Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Lady of Perpetual Help - Patroness of Haiti

Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Pray for us & the People of Haiti!

Today on the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, we remember the people of Haiti in our prayers, outreach and generosity.

Learn more about Haiti by visiting the website of The Haiti Project sponsored by Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Tucson:

Following is the story of how Our Lady or Perpetual Help became the beloved Patroness of the Haitian people, as told by Joan Martin, Haiti Minister from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish (OMOS). Joan lives and ministers in the Diocese of Port-de-Paix, Haiti. See MAP for location.

"On Monday, Feb. 5, 2007, all of Haiti celebrated a special Mass as a thank you and a re-consecration of the country to Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours--Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Fr. Nicolas explained the history at the Mass for the sisters that morning. In about 1861, a disease called veret began to spread in Haiti. I am not sure of the name in English, but Fr. Nico said it was like leprosy--bumps, then holes in the skin, and very contagious. There was no treatment; the doctors and hospitals could do nothing. People began to die by the hundreds, then by the thousands. Every household was affected by the epidemic. There were so many deaths that funerals could not be held. Every town had a mass grave for the victims. ( For those of you who have visited PdPaix, the mass grave was where the airport runway is now.). The estimate was that about 200,000 people died.

In 1882, in desperation, one of the bishops in Port-au-Prince took a picture of Notre Dame du Perpetuel Secours up the mountain, blessed the country in all directions and asked for help.

The epidemic began to recede, and eventually stopped. The country celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving, and Haiti was consecrated to Notre Dame. The year 2007, marked the 125th Anniversary of the consecration. So the bishops decided to re-consecrate the country, to say thank you, and to ask for help with the current crises in the country. At noon, all the churches were supposed to ring their bells in celebration."

This is one of many entries from Notes, Photos, & Reflections from Joan, which can be found online at the OMOS Haiti Project Website. Here you can find more of her stories and photos about day-to-day life in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Joan's notes are informative, touching and often heart-rending.

Today would be a fitting date to spend some time in prayer and soldiarity with the people of Haiti and those who minister to them!


Friday, June 20, 2008

World Refugee Day 2008

Today we remember refugees throughout the world:

From the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) website:

World Refugee Day 2008

"On June 20, we celebrate World Refugee Day. This year, events around the world will focus on the fundamental need for protection. For some, this means economic security; for others, protection is freedom from violence and persecution. On World Refugee Day, we will turn our attention to the millions of refugees who live without material, social and legal protection."


Thursday, June 19, 2008


From the Juneteenth Worldwide

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society. © 1996

As we reflect on the origins and meaning of Juneteenth, may we be called to prayer for an end to racism and slavery of all kinds throughout the world.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bus Fares are frozen

Advocacy works! Thanks everyone for your advocacy for the poor and the environment!!


Rally to protest Sun Tran fare hikes on Tuesday (Tucson Citizen 6-14-08)

120 protest proposed bus fare increase (Tucson Citizen 6-17-08)

Council turnaround freezes bus fares (Arizona Daily Star 6-18-08)

Council kicks bus fare increase to the curb (Tucson Citizen 6-18-08)


Friday, June 13, 2008

Tuesday June 17: An Opportunity to Advocate for the Poor & the Environment!

An invitation from
Brian Flagg of Casa Maria:

You are invited to:

To stop increased Bus Fares for SunTran.

When: Tuesday, June 17 @ 5:15 pm
Where: Tucson City Hall 255 W. Alameda map


by Tucson's most famous environmentalist
PANCHO • Don Francisco • MEDINA
Minister of Culture at Casa Maria
& Others

MUSICA: Francisco and Alicia Robles

And your LOUD, STRONG VOICES ! ! ! !

At 6 pm we will attend the City Council Public Hearing.
After the hearing the Council will vote on raising the fares.
Come and tell the 6 Democracts and 1 Republican on the Council

Come and tell them that with today's gas prices,
NOW is the TIME to SAVE the PLANET
by coaxing people out of their cars
and on to the bus!

Contact these Council Members NOW to express your views:
Nina Trasoff 791-4601
Shirley Scott 791-3199

Sponsored by Casa Maria

For more information, call Brian at 624-0312


Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 12, 2008: World Day Against Child Labour

June 12, 2008 is the World Day against Child Labour

This year the day will be marked around the world with activities to raise awareness that education is the right response to child labour: education for all children at least to the minimum age of employment; education policies that address child labour by provision of properly resourced quality education and skills training; and education to promote awareness on the need to tackle child labour.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that some 165 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labour. Many of these children work long hours, often in dangerous conditions. Child labour is closely associated with poverty. Many poor families are unable to afford school fees or other school costs. The family may depend on the contribution that a working child makes to the household’s income, and place more importance on that than on education. And when a family has to make a choice between sending either a boy or girl to school, it is often the girl who loses out.

