Monday, December 10, 2007

December 2007 -- Actions for Peace

Peace on earth, End the war
December 21, 2007 ; 5:00-6:00PM
downtown Royal Oak
A Call for Peace
This holiday season our nation is still at war, as it hasbeen the last four years. In this time of generosity of spirit, we mustcollectively stand up for peace as members of faith communities and peacegroups joining together. Our leaders must hear our message--we yearn forpeace. Unending war is not the way of the spirit. Sometimes we must lead ourleaders. Now is such a time. Join the Peace Walk You are invited to join the peace walk on Fri, Dec 21from 5-6PM in downtown Royal Oak , chosen for its central location. We willassemble at Royal Oak First United Methodist Church at 320 W. 7th Street,beginning at 4:30. We will start the one mile walk through downtown RoyalOak at 5:10PM. A map of the route is included. "Peace on earth, end the war"signs will be available to carry. The church will offer hot water for teaand cocoa and restrooms for our use.Coming together - our message is made even more powerful by communicatingthat many area groups and faith communities have come together for thispeace vigil. If your group has a banner or sign that identifies it, weencourage you to bring it.

Iraq Moratorium
This walk is being held in concert with the IraqMoratorium, a call initiated by United for Peace and Justice to end the warin Iraq. UPJ is a coalition of 1300 organizations nationwide. Theyencourage citizens to host events each month on the third Friday to focusAmerica on the need to end the war. This is our second Third Friday event.More will follow. If you would like to help plan the next one, pleasecontact our team at wethepeople2008@ Parking: At the church, on the street, and also, in the city parkingstructure on S. Lafayette between W. Fifth St. and W. Sixth St.Chuck Altman, Carol Christensen, Jeffrey Kolakowski, and Rev. Rich Peacock For More Information http://www.11hour4p>and wethepeople@

This is being organized by the group "11th Hour for Peace" who vigil againstthe war every Saturday 11-11:30 at Rochester Road & Big Beaver.

Friday, November 9, 2007

'Their War'?

"In a nation of more than 300 million people, less than 1 percent serve in all the armed forces combined, active duty and reserve.

Compare that to previous wartimes:
4 percent served during Vietnam,
12 percent during World War II,
11 percent during the Civil War."

This quote from the article by Kristin Henderson, Washington Post, July 2007, is only a quick piece for reflection when considering the military engagements we are currently in.

I highly recommend you to read this piece and reflect on how our interaction, or lack thereof, with military personnel informs our current way of proceeding.
*click on the title 'Their War?' and it will take you to the piece; the link is also below:

California Jesuit takes a stand against torture

A notice from John McGarry, S.J., the CAL Provincial, on an action taken by a Jesuit that corresponds with one of our international priorities, War and Violence:

"On Wednesday, October 17, Fathers Stephen Kelly, S.J., and Louis Vitale, O.F.M., were sentenced to five months in federal prison for their participation in a nonviolent act of civil disobedience at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, for which they were arrested on November 19, 2006. At the time of their arrest, Louie and Steve were trying to deliver a letter denouncing certain methods of “interrogation training” sanctioned by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to then-commander Major General Barbara Fast. (The link to their letter can be found on the Province website:"

Another update on this situation is in the most recent Catholic Worker, October-November 2007 issue written by Bill Quigley, a human-rights lawyer and Loyola New Orleans professor who represented Frs. Kelly and Vitale in court.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

U.S. and Arms Sales to Developing World

In a recent article in the New York Times (01/10/2007), it highlights the mammoth role of the US in selling arms to developing countries. I include the link above for your review to see the full article and attach a graphic that accompanied this piece.

As I read this piece, several items for reflection occurred to me:
1. We are currently using our sales of arms to influence 'developing' states. Yet, ironically, the sale of weapons rarely helps in dialogue or negotiations so the type of development we are seeking is unclear.
2. We are selling to countries whose records on democracy and human rights is questionable, at best. Pakistan, recently in the news for Gen. Musharref's decision to suspend their constitution, is a major recipient of US arms sales.
3. For Jesuits and colleagues in the continent of Africa, small arms grossly affect their daily lives. Concerns over safety and building skills for real dialogue between conflicting parties are exacerbated by the prevalence of guns.

