Thursday, November 14, 2013

Peace and Justice Updates - November, 2013

I am involved in a ministry for which I have the role of providing updates in the area of Peace and Justice, and thought I would post the updates here, as well.


Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, at the city of Tacloban on the island of Leyte, on Friday, November 8.  It was one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded and death tolls range from 1,833 to 10,000, with over 26,000 people injured, and over 200,000 people left in desperate conditions without food, water, or shelter.  Aid from around the world has been pouring in to the Phillipines, but much of it has not reached the people yet due to poor road conditions.  Unsuccessful efforts to find food and water and bury dead bodies keep thousands of people in dire conditions, where starvation is deeply impacting their physical and mental wellness.  Please keep all of those affected by the typhoon in your prayers for quick and efficient means for recovery.

Workshop on Human Trafficking, Vatican: A workshop on the weekend of Nov.1 to Nov. 3 at the Vatican focused on the growing crime of human trafficking worldwide. Especially women and children are being increasingly enslaved for forced labor (agricultural and domestic work), drug smuggling, and sexual exploitation.  Children are robbed of their present lives and deeply wounded for the living out of their future lives.  Human trafficking is becoming more profitable than drug or arms trafficking.  The problem is presumed to be much worse than recorded because human trafficking is an increasingly difficult crime to detect.  Bishop Patrick McGrath of the Diocese of San Jose, CA has also established a Catholic Network to End Human Trafficking, which network held two workshops in October to build awareness of the issue.

Pilgrimages of Families for the Year of Faith, Vatican: Over 250,000 pilgrims participated in the pilgrimage to the Vatican for the Year of Faith.  Pope Francis addressed the pilgrims on various occasions during the pilgrimage, offering them support and advice on how to live out their calling as exemplifying the crucial role that the family plays in society.  The pope expressed how the family should function as a whole community unit of persons who live together in love, not a context in which separate individuals live around each other.  He also expressed to parents the importance of “wasting time” with their children, commenting that “nothing is more valuable than a parent’s time.”

“Special Message” of USCCB: At the conclusion of their annual general assembly, the American bishops issued a “Special Message” which expressed their commitment to finding solutions to the requirements of the HHS Mandate without individuals having to violate their consciences when responding to the Mandate's requirements for business owners to provide health plans which cover artificial contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs.  Source: