At CMN we are preparing for the Lenten season of reflection and want to help you do so as well. In this issue, find new tools – prayers, reflections and curricula – for you and your parish community to use during the season. Join us in welcoming CMN’s new Program Assistant Eddie Guers, who joined our staff to manage our growing number of communications projects, help expand our media presence, and take advantage of new opportunities. These new resources and the work Eddie will be undertaking are examples of how we strive to provide effective resources to you and help support your work to end the death penalty in your communities.
We encourage you to promote an end to the cycle of violence in our culture during this Lenten Season and throughout the year. In his insightful January column, author and speaker Fr. Ron Rolheiser notes, “We have never stopped killing people in God's name; we have only changed the nomenclature.” Fr. Ron reminds us that “if we read the Bible from beginning to end, [we see] a progressive revelation (or at least a progressive realization on our part) of the non-violence of God, a revelation that ends in Jesus who reveals a God of radical non-violence.” May God bless us all in our work of radical non-violence.
In this February 2014 newsletter you will find:
Director for Catholic State Networks and Organizations
CMN LENTEN RESOURCES AVAILABLE
As we do every year, we’ve posted some useful Lenten resources for your community, parish, school, family, and personal use. These tools are meant to help inspire reflection on the sin of capital punishment and how, together, we can achieve the goal of ending the use of the death penalty.
Inspirational tools such as CMN’s new Pope Francis Mercy Prayer Card are perfect for distributing after Mass during Lent and throughout the year. These Restorative Justice Scripture Case Studies, highlighting the Old Testament story of Cain and Abel and the New Testament Story of the woman caught in adultery whom Jesus forgives, offer an opportunity to explore these passages in a deeper way. These case studies are also currently offered as part of our Restorative Justice Workshop for Teens. Both resources are available through a grant provided to CMN by the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.
We also invite you to visit our Lenten Resources page later this month for the 2014 version of CMN's "Gospel Reflections for Lent." These reflections, prepared by authors and editors of Where Justice and Mercy Meet: Catholic Opposition to the Death Penalty, will include a Gospel passage reference for each Sunday in Lent, plus a coordinating short reflection on that Gospel. Authors include Mount Saint Mary’s University professors Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Dr. David McCarthy, Dr. Trudy Conway, Vicki Schieber, Sr. Mary Kate Birge, Ph.D., and Dr. Emily Stetler, as well as Dr. Alejandro Canadas, professor from The Catholic University of America. We hope you will share these reflections with your family, your Bible study group, your pastor, deacons, and others offering reflections on God's Word during the season.
Other resources available for free download include different versions of Good Friday Prayer Services and the Stations of the Cross, as well as CMN’s “A Good Friday Reflection to End the Use of the Death Penalty” (available in both English and Spanish). We invite you to use these and our many other resources and share them widely.
CMN WELCOMES NEW PROGRAM ASSISTANT: EDDIE GUERS
This month, CMN welcomes to its staff our new program assistant Eddie Guers. Eddie will assist in the smooth operation and organization of CMN’s Washington, D.C. office, help manage CMN’s finances, assist with communications and media efforts and development/fundraising, and offer key support to CMN staff. Eddie is a 2013 graduate of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., where he majored in economics and political science. Prior to joining CMN, Eddie worked in the office of US. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who represents New York’s Eighth Congressional District.
Eddie is a lifelong member of the Catholic Church and is passionate about social justice and community service-oriented issues. He was highly involved in his parish, St. John the Baptist Church, and his Catholic high school, Nativity B.V.M., both located in his hometown of Pottsville, Pa. While at Bucknell, Eddie served as the President of his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, and worked as an economics teaching assistant. He is enthusiastic about CMN, its mission, and his newfound opportunity to help spread awareness about and work toward ending the use of the death penalty.
STORIES OF PRAYER, FORGIVENESS AND MERCY ARE COMING IN!
