Home

Fr. Frank Sacks, CM, retelling the story of the first apparition to St. Catherine Labouré.

 

In a first for Mary’s Immaculate Medal Shrine in Philadelphia, devotees gathered on Wednesday, July 18th, for a special Mass to commemorate hear the story of the First Apparition of the Miraculous Medal in 1830. This was the first Marian apparition to St. Catherine Labouré in Paris, at the Motherhouse Chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, prior to receiving the instructions to have the medal made for people to wear with confidence to receive God’s graces.

After the Mass, devotees processed outside to place vigil lights for their intentions at the statue of Our Lady of the Chair, which depicts the First Apparition of Our Lady to St. Catherine Labouré. Fr. Frank Sacks, CM, was the celebrant for the Mass and delivered a beautiful sermon about the Apparition and its meaning.  [Note: He also provided the photos of the candles illuminating the shrine at dusk. See photos below.]

 

The Story of the First Miraculous Medal Apparition

On the night of July 18, 1830, the eve of the Feast of Saint Vincent De Paul, the first apparition of our Blessed Mother to Catherine Labouré occurred in Paris, France. Catherine Labouré, a young religious of the order of the Daughters of Charity, prayed to St. Vincent de Paul, the founder of her order, to intercede on her behalf that she may see the Mother of God with her own eyes.

That night, the voice of a child, Catherine’s guardian angel, awoke her from her slumber, saying, “Sister Labouré, come to the chapel; the Blessed Virgin awaits you.” The chapel was aglow as if prepared for Mass, and, as Catherine knelt by the altar steps, she heard the rustle of a silk dress and the Blessed Virgin appeared. Mary sat in the Director’s Chair of the chapel, as Catherine knelt next to her, hands resting on the Virgin’s lap. Our Lady spoke to Catherine, saying, “My child, the good God wishes to entrust to you a mission. Have confidence. Do not be afraid. Graces will be shed on all… You will have the protection of God and Saint Vincent.”

[A video of the Anniversary of the First Miraculous Medal Apparition is available at www.MiraculousMedal.org/live. Fast forward to 13:40 for the dramatic retelling of the story.]

 

Catholic Philly presented an interview with the new Director of the Shrine, Fr. Michael Carrol. Among other insights from the interview…

Philadelphia’s Central Association of the Miraculous Medal was founded in 1930 by Vincentian Father Joseph Skelly, who was introduced to the devotion as small child by his mother.

Now Father Carroll, who also was introduced to the devotion by his mother, is the latest spiritual director of the Central Association.

Fr. Carroll continues…

“My hope as the director is to share the promise and the gift of the Miraculous Medal to as many people as possible. This can be done with the support and help of our promoters.”

The message of the Miraculous Medal, he said, “is hope. Share your needs with Mary and she will present them to her Son. God will share his grace with you. Come to the altar.”

The great challenge today, Father Carroll believes, is making the Gospel relevant to young people.

Devotees pray Novena prayers at the outdoor shrine

 

Outdoor shrine at dusk

 

Outdoor shrine at dusk

New Website to Strengthen Our Life and Ministry

A revised CMGLOBAL website intends to strengthen communication about our life together, witness to our charism, and our on-going renewal.

 

Rome, 19 July 2018

To the Visitors, Vice-Visitors, Regional Superiors, and Superiors of the International Missions

Dear Confreres,

May the grace and peace of Jesus be always with us!

Dear Confreres,

We are happy to be able to present to you the new website of the Congregation of the Mission. This is a place that will strengthen communication about our life together, the witness with regard to our charism as well as our on-going renewal as we continue to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ evangelizing the poor.

We began this work several months ago in order to present you with this site that will allow you to know and to come to a deeper understanding of the ministry and the commitment of the Congregation of the Mission on behalf of those people who are poor and marginalized.

This website presents the multi-cultural and the international dimension of the Congregation, and as such, it is multi-lingual (the official languages of the Congregation: French, English, and Spanish). Since, however, the Curia is located in Italy, it is necessary that we publish information in this language.

The website is a “virtual” place, one link in a large global network, a place of encounter and of communication which unites the various realities of the Congregation. We hope to create dialogue on themes of common interest and, therefore, we feel it is important to reinforce the criteria for a most participatory communication.

