The Mother Cabrini Shrine Outreach Committee sponsored an information gathering session on the topic of Human Trafficking with the focus on Colorado and the local counties. Kelly Zebroski from Child Protection Services and Gregg Slater from the County District Attorney Office were the speakers. Thirty-three people attended and took with them twenty English/Spanish name cards with the trafficking hotline number to be distributed in their areas. Attendees also took with them a copy of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart Corporate Stance on Human Trafficking.
“For the Gospel to draw near to a culture, the one who proclaims the Gospel must know not only the language of the people, but also their values, ways of living, and their particular ways of knowing.”
~ Pope Francis
On March 8 – 11, 2017 eleven MSCs gathered in New York to continue their formation on the topic of Intercultural Competency for effective ministry and service. The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSCs) are an international missionary community demonstrating the love of God in 15 countries. The development of intercultural competency is one way of approaching another culture with deep respect and reverence, recognizing that every culture has unique values, behaviors, and perceptions that shape their identity.
The workshop was facilitated by Arturo Chávez, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. The workshop focused on the following areas: differences in cultural values and orientations; stereotypes and prejudices; perceptions of power; and the dynamics of intercultural communication. The workshop further addressed interculturality in the social context of racism and the Church’s call for systematic justice and transformation.
Through the presentations, guided reflections and group dialogue our goal was to improve our skills for pastoral ministry, service and leadership as Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Dr. Donald B. Taylor, President of Cabrini University, shared the following message with the campus community this week: “Being the only university in the world named for the Patron Saint of Immigrants, it is important to share with you the excellent statement issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration regarding President Trump’s recent executive order.”
The complete text appears below:
U.S. Bishops Chairman on Migration says New Executive Order Still Leaves Many Innocent Lives
March 6, 2017
WASHINGTON—The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, says that President Trump’s latest Executive Order still puts vulnerable populations around the world at risk. In a statement issued after the announcement of today’s travel suspension, Bishop Vásquez says that while we seek to maintain our values and safety, we must also exercise compassion in assisting and continuing to welcome the stranger.
Bishop Vázquez’s full statement follows:
“We remain deeply troubled by the human consequences of the revised executive order on refugee admissions and the travel ban. While we note the Administration’s efforts to modify the Executive Order in light of various legal concerns, the revised Order still leaves many innocent lives at risk.
The removal of one of the original seven predominantly Muslim countries temporarily barred from entering the United States is welcome, but we are disappointed that the revised order maintains the temporary shutdown of the U.S. refugee admissions program, continues the more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled into the United States this year, and still temporarily bars nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The U.S. Catholic Bishops have long recognized the importance of ensuring public safety and would welcome reasonable and necessary steps to accomplish that goal.
However, based on the knowledge that refugees are already subjected to the most vigorous vetting process of anyone who enters the United States, there is no merit to pausing the refugee resettlement program while considering further improvement to that vetting process.
The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion, including Christians, Muslims, and all others. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith and “welcoming the stranger” as Jesus has challenged us to do.
Today, more than 65 million people around the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops reaffirm their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in defense of vulnerable persons. Resettling only 50,000 refugees a year, down fr om 110,000, does not reflect the need, our compassion, and our capacity as a nation. We have the ability to continue to assist the most vulnerable among us without sacrificing our values as Americans or the safety and security of our nation.”
The Cabrini High School Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Elizabeth Argus earned Superior Ratings at the Louisiana Music Educators Association Solo and Small Ensemble Regional Festival. These singers have all qualified for advancement to the Louisiana State Rally Music Event.
Guns: Violence and Safety
A Panel Discussion
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Iadarola Lecture Hall
Panel discussion addressing regional initiatives to address gun ownership and gun violence.
Diana Trasatti – NJ Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Diana Trassati is an alumna of Cabrini University and volunteer Communications Lead for the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She and the NJ chapter recently drove more than 4,000 messages to protest Gov. Christie’s veto of a bipartisan law requiring domestic abusers to turn in their guns.
Charles Howard, PhD – UPenn Chaplain, Activist and Poet
Rev. Charles Howard, PhD is the University Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania, and has launched the Gun-Free World initiative that uses music, poetry and visual art to spark encounter and dialogue around issues of gun violence.
