Rooted in Gospel values, the example of St. Francis Xavier, and the vision of Theodore James Ryken, the last three General Chapters of the Xaverian Brothers (1995, 2001, and 2007) call the Brothers to center their lives on the example of Jesus in seeking out and working with the poor and marginalized. From a contemplative stance, the Brothers are called to help those who are on the margins to lead the full lives God intends, and to do whatever they can to help change those structures of society which keep many people poor and marginalized.
Recognizing that a contemplative stance enables us to more fully embrace our union with God in the spirit, and thus to live out that core sense of justice that Jesus calls all of us to, the Office of Peace and Justice provides for the Brothers and their friends and associates the following:
- Resources on spirituality and social justice which help one to defy the modern assumptions of consumerism and individualism and live according to the Gospel.
- A clearinghouse of information putting the Brothers and their friends and associates in connection with faith groups and other human needs organizations that create awareness of and promote justice and peace, targeting specific needs worldwide and here at home.
- Information on current social justice activities undertaken under the auspices of the Xaverian Brothers.
- Action Alerts which will give breaking news from a social justice perspective and provide suggestions for actions people can take to promote social justice and peace.
The Joy of the Gospel: Hope springs to life and we can rise above excuses and despair
Holy Week can be a time to see our Lenten journey in the humble stumbling of the apostles. If we follow them, called by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium to be missionary disciples, we’ll likely find ourselves asleep or in denial after another imperfect Lentâ€¦.It is easy to lose hope as we look around us . . . Will that plane ever be found? What good can come in Crimea? Who can stop senseless shootings and stabbings?
Francis warns us against a “lack of deep spirituality which turns into pessimism, fatalism and mistrust . . . Hearts can tire of the struggle because in the end we are caught up in ourselves,” he says, and the Gospel winds up “buried under a pile of excuses.” The apostles had a prodigious pile accumulating that first Easter, starting with grief, fear and doubt. Easter joy and Pentecost passion took them beyond failure and excuses to do marvelous things. Yet the source of their energy, Francis reminds us with the words of Paul, is in the message itself: “[I]f Christ had not been raised, then our preaching is in vain." . . .
Francis reminds us that “Jesus did not rise in vain and exhorts us to “never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope!” Goodness always breaks through, he says. “[H]uman beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power.” What seems doomed today? Has social media pulled society past a tipping point of self-absorption? Are bullying and violence simply part of the human condition? Does climate change seem irreversible? Where - if anywhere - can believers give up hope? “Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up . . . ” Francis says. “May nothing inspire more than (Jesus’) life, which impels us onwards!” (The Center of Concern’s Education for Justice, using quotes from Pope Francis’ exhortation, Joy of the Gospel)
Access to water is a human right; help prevent its privatization
A message from the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team:
Be aware that you have a chance to help preventthe dangers ofwater privatization from coming to your city. There are very real concerns that when water privatizing corporations take over a community’s water system water rates often go up, workers are laid off, and health and safety regulations are violated. Residents of St. Louis held off privatization attempts in their city, and residents of your cities can do the same. (cf. the article Water is Life - Water Privatization Conflicts )
Tell the Administration: US Deportation Practices MUST be More Humane
While we continue advocating specifically for legislative reform as the way to permanently resolve our broken immigration system, there are things that President Obama and the Administration can do right now to make deportation practices more humane. These changes are: end all night-time deportations; end family separation during the deportation process; do not deport individuals to particularly dangerous locations; return all belongings prior to deportation; provide prior notification to Mexican authorities of people with special needs; provide opportunities for border NGO input. Contact President Obama about this by using the following link: Protect the Dignity & Rights of Immigrants
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: We need citizen-ledstrategies that will force governments and corporations to move away from our dependence upon fossil fuels
One of the biggest supporters of divestment campaigns is Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and retired Anglican Archbishop. As one of South Africa's leading apartheid opponents, he understands the power of divestment campaigns and the good they can do in the world. That's why Archbishop Tutu has written two very important climate op-eds this spring: "Opposition to pipelines is a moral choice" and "We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet". (An excerpt from this second op-ed: “Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we arealready feeling the effects . . . This is why, no matter where you live, it is appalling that the US is debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Producing and transporting this quantity of oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, could increase Canada's carbon emissions by over 30% . . . If the negative impacts of the pipeline would affect only Canada and the US, we could say good luck to them. But it will affect the whole world, our shared world, the only world we have. We don't have much time.”)
