Black Lives Matter: Australia-Pacific

Aboriginals in Chains - 19th C
Black Lives Matter has shone a light on Australia's systemic mistreatment of Aboriginal people.    Part 1 - Aboriginal Deaths in CustodyThe Guardian UK: (8th June, 2020)David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, said it was "real ignorance" to suggest that the protesters were angry only about police brutality in the US rather than discrimination in the UK as well, while Dawn Butler, a Labour former minister, said suggestions that the protests largely related to America were a sign that the government was "again not listening and shows no commitment to resolving the issues of racism in our own country". The story is similar here in Australia - there is an ignorance and dare I s...
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Ministry to Street Children, Dakar - Senegal

Seeking the lost - bringing them home
Fr Roger Kasiama sm [on the right in the picture below] writes from Dakar - Senegal, on the Marist Ministry of Family and Social Reintegration for Children in Street Situations:   Street actions are frequent visits by animators to various known drop-off points where street youth gather. They make it possible to keep in touch with the youth, to make sensitizations, to practice care on the spot and to give a practical help if necessary… Nazareth Wednesday'sThese days are reserved for the welcoming of young people in the Nazareth center, in the continuity of street-actions. The focus is on the well-being of children, a great family atmosphere during this day, better sensitiz...
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Sandwiches for the homeless in London

Br Ivan Vodopivec sm writes from Notre Dame de France, London: Normally on a Saturday morning our parish centre would be full of volunteers preparing sandwiches, crisps, cakes, biscuits, fruit and soup ready to welcome our 100 -120 visitors, most of them living on the streets or vulnerably housed. But on March 14th that all stopped. The normally lively bustling Leicester square with hundreds of people on the go became a still and quiet and somewhat eerie space. The lock-down had begun and due to socially distancing measures our centre was not able to welcome our guests and keep everyone safe from the virus. Westminster council swung into action and along with organisations like ours beg...
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Home ecology - Marist college Suva

Marist College Suva - home garden
Donato Kivi sm, leader of our Ecology Commission, and Superior of Marist College, Suva, Fiji, sends this report:    Outreach   29th May - Members from the Pacific Conference of Churches Programs Team visiting Marist College.The PCC programs team have been running the Green Church Project with their member churches in Tuvalu, Kiribati and our Secretariat Office; just recently with Vanuatu and Tonga. This started in 2013 after the 10th PCC General Assembly Meeting in the Solomon Islands. The initial aim of the project was to promote locally grown food and build healthy families and communities through the various activities associated with backyard gardening to the 'so...
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Peru Prison Ministry in Covid-19 times

Sr Carlotta smsm Prison Ministry Peru
Sr Calota smsm writes from Peru:  The Covid-19 pandemic, has unveiled realities that were previously unknown to much of humanity, among them the prison world. In order to situate us and enter a little the world of the incarcerated in Peru it is important to mention three critical points:1. Overcrowding (140% of overcrowding is the national average): the penal population is 96, 145 prisoners as of January 2020, located in 68 prisons, with a capacity to house only 40,137, that means that 56,008 inmates have no bed or place to sleep. They try to find accommodation where they can: passageways and staircases.2. Health Conditions of the Prison Population, accordi...
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Reconciliation - Aus-Usa - a common need

Minneapolis burns
Jim Carty, sm, Aus, sends this Pentecost reflection:    Following the death of George Floyd, an African American, while being arrested by four Police officers last Thursday,angry mobs took to the streets in protest. Below, a picture of the arrest graphically shows one of the officers kneeling with force on the neck of a prone and handcuffed man for at least nine minutes - for a while Mr Floyd pleaded with the officer to let him breath until he no longer could. Soon after, he died in the hands of Medics.    At a press conference, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the protests stemmed from built-up anger and sadness "ingrained in our black community not just because of...
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Laudato Si' - Judge - Act

