Updates from the Office of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation, May 9, 2024

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The Franciscan Action Network’s newsletter this week focuses on the Feast of the Ascension and the question, “What is ours to do?” I have been focusing on this question quite often these days as the issues that need addressing keep piling up. The list is overwhelming. How will we do it? “Ascension does not signify Jesus' absence but reveals that he is alive in our midst in a new way to support us.” Jesus gave "instructions through the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1: 2), instructions given to each of us through our talents and abilities, passions and dislikes, and sometimes through the words of those “wisdom people” in our lives. We just need to allow them to teach us what is ours to do.

Taken from words of Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF, of the CT Franciscan Justice Circle


Here’s a small victory! The EPA has released new emission standards for powerplants. They will reduce plant pollution and improve air quality in the areas surrounding the plants, many of which are located in communities of color and among those made poor. The Catholic Climate Covenant is asking us to send a note of thanks to the EPA. You can use their online tool here.

Church World Services and Refugee Council USA are holding Advocacy Days in Washington DC this week. We may not be able to join them in person, but we can still advocate! CWS has a complete guide to join in with them this week. And, next week in not too late! See below for how to contact your elected officials.

The Global Plastics Treaty negotiations are not going so well, NPR recently reported. The hope was to have a final binding UN agreement by the end of this year, and it’s going to be a challenge. You can still write the White House and Secretary Blinken to ask for a strong Global Plastics Treaty.

In the meantime, there is also a bill before Congress called the REDUCE Act: The Rewarding Efforts to Decrease Unrecycled Contaminants in Ecosystems Act (S. 284/H.R. 5564.) If it becomes law, it would go a long way to hold producers and packagers responsible for the plastic waste they create. It would encourage the end of single-use plastics. The Sisters of Notre Dame (not de Namur) have created an online tool you can use to share your advocacy on passing the REDUCE Act. Or, even better, send a personal email to your elected officials. How ever you feel most comfortable doing so, please share your opinion!


Please see attached to this email a brief summary of the presentation of Fr. Bryan Massengale to the Sisters of Charity of St Elizabeth. (It is the right column of the attached.) Fr. Massengale presented “Striving for Racial and LGBTQ Justice: What is the role of the Church?” This brief summary may pique your interest in other writings. You can see some of Fr. Massengale’s work here. And please note, he will be in Cincinnati in the fall for a presentation and commemoration of the work of Fr. Clarence Rivers.

Democracy Watch

The Franciscan Peace Center has announced a virtual film and discussion series titled “Movies That Matter: Informing Your Vote”. This innovative initiative aims to engage participants in critical conversations about pressing social issues ahead of the upcoming election cycle. The film and discussions will happen monthly and include a wide spectrum of topics.

After registering, participants will receive a link to personally view the film online at their convenience between May 15-28. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in post-screening discussions via Zoom, choosing from two scheduled “talkback” sessions to accommodate varying schedules. These sessions, slated for May 29 at 10 AM and May 30 at 7 PM (Central Daylight Time), will provide a platform for reflection, dialogue, and community building.

There is not cost, but you do need to register to receive the links to view films

For those local to Cincinnati, next Saturday, May 18, the Sisters of Charity will host members of NETWORK Catholic Lobby for a voter training session. It is geared towards Catholics, but applicable across other religions.

This is from the flyer:
"Workshop participants will explore what it means to be a Catholic, multi-issue voter, and gain concrete tools to help have respectful conversations about hard topics. You will practice sharing these tools in our work to become a multiracial, inclusive society where all of us have what we need to thrive. We will also work together to prepare ourselves and our communities to participate in the upcoming election."
Saturday, May 18, 2024
9 AM-12 PM Workshop
12 PM Lunch (optional)
La Casa del Sol Ministry Center
5820 Bender Road, Cincinnati, OH 45233
Registration is required


The USCCB has released new materials for Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. We are invited to read and share these materials, which guide our political responsibility as Catholics and faithful citizens. The information is available in English and Spanish.
New Introductory Note to Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: English | Spanish.
The Role of the Church in American Political Life: English | Spanish.
The Dignity of the Human Person: English | Spanish.
The Common Good: English | Spanish.
Solidarity: English | Spanish.
Subsidiarity: English | Spanish.

“In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation.” — Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, No. 13. The USCCB encourages us all to form our conscience and vote! It is a call of our faith.