At the World Social Forum held in Nairobi, Kenya in January 2007, I attended several workshops on this issue and learned that African countries are the most active at the United Nations level in trying to limit weapons coming into their countries.

The 10 US Jesuit Provincials have prioritized the issue of 'War and Violence' as it relates to our international relationships so that we all might informs ourselves and advocate for responsible change. Future postings will address this reality as a start.

If you want more information, don't hesitate to contact me....


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

2 Simple Ways to Support Immigration Reform -- NOW!

This is a critical time for Immigration Reform -- and I'm requesting that you take just a few minutes to act on behalf of those who are most in need and vulnerable in our society right now.

*** "Immigration" issues have been named by the
Provincials of the US Assistancy as a social priority for us in the 110th Congress.
The debate in the Senate right now will make/break any immigration reform that could be possibleprior to the shifting of focus to the 2008 elections. ***

Please, please act... Below are 2 ways and sample email messages/phone messages you can use to engage this action. If you have any questions, please do NOT hesitate to contact me. With much of the academic calendar coming to a close, it is a busy time of year for many in our works. But 10 minutes of your time could affect the entire life of a fellow son/daughter of God.

The Senate has been engaging this issue for some time; debate resumed on June 5, 2008. According to the Justice for Immigrants campaign (, this is a KEY time to contact members of the Senate and communicate our message motivated by our Gospel heritage.
MI Senators:
Sen. Carl Levin(202) 224-6221
Sen. Debbie Stabenow(202) 224-4822
OH Senators:
Sen. George Voinovich(202) 224-3353
Sen. Sherrod Brown(202) 224-2315

2 simple ways YOU can act to help:
i. simply leave your message with a staffer with the suggested text below and make sure you leave your name and place of residence
i. Copy the text below into an email and sign your name (including your place of residence and title)
ii. Go to the following sites and use their automatic message service:
* Jesuit Conference --
* Justice for Immigrants (USCCB sponsored site) --

1. Our most simple message is 'we support amendments which strengthen family unity and oppose amendments that limit the numberof persons eligible for the Z visa legalization program.'

2. The USCCB does not support or oppose the Senate Immigration Bill, S. 1348. They are urging men and women of faith to see this billas the starting point and to make it better with the addition of several key amendments. We support the following amendments:
a. #1194 (Menendez-Hagel) which moves the cut-off date for family backlogreduction from May 2005 to January 1, 2007; This would help 800,000 applications and strengthen family reunification.
b. #1183 (Clinton-Hagel) which would move immediate relatives (spouses, minor children) of legal permanent residents from a capped category to the uncapped immediate relative category, thereby eliminating backlogs from this group

Sample text:
'Hello, my name is _________________________, and I live in the State of ______________. I am calling to ask Senator __________ to support comprehensive immigration reform by supporting the Menendez/Hagel amendment (#1194) to the Senate Immigration Bill S. 1348, as it would enable poeple who have gone through appropriate channels to maintain family unity through the backlog reduction provisionsof the bill. I do support the path to legalization for the undocumented, but believe in the issue of fairness that all families who applied before January of 2007 for family visas should be considered.

Secondly, I would ask Sen. __________ to please support the Clinton/Hagel amendment (#1183) to ensure that visas for spouses and children of Legal Permanent Residents are not capped in the bill's backlog reduction provisions. Families deserve to remain intact, and trying to keep them apart will only rip our social fabric and entice more undocumented immigration. Thank you!'

If you need any help in this, please call/email me. I am here to help...And thank you for your work in helping immigration reform be reformed in a logical manner that helps our society and echoes our faith!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Iraq: Catholic Resources for Discernment

Dear Companions in Jesuit Ministry,

Peace of Christ!

This is a traditional greeting on Jesuit letters, and it takes on special meaning in these days when our nation is struggling over how best to find an elusive peace in war-torn Iraq. We are all painfully aware of the great consequence and complexity of the current policy deliberations. They are not only political and military decisions, but moral and ethical ones as well. Our Catholic faith calls us to participation in the national debate, especially in its moral and ethical aspects. That call is not only to us individually but as community – whether that be family, neighborhood, parish, school, retreat house – and we write to encourage and perhaps facilitate further discussion and participation.

