Friday, September 21, 2007

Today is the International Day of Peace

Since 1981 the International Day of Peace has provided an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of Peace on a shared date. Tonight Pax Christi Summit along with NJ Peace Action, the Summit Interfaith Coalition for Peace and the Peace Alliance will be sponsoring a vigil on the Village Green in Summit at 6:30 pm.

For all of those who will not be able to join us here is a passage for reflection from Archbishop Oscar Romero who was martyred in El Salvador in 1980:

It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.


May peace fill your heart, today and always.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


From the USCCB Office of International Justice & Peace:

Dear Colleagues:

For a long time the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a "responsible transition" to bring an end to the war in Iraq "as soon as possible." A major component of a "responsible transition" is the protection of vulnerable populations, including refugees and internally displaced persons. Their humanitarian situation is dire.

Attached and below you will find the text of an "Action Alert" from our colleagues in Migration and Refugee Services related to Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons. Please contact your Senators and urge them to support the bipartisan REFUGEE CRISIS IN IRAQ AMENDMENT to the Defense Authorization bill. It is urgent that you contact your Senators by September 20.

Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of vulnerable Iraqis.


Stephen M. Colecchi

Director, Office of International Justice and Peace

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

***** ACTION ALERT *****



The content of the amendment is the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Bill (S. 1651)


There are more than 4.2 million refugees and displaced persons in and around Iraq
Many have helped U.S. troops and are thus now targeted by insurgents
Vulnerable groups – including Christian Chaldeans and Mandeans - face exploitation and shortages of food and clean water
The United States has only admitted 719 Iraqi refugees so far this year*
Other countries in the region are closing their borders, leaving those fleeing persecution nowhere to go

The Refugee Crisis in Iraq Amendment would:

Prioritize vulnerable Iraqi refugees who fear death by insurgents
Provide expedited special immigrant visas for Iraqis who helped U.S. troops
Allow persecuted individuals to apply for refugee status from within Iraq

Tell your Senators:

Whether we support or oppose the war, we can all agree that vulnerable refugees deserve our protection
The bill should be included in the Defense Authorization bill, since the safety of refugees directly impacts the stability of Iraq
They should cosponsor and vote YES on this bipartisan, humanitarian bill

Please phone, fax, or email your Senators by September 20, the date most amendments will be offered to the Defense Authorization bill. Call 202-224-3121 or find your Senators’ phone numbers at or by following our links.

*To be admitted to the United States, Iraqis must pass extended screening processes in addition to rigorous background checks and security procedures mandated for all refugees

The Bill is sponsored by Senator Kennedy (MA)

Cosponsors as of Sept. 12, 2007: Biden (DE), Brownback (KS), Durbin (IL), Feinstein (CA), Hagel (NE), Leahy (VT), Levin (MI), Lieberman (CT), Menendez (NJ), Smith (OR), Voinovich (OH), Whitehouse (RI) & Wyden (OR)

Menendez is sponsoring the amendment so if you call his office please thank him for his leadership on this issue. You can call Lautenberg and ask how he stands and urge him to support the amendment.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Summit Residents "Take a Stand" Against the War

On Tuesday, August 28th, over 100 constituents of Representative Ferguson gathered at the Knights of Columbus Hall is Summit to here speakers from local peace groups and to send a message to the Congressman that they want him to reconsider his support of the Iraq war.

After hearing moving speeches from Madelyn Hoffman of NJ Peace Action, Paula Rogovin of Military Families Speak Out, Jim Walsh of Citizen Action and Steve Hatcher of People's Organization for Progress, constituents were permitted to direct questions to Congressman Ferguson. He was unable to attend the event due to a prior commitment but a likeness of the Congressman occupied his empty chair. Rosemary Levine (pictured above) a resident of Summit was one of those who posed a question to the Congressman. She asked "Congressman Ferguson, have you read any books on Islam? If so which ones and where do you get your information about Iraq?"

Representatives from many local peace groups were on hand networking circulating petitions and distributing flyers for upcoming events. These groups included, NJ Peace Action, Military Families Speak Out, NJ Citizen Action, People's Organization for Progress, Union County Peace Council, Impeach Them, Summit Interfaith Vigil and Pax Christi Summit.

The event was organized by the "Iraq Summer" campaign as a part of the national "Take a Stand" day. This 10 week long campaign has about 100 organizer in 40 different congressional districts across the country.

Summit: 9/11 Memorial Service

On Tuesday, September 11, 2007, Summit will commemorate the 9/11 attacks. The remembrance service will take place at 6 p.m. at the 9/11 Memorial in front of the train station and opposite the Post Office.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sr. Helen Prejean to Speak at Area Parishes

Sr. Helen Prejean, author of the acclaimed best-seller "Dead Man Walking" and her new book, "The Death of Innocents," will share her journey on two upcoming visits to our area.

St. Peter Claver Church, 56 Elmwood Ave., in Montclair
November 8, 2007 7:30 pm
Contact: St. Peter Claver Church, 973-783-4852

There will be a reception and book signing immediately following the talk. This event is free and open to the public. Presented by St. Peter Claver Church, Immaculate Conception Church, First Congregational United Church of Christ, New Jersey Peace Action and NJADP. NOTE: Due to limited space, please call 973-783-4852 to obtain a free ticket.

St. Mary's Parish, 17 Pompton Ave. in Pompton Lakes
November 9, 2007 7:00 pm

There will be a reception and book signing immediately following the talk. This event is free and open to the public.