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.

Going Green for Lent – Some Resources

Going Green for Lent – Some Resources

Going Green for Lent – Some Resources

There is an abundant sense of place to this State we call home. From the mountains to the sea, with woods and lakes interspersed, people pull together to maintain and protect their corners of the state. In our earlier post about small steps to care for our common home, we covered everyday things we can all do, combined with others make a positive impact for our environment – God’s creation.

In this post, we want to provide some resources to help us jumpstart our collective efforts. Some listed will be familiar, no doubt. Others may spark some new action. Let’s go!

Meet your farmers at the Portland Winter Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm, at our neighbors on 631 Stevens Ave right in the Stevens Square Community Center. SNAP is welcomed; purchases are matched 50%! The Market Info Booth will give you more details. Learn more at https://bit.ly/PtldFarmersMarket

On Sundays from 10-2 South Portland hosts their Farmers Market. In the winter, they are in the old Hamlin School Gym at the City’s planning and development building. From May to October you’ll find them at 496 Ocean Street (in Mill Creek area),

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose!
Clean out your wardrobe. Donate items you haven’t worn in a long time; you’ll reduce waste and provide stability for our neighbors through our local nonprofit Goodwill Northern New England .

Maine Needs has a variety of opportunities to volunteer, donate goods and supplies. They’re on Forest Avenue near USM.

Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang rehabilitation and reentry program, founded by Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ has a mail-in Electronics Recycling program called Homeboy Recycling.

You can also responsibly recycle electronics (including chords and cables) through Goodwill. Learn more about how they handle all aspects of computer donations . Best Buy offers Electronics, Appliances and Fitness Equipment Recycling and describe it here: https://bit.ly/RecyclingBestBuy

Not sure what goes where? Visit Riverside Recyling online to learn.

And, if you’d like some books, article, videos or more to deepen your eco-knowledge, the Social Justice and Peace Commission has also built this initial library of recommended publications on the environment.

Books
• On Care for Our Common Home Laudato Si’ (Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment)
https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

• Finding God in a Leaf: The Mysticism of Laudato Si’ by Brian Grogan SJ

• At Home on Earth: Foundations for a Catholic Ethic of the Environment by Msgr Charles M. Murphy

• Climate, Catastrophe, and Faith: How Changes in Climate Drive Religious Upheaval by Philip Jenkins

• A Dream of the Earth by Fr. Thomas Berry

• An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming by Al Gore

• The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

• New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry

Documentaries
• An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming
• 2040
• David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

Videos
• Climate Change: It Changes Everything: https://www.crs.org/resource-center/climate-change-it-changes-everything
• Catholic Climate Covenant video resources:
https://catholicclimatecovenant.org/resources?tid=17&audience=All
• We’re Cooked, Part 1: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/opinion/climate-sustainability-agriculture-lobby.html
• Gulf of Maine, Explained: The Warming of the Gulf of Maine https://gmri.org/stories/gulf-maine-explained-warming-gulf-maine/
• Gulf of Maine, Explained: Sea Level Rise https://www.gmri.org/stories/gulf-maine-explained-sea-level-rise

Other Publications
• Catholic Relief Services Publications: https://www.crs.org/climate-change

Thank you for your interest and for joining our shared purpose of caring for our common home here in Maine – and beyond. God’s counting on us.

Small Steps to Care for Our Common Home

Small Steps to Care for Our Common Home

Small Steps to Care for Our Common Home

Lent, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, is a traditional time for fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. Our Lady of Hope’s Social Justice and Peace Commission and the Jesuit Community invite you to consider taking environmentally friendly actions that show care for “Our Common Home.” By prayerfully engaging in one or more of the following suggested actions, we can collectively steward our resources (a traditional reason for fasting).

We also invite you to share your commitment to undertake one or more of these actions with others in the parish by placing a green dot on the posters at St. Pius X and St. Joseph. By making this witness, we hope that our communal practice can build the sense of community and shared purpose in the parish.

Some of these steps are ones you already have incorporated into your routine, some may be new. And, there are undoubtedly ones that aren’t in this list that could be. Go ahead. Take bigger steps! In a couple of months, we’ll revisit this topic. We’ll learn from each other about the ways that these steps have influenced our thinking, daily actions – and prayer life!

Places to start:

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.
  • Switch light bulbs to eco-friendly LED light bulbs.
  • Unplug devices and appliances when not in use.
  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics.
  • Replace disposable plastic water bottle and straws with stainless.
  • Replace plastic wrap with reusable silicone covers.
  • Store food in reusable containers.
  • Drive your car less often.
  • Carpool, use public transportation, ride your bike, or walk, when possible.
  • Combine as many errands as you can in one car trip.
  • Pick up litter.
  • Take a walk in your neighborhood and pick up 10 pieces of litter.
  • Spend an hour clearing up a local park, beach, lake, or river.
  • Clean out your wardrobe. Donate items you haven’t worn in a long time.
  • Recycle electronics (including chords and cables).
  • Add a meatless Monday (or other day) to meatless Fridays.
  • Buy local. Buy produce at a winter farmers market

Improve Your Eco-Knowledge Watch a documentary, read a book or an article. Have a discussion with family and friends – and Go Green for Lent! It may just change your perspective beyond this season.

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