Bryan Miller – Heeding God’s Call
Brian Miller is the executive director of Heeding God’s Call, a faith based group working to prevent gun violence, and previously was executive director of Ceasefire NJ. After Miller’s brother, a DC metro police officer, was killed in a shooting in a police station he has committed himself to gun violence prevention.
Gun ownership continues to be a contentious issue in our society, and shootings account for a staggering number of deaths each year, whether in the form of mass shootings, gang-related killings, or handgun-inflicted suicides. This panel of regional experts, activists, and institutional leaders address recent developments and continuing challenges in this area.
This panel discussion is part of the Lenten Lecture Series: Blessed Are the Peacemakers. It will present an intimate conversation among practitioners and allow students, faculty, and staff to enter into dialogue with people working in the trenches of social justice issues.
All events are free and open to the public. Course attendance is welcome.
Friendship with God
God – out of the abundance of divine relational life, not any need for us – desires humans into existence for the sake of friendship. This thesis may sound strange, because it runs counter to much teaching about God. As I begin my Lenten journey, I pray to understand what it means for my life that God wants to be friends with me.
The entire season of Lent points towards my birth into eternal life and my on-going friendship with God.
Pope Francis has sent a message to hundreds of faith and community leaders taking part in a national meeting of popular movements in Modesto, California, in the United States.
The encounter, taking place from February 16th to 18th, has been organised with the support of the Vatican’s new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, the U.S. Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the National Network of People Improving Communities through Organizing (PICO).
In the message, the Pope encourages participants to persevere with their commitment to fight for social justice, to work for environmental protection and to stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants.
Please find below the full English language text of Pope Francis’ message:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your effort in replicating on a national level the work being developed in the World Meetings of Popular Movements. By way of this letter, I want to encourage and strengthen each one of you, your organizations, and all who strive with you for “Land, Work and Housing,” the three T’s in Spanish: Tierra, Trabajo y Techo. I congratulate you for all that you are doing.
I would like to thank the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, its chairman Bishop David Talley, and the host Bishops Stephen Blaire, Armando Ochoa and Jaime Soto, for the wholehearted support they have offered to this meeting. Thank you, Cardinal Peter Turkson, for your continued support of popular movements from the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. It makes me very happy to see you working together towards social justice! How I wish that such constructive energy would spread to all dioceses, because it builds bridges between peoples and individuals. These are bridges that can overcome the walls of exclusion, indifference, racism, and intolerance.
I would also like to highlight the work done by the PICO National Network and the organizations promoting this meeting. I learned that PICO stands for “People Improving Communities through Organizing”. What a great synthesis of the mission of popular movements: to work locally, side by side with your neighbors, organizing among yourselves, to make your communities thrive.
A few months ago in Rome, we talked at the third World Meeting of Popular Movements about walls and fear, about bridges and love. Without wanting to repeat myself, these issues do challenge our deepest values.
We know that none of these ills began yesterday. For some time, the crisis of the prevailing paradigm has confronted us. I am speaking of a system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few. “In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history.”
As Christians and all people of good will, it is for us to live and act at this moment. It is “a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse.” These are signs of the times that we need to recognize in order to act. We have lost valuable time: time when we did not pay enough attention to these processes, time when we did not resolve these destructive realities. Thus the processes of dehumanization accelerate. The direction taken beyond this historic turning-point—the ways in which this worsening crisis gets resolved—will depend on people’s involvement and participation and, largely, on yourselves, the popular movements.
We should be neither paralyzed by fear nor shackled within the conflict. We have to acknowledge the danger but also the opportunity that every crisis brings in order to advance to a successful synthesis. In the Chinese language, which expresses the ancestral wisdom of that great people, the word “crisis” is comprised of two ideograms: Wēi, which represents “danger”, and Jī, which represents “opportunity”.
The grave danger is to disown our neighbors. When we do so, we deny their humanity and our own humanity without realizing it; we deny ourselves, and we deny the most important Commandments of Jesus. Herein lies the danger, the dehumanization. But here we also find an opportunity: that the light of the love of neighbor may illuminate the Earth with its stunning brightness like a lightning bolt in the dark; that it may wake us up and let true humanity burst through with authentic resistance, resilience and persistence.