The search for reconciliation in Iraq and here at home over these frequently divisive issues will only bear fruit through thoughtful discernment and informed dialogue. Yet, complicated by politics and self-interested agendas, much of the current public discourse can be contradictory and confusing. Many of us struggle to sift through it all to find good and helpful material. As a contribution to our common effort at good citizenship, we would like to offer a series of collected materials from various sources that we think helpful . We encourage you to consider these materials individually and in community.

Perhaps you would want to ask yourselves these questions:
- Does this material and particularly its assumptions coincide with my own experience?
- What are the moral and ethical norms that underlie the argument? Are they applied appropriately?
- How is this helpful for my own understanding and my own discussion and action, however informal, regarding our national decisions regarding Iraq?

The first set in an ongoing series of materials is now available at

We will provide other materials in the coming weeks. Any suggestions you might have for future materials would be welcome at And we apologize if you have received these materials in multiple ways. We are trying to send it as widely as possible.

As Companions of Christ’s Mission, may we pray for guidance from the Spirit He has sent to be with us always.

James R. Stormes SJ
Secretary, Social and International Ministries

Jesuit Conference

Monday, March 26, 2007

Prayer Request for Jesuit shareholder Advocacy

Prayer request for Jesuit shareholder advocacy
March 15, 2007

In 2003, Fr. Kolvenbach referenced the 34th General Congregation naming Africa as an area of apostolic preference for the Society of Jesus. (Apostolic Preferences 2003/01)

“Jesuits in Africa are engaged in the challenge of building up a young and vibrant African Church, rooted in the richness of different cultures, creating new bonds of solidarity among their peoples, and struggling to overcome the global forces that tend to marginalize the whole continent”

One concrete strategy to advance this apostolic directive has been shareholder advocacy. While our influence with host governments in lesser developed countries can be distant, we do have direct access to North American corporations that do business in these regions through our investments.

Particularly in lands which are resource-rich, the rewards of these natural gifts have generally eluded and often worsened the situation of people living near mineral wealth. The title of recent report by the Nigerian Catholic Bishops says it all, “The Travesty of Oil and Gas Wealth.” Through civil conflicts, corruption and environmental damage, investment which could improve conditions of host communities is often misdirected, lost or wasted. Sometimes civilians are caught in the violent clashes between armed interests, including contracted security forces. While host governments have a responsibility to their citizens, trans-national companies also have a vital role given their influence and infrastructure in these regions. In addition to our investments, the religious community brings the earned trust of host communities through local Jesuits ministries and other faith networks.

U.S. and Canadian Jesuit Provinces are united in our shareholder advocacy promoting human rights and global health. Jesuit provinces are currently leading shareholder dialogues with Bristol Myers Squibb, Monsanto and Occidental Petroleum.

For the past 2.5 years, we have also held dialogues with Chevron Corporation encouraging the adoption and deployment of a transparent, verifiable and comprehensive human rights policy to govern their exploratory, extractive, refining and distribution operations in the 180 countries where they operate. We maintain that human rights must include provisions for: sustainable development, consent of host communities, environmental stewardship, human rights training for employees and contracted security policies, and healthcare access.

On April 26, 2007 our Jesuit-led resolution will be considered at Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting before the full board of directors. Last year our resolution received an impressive 24% shareholder vote and we hope to build on that in the coming year. In the weeks prior to the meeting, Chevron shareholders will be casting their votes regarding this resolution. We petition all Jesuit institutions and friends of the Society who own Chevron stock to vote FOR of the Jesuit-led shareholder Resolution to develop a Human Rights policy.

We are thankful for the U.S. and Canadian Jesuit provincials who have unanimously supported this effort, as well as the other religious and social investors who have joined us, including Creighton and Marquette Universities who co-filed in support of our resolution. We enthusiastically invite others to consider joining this effort. We pray that corporate leadership within and beyond the energy sector, may see that their social license and long-term interests are best served by protecting human life and promoting the human potential of host communities. Please consider inviting your school, parish, religious community or organization to join the Jesuit shareholder advocacy effort through prayer and action.

