Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Friday, January 23, 2015

From Thomas Merton


Thursday, January 15, 2015

January is Poverty Awareness Month

During Poverty Awareness Month, join the U.S. Bishops, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Catholic community in the United States in taking up Pope Francis' challenge to live in solidarity with the poor. How do we do this? One way is to use this poverty awareness calendar and contemplate the daily reflections. Another is to join the advocacy network of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Government Relations to let our elected leaders hear the voice of the Catholic community in the United States.

We will have more suggestions in the coming days, but these links provide a good starting point.

"I want a Church which is poor and for the poor."               Pope Francis is seen as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

- Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Christmas season is about to begin

The Christmas season does not end on December 25. Rather, that is when it begins. The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has an on-line Christmas calendar that provides daily suggestions to enrich our faith and spirituality during this season. You can see it here.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A word from our sponsor . . .

"[Solidarity] is to think and to act in terms of community, of the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few. It is also to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, lack of work, land and housing, the denial of social and labor rights. It is to confront the destructive effects of the empire of money: forced displacements, painful emigrations, the traffic of persons, drugs, war, violence and all those realities that many of you suffer and that we are all called to transform."

Pope Francis, Address to Participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements, 10/28/14

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Are we having an argument?

Earlier this year, someone sent me an e-mail that asked the question, "Are we having a discussion or an argument?" The gist of the e-mail was that, if we are having an argument, I don’t need to listen to you because you are just concerned with telling me that I am wrong. However, if we are having a discussion, I need to listen because that indicates that you are willing to listen to my side.

That e-mail came to mind after I received a flier about an upcoming presentation by the Consultation Center, which is sponsoring a 2-hour workshop in ‘Non-Violent Communications’ (NVC).

The workshop is based on the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, who founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication ( from the work he did with civil rights activists in the early 1960's. During that period, he mediated between rioting students and college administrators and worked to peacefully desegregate public schools in long-segregated regions of the Country. Since then, Dr. Rosenberg has traveled the world sharing this technique.

The presenter is Steve Andersen, who teaches NVC in the Albany area. He recently returned from Israel, where he participated in a joint NVC workshop between Palestinians and Israelis.

According to the flier:
You will receive an overview of the non-violent communications technique, including factually observing, acknowledging personal feelings, connecting with your needs, and making a request. There will be a mixture of intriguing presentation, dynamic discussion, enthusiastic demos, and short videos.

When you leave this workshop, you are likely to have additional insights on how to:

1 - Hear deeply what people that you work with are saying;
2 - Clarify your own feelings and needs, especially if you become upset; and
3 - Make a clear and specific request that acknowledges both your needs and those of your co-workers.

There is no charge for the session, which will be on Tuesday, October 28 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at St. Michael’s Church, 175 Williams Road, Troy. For more information contact the Consultation Center at 489-4431.

The program is Co-Sponsored by the Consultation Center and the Diocesan Commission on Peace and Justice.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Holy Orders and Social Mission

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the document Sacraments and Social Mission: Living the Gospel, Being Disciples, bishops, priests and deacons help Christians imitate Christ’s mission of love and justice. Here are some excerpts from the section about Holy Orders on pages 22-23:
As co-workers with their bishops in teaching and carrying out Christ’s mission, priests and deacons proclaim the Word of God to his people. This includes education about the social teaching of the Church, which is based in both Scripture and Tradition, and helping community members become aware of their “right and duty to be active subjects of this doctrine” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 539).
. . .
Pastoral ministry requires that ordained ministers develop competency in “social analysis and community organization” and cross-cultural ministry (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB], The Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests, 29). Priests should “animate pastoral action in the social field,” especially assisting lay Christians who are involved in political and social life (Compendium, no. 539).
. . .
Because the Church’s social doctrine is an “essential component” of the “new evangelization” (Pastores Dabo Vobis, no. 54), those preparing for the ordained ministry should develop a “thorough knowledge” of Catholic social teaching and “a keen interest in the social issues of their day” (Compendium, no. 533).
. . .
Bishops, assisted by priests, deacons, and religious, must “evangelize social realities” (Compendium, no. 539) by being “articulate spokesmen for and interpreters of Catholic social teaching in today’s circumstances” (USCCB, Program of Priestly Formation, no. 345).

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Sunday, October 05, 2014

Marriage: Strengthened for Service

We continue our exploration of the sacraments and social mission with a look at marriage, as discussed in this document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here are some excerpts:
The Nuptial Blessing especially highlights how the couple is called to care not only for each another but also for children, family, and the wider community.
. . .
They help each other live their vocation as lay people, seeking God’s Kingdom in their daily lives by working for justice, peace, and respect for the life and dignity of all (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 220; Familiaris Consortio, no. 47).
. . .
In particular, we should preserve the rights of the family in civil laws and policies and work to ensure “that in social administration consideration is given to the requirements of families in the matter of housing, education of children, working conditions, social security and taxes” (Apostolicam Actuositatem, no. 11). We should also work to ensure that migrants’ right to live together as a family is safeguarded.
You can read the entire section on marriage on pages 20-21 of Sacraments and Social Mission: Living the Gospel, Being Disciples.

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