On this 5th Anniversary of Laudato Si' we recall: For some fifty years science has been telling us of serious concerns for all life on Planet Earth:- Since the Industrial Revolution, some 200 years ago, the population of the world has had a 15x increase: from .5 billion to 7.8 billion- During the same time, with the use of fossil fuels, people use on average 20x as much energy / day as we did before the Industrial revolution.- This means that in the last 200 years there is a 300x greater use of energy to utilize, or exploit, the natural world's resources per day than there ever was before in the 200,000 years of human existence, and the 3.8 billion years it took the planet to evolve these re...
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Laudato Si 2015-2020

Wisdom figure - NDF London
​ Sr Catherine Jones smsm, NZ-London, writes:    This beautiful tapestry of the Wisdom Figure, "who delights to be with the children of the earth" (Prov 8:31) welcomes you as enter Notre Dame de France Church, London, a Marist ministry. Wisdom is in our midst inviting us to live in respect and harmony with all of God's creation. Yet Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si (LS) that our Mother Earth "cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her" (LS 2) The Pope has invited us to remember the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si, with a week of prayer, conversion and activities, 16-...
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A Faith greater than Fear

A Faith greater than our fear
​ "May your Faith be greater than your Fear" [Heb 13:6]    Fr Tony O'Connor sm writes from San Felipe de Jesus Catholic Church, Brownsville, Texas.Here we were : attending Central American Minors in their centers and in the parish; taking food, clothes, and provisions to the asylum seekers over the border; and to the poor "ranchos" on the other side of the river in cooperation with the valiant people there; getting our kids ready for First Communion and Confirmation, 30 R.C.I A. candidates adults and children;fully attended Sunday masses; baptisms; weddings;15 year old birthdays; Zumba; Yoga; Praise; Adoration; adult education; Bible; food bank;social assistance. Then COV...
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Post Covid-19 - what will be 'normal'?

St Peter's Lent Solidarity in Solitude
From politicians, business leaders and the population in general are eagerly waiting and hoping for the day when life can return to normal.Question: Is that the best we can hope for?I would ask you to ponder upon this enforced semi-isolation as an opportunity to reflect upon our lifestyles.Quakers (in their gathering for worship) are comfortable with the sound of silence. It is an attenuated openness to the inspiration of God or the Spirit. The journalist Tom Robinson writes: If God is trying to tell us something, the thinking goes, how can we hear him amid the hymns, psalms, sermons, and recited prayers of a conventional church service. So, for 350 years Quakers having been sitting down, sh...
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A hunger pandemic

Alan Kurdi
Fr Jim Carty sm, Australia, writes:  "In the summer of 2015, three-year-old Alan Kurdi was found dead on a Turkish beach. His Syrian family had fled their war-torn homeland. The image of that drowned child in the arms of a soldier disturbed us all. "In the fall of 2018, Amal Hussain died of a deadly disease: hunger. Her photograph appeared in The New York Times: undernourished, she lay waiting for death, without even the strength to cry. Amal was in a health centre where the nurses gave her milk every two hours. It was useless. She could not keep it down and also had severe diarrhea. In her war-torn country, Yemen, a hostile coalition had set up a blockade making it extremely diffi...
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Vatican Commission for Covid-19

On 20 March 2020, Pope Francis asked the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) to create a Commission, in collaboration with other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, to express the Church's solicitude and care for the whole human family facing the COVID-19 pandemic, including analysis, reflection on the new socio-economic-cultural future, and the proposal of relevant approaches.Accordingly, DPIHD has established a Vatican COVID-19 Commission to take up the Pope's concern through the activities of five Working Groups.The activities of these five working groups, which were presented to the Holy Father on 27 March 2020, will be coordinated by a Directorate reporting directly t...
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Easter Triduum at the Border

Tony O'Connor writes from the Mexican Border
Tony O'Connor writes of "Threads of the Easter Triduum at the [Mexican] Border":This past month, everything changed around me and keeps changing as "shut in" has set in on both sides of the border. Things as they were TENT COURTS Here the most notable travesties were the tent courts for the asylum seekers. At 4.30 am they would be lined up on the bridge on the Mexican side. The candidates who had been waiting days, weeks for this moment would be checked for louse, yes louse! Anyone not clean got left behind. Then they were marched over the bridge to the Tent Court, hidden behind a fence by the Gateway Bridge here in Brownsville. No one was permitted to witness the court hearings. Anybody wal...
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Homeless children & Covid-19

