Columban Blog

The Columban Blog is written by members of the Columban community, including those participants in our internship program and other Columban outreach programs.

 

  • Finding Dory and Climate Change

    As I approach the end of my internship here at the Columban Center, I find myself reflecting on all of the many ways in which I have grown since day one. Just a few months ago I knew only the basics about climate change and climate change policy. Now, I understand so much more about the state of our global climate and what we can do to take care of it. This internship has helped me to grow by forcing me to focus on an issue that I had not previously given much thought to...

  • A Year of Mercy

    Love your neighbor

    On November 20, 2016, Pope Francis concluded a Year of Mercy by symbolically closing the Holy Door to St. Peter’s Basilica. The past year has allowed us to reflect intimately on our faithfulness to Jesus and his endless mercy, reconciliation, and pardon. When he ended the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis never said our job to limitlessly extend mercy and compassion is complete, or that we can assume the role of bystanders to injustice. Nor did he say that we could return to...

  • Learning Advocacy

    When I told my mother I was applying to intern at the Columban Center, she said “you’re doing what?" As someone who considers herself a fairly nonreligious person, a faith-based organization seemed like a strange place for me to end up. I didn’t know anything about Catholic Social Teaching, and while faith has always been a motivator for my advocacy, I rarely connected that faith to organized religious practices.Three months later, I still wouldn’t call myself religious, but my worldview has certainly...

  • Blossoms in Winter

    Blossoms in winter

    Just a few weekends ago, I woke up on Saturday morning to the sun blazing in through my window. I got up and went to my usual track practice. The day was clear and bright with no wind or clouds in the sky. It was the middle of November, but a comfortable 70 degrees outside. I was glad to run in nice weather, but perplexed and anxious for fall, let alone winter, to start. I am used to crisp air and blustering winds when running at this time of year, but for some reason that season had yet to come...

  • Adapting to Change

    The fight is not over,

    The hardest part of being an intern during election season was how quickly everything changed. I could read all about an issue one week, only to come in the next week and find that candidates had made new promises that could change everything. In an election where immigration was such a vital topic, it could be hard to keep up with everything going on. I spent a lot of time reading news articles over the past two months. What has been said about immigration? What could the implications...

  • On the Edge

    I am a member of the United Methodist Student Association at American University. Recently, we celebrated All Saints Day. In the United Methodist Church we recognize everyone as a saint and commemorate all those who have gone before us by offering up a litany of prayers and lighting candles as a bell tolls. Typically, the pastor will pray for those of the community who have recently passed away or for relatives and friends of community members who have recently passed away or for relatives and friends...

  • Inspired to Advocacy

    I first became aware of the challenges facing migrants, especially unaccompanied minors, in my high school Spanish classes when I watched Rebecca Cammisa’s documentary Which Way Home. Which Way Home follows eight Central American children, mostly from the Northern Triangle, as they try to travel north through Mexico to reach the United States. The children travel on la Bestia, the freight trains than run throughout Mexico, before attempting to find smugglers to bring them into...

  • Climate Change Silences

    With the completion of the presidential debates and Election Day just around the corner, the issue of climate change is weighing heavily on my mind. Whoever wins the election will have the power to transform the climate change debate. Last November, the international community reached a landmark agreement, the Paris agreement, which aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, promote adaptation to climate change, and hold warming to under 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels...

  • Love and Justice

    I recently viewed a presentation about nonviolence, where the speakers mentioned briefly the distinction between “charity” and “justice.” They were referring to a shift in advocacy from fixing immediate ills towards making long-term change. It was an idea that stuck with me. I am what my friends affectionately call a “word nerd,” so naturally the first thing I did was look up the origins of each word. Charity, giving voluntary assistance to those in need, comes from the Latin word caritas meaning esteem...

  • Impacts of Climate Change on the Most Vulnerable

    On the second day of my environmental justice advocacy internship here at the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion about the effects of climate change on Latino Communities in America. Coming into my internship I was uneasy with the topic of environmental justice. Yes, I understood climate change and its current and potential disastrous impacts, but I had no personal experience with climate disaster. I could not...

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