Gracious God,
You gifted the earth with bountiful gifts –
gifts you intended to be shared equitably among all your peoples.
You crowned the splendor of creation with the gift of human life,
endowing each person with a measure of your own divine dignity.
Bless the efforts of those who work to insure that all share fairly in
your wondrous gifts.
Bless the efforts of those who work to insure that the dignity of all
your beloved children is protected and revered.
Move the hearts of those with power – corporate and civic leaders – to understand their responsibility to effect just policies and to be wise
stewards of your gifts.
May all persons of faith be tireless advocates for those who lack a voice in our world and may we all work unceasingly for the dawning of that justice without which there cannot be true and lasting peace. Amen.

National Jesuit Corporate Investment Responsibility Committee
Mr. Mark Potter (California Province)
Rev. Richard L. Millbourn, S.J. (Chicago Province)
Ms. Carrie Monnette (Detroit Province)
Mr. Tim Kelly (Maryland Province)
Rev. Michael Linden, S.J. (New England Province)
Rev. Kevin Cullen, S.J. (Missouri Province)
Ms. Mary Baudouin (New OrleƔns Province)
Rev. Mark Hallinan, S.J. (New York Province)
Mr. William Lockyear (Oregon Province)
Mr. John Sealey (Wisconsin Province)
Fr. Winston Rye, S.J. (Upper Canada Province)
Ms. Anna Bradley (Jesuit Conference Consultant for Socially Responsible Investing)
Mr. John Kleiderer (Jesuit Conference Liason)

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Metanoia - new issue now available!

The newest issue of Metanoia, the Detroit Province Social and International Ministries publication, is now ready.

You can view it online here or you can download it and print if off from your own computer at the Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus website at:!


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

JCSIM Statement on Iraq - February 2007

In early February 2007, the Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries (JCSIM), issued a statement in response to the call from President Bush about increasing military personnel in Iraq. It calls for greater efforts at a diplomatic response to the increasing violence rather than an increased number of US military personnel.

The name of the document is: "An Invitation to Persons of Good Will to Support Intensified Diplomacy Rather Than an Escalation of Military Force in Iraq". It was edited several times and signed by 8 of 9 members on the commission.

The full text appears below and copies of the statement will be sent out to each Jesuit community in the province with an invitation to take part in the 'actions' listed at the end. As the 4th anniversary of the US led invasion comes upon us on 19 March 2007, let us remember all those who are in need of our prayers and our actions for increased diplomacy. NOW is always the time to act for peace...

* * * * * * *

Statement by the Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries (JCSIM)
February 2007

An Invitation to Persons of Good Will to Support Intensified Diplomacy
Rather Than an Escalation of Military Force in Iraq

Prior to the outset of the Iraq War, members of the faith community expressed grave moral concerns about military intervention in Iraq and questioned whether the full consequences of such a war had been properly considered. Indeed, Bishop Wilton Gregory, speaking as the then President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote:

“We join with Pope John Paul in the conviction that war is not ‘inevitable’ and that ‘war is always a defeat for humanity’…Our bishops’ conference continues to question the moral legitimacy of any preemptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq... Based on the facts that are known, it is difficult to justify resort to war against Iraq, lacking clear and adequate evidence of an imminent attack of a grave nature or Iraq’s involvement in the terrorist attacks of September 11. With the Holy See and many religious leaders throughout the world, we believe that resort to war would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for the use of military force.”

Given how prescient the moral concerns expressed by faith leaders proved to be, it is imperative that faith leaders speak out now as the President moves to increase the number of troops committed to the war in Iraq. We, the undersigned members of the Jesuit Commission on Social and International Ministry, join with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and other persons of faith to express concern over this escalation in military force and to encourage our President and Congress to embrace a policy of broader diplomatic engagement that will not only seek to restore security, stability and reconstruction in Iraq, but also to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and prevent the return of civil war in Lebanon. The destabilization of Iraq, caused by the United States invasion and subsequent management of the ensuing conflict, has added to the already complex tensions existing in the region. This makes it all the more imperative that the United States make a concerted diplomatic effort to engage all the governments in the Middle East in a common effort to find solutions to the tensions that now threaten to engulf the entire region in a conflagration with unimaginable consequences.

