Nonviolence . . . Human trafficking . . . Women . . . . The elderly . . . Immigrants' rights . . . Housing. . . Children . . . Prisoners' rights . . . Health care . . . World Hunger . . . Globalization, as it affects Latin America . . . Care of the earth . . . Seamless ethic of life

Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

World Day of Peace: 1 January, 2015

World Day of Peace: 1 January, 2015
Many of us begin our New Year resolved to begin anew, to make some small changes in our lives that we believe will improve our physical, spiritual or emotional health and well-being. The resolutions may be challenging or easy, openly stated or secret. In any case, they spring from a well of desire to become new persons, to turn over “a new leaf” in our book of life.

By placing the World Day of Peace at the beginning of the New Year the Roman Catholic Church invites believers to consider practices of peace and nonviolence as resolutions. This year, Pope Francis’s message for the World Day of Peace is titled “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters.” He addresses the grave injustice of modern slavery that holds millions of people around the world in bondage for sex or for labor.

Slavery, Pope Francis says, violates the dignity of the human person who is created in God’s own image.  It is one of the world’s fastest growing criminal activities that affects every country, and yes, every person on earth. Sometimes also called human trafficking, slavery involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel persons to perform acts against their will. Essentially, it undermines their freedom. According to the Holy Father, root causes of slavery include greed and corruption; poverty; lack of development, education or employment; armed conflict and terrorism.

In the face of this ubiquitous evil we must not remain indifferent, says our Holy Father. We must act personally and collaboratively to confront slavery and take the necessary steps to eradicate it. Pope Francis has made eradication one of his top priorities by convening special conferences at the Vatican, writing, speaking and praying about slavery. In early December, 2014, he and other religious leaders signed a declaration to bring slavery to an end by 2020. In order to achieve that goal, governments, civil society, and faith leaders must collaborate, he said.

In his message, the Holy Father applauded the efforts of women religious who have had a special dedication to assist the victims of human trafficking and to bring an end to modern slavery. The Sisters of St. Agnes and Associates have had a corporate stance against human trafficking since January 21, 2007 – the feast of St. Agnes. Their commitment to educate themselves and others remains as strong as ever. They continue to hold events on key days:
·January 11, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Established by President Obama in 2011. See the National Weekend of Prayer for ideas about how to commemorate it in 2015.
·February 8, the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita who is the patroness of ending slavery
·February 27, End It: Shine a Light on Slavery. The day was chosen to represent the estimated 27 million people held in slavery.

Visit the CSA website for ideas about actions to end modern slavery. You might even make it one of your New Year’s resolutions.

On the World Day of Peace, we turn to Mary, Mother of God and the Queen of Peace, asking her guidance during 2015 as we work together for an end to human trafficking and modern slavery.

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