Seek Justice This Advent Season

Seek Justice This Advent Season

Seek Justice This Advent Season

This Advent, commit to simplicity. In a season that can mistakenly be focused on consumption, it’s a good chance to explore ways to live simply as we prepare for the coming of Jesus and the restoration of the earth.

Here are some ideas shared by our Social Justice and Peace Commission to live a more simple and intentional life, perhaps starting now, during Advent.

______ Take some breaks from my cell phone/smart phone, computer, and other devices so that you can be really present to the people around you.

______ Establish priorities and learn to say “no” to things that are not important to you and “yes” to things that are important.

______ Keep a gratitude journal by recording the big and small blessings that come my way.

______ Get rid of junk mail by
• throwing it into a recycling bin as soon as it arrives
• stopping it from being delivered by asking to be removed from mailing lists
• going paperless for bills, opting for digital bills instead

______ Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and less meat and dairy to lower my impact on the environment.

______ Reduce use of single-use plastics.

______ If you use a cut Christmas tree, plan ahead for helpful ways for disposing of it. Ecomaine is a great resource for statewide options.  Their information on recycling gift wrapping is something to consider before purchasing. “if you can rip it, you can recycle it,” they say!

Thanks to the Ignatian Solidarity Network for their leadership on this initiative. You can also sign up for the Ignatian Solidarity Network Advent calendar online here. It has daily suggestions for living more simply and in ways that help restore the earth.

Another Small Step for Our Common Home – Social Justice & Peace Commission

Another Small Step for Our Common Home – Social Justice & Peace Commission

Another Small Step for Our Common Home – Social Justice & Peace Commission

Protecting the Environment: A Message from the Social Justice and Peace Commission:

Having recently witnessed so much devastation due to climate change, we are challenged by Pope Francis in his Encyclical, Laudato Si’, to do whatever we can to protect the earth, our common home. To quote from Pope Francis in Chapter Six, “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through daily actions”. He goes on to say, “Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly affect the world around us, such as:
— avoiding the use of plastic and paper
— reducing water consumption
— separating refuse
— cooking only what can be reasonably consumed.”

In the spirit of this directive from the Pope, we urge you to be aware of decreasing the use of plastic whenever possible. Silicone covers are available in different sizes. Beeswax wraps and glass containers are good substitutes for those made of plastic. Also look for household products that are biodegradable. Small actions do make a difference, and help to keep us aware of our personal responsibility to our common home.

To support this effort Social Justice & Peace is taking orders for Food Grabbers, 6 silicone disks that will keep half portions of food fresh without plastic ( onions, tomatoes, lemons, etc.), and also serve as covers for small glass containers.

These can be purchased with cash or check payable to the parish with your name and phone number or email address, dropped in the basket $15/each set of six, before November 11. They will be here in time to be Christmas gifts. You can contact members of the Social Justice and Peace Commission at olhsjp@gmail.com.

Thank you for considering this initiative!

Toward the Common Good – An Evening with Kevin Concannon

Toward the Common Good – An Evening with Kevin Concannon

Toward the Common Good – An Evening with Kevin Concannon

Kevin Concannon will share selected highlights of Maine public policy history over a fifty year period. He will focus on public program changes that were influenced and directed by individual Catholic persons, and several particular Catholic institutions, during a time of major changes brought about by The Great Society and the Second Vatican Council. 

And, beyond Maine geographically, he will discuss significant social policy and law changes, often aligned with Catholic Social Teaching – and much more, all directed at addressing issues and the Common Good.

With Kevin as our tour guide, one who travelled this journey as a participant at levels of influence, whose values and professional competencies reflect his Catholic religion, parental influences, and largely Catholic Education, we’re sure to hear themes of Catholic Social Teaching in context of our own history here in Maine and around the nation. And, we’re sure to hear numerous humorous anecdotes along the way – no tour of history is complete without those!

Want to learn more? Join us on Tuesday, November 15th at 7 pm at the parish hall, 492 Ocean Avenue.
—-
About Kevin Concannon:
Kevin Served as Associate Diocesan Director of Maine’s Catholic Charities agency in the ’60s and early ’70s. He served in various roles in Maine state government over a twenty year period including as Maine Commissioner of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Maine Commissioner of Human Services, Oregon State Director of Human Services, Iowa Director of Human Services and Under Secretary of US Department of Agriculture, responsible for US domestic food and nutrition programs.
Trained as a professional social worker, he is a native of Portland and is a graduate of Cheverus High Scholl, St. Francis Xavier University (BA and MSW) with further postgraduate courses at the University of Connecticut.

