Peace & Social Justice Mission
The Saints Peter & Paul Peace & Social Justice committee is organized to respond to the church’s call to safeguard and enhance the dignity of every human person, especially the poor, the dispossessed, the marginalized and alienated members of society. The committee works to address social and community needs through education, advocacy and outreach. All of the committee’s work is motivated by the desire to respond to Jesus’ call to love, especially as expressed in the Beatitudes.
For more information, contact Deacon Joe Verdico at [email protected] or 630-718-2155.
2016 CRS Rice Bowl project a success! Thank you to all who participated in the CRS Rice Bowl project during the Lenten Season. Your support and generosity was overwhelming and resulted in a collection of $7868!
Thank you to all our volunteers who handed out and collected the Rice Bowl as well as all those families who contributed to this worthwhile endeavor.
2015-2016 Focus is on Food Related to Peace and Social Justice issues.
Article 1: Who Has Access to Healthy Food & Why It Matters –
As often as they fail, and as clichéd as they have become, it is striking that New Year’s resolutions never seem to go out of style, particularly those that go something like, “I’m going to eat less sugar,” or “salt,” or “frosting directly out of the can with my bare fingers” (not that anyone does that last one). If you have such a New Year’s resolution, we wish you God’s blessing for success, but we understand how terribly tempting certain foods can be. Lack of will power is often the reason we make unhealthy food choices, but millions of Americans are constrained to unhealthy food choices by factors beyond their control. These individuals may be able to obtain enough food to meet their daily caloric requirements, but due to one or more, often interrelated factors, such as location, financial constraints, disability, limited transportation, and/or limited information and exposure, they cannot choose and/or obtain the food that truly nourishes them. We have become very good at creating and promoting low-cost food products that contain a lot of empty calories and have extensive shelf-lives, but we have yet to figure out how to provide and promote healthy, nutritious food to all. As a result of this imbalance, the health—and thus the livelihood, quality, and length of life—of our most vulnerable neighbors is compromised. Read more…
Article 2: Food Policy –
One sentence in our last article scared the living daylights out of us: “The Peace and Social Justice Committee hopes to provide you with more information regarding the policies that govern our food system in future bulletin articles.” We knew we were getting in over our heads, but it had also become apparent in our research that a basic knowledge of food policy is essential for our parishioners to exercise their faith in the public realm, which is, after all, the mission of social justice and part of Christ’s call. A basic knowledge of food policy is also essential for putting into proper context the various intersections between food and social justice that we intend to address this year. So, we put on our thinking (or rather, learning) caps, and we invite you to do so, too, as we take a brief look at an area of public policy that impacts everyone, everywhere, every day.
The first obstacle to understanding food policy in the United States is, in the words of food advocates Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador, and Olivier De Schutter, “we have no food policy.” Despite the enormous and far-reaching impact of food production and food consumption, government policies related to food are often made piecemeal and oversight is spread out over several federal agencies. Read More…
Article 3: Farm Workers –
Ever wonder how the Peace and Social Justice Committee selects its focus topic each year? Well, first there are some sealed doors, then some top-sacred ballots cast, a few smoke signals, and finally, as eager parishioners wait on the ministry center front lawn… “habemus topic!” Just kidding. We nominate topics, (often via email ring) and then hold an utterly unceremonious vote. This year, one of the nominated topics was racism, specifically, the lingering and pervasive effects of slavery on African Americans in the United States. When food won the vote, we thought we would be dealing with a significantly less controversial topic. However, early in our research for this series, we came across the following painful reminder from the National Farm Worker Ministry: “Historically, agricultural workers in the U.S. have been imported from other countries with vulnerable populations….We can see this history of exploitative conditions in the events and policies that laid the groundwork for our broken agricultural system today.” As it turns out, not only does our chosen focus topic fail to escape the legacy of slavery, it introduces a host of other controversial issues surrounding hired farm workers, like health care, the minimum wage, and—since it is estimated that over half of hired farm workers are undocumented—immigration. Read full Article 3 – Farm Workers
Article 4: Environment –
“There are starving children in Africa” never convinced any child to eat a plate full of Brussels sprouts. The wise children want to eat them anyway, and the “smart” children argue that even if they eat those Brussels sprouts, those same children in Africa will still be starving. Fair point. However, the connection between our eating habits and the lives of the poor all over the world is not as tenuous as we might think.
