Go Green for Lent 2023

Go Green for Lent 2023

Go Green for Lent 2023

We’d love to have you join Our Lady of Hope’s Social Justice and Peace Commission, the Jesuit Community, and other parishioners in taking environmentally friendly actions as part of a Lenten practice this year. Consider choosing one of the actions listed on our poster as your Lenten practice this year. Choose one or more to embrace and put a green dot on the poster outside of Mass this weekend – and each weekend throughout Lent.  Below are the examples of some steps to choose from:

No TV (or streaming) one or more nights during Lent.
Give up one or more single use plastics – e.g. water bottle, straws, cutlery.
Walk, Bike, take Public Transportation, or Carpool to work one day each week.
Eat vegetarian for 2 nights each week.
Reduce Food Waste.  Some resources are here:
Buy only necessities! Buy produce at a winter farmers market. Participate in No Buy Lent.
Declutter one spot at home each day during Lent.
Turn phone off during evenings with family.
Pray: Do Earthbeat’s Lenten Daily Food Reflection
Almsgiving – Examples of charitable nonprofits whose missions serve people and the planet:

Increase Awareness of Injustice in Our Society. Selections of suggested reading:

You may find these documentary films to be of interest:
13th: traces the mass incarceration of black men back to the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865 (streaming on NetFlix)
The Letter: tells the story of various frontline leaders’ journeys to Rome to discuss the encyclical Laudato Sí with Pope Francis (streaming on YouTube)

Have other suggestions?  Send them in and we’ll keep adding to the resource list!

May our Lenten journeys be fruitful – for us as individuals and for us as a parish community.

Apostolic Planning – Guided by the Holy Spirit

Apostolic Planning – Guided by the Holy Spirit

Apostolic Planning – Guided by the Holy Spirit

There are four working fields, or Universal Apostolic Preferences, to which the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) will pay special attention and in which they will invest a significant portion of their various resources over the next few years. They are: Showing the Way to God, Walking with the Excluded, Journeying with Youth, and Caring for our Common Home. They provide context for planning and actions undertaken by Jesuits around the globe.

On September 24, 2022, members of the parish and parish staff joined with representatives from St. Brigid’s School, Cheverus High School, the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC), and the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine (all pictured here) to participate in the United States East (UEA) Province of the Society of Jesus’ Apostolic Planning Process. In preparation for this day, each member of this group had spent hours prayerfully considering material provided by the province throughout the summer. The goal of the day was “to provide Fr. Joseph O’Keefe, S.J., Provincial of the UEA province and his staff in deploying human, physical, and financial resources for the greater praise and service of God and to live out the four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Global Society of Jesus more fully.”

Thirteen similar gatherings in English and four in Spanish were held throughout the UEA, which stretches from Maine to Georgia and as far west as Scranton PA. Also, Jesuit Communities throughout the Province all gathered for three similar sessions throughout the fall. The summaries of these meetings have been provided to province staff members who will formulate an apostolic plan to help guide the UEA through the next decade. You can learn more about the how the USA East Province will grow in the coming years through this video on their website.

Much gratitude to all involved!

Fr. Brian Conley, SJ

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.

At the Close of The Ignatian Year: A Celebration

At the Close of The Ignatian Year: A Celebration

At the Close of The Ignatian Year: A Celebration

The temperatures abated, with a lovely breeze blowing from Back Cove, during our outdoor 4:30 Mass on Saturday the 30th of July. It was fitting that we celebrate Mass in the beauty of God’s creation for the conclusion of The Ignatian Year.

Our celebration was only in one small way a conclusion.

We have drawn to a close the worldwide 16-month commemoration of an event in the life of Ignatius of Loyola that happened in 1520. That event, a battlefield injury, started a process that led Ignatius from being a rather conventional, “cultural Catholic” to a person who discovered a whole new, dynamic and life-giving relationship with the Risen Christ. Ignatius has shared his experience with us, most especially in his “Spiritual Exercises” in a way that has given birth to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and transformed the lives of many men and women, and in some cases changed the path of world history.

Our celebration is also a commitment to continue to work with others here in Maine – women and men, Catholic and other, individuals and organizations connected with the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine – to share and promote this vision of Ignatius through action of the four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus guiding our work through 2029:

Showing the Way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment.

Walking with the Excluded by walking with those who are poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice.

Journeying with Youth by accompanying young people in the creation of a hope-filled future.

Caring for Our Common Home by collaborating, with Gospel depth, for the protection and renewal of God’s Creation.

We hope you’ll find upcoming opportunities to connect with others in the parish as we continue to bring the Gospel Message to life – perhaps in new ways. You are most welcome here. Join us!

OLH Parishioners Answer the Call

OLH Parishioners Answer the Call

OLH Parishioners Answer the Call

When the Social Justice and Peace Commission organized a drive for residents and clients of Hope House, just before Lent, the response was inspiring. By supplying them with paper products, household cleaning products and laundry detergent, parishioners not only met an immediate need,but extended the parish’s hospitality. Parishioners let them see – feel – the support of their neighbors. The goods are so important. The welcoming and moral support are priceless.

From Martha Stein, Executive Director of Hope Acts and Hope House: “Thank you so, so much for the wonderful gifts from Our Lady of Hope Parishioners. Every single item, plus financial donations will go directly to our asylum seeker residents and families in the community. And there were so many food gift cards!! fabulous! Thank you for your incredible generosity and support.”

All in all, parishioners donated 4 FULL carloads of product and just over $1,000 in gift cards and funds.

As a Jesuit ministry, we embrace the four Universal Apostolic Preferences, one of which is Walking with the Excluded. We read from the global Jesuits website that Walking with the Excluded means to “walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice. In all our work, we want to unite people where they are separated, to heal them where they are wounded. We want to work collaboratively in this field hospital of our world, witnessing to a faith that promotes reconciliation based on justice. We want to bring hope to our world, to imagine new roads and to walk these roads to the end.”

Our Lady of Hope Parish is putting our faith into action.

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