Monday, March 31, 2008

Cesar E. Chavez Day of Service & Learning

Painting by Octavio Ocampo
(click on the image to see the detail)

"Chavez Day" is March 31st

From the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation website:

A true American hero, Cesar was a civil rights, Latino, farm worker, and labor leader; a religious and spiritual figure; a community servant and social entrepreneur; a crusader for nonviolent social change; and an environmentalist and consumer advocate.

His motto in life-"si se puede" (it can be done)-embodies the uncommon and invaluable legacy he left for the world's benefit. Since his death, dozens of communities across the nation have renamed schools, parks, streets, libraries, other public facilities, awards and scholarships in his honor, as well as enacting holidays on his birthday, March 31. In 1994 he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in America.

Cesar Chavez-a common man with an uncommon vision for humankind-stood for equality, justice, and dignity for all Americans. His ecumenical principles remain elevant and inspiring today for all people.

Some of his quotes follow. Find more

"It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity."

"When any person suffers for someone in greater need, that person is a human."

"I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice."

"When the man who feeds the world by toiling in the fields is himself deprived of the basic rights of feeding, sheltering and caring for his own family, the whole community of man is sick."

Used by permission of the César E. Chávez Foundation

The Feast of the Annunciation

About the icon

The Feast of the Annunciation
is celebrated on March 31st this year.

Aubade: The Annunciation
(a poem by Thomas Merton)

When the dim light, at Lauds, comes strike her window,
Bellsong falls out of Heaven with a sound of glass.

Prayers fly in the mind like larks,
Thoughts hide in the height like hawks:

And while the country churches tell their blessings to the distance,
Her slow words move,
(Like summer winds the wheat) her innocent love:
Desires glitter in her mind
Like morning stars:

Until her name is suddenly spoken
Like a meteor falling.

She can no longer hear shrill day
Sing in the east,
Nor see the lovely woods begin to toss their manes.
The rivers have begun to sing.
The little clouds shine in the sky like girls:
She has no eyes to see their faces.

Speech of an angel shines in the waters of her thought like diamonds,
Rides like a sunburst on the hillsides of her heart.
And is brought home like harvests,
Hid in her house, and stored
Like the sweet summer's riches in our peaceful barns.

But in the world of March outside her dwelling,
The farmers and the planters
Fear to begin their sowing, and its lengthy labor,
Where, on the brown, bare furrows,
The winter wind still croons as dumb as pain.

Thomas Merton 1946

More Merton poems at:


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Divine Mercy Sunday

Icon of "Christ of Divine Mercy
and His Apostle Saint Faustina"

by Fr. William McNichols, S.J.

Divine Mercy Sunday
is a fitting time for the "Justice & Peace Shall Kiss" blog to reflect on the relationship between Justice and Mercy.

Here is Pope John Paul II on the subject, from his 19080 Encyclical titled Dives in Misericordia - Rich in Mercy :

Thus the fundamental structure of justice always enters into the sphere of mercy.

Mercy, however, has the power to confer on justice a new content, which is expressed most simply and fully in forgiveness.

Forgiveness, in fact, shows that over and above the process of "equalizing” and “truce” which is specific to justice, love is necessary, so that persons may affirm themselves as human.

Fulfillment of the conditions of justice is especially indispensable in order that love may reveal its own image.

In analyzing the parable of the prodigal son, we have already called attention to the fact that he who forgives and he who is forgiven meet one another at a vital point, namely, the dignity or essential value of the person, a point which cannot be lost.

The confirming of this point of dignity of the person or finding it anew is a source of the greatest joy.

Dives in Misericordia VII:14 Translation by Rev. George W. Kosicki, C.S.B.

To learn more about Pope John Paul II and Divine Mercy Sunday, see the article on: Why Catholics Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday


Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour: 8-9 pm on Saturday Mar 29th

Jesus asked: "Could you not keep watch for one hour? Mk 14:37

This Saturday night, people from around the globe are going to be "keeping watch" in a different way for "Planet Earth." As Christians we can add a deeper dimension to this unique, hour-long gesture of the global community by using this time to bring our care and concern for the gift of Creation to God in prayer.

Why not join the Earth Hour this year?

The following background and more links can be found at: Here is the Phoenix Earth Hour website:

On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.

Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town.

What will you do when the lights are off? We have lots of ideas.

Join people all around the world in showing that you care about our planet and want to play a part in helping to fight climate change. Don’t forget to sign up and let us know you want to join Earth Hour.

One hour, America. Earth Hour. Turn out for Earth Hour!