On the website, one will find a variety of content. The predominant character of the content is informative. Themes are related to the various projects and ministries. One will also find here studies, reflections, biographies, histories, and descriptions of events that take place in the various provinces. Here also we share information from the General Curia, the various commissions of the Congregation, the International Missions, the Conferences of Visitors, etc.

As a result of some new technology, the Office of Communication is now able to provide information about the Congregation’s mission to the poor (both those who are near to us and those who do not know us). It will also be possible to access this site from the many devices that are available to us, thus we increase our ways of being able to share this information with you.

We cite here the words of Pope Francis: “I like to refer to this power of communication as ‘closeness.’ The encounter between communication and mercy will be fruitful to the degree that it generates a closeness which cares, comforts, heals, accompanies and celebrates” (Pope Francis, Message on the Occasion of World Communications Day, 2016). I, too, am deeply grateful to all those who worked on CMGlobal from its inception to the present. Their efforts also helped to make this new website a reality.

In this sense, we recognize the work of the Communications Office at the General Curia as they now place before us a newly designed web page. I express my gratitude to the many people who have been involved in this effort.

This new page is composed of six sections (Presentations of the Congregation and the Curia, news, a culture of vocation, formation (with direct access to our publications: Nuntia and Vincentiana), commissions, and the Vincentian Family. Each of these sections offers multiple possibilities with regard to organization and editing information. This new page is a living means of communication and will be in constant evolution, thus nourishing its users with new and relevant content. The platform for this site has been created at the Curia, but you, the confreres and your ministry among the poor, are the content. I invite you to share with us your reflections, the events that take place in your province, the history of your provinces and works, the manner in which you are ministering in all the various parts of the world. I also invite you to join with us in this work and to be willing to serve as a translator, a reporter, and/or to make a contribution to the content of this site. You can contact the office of communication, Fr. Jorge Luis Rodríguez Baquero, CM, at the following email:nuntia@cmglobal.org.

In launching this website, we follow the example of our Holy Founder. Although such means of communication did not exist in his time, we know that Saint Vincent made every effort to be in regular contact with his confreres. He usually wrote to each of the local superiors once a week, giving them news of the Congregation. He also told the Daughters of Charity, “O mon Dieu! yes! That’s a real need: close communication with one another; sharing everything. Nothing is more necessary. It unites hearts, and God blesses the advice received, with the result that things go better” (CCDXIIIb, 281; Document 160, Council of 20 June 1647).

Your brother in Saint Vincent,
Tomaž Mavrič, CM
Superior General

 

Vincentian Voices at the UN

Guillermo Campuzano, CM, UN NGO Congregation of the Mission Representative, presents the views of the Vincentian International Network for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (VIN-JPIC) regarding three areas of concern – Nicaragua, Migrant, and Venezuela. These views are based on reports from the Vincentian Family on the ground in these areas.

Created by mandate of the Superior General and his council, the Vincentian International Network for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation is “a bridge between the voices and realities of the poor and the tables of power.”

They thank the confreres and the members of the Vincentian Family who informed us of what is happening in these countries.

Please keep us apprised of what is happening in your countries so that we can raise our voice in the United Nations and in other institutions of pressure and deliberation.

Full text  Soldiarity with Nicaragua, Migrants, Venezueal – English PDF Nicaragua Venezuela Migrantes  Spanish PDF

[See also the Vincentian Family initiative UN Working Group to End Homelessness]

 

“We look forward to a new heaven and a new earth” (1 Peter 3, 13-14)

 

1. Nicaragua:

 

While millions around the world were hooked on watching the soccer world cup on television, more than 300 people have been killed in Nicaragua and about 2,000 have been wounded during the protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega. These past weeks have been of great anguish for the Nicaraguan people due to the violence and anarchy that have taken the streets of the country. The government and the paramilitary groups have focused their attacks against the Civic Alliance, a coalition of students, workers, intellectuals, business groups, academics, and organizations of people living in poverty, who are protesting to demand a national dialogue that triggers a democratic change of political regime, since the current government has taken the cruel forms of a dictatorship. The government has grossly criminalized the protests, even though this is a political right defended by the constitution. More than 600 people have illegally been incarcerated. The Church, mediator of the dialogs, has also been persecuted. The civic alliance has asked President Ortega to advance the elections by March 2019 as a condition to resume these dialogues currently broken.

