Life Justice Ministry

Life and Justice

 

Overview of Laudato Si’ Goals and Actions


Laudato Si’ Plans help your institution, community, or family discern and implement your response to Laudato Si’. The ecological crisis is “a summons to profound interior conversion,” areexamining of our relationships with the Creator, with creation, and with our sisters and brothers. (LS 217) This conversion process is one that unfolds over months and even years, as the Holy Spirit calls us to an ever deeper richness of spirit.


In our response to that conversion, we realize that “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue.” (LS 216). Action is needed. The Laudato Si’ Goals guide our actions. They redefine and rebuild our relationship with each other and our common home. Their holistic approach acknowledges the planetary limits of all socio-economic systems and the human roots of the ecological crisis. They call for a spiritual and cultural revolution to realise integral ecology.


The Response to the Cry of the Earth is a call to protect our common home for the wellbeing of all, as we equitably address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and ecological sustainability. A proposed set of actions to make progress towards this goal includes the following (to be finalized in the coming months).


● Protecting the climate by installing solar panels, insulating buildings,
buying renewable energy credits where available, and installing cleaner or
more efficient cookstoves or appliances
● Protecting biodiversity by planting native trees, planting native gardens,
removing invasive species, practicing regenerative agriculture, and
protecting pollinators
● Protecting waterways and land by ensuring sensible fertilizer use,
instituting drop irrigation and other conservative irrigation models,
planting waterway buffers, avoiding the installation of impermeable
surfaces around buildings, instituting regular litter removal and
prevention campaigns, and pursuing conservation schemes


The Response to the Cry of the Poor is a call to promote eco-justice, aware that we are called to defend human life from conception to death, and all forms of life on Earth. A proposed set of actions to make progress towards this goal includes the following (to be finalized in the coming months).


● Protecting all life through educational events
● Delivering WASH services by ensuring access to clean water, training
community members in hygiene practices, and ensuring diverse
community members plan WASH projects
● Promoting and protecting Indigenous leadership by ensuring Indigenous
communities have the rights to their land and by elevating Indigenous
leadership
● Delivering access to land and clean air by ensuring community members
have free access to green space and that children’s spaces are free of air
pollution
● Growing in solidarity with vulnerable people by doing an audit of
community challenges, delivering programs to address basic needs, and
delivering programs to address failed systems
● Sharing resources and wisdom by learning from elders, sharing social
resources, sharing monetary resources, and holding community-wide
action days.


Ecological Economics acknowledges that the economy is a sub-system of human society, which itself is embedded within the biosphere–our common home. A proposed set of actions to make progress towards this goal includes the following (to be finalized in the coming months).


● Building and supporting the circular economy by launching trading
communities and purchasing from retailers that use recycled materials
● Ensuring financial investments are ethical and sustainable by divesting
from fossil fuels, investing in socially responsible enterprises, amd
choosing ethical banking and insurance companies
● Practicing fair and sustainable purchasing by supporting ethical
businesses, taking a “total cost of ownership approach” to purchases,
making a sustainability shopping list, and purchasing from local retailers
● Ensuring the dignity of workers by supporting good jobs with liveable
wages and benefits, supporting cooperative management practices,
supporting those who perform “care labor,” and buying from cooperatives
and other ethical enterprises
● Participating in the gift economy by teaching gift economy values


The Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles is grounded in the idea of sufficiency, and promoting sobriety in the use of resources and energy. A proposed set of actions to make progress towards this goal includes the following (to be finalized in
the coming months).


● Improving sustainability in buildings by installing cleaner or more efficient
lighting, reducing use of heating and air conditioning, and installing
low-flow taps
● Improving sustainability in transportation by increasing use of electric
vehicles or bicycles and by replacing air and auto trips
● Improving sustainability in diets by reducing food waste before and after
market, composting, buying food from local producers when possible, and
transitioning from meat-based to plant-based meals
● Improving sustainability in consumer purchases by eliminating the use of
disposable plastic and styrofoam, correctly recycling as much as possible,
and reducing purchases of new consumer goods
Ecological Education is about re-thinking and re-designing curricular and
institutional reform in the spirit of integral ecology in order to foster ecological
awareness and transformative action. A proposed set of actions to make progress
towards this goal includes the following (to be finalized in the coming months).
● Developing Laudato Si’ learning opportunities by implementing a Laudato
Si’ education plan and by ensuring that members of the community are
familiar with the local ecosystem, the science and social dimensions of the
ecological crisis, and ecological virtues
● Ensuring education is community-led by creating ways for educators to
undergo ecological conversions, creating opportunities for youth-led
events, and developing mechanisms to publicly recognize young people
for their leadership
● Weaving Laudato Si’ themes into the community's communications by
regularly highlighting them in newsletters/bulletins and on social media
and by encouraging community members to develop Laudato Si’ Plans
● Delivering equitable access to education by ensuring under-represented
groups are educated, shaping education programs with a wide variety of
people, offering culturally appropriate and/or alternative forms of
education, and ensuring that education promotes human rights and
dignity.