Rwanda twenty years later, Darfur ten years later . . . Some helpful things to understand and do today
An opportunity to become aware of what’s driving mass atrocities in parts of Africa:
As commemorations unfold honoring the 20th anniversary of the onset of Rwanda’s genocide and the 10th year after Darfur’s genocide was recognized, the rhetoric of commitment to the prevention of mass atrocities has never been stronger. Actions, unsurprisingly, have not matched that rhetoric. â€¦ Conflict drivers need to be much better understood in order to devise more relevant responses. The band of crisis and conflict spanning the Horn of Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa is ground zero for mass atrocity events globally. The conflagration in the Central African Republic (CAR), the world’s deadliest war in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), ongoing instability in Burundi, persistent violence in Somalia and across its borders, intensifying conflict in Sudan’s periphery, persistent attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in three of Uganda’s neighbors, and the rapid-onset war in South Sudan, all demonstrate that it is increasingly foolhardy to deal with Africa’s conflicts in isolation from each other, confined to their sovereign borders. Without addressing the complicated transnational core drivers of violence, without being much more inclusive, without dealing decisively with spoilers, and without integrating broader regional actors, today’s peace processes have no chance of producing sustainable peace. (for a comprehensive look at all of this read Rwanda 20 and Darfur 10, on new responses to Africa's mass atrocities by John Prendergast)
An action you can take to help put in place a more relevantU.S. responseto mass atrocities in Darfurâ€¦. Join the campaign to support the Sudan Peace Security and Accountability Act of 2013 (H.R. 1692)
The Murphy Initiative for Justice and Peace
The Murphy Initiative for Justice and Peace is sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers and thirteen other religious congregations with ministries in the Baltimore Archdiocese. The Initiative is envisioned as a common voice of these communities to work collectively for social justice and to support the ongoing justice and peace work within each community.
Especially helpful is its This Just In and Continuous Calendar links which tell of current peace and justice efforts and events sponsored by member communities, and by other Catholic and faith based social justice organizations in the Baltimore area, the nation, and the world. The Murphy Initiative is named for Bishop Frank Murphy, auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore who, before his death in 1999, helped greatly in the production of the USCCB’s 1983 Pastoral letter, The Challenge of Peace, and conveyed so well the Gospel message of peace and justice in his own gentle and welcoming way.
To learn more about the Murphy Initiative and the ways God is calling us to work for social justice - to remove conditions that contradict the God-given dignity of each and every person, no matter who they are - go to: www.pfmjpi.org (Bishop Frank Murphy’s first name was Patrick)
Africa Faith and Justice Network
WWW.AFJN.ORG: Africa Faith & Justice Network educates and advocates for a transformation of U.S. policies toward Africa. Grounded by a commitment to social justice, AFJN brings the most important issues affecting the people of Africa to our lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
Visit the new Africa Faith and Justice Network’s new website, recently launched in collaboration with Africa Action, Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, and many others, at www.africahumansecurity.org for ongoing reports on AFJN’s response to the ongoing efforts of the U.S. to increase U.S. militarism in Africa andactions you can take in support of it’s advocacy efforts in support of a more human centered U.S. security policy.
Climate change & God’s call...Watch a brief video...Take the St. Francis Pledge
As Sr. Helen Prejean said recently, “If following God’s call is not scary, surprising, and an adventure all at the same time, it is not the call of the Gospel of Jesus”. God’s cry to us in the face of the great challenge of climate change is just such a call. On Earth Day, April 22, leading national Catholic organizations (including the CMSM, LCWR, and USCCB) called on all Catholics to enter seriously into the discussion on climate change and to act in ways that will help all to meet the challenges it presents.
They produced a very powerful 4 minute video which clearly points out a distinctly Gospel based, Catholic contribution to any consideration of the effects of climate change- the linking of our call to care for creation with our call to care for “the least of these”, the poor who will be most adversely affected. To view it, click YouTube - Catholic Climate Covenant - Who's Under Your Carbon ...
Then click St. Francis Pledge where you can sign on to pledge to learn and pray about the effects of climate change and move yourself to act in ways that are an answer to the call of the Gospel.
To learn more about the effects of climate change and for suggestions for your prayer and actions you can take, go towww.catholicclimatecovenant.org .
Our Use of Water and Climate Change
The corporate control of water can greatly effect climate change. This file water-disaste1 will put you in touch with a very brief but engaging and thought provoking slideshow on bottled water and it will provide you with some things you might consider as you reflect on your attitude toward, and use of, bottled water.
A major reason for re-examining our use of bottled water is that the corporate control of water is having a deleterious effect on the 1.1 billion people who currently lack access to enough drinking water. To learn more about this, click the link -Think Outside the Bottle | Corporate Accountability International