More about Our Lady of Hope Parish – A Jesuit Ministry:
Comprised of a wide range of members, representing 25 area towns, we’re an intergenerational community inspired by Christ’s love for all people and the Ignatian vision that calls and empowers us to live the Gospel message and find God in all things.

Care for God’s Creation

Care for God’s Creation

Care for God’s Creation

Why Care About Climate Change?

In his Encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ reminds us that humanity is one inter-connected family, with the Earth as our common home. He calls on us to address the devastating effects climate change is having on that home.

Global warming is resulting in food and water scarcity, increased flooding, extreme heat, more disease, and economic loss. As climate change damages the Earth, it disproportionately affects the poor and most vulnerable members of society. Those with limited resources—such as families without the luxury of air conditioning during an extreme heat wave or the ability to relocate to avoid flood-prone neighborhoods—are unable to endure the impact of global warming.

We care about addressing climate change because Catholic Social Teaching and the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus call on us to care for our common home; they also charge us to advocate for those on the margins of society. As Catholics, we are asked to nurture a healthy environment and, in turn, help alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters around the world whose pleas for help, for respect, have been ignored. We are called to join our voices with theirs.

We address climate change to honor life, by helping enable healthy and safe lives for our brothers and sisters worldwide. Indeed, as global warming has placed life on earth in danger, addressing climate change is a pro-life initiative on a global scale!

Want to learn more or better understand the impact of climate change in the Northeast? Check out: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/municipalplanning/docs/NortheastClimateImpactsAssessment(MaineSummary).pdf 

Our Social Justice and Peace Commission (authors of this post) meets on the third Thursday of each month on Zoom — you are invited to participate.  Just let us know through the contact us form.

Welcome Back Jesuit Volunteer Corps

Welcome Back Jesuit Volunteer Corps

Welcome Back Jesuit Volunteer Corps

We are happy to welcome back to Portland and to the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). The JVC had community volunteers here for many years and after a brief absence, has now returned.
We welcomed the arriving JVC folks at the 5 PM Mass on Sunday, August 14th. Thanks to Kathy Crosson and others representing the Ignatian Volunteer Corps for amplifying our welcome!

JVC members make a one-year commitment and usually serve in agencies that provide direct service (and advocate) for people who are often excluded or living on the margins of society. This year’s Jesuit Volunteer placements are with Agencies well known to many of us: PSL/Strive, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Cheverus High School, Preble Street – Emergency Food Program Staff, Preble Street – Wellness Shelter Staff. We look forward to supporting this year’s Jesuit Volunteer community and to learning from them.

If the JVC is new to you, here’s a brief introduction:

HISTORY – For over 60 years, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) has been a pioneer in the service landscape. With over 200 volunteers each year and 11,000 alumni, we are one of the largest lay, Catholic, full-time volunteer programs in the world.

MISSION & VALUES – Aspiring to create a more just and hopeful world, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps engages passionate young people in vital service within poor communities, fostering the growth of leaders committed to faith in action.

SPIRITUALITY – We believe in open and honest engagement with spirituality and faith. We strive to perceive God in others, practice personal reflection in daily life, discern and discuss the challenges of living faithful and just lives, and pursue deep attention to the common good.

SIMPLE LIVING – We value opportunities to live a simple and practical life. We seek to maintain balance and perspective in the presence of consumerism, busyness, ambition, and materialism in our everyday lives and careers. We hope to understand the lives and resource constraints of the communities we accompany and serve, and we evaluate the human and ecological consequences of our choices.

COMMUNITY – We build intentional communities that broaden our perspectives and confront our boundaries. We practice methods of active listening, consensus building, and conflict resolution, and we value humility, self-reflection, and self-awareness. We are committed to developing mutual relationships across lines of difference, and we assume good will on behalf of those around us.

