Reflecting on the Year of Mercy: A Letter from Sister Sally Duffy, SC
Can you forgive God, your parents and yourself? I remember a priest at Notre Dame University beginning a homily with this question. Forgiving one’s self begins with recognizing that God forgives our sins. Yet one must begin by acknowledging our own sins, betrayals, denials, wretchedness, and collusion.
“Pardoning offenses becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves.” – Pope Francis
For the staff at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC), this belief in love and care for others is at the core of their work to promote a peaceful, nonviolent society. The organization was formed 30 years ago when five congregations of Catholic women religious, including the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, joined together to advocate for social justice. Today the organization is supported by 21 diverse faith communities which advance the mission of educating and advocating for peace and nonviolence, as well as challenging unjust local, national and global issues.
Some of the most serious social justice issues pertain to the racial disparity and unfairness with our nation’s use of the death penalty. Since 1973, more than 150 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence2. As long as the death penalty exists, the risk of executing an innocent person continues.
“We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us… As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.” –Pope Francis
Since 2009, the Family Immigration Services office within Catholic Charities of Central Colorado has served an increasing number of immigrants each year. The state of Colorado is home to more than 500,000 foreign-born residents from more than 75 countries. The challenges of a broken immigration system in the U.S. have left many of these immigrants undocumented. Just as most Americans are descendants of someone who came to this country with the desire to leave violence and poverty behind for a better life – so too are the stories of the modern-day migrants and refugees.
The evidence is clear and the struggles are real for many families seeking refuge in the U.S. “Many are fleeing horrific situations in Central America to keep their children safe,” shared Eric Pavri, director of Family Immigration Services. “They believe in the U.S. and feel they will be safe here.”