Already, the Iraq war has had devastating consequences:
The Iraqi Health Ministry reports that in 2006, 22,950 Iraqi civilians and police officers died violent deaths. In the first six months of last year, 5,640 Iraqi civilians and police officers were killed, but that number more than tripled to 17,310 in the latter half of the year.

Last year’s spike in casualties occurred despite an ambitious U.S. military operation in the capital, “Together Forward,” that involved thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops cordoning off some of the deadliest neighborhoods in Baghdad and conducting house-to-house searches.

More than 3,000 members of the United States armed forces have died in the Iraq conflict with more than 20,000 soldiers injured since the start of the Iraq war.

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are now costing the United States government approximately $8 billion a month, $3,000 per second. This is in addition to the Defense Budget that in the last fiscal year was $463 billion dollars, or approximately $14,000 per second. There are calls now for increasing the size of the United States armed forces due to the strain experienced in fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If approved, this increase will result in a further escalation in Pentagon spending. Defense spending, and the cost of military operations places real constraints on the ability of the United States to respond to the pressing social needs of the United States. It also limits the humanitarian and development assistance the United States is able to provide to other nations which would serve to stabilize nations and regions.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees believes that 1.7 million Iraqis are displaced inside Iraq, whose prewar population was 21 million. The U.N. also reports that roughly 40 percent of Iraq’s middle class is believed to have fled the country; this in the wake of violence that has cost the lives of at least 2,000 Iraqi doctors since the U.S. invasion in 2003. The flight has undermined basic services such as water and sanitation and disrupted commerce, making it increasingly difficult for Iraqi society to function. Neighboring countries are being overwhelmed by the influx of Iraqi refugees. Iraqi refugees now account for 10 percent of the population of Jordan, a nation of only 6 million persons – the equivalent of 30 million landing on U.S. shores. The U.S. has been sluggish in its response to this crisis allowing only 466 Iraqis to immigrate under refugee status since 2003 and allocating only $20 million for Iraqi refugee assistance.

It is clear that the United States needs to engage with the international community, particularly all the nations which share borders with Iraq, in creating a process that would end the endemic violence in Iraq, reduce sectarian tensions, mobilize humanitarian relief and reconstruction aid, train Iraqi security forces, and allow for the phased withdrawal of United States combat forces.

We call upon all people of faith, all people of good will, to do the following:
To declare one Sabbath day each month as a day of prayer and fasting for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Iraq, to acknowledge and begin to redress the suffering and violence endured daily by the Iraqi people, to remember the members of our armed forces who serve, and have served, in Iraq, and to petition that God grant comfort and peace to all who have lost loved ones in this conflict.

To write to President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking them to engage the international community in a united effort to find a path to peace in Iraq and to exclude no nation from this effort. We ask them, as well, to work with the international community in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as in forestalling a renewed civil war in Lebanon.

To write to their representatives in Congress calling upon them to press the administration to engage in a broad, diplomatic effort to address not only the conflict in Iraq, but the conflicts now threatening the wider Middle East. We ask Congress, as well, to oppose the escalation of the conflict and to seek the means by which a phased withdrawal of forces can happen sooner rather than later.

The Iraq War has proven the truth that ‘war is a defeat for humanity.’ The human cost of this war has been devastating and that devastation continues daily. It is time for the United States to recognize that a change in course in Iraq is required; not an increase in troops and attendant violence, but an increase in diplomatic efforts to engage all parties in the region in helping the Iraqi people to live together in peace.

Mary Baudouin
Assistant for Social Ministries
New Orleans Province

Kevin Cullen, S.J.
Assistant for Social and International Ministries
Missouri Province

Mark Hallinan, S.J.
Assistant for Social Ministries
New York Province

Timothy Kelly
Assistant for Social and International Ministries
Maryland Province

Carrie Monnette
Assistant for Social and International Ministries
Detroit Province

Mark Potter
Assistant for Social Ministries
California Province

John Sealey
Assistant for Social and International Ministries
Wisconsin Province

William Watson, S.J.
Special Assistant for International Ministries
Oregon Province

Contacts to express your position:
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
202-456-1111 (comment line)
202-456-2461 (fax)

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington DC 20520
202-647-2283 (fax)

Links to congressional representatives
202-224-3121 (Capitol Switchboard)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

USCCB Social Ministries Gathering - February 2007

Over the past five days, men and women who work diligently for the Social Ministries in the Church gathered together for inspiration, renewal and action in Washington, DC. The gathering was held at the Hyatt Regency, just steps from the Capitol.