 

We join our voice to the prophetic voice of the Catholic Church (bishops, lay and consecrated men and women) that have been speaking loud and clear to protect the rights of all and to denounce such injustice. Many committed Christians have been victims of this systematic and absurd violence that only tries to sow fear so that injustice and repression follow its course. With the believers, the brothers and sisters of other churches and religions and also with the non-believers  of  Nicaragua,  our voice is unanimous and committed to ask for the end of the repression that guarantees:

 

  1. The immediate cessation of violence and the persecution of the political opposition.
  2. The integral defense of the constitution and the respect of the political rights of association and protest.
  3. The establishment of a broad table for national dialog that will generate a democratic solution to the current social and political crisis.
  4. The respect of due process to all those who have been unjustly imprisoned and the immediate release of political prisoners.
  5. Country from the Global compact on migration. We join our confreres of the Western Province of the United States who issued the following statement on behalf of the Congregation:

 

2.  Reality of Migrants in the United States

 

While at the UN a global agreement on migration has been signed this month, in the United States, thousands of migrant children have been separated from their parents due to new immigration laws enforced by President DonaldTrump. The Trump administration decided to exclude the country from the Global compact on migration.

We join our confreres of the Western Province of the United States who issued the following statement on behalf of the Congregation:

 

“The Western Province of the Congregation of the Mission supports the statements of theUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Sisters of Charity Federation and other groups that separating immigrant children from their parents at the United States / Mexico border isimmoral.

We also oppose the recent decision of the U.S. administration that potentially strips asylum protections for women who are victims of domestic violence, and others fleeing violence in their homeland.

We urgethe U.S.AttorneyGeneral, Congress, the courts and policymakers to protect the integrity of families and the dignity of every human person. We stand with our immigrant sisters and brothers in support of their human rights.

3.  Venezuela

 

The Venezuelan crisis continues to spread. In this nation, millions of people are forced every day to live in conditions of humiliation due to the scarcity of basic elements, the lack of medical care and medicines, institutional repression, insecurity, salaries of misery, institutional corruption, the collapse of transport, education, social security, etc. Recently, President Nicolas Maduro was elected in a clearly rigged election in favor of the regime. Most of the states and political and social organizations of the world have declared their concern for the humanitarian, political and institutional crisis of this South American country with the highest oil reserves in the world. The dramatic Venezuelan migration crisis is unprecedented and has all the characteristics of a growing humanitarian crisis in the entire region. We join the voice of the Venezuelan Church to ask the immediate restitution of the democratic order and the reestablishment of the conditions for people to be able to satisfy their basic needs, as well as the acceptance of the humanitarian help many countries and organizations are offering to the country.

 

In addition to raising our voice publicly in favor of the peoples of the earth, who seek their integral liberation, we also want to raise our voice to the God of Life, the God of justice and freedom, the God of peace, the God of Jesus, that came so that we could all have life in abundance. Today we do it in favor of our Nicaraguan and Venezuelan sisters and brothers and in favor of the migrants and refugees of the whole world in this night of anguish and terror. We ask all the Vincentians of the world to unite in a prayer of solidarity and commitment with them and all other peoples in social and political distress.

 

We thank the confreres and the members of the Vincentian Family who informed us of what is happening in these countries. Please keep us apprised of what is happening in your countries so that we can raise our voice in the United Nations and in other institutions of pressure and deliberation.

 

New York, July 15 of 2018

Vincentian International Network for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation is a bridge between the voices and realities of the poor and the tables of power. “There is no act of charity that is not accompanied by justice or that permits us to do more than we reasonably can.” (St Vincent’s letter to François du Coudray, In Tour, 17 June 1640) “The option for justice, peace and integrity of creation is called to be the core of a new paradigm of Consecrated Life that is MYSTIC AND PROPHETIC: passionate for the God of the Kingdom and for the Kingdom of God.”