Dare to Care - Dec 16th 2022

Laudato Si Reflection

100. The New Testament does not only tell us of the earthly Jesus and his tangible and loving relationship with the world. It also shows him risen and glorious, present throughout creation by his universal Lordship: "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" (Col 1:19-20). This leads us to direct our gaze to the end of time, when the Son will deliver all things to the Father, so that "God may be everything to every one" (1 Cor 15:28). Thus, the creatures of this world no longer appear to us under merely natural guise because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness as their end. The very flowers of the field and the birds which his human eyes contemplated and admired are now imbued with his radiant presence.

Reflection: We hold the mystery of God being “everything to everyone” so that all creation is “imbued with his radiant presence.” Such presence is utterly amazing. When we dare to believe it, our hearts dance. We hold an immense treasure, beyond words. When we trust this vision and promise, our trust expands exponentially. Turning our gaze to God’s desires, divine promise and presence transforms our gaze to the “power at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can even ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3). Why do we hesitate? What holds us back? Trust and dare to believe God’s promises and desires.

Action:  Share confidently what you believe with at least one other person.  Hearing yourself saying it aloud affirms and strengthens both you and the listener. Discuss what it means for you to believe this.

Season of Hope - Seven Things Christmas Teaches Us About Hope

No matter what challenges you face, Christmas offers powerful symbols of hope.

For Emily Dickinson, hope is the thing with feathers. In my world, hope is the thing with tinsel. And it can easily be found within classic Christmas stories of hope.

Like most people, Christmas evokes all kinds of emotions for me. There is grief of loved ones lost during Christmases past and holiday stress about how handle difficult relationships at family get-togethers. There is anxiety when I add yet another item to my ever-expanding holiday to-do list. And there is the sense of wonder when I drive through town and gaze up at all the lights and wreaths reminding me to hold on to the magical feeling I felt as a young girl on Christmas morning.

Most of all, though, Christmas inspires hope. The symbols and stories surrounding the birth of Jesus whisper into my ear, “Don’t give up. Keep going.”

Click Here to See the Seven Lessons in Hope

Climate Action

Step by Step:

In England, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) held a public consultation on a plan to ban the supply of single-use plastic items and polystyrene food and drink containers. This ran from November 2021 to February this year.

Single-use plastic plates, cutlery, balloon sticks, and expanded and extruded polystyrene cups could all now be phased out in a bid to reduce plastic pollution.

At the end of the consultation, the newspaper claimed the ban was delayed by chaos in Westminster. It has now cited government insiders who reportedly claim that Coffey is preparing to approve the ban.

The UK government banned single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England in 2020.

Click Here to read the Guardian Article

Click Here to Read the EU restrictions on Plastic


Dismantling Racism

Notre Dame of Maryland University faculty engage in the work of dismantling racism by Mary Packard, Associate

Two years ago the faculty at NDMU created a Faculty Anti-Racism Committee (ARC). One of its first accomplishments was the development of and consensus building around an anti-racism statement. At the same time, working in subcommittees, members of the ARC studied and made recommendations in the areas of culture, hiring practices, and anti-racist curriculum and pedagogy. This article highlights one of the recommendations that we made—the development of a year-long professional development experience for faculty.

Inspired by the work of Layla Saad (2020) in her text Me and White Supremacy, Drs. Jina Fast (Philosophy), Stephanie Savick (Education), and Mary Packard (Nursing) designed a two-part professional development opportunity for university faculty. Our hope is to engage the difficult work of deep reflection on our white supremacy and to eventually articulate and live anti-racist practices. Saad (2020) writes that three things are needed for this work: truth, love, and commitment. The work is necessarily dialogic. In order to create the possibility for the depth of work required we have organized our work according to the structure and processes of Circle Practice with emphasis on the principles of circle (Baldwin & Linnea, 2010)--rotating leadership, relying on wholeness, and sharing responsibility. And indeed, creating a culture of conversation.

Part One of the Professional Development consists of 4 - 1 ½ hour-long sessions over the course of the fall semester. Each session is guided by questions that Saad presents including the topics of white privilege, white fragility, white silence, anti-Blackness, tone policing, white feminism, white leaders, and more. Participants come prepared with reflections and share in a circle in the presence of one another and a rotating host and guardian. 

Part Two will be offered for the first time in the spring, 2023. We will read several texts together and focus on anti-racist curricula and pedagogical practices. So far, participants have expressed gratitude for this creation of a space for allowing vulnerability and deep shared reflection. We recognize that anti-racism is a lifelong practice and we are grateful to be sharing this journey of love, truth, and commitment. We acknowledge university support for materials and consultation through a faculty research grant. 

Mary and Stephanie are both SSND Associates and members of the SSND Dismantling Racism Committee.


Giovana OaxacaThe economic collapse of Juarez, Mexico where I was born, was dire. I was three. Poverty was increasing, crime too. My father made frequent trips into the U.S. to work to supplement my family’s income, but this was unsustainable, not to mention hard on our family. Soon enough, the choice was made to bring us up further North, to Oregon.

We settled into a largely immigrant community in the suburbs of Portland. My parents worked hard to provide my siblings and me with a well-rounded education. They taught us to be self-sufficient and critical of injustices, and in the undercurrent of their stories of tilling the soil in el rancho, how to be good stewards of the earth. In a way, they were warning us about the exploits of capitalism and corruption, which had uprooted them from their hometowns and cast them on the restless search for a better life.

In 2011, my mother was arrested and detained by Customs and Border Protection as she was attempting to reunite with us after visiting her ailing grandmother, her only visit in over a decade. An incredible attorney agreed to take her case and helped us fight her deportation.

I was fortunate to apply for DACA when it was announced. DACA was a lifeline and instrumental in helping me attain an education. In college, I started on a path of political activism and community service. It led to NETWORK Lobby where I currently work as a Government Relations Associate. I am using my experience with the immigration system as a young activist and DACA recipient to be outspoken in denouncing racism and demanding changes to systems that perpetuate poverty, violence, and oppression for people of color.— by Giovana Oaxaca

— Giovana Oaxaca is a DACA recipent and a current Government Relations Associate at NETWORK Lobby, a JFI core member organization, in Washington, DC

Human Trafficking

Wellness Weekend for Male Human Trafficking Survivors

“Once a survivor is no longer being trafficked, his trauma doesn’t end there,” Flores said. “It takes a lifetime of hard work to heal the scars and become thrivers. Many times, male survivors are left out of the trafficking narrative. While there are thousands of victims, there are very few resources to help them heal.”

Read about the Wellness Weekend offered by USCSAHT, who brought together volunteers from around the country to help them heal. The retreat completely free to survivors of labor and sex trafficking. They were provided free plane tickets, luxury rooms, tasty and abundant food plus lots of goodies to take home.

Haiti Partnership

Research Results: Intimate Partner Violence Cut in Half

Beyond Borders Haiti, reports there is good news to share! A just-completed multi-year research collaboration with the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University found that the work of Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power Team in Haiti cut the rate of intimate partner violence by more than half, community-wide. Read Report Here

Hour of Prayer December 18th, 7pm

The situation in Haiti is dire. The gangs have taken over large sections of the country. So many women, children, and families are struggling to get food and clean water. Cholera is on the rise. U.S. missions in, with, and for the Haitian people are paralyzed due to safety concerns. The US Catholic Mission Association is organizing an hour of prayer for Haiti on Sunday (12/18) at 6 pm Central. Click here to register to participate via Zoom.

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