Learn more about the World Day against Child Labour HERE

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Action Alert on Nuclear Non-Proliferation

From the US Bishops' (USCCB) Department of Justice, Peace & Human Development:


Urge your Representative in Congress (check for contact information) to cosponsor the Global Security Priorities Resolution (H.RES. 1045) which links long-term savings from reducing our nuclear arsenal to increased support for nuclear non-proliferation efforts and child survival programs, and to call for a nuclear non-proliferation hearing.

The Global Security Priorities Resolution (H.RES. 1045), introduced by Congressmen Dan Lungren (R-CA) and James McGovern (D-MA) on March 13, 2008, recognizes the threat of nuclear prolifera-tion and the danger of nuclear weapons materials falling into terrorists’ hands. It calls for cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal and directs a portion of the savings into securing nuclear materials. Recognizing that poverty and social and economic injustices can breed resentment and violence, it directs another part of the resulting savings towards child survival, hunger, and universal education. USCCB and inter-religious partners worked with both congressmen to craft this resolution.

The Cold War ended over 15 years ago yet the U.S. and Russia still maintain over 10,000 nuclear warheads. Maintaining thousands of strategic nuclear weapons is expensive and breeds mistrust among non-nuclear nations and encourages them to join the nuclear club. Funds for nuclear weapons could be better spent to secure nuclear materials from terrorists and to encourage development, improve the lives of the poor, and invest in our children’s futures. Reductions by U.S. and Russia to 1,000 deployed nuclear weapons each and a total nuclear inventory of 3,000 by 2015 could save as much as $13 billion annually. Savings would be used to dismantle and secure nuclear weapons and nuclear materials, including weapons of mass destruction in former Soviet Union states. Other uses include $5 billion over five years to enhance child survival in the poorest countries by supporting international organizations and boosting community-based health and nutrition services. Additional funding would go toward school feeding and related programs to eliminate hunger and malnutrition.

The Church clearly opposes nuclear proliferation and the use of nuclear weapons because they are indiscriminate in inflicting harm on vast numbers of civilian as well as military combatants. Pope Benedict XVI said in his 2008 World Day of Peace message, "At a time when the process of nuclear non-proliferation is at a stand-still, I feel bound to entreat those in authority to resume with greater determination negotiations for a progressive and mutually agreed dismantling of existing nuclear weapons." The Church supports replacing nuclear deterrence policies with disarmament measures based on dialogue and verifiable multilateral agreements to reduce and ultimately ban nuclear arms. This legislation reflects the bishops’ longstanding support for dismantling nuclear weapons systems and for reducing global poverty.

Contact Virginia Farris, USCCB Office of International Justice and Peace, 202-541-3182,,

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pray for Those with Chemical Addictions - Venerable Matthew Talbot

From the website: The Matt Talbot Story - Hope for Addiciton

His Story

Matt Talbot (1856 - 1925) was born in the poverty of Dublin's inner city. He began drinking at twelve years of age and became a chronic alcoholic. It was the drug culture of the 19th century. Matt was an addict. After sixteen years he decided to 'kick the habit'. A priest helped him, giving him a rehabilitation programme, which providentially incorporated the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. That was fifty years before AA was founded. After a horrendous struggle, he found sobriety through prayer and self-sacrifice. His Higher Power was the Christian God. He remained sober for forty years until his death. His life story has been an inspiration for alcoholics and addicts throughout the world. He is a candidate for canonisation in the Catholic Church.

His Life

With the help of his priest friend, Matt modelled his life on that of the monks, who lived in Ireland in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was a tough programme of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. To his neighbours and his work mates in the timber yards, he was a cheerful, happy friend. He gave away most of his wages every week to the poor at home and abroad. "Matt had no time for money", his sister remarked. He was keenly aware of his fellow workers struggle for social justice. A loyal member of Ireland's Transport and General Workers Union, a Union leader, Stephen McGonagle, described him as "a beacon of light to Irish workers". After a life of heroic perseverance, he died suddenly on the way to Mass on 7th June 1925.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

World Environment Day 2008

From the World Environment Day website:

"World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action."

"The World Environment Day slogan for 2008 is Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy. . . . The event will highlight resources and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and life-styles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption."

Click HERE for the website's Twelve Steps to Help You Kick the CO2 Habit and see also 80 Ways to Celebrate World Environment Day

The website also encourages us to do the following:

"On this World Environment Day, let us examine the state of our environment. Let us consider carefully the actions which each of us must take, and then address ourselves to our common task of preserving all life on earth in a mood of sober resolution and quiet confidence."

. . . and as part of our call to Peace, Justice, and Catholic Social Teaching, let us also add PRAYER to our observation of World Environment Day!

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).