Ecological Spirituality recovers a religious vision of God’s creation and encourages greater contact with the natural world in a spirit of wonder, praise, joy and gratitude. A proposed set of actions to make progress towards this goal includes the following (to be finalized in the coming months).


● Celebrating the Season of Creation by co-hosting a Season of Creation
event with another community, publicly praying for our social and
ecological redemption during the season, developing an annual Season of
Creation practice, and publishing annual statements of support for the
Season of Creation
● Encouraging community reflection on Laudato Si’ themes by having the
leader of the community speak about them, including them in the
celebration of liturgical moments, and making study and prayer guides
available
● Praying in nature by blessing a natural space as a reflection/meditation
area and regularly praying there, hosting an outdoor prayer service, and
creating a prayer journal, bulletin board, or other way of recording and
sharing prayers made in nature


Community Engagement and Participatory Action encourage the development of cultures and policies that protect our common home and all who share it. A proposed set of actions to make progress towards this goal includes
the following (to be finalized in the coming months).


● Advocating for social and ecological causes by identifying a
social/environmental policy focus, organizing public and/or private
community events with officials to discuss advocacy issues, maintaining a
regular review of policies and sharing updates with the community, and
having a community leader make public statements about advocacy
issues
● Engaging the wider public by organizing social/ecological events, regularly
exploring the local ecosystem as a group, and writing for local
newspapers or commenting on local news stories related to Laudato Si’
themes
● Developing a social response to shared challenges by collaborating with
leaders to identify ways the Church can support your social/ecological
programs and developing a community coalition to prepare for and
respond to emergent social crises
● Developing resilience by analyzing the physical, social, and spiritual ways
your community is likely to be affected by climate change and biodiversity
loss and making a plan to resiliently prepare for those changes, ensuring
buildings are prepared for changes in heat, storm intensity, and sea-level
rise, and ensuring members of the community are able to travel to other
locations in the event of a weather emergency

 

October 31, 2021

All are welcome to join our Life and Justice Ministry and/or our Creation Care team. At our most recent meeting of the Creation Care Team we turned to the papal letter of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si”, on the care of our common home.

We also looked at suggestions from Catholic Climate Covenant as to how each of us can care for creation. There are many simple ways we are already doing this: Using LEDs instead of regular light bulbs; Lowering the thermostat on the heater; Unplugging appliances not in use.

For more ideas, please refer to the two sources listed above or visit our webpage at https://www.saintmaxkolbe.com/life-justice-ministry for the links.

We also continue to pray for all those participating in the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP26) which is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31-November 12.

 

October 24, 2021

 The next meeting of the Life and Justice Ministry will take place on Monday, November 1, at 7PM in Immaculata Hall. We welcome new members and are grateful for the newly-formed Creation Care Team! In this “Respect Life” month, we continue to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life as we address issues of poverty, immigration, capital punishment and climate change. Please

join us.

Sister Connie Trainor, SSJ

October 18, 2021

The next meeting of the Life and Justice Mininstry will place on Monday, November 1, at 7PM in Immaculata Hall. We welcome new members and are grateful for the newly-formed Creation Care Team! In this "Respect Life" Month, we continue to reflect more deeply on the dignity of climate change and every human life as we address issues of poverty, immigration, capital punishment, climate change. Please join us.

The Catholic Climate Petition for individuals
 
Send a message to U.S. leaders: A Catholic appeal to work together to boldly protect our common home and our future.
We invite you to join your voice with thousands of individuals signing this climate action petition across the U.S. Catholic community as a faith-filled appeal to President Biden and the U.S. Congress, to work beyond partisanship and create climate solutions to care for present and future generations and our common home.
 
This Catholic petition is in solidarity with Catholic institutions that are signing a Catholic climate action letter. We will deliver these united messages during Season of Creation, seeking and praying that they will move the needle of the nation’s moral compass toward the bold and ambitious solutions the nation and world need to address the climate crisis.
 
Sign the electronic petition at the bottom of the page before October 4.
You will need to use Microsoft, Google or Chrome to view the petition. Thank you!

 

September 26, 2021

As National Migration Week 2021 comes to a close, Pope Francis invites us to celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. We are called upon to remember and pray for those displaced by conflict and persecution. The Pope’s message pays particular attention to the care of our common family, which, together with the care of our common home, encourages us to become ever more welcoming. We pray that, as more people come to our shores, we may open our hearts to those in need.

