All power, all triumphs, all selfish materialism, all the false successes of life
Will pass with the world’s form.
What does not pass away is love.
The joy of sharing and feeling that we are all one family does not pass away.
In the evening of life
We will be judged by love. (Oscar Romero)
Dear Sister and Associates,
COVID-19 has surely driven us to reflect on the deficiencies in our social protection systems and challenges us to look for ways to change so that our city, Province, Country and World are better places for all and not just for the privileged few.
Hopefully, we will take heed of the insight of Archbishop Romero as we set about creating the “new normal”.
A few months ago, we appointed Sarah Rudolph as the Canadian representative to the IBVM UN NGO office. In that role, Sarah is informing us and challenging us to cooperate with Cynthia Mathew CJ and Janet Palofox IBVM in working towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2030.
The UN sees the SDGs as a road map to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions, economic, social and environmental. If the SDGs can be realized, the UN believes, “the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better”.
Sarah’s responsibility is to make our joint ministry at the UN more visible and more meaningful in our Region, Canada.
In January 2020, Pauline Macharia IBVM and Adina Balan, CJ arrived in Rome to begin working as the new Generalate appointees responsible for coordinating the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) ministry across the Provinces and Regions.
Just as the UN ministry requires local representatives to make the UN ministry visible and meaningful in the Regions and Provinces, so do Pauline and Adina need liaison persons to promote JPIC awareness and action on global issues.
Here in Canada, since 2016, Carmen Diston has chaired our JPIC Committee of Cabrini Fahlman, Evanne Hunter, Maria Lanthier, Mary Mallany and Ann McGowan. We thank them for their years of service and plan to build on what they have done to push us towards action on behalf of justice.
It is time for a change.
Sarah Rudolph has graciously agreed to take on the role of Chairing our local JPIC Committee so we are appointing her to that position. She will work with a Committee of IBVMs, Associates and others, yet to be appointed. Their role will be to inform us, to stimulate reflection on and to develop practical suggestions for action on justice issues. Sarah will find opportunities for collaborating with other groups and agencies at the local, Provincial and National level.
We realize that taking on the dual role of UN NGO representative and JPIC representative is a challenging task and that combining them in one person is not ideal.
The need for action on behalf of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation is local of course, but it is global as well, so combining the roles of UN representative, Institute JPIC representative and Canadian Region JPIC Chair, though a huge task, has a certain logic to it.
We are confident that Sarah with her energy, experience and passion will be up to the task. It falls upon each one of us to support her and assist her in any way we can.
Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si', calls on all people to enter into “dialogue about our Common Home”. He stresses the fact of “how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace”. He quotes St Bartholomew, asking us to “replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing … a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what the God’s world needs”.
We are hearing the “Cry of the Earth” as thousands of our brothers and sisters are impacted by fires, floods, storms and oil spills. We are hearing the ”Cry of the Poor” in the political and civil unrest as people are impact-ed by abuse of human rights, blatant acts of injustice, violation of the rule of law, the greed of corporations, their investors, and the political elite, as well as the intolerance and zenophobia of the selfish who want to preserve the status quo.
Romero described the problem years ago as:
Structural violence … that takes concrete form
In the unjust distribution of wealth and of property
And more generally,
In that amalgam of economic and political structures
By which a few grow increasingly rich and powerful
While the remainder grow increasingly poor and weak.
Will the citizens of the world, with the experience of COVID, have the courage to stand up at the local, national and international levels and demand that the world change? Will we?
Let us all work with Sarah, in whatever way we can, as she works with the UN NGO Office and the Joint JPIC Committee, as she works globally and locally to add our voices to those demanding change.
Thank you Sarah for taking up the challenge.