We heard a talk on the first night from Ron Rolheiser, OMI on "Spirituality of Social Justice in Hard Times". In it, he encouraged us to celebrate what we have done in the past 35 years (that being the time when our Church changed from a dominantly immigrant church to one of influence) but also to see how the difficulties: the seductive nature of the US culture and economy, the concern of 'burn-out'.

He shares some challenges from the Gospel, especially, the Johannine story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples as the dominant 'Eucharist' scene in John's gospel. Like Jesus, we are challenged to change "the mantle of privilege into the apron of service" and encourage one another, especially contentious groups in the church, to wash one another's feet.

I will share more information from our other keynote speakers in the next couple of days: in particular, Prof. Rebecca Blank from the U. of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy and Charity Musamba, from Zambia, who has worked closely with the Jesuit Centre of Theological Reflection with Pete Henriot, SJ and others. Also, we had the privilege of lobbying our senators and representatives on various issues as well as hear personally from Sen. Chuck Hagel (R - Neb) and Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D - PA). Both were articulate, informational and challenging.

-- Unfortunately, pictures will be limited because my camera is recovering from Africa! --

Thursday, January 25, 2007

World Social Forum Workshops

On Monday, 21 January 2007, I attended the first day of workshops at the World Social Forum. Overall, my experience was good. There were many workshops that had logistical problems and never began or it was hard to hear.

I went to one workshop sponsored by Oxfam International on the recent "Arms Trade Treaty" introduced in the UN for support from all member nations. Left is a picture of the Kenyan Ambassador to the UN giving participants an update on the movement and why the restriction of selling small arms in Africa is so important. This was also of great importance to the Jesuits and partners working for the Social Apostolate in JESAM. (Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar)

Other workshops that I attended that day included: Building Peace Relationships with Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns and Rights of Women and Orphans in Africa sponsored by the African Collaborative (a local NGO).

The estimates for total numbers at the Forum range considerably... anywhere from 5,000 to 30,000. I would opt for somewhere closer to the first number.

(Pictures are slow in coming because reliable (and faster than slow) internet connections are on the sparse side. Thank you for your patience!)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our Way of Proceeding

Today, 19 January 2007, was the end of the Ignatian Family Encounter (IFE), a pre-forum meeting to the World Social Forum. We met in our workshops for the final time and then came together in a large plenary session to review our separate work and engage in communal discernment about next steps.

Above is a photo of my group, the "Let's talk about HIV/AIDS in Africa", sponsored by the African Jesuit Aids Network (AJAN). It was a very successful meeting time and I will be sure to publish the results of this as soon as I have time to type it up!

We concluded with liturgy celebrated by the Archbishop of Nairobi, the Most Reverend Ndingi Mwana a' Nzeki (picture, left - center) It was a wonderful moment and he offered many words of encouragement to the Ignatian Family (in particular, young Jesuits studying theology) to help the bishops of Africa to help enculturate the church and keep its catholic nature.

Tomorrow morning begins the World Social Forum; our group will head into the downtown area for mass and then join the procession into Uhuru Stadium where the opening ceremonies will be. I will be sure to review this event for you as soon as returning! (I am told it will take approx. 3 hours to return from downtown Nairobi given the traffic.) =)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Finding God in All Things

Photo from Hekima College entrance with the Ignatian
Family Encounter (IFE) logo and World Social Forum Flag!

Today, 18 January 2007, is the second day of the Ignatian Family Encounter. Our days are structured and quite long -- we begin most plenary sessions at 8:15am and go until mass at 5:00pm. They are long days but filled with great information and reflection.

On day #1, we enjoyed a plenary session from Fr. Fraterne Massawi, S.J., (photo, center below) Moderator of JESAM and Dr. David Khaulem, Professor at Arrupe College in Zimbabwe, discuss how Ignatian identity informs the vision of social transformation.

On day #2, we had plenary sessions including Fr. Shirima Valerian, S.J., Provincial of the Eastern Africa Province and Sr. Ephygenia Gachiri, IBVM on how Ignatian pedagogy informs they way we work for social transformation.