Solar Rock 2008 Saturday March 29th

Tucson's 2nd Annual 100% Solar-Powered SOLAR ROCK FESTIVAL will be held on:

Saturday, March 29 from 12-5 pm
Himmel Park
(South of Speedway, East of Tucson Blvd.)

Activities include:

Green Business Exhibitors
Lightbulb Exchange
Freecycle "Free Bee"
Cellphone Recycle
Children's Activities
Free Bike Valet Service

For more details see:


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sleuthing in Your Supermarket: Learning to Shop with a Conscience

Sleuthing in Your Supermarket: Learning to Shop with a Conscience

Kitty Ufford-Chase, Faith Community Coordinator at the Community Food Bank, offers a five-session course at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, (just East of Swan on 22nd St.) on issues surrounding food and faith Monday evenings from April 7 through May 5 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm in the Awareness meeting room.

The following will be explored:

  • The history of supermarkets, current and future trends, and how the supermarket fits into the global food system.

  • Supermarket advertising, marketing and consumption: understanding the corporate role, and the messages we get from supermarkets.

  • Environmental impacts within the supermarket itself, in its supply chain, and in the household.

  • Social justice in the food system and supermarkets from middle-class and low-income perspectives: accessibility, affordability, and food appropriateness.

  • Looking at alternatives and options for action to support a more just food system.

The fee for the five-session class is $15 to cover supplies; any money left over will be donated to the Food Bank by UUCT. Scholarships are always available and always given.

Please email or call him at 326-8831 to sign up. Payment may be made by credit card by calling Jean in the church office at 748-1551.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Take Action: Respect for Unborn Life

From the The Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC):

The ACC is the public policy agency for the Diocese of Gallup, the Diocese of Phoenix, and the Diocese of Tucson

Support Partial Birth Abortion Ban

AZ Legislature Passes Partial Birth Abortion Bill

Take Action!

Please Ask Gov Napolitano to Sign HB 2769

Support Arizona's Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Please Ask Governor Napolitano to Sign HB 2769
HB 2769 is important pro-life legislation that essentially duplicates the Partial Birth Abortion Act passed by Congress in 2003 and upheld by the United States Supreme Court last year. Despite the passage of the federal law, however, there is still a need for a state ban on partial birth abortions so that Arizonans do not have to rely on the United State Department of Justice to bring such actions.

Additionally, a state ban is helpful because federal prosecutors attempting to enforce the current partial birth abortion ban must first show that interstate commerce is somehow impacted. With a state ban, however, local prosecutors can bring forth such charges without having to deal with interstate commerce issues.

Partial birth abortions involve a horrific procedure to which most people are opposed. HB 2769 is a reasonable piece of legislation aimed at making sure that they do not take place in Arizona.

Please follow the TAKE ACTION links in this alert and urge Governor Napolitano to sign HB 2769.

Take Action!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Feast of St. Dismas - The Good Thief

[NOTE: March 25th is also the Feast of the Annunciation, however this liturgical year the Annunciation will be celebrated on Monday March 31st because the 25th occurs during Easter Week.]

On this traditional feast day of the "Good Thief" who was crucified alongside of Jesus, we pray for those in prisons, for their families, and especially for the condemned on death row.

The above icon of St. Dismas by Lu Bro (and an explanation of its symbols) is from the Bridge Building Images website, a unique source of icons and prayer cards.

Some suggestions for St. Dismas's day:

These and a few other related links can be found at the OMOS Circle of Life Jouney webpage on: Respect for All, Both Victim and Detained.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Anniversary of the Death of Archbishop Oscar Romero

" . . . Easter is a shout of victory. No one can extinguish that life which Christ revived. Not even death and hatred against him and against his Church will be able to overcome him. He is the victor!

. . . . The Church preaches your liberation just as we studied it today in the Holy Bible. A liberation that holds, above all, respect for human dignity, the salvation of the common good of all people, and the transcendence that looks above all else to God, and from God alone derives its hope and its strength. Let us now proclaim our faith in this truth."

The words above are from Archbishop Oscar Romero's last homily in San Salvador cathedral on March 23, 1980. The next day while he was celebrating Mass, he was shot by a gunman.

He also said:

"The church would betray its own love for God and its fidelity to the gospel if it stopped being . . . a defender of the nights of the poor . . . a humanizer of every legitimate struggle to achieve a more just society . . . that prepares the way for the true reign of God in history."


"I don't believe in death without resurrection. They can kill me, but they cannot kill the voice of justice. If they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people . . . ."

Learn more about Oscar Romero at the Claretian's Salt of the Earth website, which has a webpage for the Remembrance of Archbishop Oscar Romero.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

"May the light of CHRIST
RISEN in Glory
again scatter the darkness
of Heart & Mind."

from the Easter Vigil Blessing of the Pascal Candle

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"Water for Life" - March 22 is World Water Day

As we renew our baptismal promises, imersed in the symbols of Easter, remember God's precious GIFT OF WATER:


The international observance of World Water Day (WWD) is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.