SOCIAL JUSTICE – We advocate for compassion, fair treatment, and structural change that addresses the root causes of injustice. We recognize and move to transcend personal prejudices, stereotypes, and presumptions. And we apply the Jesuit practice of discernment, analysis, reflection, and action as we address current social problems and their impact on human communities.

THE “JESUIT” IN JESUIT VOLUNTEER CORPS – The Jesuit Volunteer Corps draws inspiration and direction from the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers. Better known as the “Jesuits,” the order was founded almost 500 years ago by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who challenged others to live as “contemplatives in action,” balancing between reflective prayer and work for justice.

WHO CAN Become a Jesuit Volunteer?
As an organization committed to advancing racial equity and inclusion, the Jesuit Volunteer Corps encourages applications from candidates of all races, classes, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, languages, and physical abilities. Applicants must be between ages the ages of 21-25 by August 2023 in order to be eligible for the 2023-24 program year. True to our Jesuit, Catholic heritage, JVC firmly believes that all spiritual perspectives contribute to the richness of our community. Applicants from all religious traditions and spiritual backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

And, if you represent a nonprofit organization that works to alleviate poverty or other barriers to inclusion, you can learn more about sponsoring a JVC member in the upcoming year.  Let us know and we’ll put you in touch.

Meatless Recipes for Lent –  and Beyond

Meatless Recipes for Lent – and Beyond

Meatless Recipes for Lent – and Beyond

This year, members of Our Lady of Hope’s Social Justice and Peace Commission are promoting meatless recipes for Lent as a way of putting both Catholic social teaching and Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si”, into practice. Part of becoming good stewards of the Earth entails living sustainably so that future generations will have enough resources for adequate food and shelter. “Laudato Si” emphasizes that people of the world are of one family with the Earth as our common home. We are all inner connected in the web of life. Preparing meatless meals helps us to think more critically about where our food sources come from and how our choices affect the sustainability of the planet.

When we create simple meatless meals during Lent, we also stand in solidarity with those in the world who don’t have this luxury of choice. Catholic social teaching emphasizes giving preference to the vulnerable and to those living on the margins of society. If we live sustainably, there should be enough resources for all to have adequate food and shelter.

In addition to helping the planet and standing in solidarity with those on the margins of society, sharing meatless recipes creates a sense of community among the participants. Do you have some recipes to share? Keep sending them in so we can all experience both new and favorite meatless meals.

Below are just a few of the recipes submitted so far. You’ll find all of the recipes posted each Monday and Friday of Lent on our Facebook page.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

1 can pumpkin purée 16 ozs
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes 15 ozs
1/2 cup onion, chopped, 2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 T cumin, 1 t salt, 1 t cinnamon, 1 t allspice, 1/2 t black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
Sauté onion, garlic, spices in olive oil until light brown
Blend in blender beans, tomatoes, 1/2 of broth, add pumpkin purée and blend
Pour into cooking pot, add rest of broth. Simmer, uncovered, about 40 minutes. Before serving add vinegar, stir. You can add sour cream, if desired.

Spinach-Tomato Tortellini
16 oz. cheese tortellini: cook till tender. Drain, but do not rinse.
14.5 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2C fresh spinach, chopped
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 ½ t dried basil
2T flour
¾ C milk
¾ C heavy cream
¼ -1/2 C grated Parmesan

Sauté onion and garlic in a little oil. Add tomatoes, spinach & seasoning. Cook till spinach wilted. Whisk milk, cream & flour, and add, with cheese.
Cook 2-3 minutes till sauce thickens. Add drained tortellini.
Serves 3-4

Easy Lentil Loaf
1 can ( 15 oz. ) lentils drained
1 and 1/2 cup oats
1 can ( 15 oz. ) diced tomatoes drained
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 egg lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (use a greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pan). Sauté the grated carrots and chopped celery in a skillet with olive oil and set aside.
In a medium size mixing bowl combine the lentils, oats, diced tomatoes. Add the salt, pepper, basil, oregano and garlic powder. Add the sautéed carrots and celery. In a separate bowl prepare the lightly beaten egg and then add it to the other ingredients.
Mix well. Place in a 9 by 5 inch greased loaf pan.

Top with a tomato glaze and your favorite cheese ( cheddar works well )
Bake covered with foil at 375 degrees for 30 min.
Tomato Glaze ( spread over the top and then add the cheese )
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

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