While the conversations address the specific realities of the continent of Africa, I am trying to make connections for collaborative work with the US or realities that we can share for greater awareness and sensitivity in our own ministries.

Also, the workshop topics (and plenary review sessions!) are so expansive: HIV/AIDS, Refugees - Freedom of Movement, Management of Natural Resources, Conflict & War & Peace, and Debt and Trade in Development. I will try to post some 'interesting statistics' from the review sessions on the other side of the blog.

Jim Stormes, SJ (left) and John Kleiderer both work at the Jesuit Conference in Washington, D.C. in Social and International Ministries. They are part of the 5 person US delegation that includes myself, Fr. Steve Privett, SJ (President of U. San Francisco) and Mr. Tim Kelly, MAR Provincial Assistant for Social and International Ministries. These two are enjoying our down time just before mass!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Early Days in Nairobi

Arrived on late Monday, 15 January 2007 to the Savelburg Retreat Centre, run by the Little Sisters of St. Joseph. It is housing approx. 70 participants for the Ignatian Family Encounter (IFE). Pictures of the Centre to follow later...

On 16 January 2007, prior to the evening's opening liturgy, we had the opportunity to walk around this area of town and to Hekima, the Jesuit

Theologate. Here are some pictures from the chapel and the beautiful stations of the cross...

And today, 17 January 2007, we are beginning our workshops and opening discussions. There are 5 workshops to choose from: Debt Relief and Trade; HIV/AIDS; Natural Resources; JRS; Conflict, War and Peace. I will be attending the HIV/AIDS discussions led by Michael Czerny, SJ and the African Jesuit Aids Network (AJAN). More to follow...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

President calls for more troops in Iraq

Today, January 11, 2007, President Bush traveled to Ft. Benning, GA in Columbus, GA in order to promote his new 'plan' to increase US troops in Iraq by over 20,000. This site is a familiar one to the Ignatian family as it is the site of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the School of the America, SOA. It is known for training military personnel from foreign countries in tactics that have caused severe human rights abuses. Is it a coincidence that this location, home of the annual Ignatian Family Teach-In in November, is now a symbolic pulpit for this administration to begin another military action? Where are we turning a blind-eye to the human rights issues (ie. civilian killings, torture, oppressive military presence) in Iraq that were made known to us graphically in the 80's and early 90's in El Salvador?

To read the President's full speech on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 about the 'troop increase' to Iraq, following the following link:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Jan. 7-13, 2007 - National Migration Week

"Welcoming Christ in the Migrant"
January 7 - 13, 2007
Bishop Barnes, Bishop of San Bernadino and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued a letter about National Migration Week. You can read the full text at the following link:
Each year, this week means to draw our attention to all those in our society who face persecution in a 'migration experience' by remembering that the Holy Family
also faced their own 'migration' from Jerusalem to Egypt.
You can also receive further information on the USCCB's campaign, Justice for Immigrants, which deals with the advocacy and education surrounding the topic of comprehensive immigration reform at
All Jesuits in the Detroit Province are invited to the Area Day on Saturday, March 31, 2007 at St. John's Jesuit in Toledo, OH; our topic is "Strangers No Longer, Immigration in the USA"... stay tuned for further info on the event!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Trip to Africa - Ignatian Pre-Forum and World Social Forum - January 2007

On 14 January, I will leave for Nairobi, Kenya to attend a 4 day pre-conference, 'The Ignatian Pre-Forum Encounter", sponsored by the Jesuit Assistancy in Africa and Madagascar, JESAM, with the goal of bringing Jesuits and partners into conversation about 'our way of proceeding' in the face of various social issues.

This meeting will be followed by the 5 day conference, "The World Social Forum 2007", also in Nairobi. It is sponsored by the World Social Forum, an organization seeking to bring activists, social movements, networks, coalitions and other progressive forces from all over the world together for five days of cultural resistance and celebration; panels, workshops, symposia, processions, film nights and much much more.

For more info on the World Social Forum, visit:

As often as possible, I will be sharing photos and information from these meetings' proceedings in the hopes of raising our awareness about the conditions and situations of the African continent, and more personally, to share the great work of our twinned province, the Eastern Africa Province.