2008 is the International Year of Sanitation. Here is a calendar of events linked to WWD and it's theme for 2008: "Sanitation Matters!" See this WWD 2008 Advocacy Guide [pdf] for background information and advocacy ideas.

We are currently in The Water for Life Decade (2005-2015) which is highlighting the implementation of water-related programs and the participation of women. Learn more HERE.


Friday, March 21, 2008

A Good Friday Thought

"I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the market place as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on a town garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write his title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek... at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where he died. And that is what he died about. And that is where churchmen ought to be, and what churchman should be about." - - -

from George McLeod, courtesy of Fr. Bill Remmel


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Thursday, the Eucharist, and World Hunger

Selections from the Center of Concern's Education for Justice website:

As we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday, we recall the scandal of hunger in our world.

Bread for the World has worked for 32 years as a Christian voice for ending hunger. Learn more about it at:

The ONE Campaign is an effort supported by Bread for the World to rally Americans -- ONE by ONE -- to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty. Learn more at:

On this Holy Thursday, let us pray . . . .

For all those who do not have enough to eat this evening, we pray….
For all those who do not have a home this evening, we pray….
For all those who live in fear of war, terrorism, and violence, we pray….
For all those who need to be set free from political and economic oppression, we pray….
For all those called to service, especially to service of those most in need, we pray….
For our church, that we may be renewed in the spirit of Jesus, we pray….

God, bring us together as one people.

Let us also remember the hungry in our midst!
Consider making a donation to the
Tucson Community Food Bank today!

Go to:


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Suggestions for Marking the 5th Anniversary of the Start of War in Iraq

Based in part on information from the Center of Concern's Education for Justice website:

  • Pray for an end to all war.
  • Study the resources posted at the U.S. Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) wepage on Iraq: The Way To Peace:
  • Read, reflect on, and share the information in the USCCB's Iraq Study Guide (PDF)
  • Pray for the U.S. Military and civilian personnel and all those who have died in Iraq. Pray for the families and loved ones who are experiencing untold grief and loss caused by this war. Click here for a list of names Select someone by name and pray for him or her and their loved ones during this Holy Week.
  • Refer to the names of all the Iraqis who have died during the war in Iraq and pray for their families and loved ones who are experiencing the grief and loss due to war. Click here for a list of names. Select someone by name and pray for him or her and their loved ones during this Holy Week.
  • Read the Catholic Relief Services blog about issues in Iraq, including the plight of war refugees.
  • Take action for PEACE: Visit the Pax Christi website on The war and occupation of Iraq: Resources, statements, actions

A Prayer for Iraq

Gracious and Healing God,

We hold in our hearts and prayers all troops and military personnel from various nations and all of those who have died since the Iraq War began. We pray for them, their families and friends during the continuing tragedies inherent in war.

O God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We hold in our hearts and prayers the many thousands who have returned from the war with physical and mental injuries. Many of these soldiers and their families are members of our congregations. Enable us to surround them with compassion; help us to be responsive to their needs. Fill us all with your hope.

O God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We hold in our hearts and prayers the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have suffered deprivation and death. Give hope, strength and vision to the orphans, widows and other survivors of war and those who care for them. Be with those who are wounded, whose homes have been destroyed, and who have been traumatized.

O God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the leaders of every nation. May they find the wisdom to establish peace and justice everywhere in your creation. God of Grace, hear our cries. We long for an end to the hostilities and sorrow. We long for reconciliation and the power of your peace. We look to the hills for help, knowing it can only come from you.

O God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Prayer from the National Council of Churches, courtesy of the Center of Concern's Education for Justice website.

Monday, March 17, 2008

SOS: Save Ochoa School: Rally & Meeting Tuesday March 18

"Help us make a human chain around our school"

A SAVE OCHOA SCHOOL (SOS) Rally will be held on Tuesday March 18 at 5:30 pm. The rally will include a blessing by Father Renando Pinto from Santa Cruz Catholic Church.

The Rally will be followed by a meeting with TUSD GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERS:
Adelita Grijalva, Judy Burns, Alex Rodriguez, Bruce Burke and Joal Ireland
from 6 - 8 pm

Where: Ochoa Elemenatry School 101 W. 25th St.

