Weekly Reflections

Weekly Reflections on Justice are written by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, and visiting Columban Missionaries. We hope these reflections help to guide you on your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

  • 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...

  • Advent Invitation: Open Our Hearts to Welcome Christ in a Broken World

    Christ of the Breadlines.Graphic by Fritz Eichenberg

    Christ of the Breadlines.

    Advent is a time of waiting and surrender, a time of joy and hope. We live in an “in-between” time, between the birth of Christ and the day when Christ will return. This requires of us a discipline of faith, hope and love. Each week of Advent, we are reminded and invited to pause and to open our hearts to the birth of Christ in a broken world: “Stay awake!” “Prepare the way of the Lord!” “Go and tell what you hear and see!” “Do not be afraid!” Certainly the events surrounding the birth of Jesus...

  • Equity in God's House

    I’ve been attending the ‘Border Eucharist’ from the Mexican side of the 11-foot high fence for the past four years. Our Columban parish of Corpus Christi is close to the spot where the Eucharist takes place. Mexican Catholics from the city of Juarez and American Catholics from El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico, come together each year to pray for the souls of those who were murdered, or who died of hunger and thirst while attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the United States....

  • Falling in Love

    November 16, 2016 marks 27 years since six Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter were martyred at the University of Central America in El Salvador. Along with them, thousands of people were murdered during the Salvadoran civil war that lasted from 1981 to 1992. The Jesuits lived out their faith by ministering to the marginalized and poor in El Salvador. As a result of their witness and love for the people they served, they were outspoken critics of the human rights abuses and murders...

  • Opening Our Hearts and Working for Peace

    The Sign of Peace during the Diamond Jubilee Mass in St Columban’s Home, Chuncheon City, South Korea on April 26, 2014. As a child, I thought Ordinary Time in the Liturgical Calendar was “off season” for the Church and Advent, Lent, and Easter were the only important “seasons.” Eventually, a maturing faith prevailed. Ordinary Time invites us to more deeply understand and appreciate the life of Jesus.  Pope Francis closes the Jubilee Year of Mercy on November 20, 2017, and Ordinary...

  • 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...

  • The Seamless Garment

    As we prepare for the final week before concluding this difficult election cycle, it is good to take a step back and to reflect, not on what separates and divides us, but rather on what binds us together – our faith, our common humanity, our hope for the future – and the gift of life. One of those voices who reminds us of the Catholic values that we share was Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, the former cardinal archbishop of Chicago. Thirty-three years ago he delivered an address at Fordham University...

  • 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...

  • Children of Light

    Between October 10 and the winter solstice on December 21, we will lose two hours of daylight. The angle of the earth affects the number of daylight hours just as the angle from which we perceive ourselves and our place in the community directs our actions. In this first reading for today, Monday October 24, St. Paul contrasts children of light and children of darkness. He tells us that the mark of communal life is love of neighbor. Paul instructs us on how to behave as followers of Christ, the children...

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