Fr John Guo sm with Staff of BAPAS
Fr John Guo sm is the Acting Director of Balay Pasilungan Incorporated, a Marist project for homeless children in Davao, Philippines.   Following are some excerpts of their Report as they face the pandemic.The work of BaPas is currently being impacted by COVID-19We are closely monitoring the impact of the pandemic of COVID-19 around the world and our BaPas  Crisis-Response Team is meeting regularly to assess and how to respond collectively to the situation to ensure the safety of the children and staff of BaPas. Davao City COVID-19 Situation The whole country is in lock-down. Davao City has a total population of 1,825,450 is in lock-down since March 16. The lock...
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Covid-19 Francis prays for the world

Pope Francis' Prayer for the World
Pope Francis prayed for the world last Friday evening here in Rome.    Here are some excerpts of his meditation:  "When evening had come" (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people's gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have real...
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Corona virus in a Time of Climate Crisis

Maori life-force stones
Fr Peter Healy sm, NZ, reflects on the new corona virus in a time of crisis:   At our last Māori mass here in Ōtaki, Aotearoa New Zealand we named and blessed three kōhatu mauri or life-force stones.This is a traditional Māori practice for helping people focus and ground their intentions. Our three kōhatu mauri called Te Whenua, Ngā Wai and Te Tuarangi, represented our land, our waters and our universe and heavens.The kōhatu when blessed were given the task of embodying for our community a collection of concerns and hopes.  The kōhatu Whenua was tasked with holding the corona virus within the context of the larger issues facing our earth community.We named inequality of income...
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Corona virus - a Faith response

At this time when the whole world is preoccupied with the Corona Virus Covid-19, how are we, as People of Faith, called to think, pray, and act?  God's name, and nature, is revealed to us as "I am with you". This is the name of the God who began the unfolding of Creation some 13.8 billion years ago; who formed our planet some 4 billion years ago, brought about the human emergence some 200,000 years ago, revealed this name to Moses some 3,500 years ago, to Isaiah some 2,700 years ago, and married himself to us and his creation some 2000 years ago in the person in Jesus - the eternal, generative Word, become flesh.Our God is with us in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.God ...
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Australia down under & under attack

Koala in the Aussie fires 2019-20
Fr Jim Carty sm, Australia, writes this report on the 2019-2020 extremes of fire and flood:  Australia rarely makes the international News cycle - we are "down under" and out of sight. Sadly, when we do hit the headlines it is often for wrong or horrible reasons. At the moment we are big news and sadly here are the reasons why:1. Australia is perhaps more than any other nation the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to the reality of climate change world wide - and what an ironic analogy that is, because of our continued emissions from coal-powered power plants and the fact that Australia is one of the leading coal exporting nations in the world. FIRE2. Bush-fires rag...
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A letter from Thailand

Br Paul fms, teachers and students at 'Hope
​ Br Paul Murphy fms, Australia, recently sent this letter from his mission in Thailand:    A grey ribbon of narrow road, hedged by brush and swamp, snakes ahead running from 'somewhere to nowhere' until it bursts upon the shore of the Gulf of Thailand where finger wharves encompassed by tiny trawlers bob and ebb on a grey green sea. I had just come two hours south east from Bangkok to 'Hope's' most beautiful school at Wat (temple) Sirimonkon on the edge of the region of Samut Sakhon.  Wat Siri is a beautiful, loving school surprisingly part funded by the Thai government and nestling on the side of two active temples, both Buddhist - one Thai, the other Bur...
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Beloved Amazon - Pope Francis

Pope Francis - beginning - Amazon Synod
​ A few days ago, Pope Francis released his post-synodal exhortation Querida Amazonia - Beloved Amazon. This week's blog is a 'taste' of a few gems of the four Dreams Francis offers us: a Social Dream; a Cultural Dream; an Ecological Dream; and an Ecclesial Dream. His concluding prayer is to Mary, mother of all creatures. The full text can be read   here    CHAPTER ONE - A SOCIAL DREAM"a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor". We do not need an environmentalism "that is concerned for the biome but ignores the Amazonian ...
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