Google Maps link to Ochoa School

Related Tucson Citizen article:
Endangered Ochoa School a 'treasure,' TUSD told:

Related Arizona Daily Star articles:
Closing Ochoa would hurt families:
Dozens ask TUSD to spare 4 schools:

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Faithful Citizenship website

The United States Catholic Bishops (USCCB) now have a brand new website on Faithfull Citizenship at:

The site has sections targeted for: All Catholics, Diocesan & Community Leaders, Parish & School Leaders, and Young Catholics. Links within each section will take you to a many different kinds of resources, e.g. What the Church Teaches, Prayers and Reflections, suggestions on Taking Action, Family Guide, Do's and Don'ts when addressing the issues, planning ideas. The section for Young Catholics has a "Are You A Faithful Citizen" quiz, podcasts and music -- with a video to come soon.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

FIRST ANNUAL HUNGER WALK on Saturday March 29, 2008


Too benefit the COMMUNITY FOOD BANK’S Community Food Security Center Programs.

Walk begins at 8:00am at Ramada 5 at Reid Park.

No Sponsors needed, distance walked is up to you. Just register on-line by Friday, Mar. 21st:

Registration fees: $20/adult; $10/child—both of which include a free event T-shirt. You can register, but not walk, and still receive an event T-shirt. All Participants are encouraged to bring 2 cans of food for the event’s food drive.

For more information, contact Kitty Ufford-Chase, or call 622-0525, x251.

Join us to support home gardens, farmers’ markets, farm production, family advocacy and gleaning programs in our community!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fr. Richard Rohr to speak in Tucson Monday March 24th

CONTEMPLATION and Non-Dual Consciousness -- RICHARD ROHR,OFM

WHEN: Monday, March 24, 2008 Afternoon session: 2pm-4pm Evening session: 7pm-9pm

WHERE: The Benedictine Monastery, 800 N. Country Club, South of Speedway on Country Club
COST: $40 for both sessions or $25 for each session

Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan of the New Mexico province. He founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque in 1976, where he presently serves as Founding Director.

FOR INFORMATION: 520-325-6401 or email:

TO REGISTER: Send in the form on this FLYER [pdf]

Seating is limited, register early! Your tickets will be mailed to you. Mail-in deadline is March 17.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Action Alert on Anti-Torture Bill

From the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office of International Justice and Peace:


issued February 28, 2008

Why this issue is important? The Church stands firm in denouncing torture as it undermines and debases the dignity of both victims and perpetrators. Pope Benedict XVI said "the prohibition against torture cannot be contravened under any circumstance."

The Senate voted 51-45 to pass HR 2082, the FY2008 Intelligence Authorization Act, which contains anti-torture legislation (Section 327) expanding the prohibition against torture of detainees to all U.S. intelligence agencies and their agents. Now the bill faces a possible veto by President Bush on March 5. We urge you to contact the White House and express your support for President Bush signing those anti-torture provisions of HR 2082 into law.

Background: USCCB was successful in joining with other organizations in pressing the Senate to pass HR 2082 on February 13, 2008 with its anti-torture provisions intact. It was a triumph as it prohibits cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners held by U.S. intelligence agencies. Earlier legislation supported by USCCB had prohibited torture of those held by U.S. military and required that interrogation techniques conform to the standard now offered by the U.S. Army Field Manual. While the Conference cannot presume to be experts on the Manual, one of its guiding principles which USCCB supports echoes the Golden Rule, i.e. we should not use any technique against an enemy that we would not like to have used against our own military or civilians.

While USCCB does not take positions on the more technical and other provisions of the Intelligence Authorization Act, we believe the adoption of the anti-torture provision (Section 327) in HR 2082 would go a long way to restoring U.S. credibility in the international community by helping the U.S. regain the moral high ground. Respect for the dignity of every person, ally or enemy, must serve as the foundation of security, justice and peace. We cannot win the war against terror by abandoning fundamental moral values.

ACTION REQUESTED: Ask your members to call the White House at 202-456-1111 or send an email to President Bush at to express support for the anti-torture provisions in HR 2082 and urge him to sign this legislation.

For more information contact Virginia Farris. Office of International Justice and Peace, USCCB, 202-541-3182, See the op-ed on torture signed by Bishop Thomas Wenski and four other religious leaders which is being offered for placement.

How to receive "Take Action" Alerts from the USCCB

The US Conference of Catholic Bishop's (USCCB) has a "Take Action" site sponsored by the USCCB's Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (formerly Social Development and World Peace). The URL for the Take Action site is:

There you will find a link to sign up to receive email "Action Alerts" notifying you when an important decision is being made at the federal level on issues of domestic and international justice and peace. You’ll find out what the basic issue is, what Catholic social teaching says about the issue, and what you can do.

The next blog post will alert you to an Action Alert on an Anti-Torture bill.