The question that the lawyer asked Jesus in the Gospel of Luke (10:25-37) echoes in our ears today: “Who is my neighbor?” Who is that other whom we are to love as we love ourselves? Maybe the questioner expects a comfortable response in order to carry on with his life: “My relatives? My compatriots? My co-religionists? …” Maybe he wants Jesus to excuse us from the obligation of loving pagans or foreigners who at that time were considered unclean. This man wants a clear rule that allows him to classify others as “neighbor” and “non-neighbor”, as those who can become neighbors and those who cannot become neighbors.
Jesus responds with a parable which features two figures belonging to the elite of the day and a third figure, considered a foreigner, a pagan and unclean: the Samaritan. On the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, the priest and the Levite come upon a dying man, whom robbers have attacked, stripped and abandoned. In such situations the Law of the Lord imposes the duty to offer assistance, but both pass by without stopping. They were in a hurry. However, unlike these elite figures, the Samaritan stopped. Why him? As a Samaritan he was looked down upon, no one would have counted on him, and in any case he would have had his own commitments and things to do—yet when he saw the injured man, he did not pass by like the other two who were linked to the Temple, but “he saw him and had compassion on him” (v. 33). The Samaritan acts with true mercy: he binds up the man’s wounds, transports him to an inn, personally takes care of him, and provides for his upkeep. All this teaches us that compassion, love, is not a vague sentiment, but rather means taking care of the other to the point of personally paying for him. It means committing oneself to take all the necessary steps so as to “draw near to” the other to the point of identifying with him: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the Lord’s Commandment.
The economic system that has the god of money at its center, and that sometimes acts with the brutality of the robbers in the parable, inflicts injuries that to a criminal degree have remained neglected. Globalized society frequently looks the other way with the pretence of innocence. Under the guise of what is politically correct or ideologically fashionable, one looks at those who suffer without touching them. But they are televised live; they are talked about in euphemisms and with apparent tolerance, but nothing is done systematically to heal the social wounds or to confront the structures that leave so many brothers and sisters by the wayside. This hypocritical attitude, so different from that of the Samaritan, manifests an absence of true commitment to humanity.
Sooner or later, the moral blindness of this indifference comes to light, like when a mirage dissipates. The wounds are there, they are a reality. The unemployment is real, the violence is real, the corruption is real, the identity crisis is real, the gutting of democracies is real. The system’s gangrene cannot be whitewashed forever because sooner or later the stench becomes too strong; and when it can no longer be denied, the same power that spawned this state of affairs sets about manipulating fear, insecurity, quarrels, and even people’s justified indignation, in order to shift the responsibility for all these ills onto a “non-neighbor”. I am not speaking of anyone in particular, I am speaking of a social and political process that flourishes in many parts of the world and poses a grave danger for humanity.
Jesus teaches us a different path. Do not classify others in order to see who is a neighbor and who is not. You can become neighbor to whomever you meet in need, and you will do so if you have compassion in your heart. That is to say, if you have that capacity to suffer with someone else. You must become a Samaritan. And then also become like the innkeeper at the end of the parable to whom the Samaritan entrusts the person who is suffering. Who is this innkeeper? It is the Church, the Christian community, people of compassion and solidarity, social organizations. It is us, it is you, to whom the Lord Jesus daily entrusts those who are afflicted in body and spirit, so that we can continue pouring out all of his immeasurable mercy and salvation upon them. Here are the roots of the authentic humanity that resists the dehumanization that wears the livery of indifference, hypocrisy, or intolerance.
I know that you have committed yourselves to fight for social justice, to defend our Sister Mother Earth and to stand alongside migrants. I want to reaffirm your choice and share two reflections in this regard.
First, the ecological crisis is real. “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.” Science is not the only form of knowledge, it is true. It is also true that science is not necessarily “neutral”—many times it conceals ideological views or economic interests. However, we also know what happens when we deny science and disregard the voice of Nature. I make my own everything that concerns us as Catholics. Let us not fall into denial. Time is running out. Let us act. I ask you again—all of you, people of all backgrounds including native people, pastors, political leaders—to defend Creation.
The other is a reflection that I shared at our most recent World Meeting of Popular Movements, and I feel is important to say it again: no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist. Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist. No people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent. “The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and will eventually explode.” There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia. By confronting terror with love, we work for peace.