Sister Connie Trainor, SSJ

 

September 19, 2021

 In this time of heightened awareness of people arriving at our southern border, as well as those fleeing Afghanistan, we join with Catholics around our nation in celebrating National Migration Week. This is an opportunity for the Church to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children and victims and survivors of human trafficking. The primary theme this year is “Towards an ever wider “We”. In his letter announcing this year’s theme. Pope Francis emphasizes that “this focus calls us to ensure that ‘after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them and ‘those, but only ‘us. (Fratelli tutti, (We are all brothers) no. 35). The “we” of which Pope Francis speaks is not determined by national borders or ethnic and racial identities but is based on our common humanity and in our conviction that each of us is made in the image of God. The Holy Father has noted that we are a “Church without borders” and as such we have a responsibility to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort those in prison and welcome the stranger, wherever they may be.

For more information on National Migration Week go to:

https://www.usccb.org/committees/migration/national-migration-week-2021

Sister Connie Trainor, SSJ

 

September 12, 2021

As we continue to celebrate the Season of Creation, Pope Francis reminds us that this is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and with all of creation.  He encourages everyone to question the way we live, and to turn “towards lifestyles that are simpler and more respectful of the environment”. The Holy Father has also stressed that the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor are becoming increasingly serious and alarming”, urging Catholics to take “decisive, urgent action to transform this crisis into an opportunity”.  Our Holy Father also adds, “Let us pray and work for our common home in these times of grave planetary crisis.”

Sister Connie Trainor

August 22, 2021

Pope Francis has established September 1 through October 4 (feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) as the Season of Creation. During this season we are asked to join together to celebrate creation and protect our common home through prayer, reflection and action. This year we celebrate this Season of Creation mindful of the fact that our world continues to deal with COVID-19 pandemic as well as a devastating climate crisis. The global Christian family is called to awaken to the urgent need to heal our relationships with each other and to encourage our parish communities to do the same.—Sister Connie Trainor

August 15, 2021

We are so grateful to the members of our Life & Justice Ministry who also belong to the Catholic Relief Services Chapter of South Jersey. This past week they met with Representative Jeff Van Drew concerning the need for humanitarian aid for our suffering brothers and sisters throughout the world. They hope to meet with Senator Cory Booker later this month. For more information please visit www.crs.org  -Sister Connie

 

Ignatian Solidarity Network is another suggestion from the Life and Justice Ministry for your summer reading and praying. Their mission is to network, educate and inform advocates for social justice. This is based on the teachings of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. If interested, please visit their website at:

https://ignatiansolidarity.net/

 

Life & Justice Suggested Reading List

 At our last meeting we suggested various online offerings in the area of environmental justice.  We also suggested some books that deal with justice & mercy issues.  Some ideas include:

 

  • The Compassion Connection by Sister Catherine Nerney, SSJ (Love your Neighbor)

 

  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (Historical Study of The Great Migration)

 

  • Laudato Si’ by Pope Francis (Care of Creation)

 

  • American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (A Novel about Immigration)

 

 

21 Day Environmental Justice Challenge

For more information and to sign up, go to:21-Day Catholic Enviro Justice Challenge (wufoo.com)

 

 

Parish Lenten Series

 

“The Church’s Best Kept Secret”

Catholic social teaching is often referred to as “The Church’s best kept secret."  That may be true.  But the teachings themselves are no secret at all.  In fact they are very much common sense.  Essentially, Catholic Social Teachings are just a means of putting the concept of “Love thy Neighbor” into action. 

The Parish of St Maximilian Kolbe Life & Justice Ministry hosted a series of workshops to discuss Catholic Social Teachings and relating the teachings to our communities and our role in those communities.  The purpose of the  presentation(s) was to provide participants with an introduction into some topics of Catholic Social Teaching.  The hope would be to encourage a greater investigation into this rich tradition and to see how this touches our everyday lives.

The sessions featured presenters who are involved in a variety of community based initiatives.  Presenters focused on their topic and service and relate this topic and service to Catholic Social Teachings including Life & Dignity, Participation, Rights & Responsibilities, The Poor & Vulnerable, Rights of Workers, Care for our Environment and Solidarity.

These relaxed conversational presentations demonstrated how these principles are being actively applied in our community on a daily basis.  We also discussed opportunities for attendees to participate in these efforts.

For more information, go to  Love your Neighbor

 

 

January 31, 2021

The Life and Justice Ministry continues to study the themes of Catholic Social Teaching. This week we look at the “Call to Family, Community and Participation”. 

The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organize our society - in economics and politics, in law and policy-   directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.   

Sister Connie Trainor, SSJ

 

In the news:

Solidarity pilgrimage leads to new parish ministry | Catholic Star Herald