Include your story - Sale proceeds benefit CMN
Stories of the power of prayer, forgiveness, mercy and grace are coming in for the new book, to be written by Patricia Proctor and to benefit CMN. As the author of the Catholic bestseller, 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary, Patricia Proctor has offered CMN the proceeds of her next book. If you believe in prayer and have experienced its effect in your life, please consider sharing your story. All true, first-hand stories, second- and even third-hand witnesses of God’s mercy and help are needed! You can share your story online, by telephone, text, chat or instant messaging with Patricia Proctor, at (541) 971-5376 or by e-mail or through Skype at handle @patricia4j.
The book will include stories of prayer, forgiveness and mercy from those involved in various ministries of social justice. It will incorporate stories of women and men in prison and on death row, and will share stories of family members who experienced loss through violence. The deadline for submission has been extended to March so keep them coming in! Suggested word length is 300 to 1,200 words. Authors of published stories will have an author byline promoting their own ministry with a website URL and other contact information if desired.
UPDATE FROM SISTER HELEN PREJEAN AND THE DEAD MAN WALKING PLAY PROJECT
By Rachael Hudak, Project Manager for Sr. Helen Prejean and National Coordinator, Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project
Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, continues to work tirelessly against the death penalty, traveling from New Hampshire, to Colorado, to Louisville and back to her home state of Louisiana. On March 1, she’ll be speaking alongside His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum’s Faith and Peace Day. Sr. Helen and her staff look forward to engaging young people from around the country in reflection on capital punishment at this momentous public event.
The Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project, founded by Sr. Helen Prejean and Tim Robbins in 1994, is one way for young people to participate in critical discourse and reflection in their communities. Now based at DePaul University in Chicago, the Play Project just launched a brand new website. The new site features FAQs for educators and students, a wealth of educational resources, and multimedia clips. Check it out!
We hope that you’ll subscribe to Death Penalty Discourse, the Ministry Against the Death Penalty’s monthly newsletter to get up-to-date information about events with Sr. Helen, productions of the Dead Man Walking play, and news about the national movement to abolish the death penalty. Check out our newsletter archives to find more information about Sr. Helen’s archives at DePaul University, personal testimony from MADP staff, and press coverage of Sr. Helen’s national events.
March 13-16: Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (Anaheim, California)
CMN will exhibit at this four-day event sponsored by the Los Angeles Office of Religious Education. The Congress is the largest annual gathering of its kind in the world. Held at the Anaheim Convention Center, this year's theme is "Hope: A World Afire." Begun in 1968 as an "institute," the Congress is open to people of all vocations and different faiths.
For more information or to register, visit their website.
March 21-24: Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice (Washington, D.C.)
CMN will exhibit at the 2014 National Gathering of Ecumenical Advocacy Days. The theme for this year’s National Gathering, which will draw ecumenical Christians to our nation’s capital for a three-day conference event and annual lobby day, is “Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace.”
For more information and to register visit the EAD website.
March 24: CMN Presentation at Gonzaga High School (Washington, D.C.)
CMN speaker Vicki Schieber will visit Gonzaga High School, an all-boys Catholic secondary school in Washington, D.C., and present Catholic teaching and the death penalty to over 200 students in the afternoon. Vicki will share her story alongside Kirk Bloodsworth, a death row exoneree that works with the organization Witness to Innocence.
Want to know what else we're up to? Check out our full Calendar of Events.
Ohio: The Catholic Relief Services Global Solidarity Conference will be held on March 15 in Dayton. This event’s theme will be “Caring For All Life All Thorugh Life” and will focus on the Consistent Ethic of Life and its role in Catholic Social Teaching. The conference will gather Catholics from across the nation to look at many life issues; from the sacredness of the individual before birth through the end of life, and situations that call for a Gospel response of love, such as domestic violence, bullying, gun violence, restorative justice, the death penalty, life after prison, and war. The conference will take place at the Kennedy Union at the University of Dayton. Featured presenters include Fr. Neil Kookoothe and death row exonoree Joe D’Ambrosia.
Learn more, download flyers, and register on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati website.
If you have an event that your local Catholic organization is presenting or sponsoring on the death penalty or on a restorative justice topic and you would like it to appear in our CMN newsletter, please send us the relevant information, including flyers and complete descriptions of the event at least four weeks in advance. CMN may edit or choose not to publish any submission.