I ask you for meekness and resolve to defend these principles. I ask you not to barter them lightly or apply them superficially. Like Saint Francis of Assisi, let us give everything of ourselves: where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, let us sow pardon; where there is discord, let us sow unity; where there is error, let us sow truth.
Please know that I pray for you, that I pray with you, and I ask God our Father to accompany and bless you. May He shower you with his love and protect you. I ask you to please pray for me too, and to carry on.
Vatican City, 10 February 2017 (from Vatican Radio)
Cabrini University attempted to break the Guinness World Records™ title for the largest sock drive in 8 hours in 1 location. The existing record was 2,459 pairs. 3,916 pairs were donated and will be distributed to people experiencing homelessness in the Philadelphia area through The Joy of Sox. At this time the University is waiting for the sock count to be verified and it should become official in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the socks will be boxed and delivered to homeless shelters in the greater Philadelphia area. Through the generosity of the Cabrini University community and friends many homeless brothers and sisters will have the comfort of fresh, new pair of socks. Thank you to all for your generosity.
“We need young people who are alert and searching, trying to respond to God’s dream and to all the restlessness present in the human heart.”
Pope Francis at World Youth Day, July 2016
Thousands of youth each year are challenged to disconnect from phones and computers and become alert to the stirring of the Spirit within. (See the following reflection from Pope Francis.)
Each of the guests of Cabrini Retreat Center has a special prayer companion during their retreat. Sr. Grace Waters, MSC organizes the “Prayer Partner” program that links an individual Missionary Sister with a specific group of teens or adults.
The Retreat Center staff and guests are always grateful for this sharing in the mission. Each group is “introduced” to their Prayer Partner though a bulletin board that displays a photo and name of the Sister – in their welcome, the Hospitality Team names the Sisters to the group.
“The staff and youth minister are privileged to see miracles everyday – hearts touched, lives changed by God’s grace. “Thank you” seems a inadequate to response to our Sister Sponsors and Prayer Partners,” says Retreat Center Director Nancy Golen in the name of the Retreat Center Team.
To commemorate the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita on February 8th members of the Cabrini University community gathered for “Cabrinian Responses to Immigration Issues: A Breakfast Conversation.” Tom Southard, Executive Director of the Wolfington Center, welcomed students, faculty and staff to the event with a brief story about the life of Sr. Bakhita, and Sr. Christine Marie Baltas, MSC, offered a reflection on the work of Sr. Bakhita in light of our Catholic and Cabrinian mission as a University.
President Donald Taylor offered further reflections on the statements of solidarity with immigrants that he has signed on behalf of the University, reading aloud two letters, from a current student and an alumna, which offered contrasting views on whether the University should take a public stand on these issues. While maintaining the vital importance of honest discussion and diverse perspectives on these matters, President Taylor explained the rationale for his decision to make such strong public statements—rooted in the Cabrinian corporate stance on immigration, Mother Cabrini’s identity as the Patroness of Immigrants, and Pope Francis’ teachings on these matters.
The event featured a talk by Fr. Augustine Puleo, PhD, who offered a first-hand perspective on the realities of life in the predominantly Mexican-immigrant parish of St. Patrick’s in Norristown, PA. Fr. Gus began his talk with two prayers: the Prayer of St. Francis, and the Novena to Mother Cabrini. Through a series of stories involving the highs and lows of life in St. Pat’s, Fr. Gus emphasized the vibrant faith of his congregants, the massive obstacles they face in raising their families, and the continuous work done by the church to offer hope and assistance to the most poor and vulnerable. The great Catholic call to respect the life and dignity of all, he reminded us, extends from conception to natural death—and includes prenatal care, assistance for at-risk children, and a viable path to higher education. In the end, Fr. Gus reminded us, none of the migrants in his parish live en las sombras (in the shadows), because they live in the light of Christ, and for all of us our true citizenship is in Heaven. These are concerns that would be close to the heart of Mother Cabrini, as we prayed at the outset: “Inspire me with your love of the Heart of Jesus; then, at my end, guide this my migrant soul and bring me safe to God.”
~submitted by Raymond E. Ward, PhD, Associate Director for Peace and Justice, Wolfington Center, Cabrini University