The people cannot depend on the rains being as they were in the past. Some of the past months are the hottest that I can remember. The fishermen on Lake Victoria are experiencing a general downturn in their traditional catch of fish, and typhoid is very much in evident because of the lessening quality of the water.
That was the response of Fr. Jim Eble, MM, in Tanzania, to a survey sent in 2015 to Maryknollers around the world on the impacts of climate change. Other Maryknollers cited similar threats to lives and livelihoods: unpredictable weather patterns, diminished access to clean water and food, poor air quality, rising sea levels, migration and upheaval are forcing ever greater hardships upon those who are least responsible for them and least equipped to cope.
What does all this have to do with our dinner plates? Plenty. Read full Article 4 Environment
Article 5: International Food Assistance –
This past Lent, Saints Peter and Paul parishioners fasted, prayed and, in the end, gave alms in the amount of $7,078.00 through the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Rice Bowl faith-in-action program. While 25% of these donations will remain in the Diocese of Joliet for local poverty and hunger alleviation efforts, 75% will support CRS’ programs around the world. Private donations like these are important to CRS’ continued efforts to support the lives and dignities of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters around the world, but these are not the only funds CRS puts to work. CRS is also one of the leading implementers of U.S. international food aid programs. When the U.S. Government decides to spend tax dollars on these programs, it relies on private voluntary organizations (PVOs) like CRS to translate those dollars from numbers on paper to food on plates, formula in baby bottles, or technical assistance for farmers—to name just a few hunger-fighting interventions. Given their familiarity and longstanding involvement with these programs, and with the people these programs aim to serve, we should take seriously the fact that CRS has repeatedly called on Congress to reform and provide more funding for our international food aid programs.
CRS is not alone. They join a chorus of concerned parties that includes many PVOs, intergovernmental organizations, key trading partners, academics, both the Obama and George W. Bush Administrations, and certain members of Congress. While the U.S. has played a leading role in efforts to alleviate global hunger and malnutrition for over six decades, it remains the only major country, other than Japan, to rely primarily on in-kind, domestically sourced and shipped commodities, rather than cash-based assistance that can be used to purchase food for distribution from the most appropriate market, or given in the form of vouchers or cash transfers. Along with this reliance on domestically sourced and shipped in-kind food aid, comes a set of legislative requirements that hamstring implementing partners like CRS, and waste valuable taxpayer dollars that could be supporting the lives and livelihoods of those most in need. Read full Article 5 (international food assistance)
2014-2015 Spotlight was on Modern Slavery
Informative links on the subject of Modern Slavery:
- The Slavery Footprint, www.slaveryfootprint.org: The Slavery Footprint website takes you through a quiz to figure out how many slaves work for you. It also provides opportunities to contact manufacturers of brands you may have in your home that may have slaves in their supply chains, in order to let them know you’re concerned. Warning: The quiz is designed generally for adults and addresses the issue of transactional sex.
- The Global Freedom Network, gfn2020.org
- USCCB Anti-Trafficking Program, http://www.usccb.org/about/anti-trafficking-program/
- NHTRC’s anonymous online tip reporting form: http://traffickingresourcecenter.org/report-trafficking
2013-2014 Spotlight was on MicroFinance
Ways to Get Involved:
- Join the Peace & Social Justice Committee. Our meetings are held 4-5 times each year in the Ministry Center in the evenings. Check the Parish Event Calendar for specific times and location:
- November 17, 2015
- January 19, 2016
- March 8, 2016
- May 17, 2016
- Visit the Diocese of Joliet Peace & Social Justice Website
- Sign up for Action Alerts regarding peace & social justice issues.
- Transitional Housing Envelopes
- Poverty Quiz Q & A
- Hunger Facts
- Buy Fair. Be Fair – watch this YouTube Video and look for the Fair Trade label when you shop.